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TOPIC : Synthetic biology to expand diversity of nature's chemical production (RIA)

Topic identifier: BIOTEC-03-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
DeadlineModel:
Opening date:
two-stage
31 October 2017
Deadline:
2nd stage Deadline:
23 January 2018 17:00:00
28 June 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

For years, industries have relied upon living organisms as a source of compounds or natural products, most of which result from interactions between them. Finding these compounds has very much depended on massive screening assays. Moreover, these compounds are chemically complex and their production often involves dozens of genes controlled by intricate regulatory networks. Both the nature of these molecules and the difficulties to obtain them via chemical synthesis have restricted their commercial utilisation.

However, now synthetic biology offers unique opportunities to create analogues of natural products or even to go beyond those. It has the capacity to modify the genomes of microorganisms, discovering novel routes to obtain complex chemicals, thus expanding the chemical diversity of molecules for the production of new compounds. The use of engineering principles and tools in biological systems overcomes the bottlenecks of molecules which are not amenable for large-scale production and expands the options of new compounds for applications ranging from medicine to agriculture and materials.

Scope:

Proposals will consist of the bioengineering of the genome of organisms (e.g. yeast, algae, bacteria) to be used in industrial processes in order to optimise molecular pathways. This should lead to the design and synthesis of naturally unavailable and efficient pathways for the production of new complex and high value added chemicals for the pharmaceutical, agricultural or material sectors. Emerging synthetic biology techniques (engineering of large genomic regions, synthetic regulation for the control of gene expression and gene editing, among others) can be combined with knowledge of synthetic chemistry, enzyme engineering, systems biology and bioinformatics.

Activities should start at TRL 3 and achieve TRL 5 at the end of the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 6 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • New approaches for the production of complex chemicals;
  • Pathway design and validation for the production of at least two new compounds that would be difficult to make exclusively by chemistry, including an assessment of the related environmental benefits and risks;
  • Proved contribution to the standardisation of synthetic biology genetic parts and gene clusters.
Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.

 

2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme. 

 

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.

 

3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.  
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

The following exceptions apply:

The threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

Under 3 (a) Proposals are first ranked in separate lists according to the topics against which they were submitted (‘topic ranked lists’). When comparing ex aequo proposals from different topics, proposals having a higher position in their respective 'topic ranked list' will be considered to have a higher priority in the overall ranked list.
Under 3 (b) For all topics and types of action, the prioritisation will be done first on the basis of the score for Impact, and then on that for Excellence.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

 

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

 

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

 

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

 

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) WP 2018-20
5ii. Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

 

Submission Service

To access the Electronic Submission Service of the topic, please select the type of action that is most relevant to your proposal from the list below and click on the 'Start Submission' button. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation you will be linked to the correct entry point.

To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Research and Innovation action [RIA]
Topic Synthetic biology to expand diversity of nature's chemical production (RIA) - BIOTEC-03-2018
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