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TOPIC : Integrating Activities for Advanced Communities

Topic identifier: INFRAIA-01-2018-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
DeadlineModel:
Opening date:
single-stage
14 November 2018
Deadline: 20 March 2019 17:00:00

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
DeadlineModel:
Opening date:
single-stage
05 December 2017
Deadline: 22 March 2018 17:00:00

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

European researchers need effective and convenient access to the best research infrastructures in order to conduct research for the advancement of knowledge and technology. The aim of this action is to bring together, integrate on European scale, and open up key national and regional research infrastructures to all European researchers, from both academia and industry, ensuring their optimal use and joint development.

Scope:

'Advanced Communities' are scientific communities whose research infrastructures show an advanced degree of coordination and networking at present, attained, in particular, through Integrating Activities awarded under FP7 or previous Horizon 2020 calls.

An Integrating Activity will mobilise a comprehensive consortium of several key research infrastructures in a given field as well as other stakeholders (e.g. public authorities, technological partners, research institutions) from different Member States, Associated Countries and other third countries[1] when appropriate, in particular when they offer complementary or more advanced services than those available in Europe.

Funding will be provided to support, in particular, the trans-national and virtual access provided to European researchers (and to researchers from Third Countries under certain conditions[2]), the cooperation between research infrastructures, scientific communities, industry and other stakeholders, the improvement of the services the infrastructures provide, the harmonisation, optimisation and improvement of access procedures and interfaces. Proposals should adopt the guidelines and principles of the European Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures.

To this extent, an Integrating Activity shall combine, in a closely co-ordinated manner:

(i) Networking activities, to foster a culture of co-operation between research infrastructures, scientific communities, industries and other stakeholders as appropriate, and to help develop a more efficient and attractive European Research Area;

(ii) Trans-national access or virtual access activities, to support scientific communities in their access to the identified key research infrastructures;

(iii) Joint research activities, to improve, in quality and/or quantity, the integrated services provided at European level by the infrastructures.

All three categories of activities are mandatory as synergistic effects are expected from these different components.

Access should be provided only to key research infrastructures of European interest, i.e., those infrastructures able to attract significant numbers of users from countries other than the country where they are located. Other national and regional infrastructures in Europe can be involved, in particular in the networking activities, for the exchange of best practices, without necessarily being beneficiaries in the proposal.

Proposals from advanced communities will have to clearly demonstrate the added value and the progress beyond current achievements in terms of integration and services, of a new grant. The strongest impact for advanced communities is expected typically to arise from focusing on innovation aspects and widening trans-national and virtual access provision, both in terms of wider and more advanced offer of scientific services, than in terms of number of users and domains served. Furthermore, in particular for communities supported in the past under three or more integrating activities, the creation of strategic roadmaps for future research infrastructure developments as well as the long-term sustainability of the integrated research infrastructure services provided at European level, need to be properly addressed. The latter requires the preparation of a sustainability plan beyond the grant lifecycle as well as, where appropriate, the involvement of funders.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), Integrating Activities should, whenever appropriate, pay due attention to any related international initiative (i.e. outside the EU) and foster the use and deployment of global standards.

Integrating Activities should also organise the efficient curation, preservation and provision of access to the data collected or produced under the project, defining a data management plan, even when they opt out of the extended Pilot on Open Research Data. Data management (including ethics and privacy issues), interoperability, as well as advanced data and computing services should be addressed where relevant. To this extent, proposals should build upon the state of the art in ICT and e-infrastructures for data, computing and networking, and ensure connection to the European Open Science Cloud.

Integrating Activities should in particular contribute to fostering the potential for innovation, including social innovation, of research infrastructures by reinforcing the partnership with industry, through e.g. transfer of knowledge and other dissemination activities, activities to promote the use of research infrastructures by industrial researchers, involvement of industrial associations in consortia or in advisory bodies.

Integrating Activities are expected to duly take into account all relevant ESFRI and other world-class research infrastructures to exploit synergies, to reflect on sustainability and to ensure complementarity and coherence with the existing European Infrastructures landscape.

