Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : e-Infrastructures for virtual research environments (VRE)

Topic identifier: EINFRA-9-2015
Publication date: 11 December 2013

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
24 September 2014
Deadline: 14 January 2015 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020
Topic Description

Specific challenge: There is yet considerable potential and room for development in the use of virtual research environments. The objective is to address this challenge by supporting capacity building in interdisciplinary research communities to empower researchers through development and deployment of service-driven digital research environments, services and tools tailored to their specific needs. These virtual research environments (VRE) should integrate resources across all layers of the e-infrastructure (networking, computing, data, software, user interfaces), should foster cross-disciplinary data interoperability and should provide functions allowing data citation and promoting data sharing and trust.

Scope: Each VRE should abstract from the underlying e-infrastructures using standardised building blocks and workflows, well documented interfaces, in particular regarding APIs, and interoperable components. Over time VREs will be composed of generic services delivered by e-infrastructures and domain specific services co-developed and co-operated by researchers, technology and e-infrastructure providers, and possibly commercial vendors.

The VRE proposals should clearly identify and build on requirements from real use cases, e.g. for integration of heterogeneous data from multiple sources and value-added services for computing, modelling, simulation, and data exploration, mining and visualisation, taking due account of privacy aspects. They should re-use tools and services from existing infrastructures and projects at national and/or European level as appropriate.

Where data are concerned, projects will define the semantics, ontologies, the 'what' metadata, as well as the best computing models and levels of abstraction (e.g. by means of open web services) to process the rich semantics at machine level (the so called 'how' metadata), as to ensure interoperability. They may also support proof of concept, prototyping and deployment of advanced data services and environments, and access to top-of-the-range connectivity and computing.

VREs may target any area of science and technology, especially interdisciplinary ones, including ICT, mathematics, web science and social sciences and humanities. Focusing on the ICT infrastructures needed for addressing the Societal Challenges is especially encouraged. Proposals should indicate the number of researchers they target as potential users.

This topic is complementary with topic INFRADEV-4-2014/2015, as VREs integrate data, network and computing resources for interdisciplinary research communities, whereas INFRADEV-4-2014/2015 addresses interoperability of services and common solutions for cluster of ESFRI and other research infrastructure initiatives in thematic areas.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 8 million would allow this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:  VREs are expected to result in more effective collaboration between researchers and higher efficiency and creativity in research as well as in higher productivity of researchers thanks to reliable and easy access to discovery, access and re-use of data. They will  accelerate innovation in research via an integrated access to potentially unlimited digital research resources, tools and services across disciplines and user communities and enable researchers to process structured and qualitative data in virtual and/or ubiquitous workspaces. They will contribute to increased take-up of collaborative research and data sharing by new disciplines, research communities and institutions.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

3. Evaluation

3.1 Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions:
For the criterion Excellence, in addition to its standard sub-criteria, the following aspects will also be taken into account:
- The extent to which the Networking Activities will foster a culture of co-operation between the participants and other relevant stakeholders;
- The extent to which the Service activities will offer access to state-of-the-art infrastructures, high quality services, and will enable users to conduct excellent research;
- The extent to which the Joint Research Activities will contribute to quantitative and qualitative improvements of the services provided by the infrastructures.

3.2a Guide to the submission and evaluation process

3.2b Guidance on the evaluation of innovation, social sciences and humanities and other aspects of H2020 proposals

3.3 Specific arrangements for the evaluation of Call H2020-EINFRA-2015-1:
See Part E of the Specific features for Research Infrastructures of the Horizon 2020 European Research Infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures) Work Programme 2014-2015 for the specific proposal conditions.

4. Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to the specific proposal template Part B.

5. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:
Information on the outcome of evaluation: maximum 5 months from the final date for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 3 months from the date of informing applicants they have been successful.

6. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:
Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Specific proposal template
Specific evaluation form
Annotated Model Grant Agreement

7. Additional provisions:
Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

8. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 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.

Additional documents

  • H2020-EINFRA-2015-1 flash call info en
  • Legal basis - Framework Programme H2020 en
  • Legal basis - Specific Programme H2020 en
  • WP H2020 - 1. Introduction en
  • WP H2020 - 4. Research Infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures) en
  • WP H2020 - 19. General Annexes en

Submission Service

No submission system is open for this topic.

Get support

National Contact Points (NCP) – contact your NCP for further assistance.

Enterprise Europe Network – contact your EEN national contact point for advice to businesses with special focus on SMEs. The support includes guidance on the EU research funding.

Research Enquiry Service – ask questions about any aspect of European research in general and the EU Research Framework Programmes in particular.

IT Helpdesk – contact the Participant Portal IT helpdesk for questions such as forgotten passwords, access rights and roles, technical aspects of submission of proposals, etc.

Ethics – to ensure compliance with ethical issues, further information is available on the Participant Portal and on the Science and Society Portal.

European IPR Helpdesk assists you on intellectual property issues.

The European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their recruitment

CEN and CENELEC, the European Standards Organisations, advise you how to tackle standardisation in your project proposal. Contact CEN-CENELEC Research Helpdesk at

Partner Search Services helps you find a partner organisation for your proposal.

H2020 Online Manual your online guide on the procedures from proposal submission to managing your grant.