Proposals should include clear indicators allowing the assessment of the progress towards the general and specific objectives, other than the access provision.

As the scope of an integrating activity is to ensure coordination and integration between all the key European infrastructures in a given field and to avoid duplication of effort, advanced communities are expected to submit one proposal per area.

Further conditions and requirements that applicants should fulfil when drafting a proposal are given in part D of the section “Specific features for Research Infrastructures”. Compliance with these provisions will be taken into account during evaluation.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 10 million would allow this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

On the basis of a multiannual plan drafted taking into account the assessment and the timing of previous grants as well as strategic priorities and needs, in term of research infrastructures services, emerging from other parts of Horizon 2020, this work programme invites proposals addressing the following areas listed under the different domains. A balanced coverage of the various domains, in line with the distribution of areas per domain, is expected as outcome of this topic.

(a) 2018 deadline

Biological and Medical Sciences

Microbial Resource Centres. This activity aims at integrating the key Microbial Resource Centres and opening them up to European researchers for biotechnology research and development. Emphasis should be on widening the user base, enlarging and strengthening the offered services, sharing resources at global level, fostering the innovation role of such infrastructures and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

Facilities for high throughput DNA sequencing. This activity aims at integrating the key research infrastructures in Europe as well as leading-edge research infrastructures located in third countries, to open them up to European researchers and offer services beyond the state-of-art which is already ensured by commercial providers. Adequate consideration should be taken of the produced data and its availability for research.

Centres for replacement, reduction and refinement (3 Rs) of non-human primate testing. This activity aims at integrating the key non-human primate centres in Europe promoting 3 Rs, i.e. replacement, reduction, and refinement. The proposal will contribute to the objective of 3Rs, reinforcing the implementation of ethical and good practices at European level, and the protection of animals used in scientific experiments[3]. The proposal should also develop the necessary collaborations outside Europe.

High throughput facilities for proteome analysis. This activity aims at integrating the key high throughput facilities in Europe for proteome analysis, based on state-of-the-art proteomics techniques and tools for data handling and analysis, including structural proteomics and structural bioinformatics. Emphasis should be on widening the user base, enlarging and strengthening the offered services, fostering the innovation role of such infrastructures and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

Energy

Research Infrastructures for solar energy: concentrating solar power. This activity should bring together the key European research infrastructures in solar concentrating systems (solar concentrators and relating research infrastructures) for carrying out energy and materials research as well as research in other fields using the extreme temperature conditions in solar concentrators, e.g. thermal storage equipment and reuse of stored energy. This topic would support the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan).

Research Infrastructures for solar energy: photovoltaic. This activity aims at integrating and opening the key research infrastructures in Europe for all aspects of photovoltaic research: buildings, transport, new materials, grid connection, efficiency, etc. This topic would support the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan).

Environmental and Earth Sciences[4]

Research infrastructures for forest ecosystem and resources research. This activity aims at further integrating and facilitating broad access to forest research facilities, methodologies and data on genetic and species diversity to enable environmental and biological research including biological effects of air pollution, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and development of forest management approaches. Emphasis will be on widening the user base and ensuring long term sustainability to the service integration.

Natural history collections. This activity aims at integrating and improving access to key European Natural History collections and to their related instrumentation facilities. Emphasis should be on improving accessibility to collections to a wide range of scientists, on developing innovative research services to answer the needs of a broader scientific community of users from climate change to human health and food security, and on ensuring long term sustainability of the integrated services.

Research aircrafts for environmental and geo-science research. This activity aims at integrating key research aircrafts and improving their availability to European researchers from larger multidisciplinary scientific communities. It should develop a long-term strategy towards sustained integrated services and innovative synergies with complementary observing systems and models to study atmospheric processes and the Earth's surface.

Research vessels. This activity aims at further providing, integrating and improving access to the key European research vessels and associated major equipment. It should include innovative initiatives to ensure a more efficient and coordinated operation of European fleets, to develop synergies with complementary observing systems and infrastructures and to set-up sustained integrated services to the user communities.

Research infrastructures for Earth's climate system modelling. This activity aims at further integrating and opening the research infrastructures (e.g. data repositories, models) used by the climate modelling community in Europe, promoting the ongoing development of a common distributed modelling infrastructure. Emphasis should be on widening the user base, expanding the interdisciplinary research fields addressed, enlarging and strengthening the offered services, and ensuring long term sustainability to the service integration.

Sites and experimental platforms of anthropogenic impacts for ecosystem functioning and biodiversity research. This activity aims at bringing together highly instrumented experimental, analytical and modelling facilities, across all major European ecosystem types and all major pressures on them. It will optimise the collaborative use of these sites by a wider scientific community and develop efficient methods and techniques for rapid data sharing and processing at the European level.

Mathematics and ICT

Visualisation facilities. This activity aims at further integrating and opening key virtual reality visualisation facilities, holographic image processing facilities and other computer graphics and animation facilities for advanced visualisation of scientific information and massive data, either resulting from academic research or being produced in collaboration with the industrial sector. Emphasis should be on widening the user base, enlarging and strengthening the offered services, and fostering the innovation role of such infrastructures.

Material Sciences, Analytical facilities and Engineering

Electron Microscopies for advanced imaging, diffraction, spectroscopy and metrology of materials. This activity aims at further integrating and opening advanced electron microscopies for material research and technological development. Emphasis should be on widening the user base, strengthening and enlarging the offered services, stimulating new scientific activities, facilitating access, fostering the innovation role of such infrastructures and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

High and low energy ion beam labs. This activity aims at further integrating and opening key ion beam facilities for material, biomedical and environmental research and technological development. Emphasis should be on widening the user base, enlarging and strengthening the offered services, fostering the innovation role of such infrastructures and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

Infrastructures for Neutron Scattering and Muon Spectroscopy. This activity will provide and facilitate wider access to the key research infrastructures in Europe for Neutron scattering and Muon Spectroscopy. It should present a long-term sustainable perspective on the integration of these facilities and related resources.

Facilities for research on materials under extreme temperature conditions. This activity aims at integrating research facilities in physics and materials science dealing with extreme low and high temperature conditions, e.g. nanoscience at microkelvin temperatures. Emphasis should be on widening the user base, enlarging the offered services, fostering the innovation role of such infrastructures and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

Infrastructures for studying turbulence phenomena and applications. This activity aims at further integrating key facilities enabling the study of high turbulence phenomena in various areas of science and technology. Emphasis should be on combining modelling and experimental in situ testing, widening the user base, enlarging the offered services, fostering the innovation role of such infrastructures and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

Physical Sciences

Research Infrastructures for hadron physics. This activity will provide and facilitate access to key research infrastructures in Europe for studying the properties of nuclear matter at extreme conditions, turning advances in hadron physics experimentation into new applications. It should present a long-term sustainable perspective on the integration of relevant facilities and related resources.

Research Infrastructures for high resolution solar physics. This activity aims at further integrating and opening key research infrastructures in the field of high resolution solar physics. It should foster cooperation between theory and observations.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Research infrastructures for the assessment of science, technology and innovation policies. This activity aims at further integrating and opening research data infrastructures in the field of science, technology and innovation (including social innovation). Emphasis should be on facilitating trans-national access and widening the user base, enlarging and strengthening the offered services, fostering the innovation role of such infrastructures and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

Digital archives and resources for research on European history. This activity aims at further integrating and opening key data collections and services in Europe for European History. Emphasis should be on widening the user base, enlarging and strengthening the offered services, e.g. by covering further historical periods, and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

Archaeological data infrastructures for research. This activity aims at further integrating and opening key archaeological data infrastructures to facilitate research in all fields of archaeology (from prehistory to contemporary society). Emphasis should be on widening the user base, enlarging and strengthening the offered services, including fields such as paleo-anthropology, bioarchaeology and environmental archaeology, sharing resources at global level, and ensuring long term sustainability to their integration.

(b) 2019 deadline

The areas to be addressed under the different domains will be defined at a later stage, before the opening of the related call.

Expected Impact:

  • Researchers will have wider, simplified, and more efficient access to the best research infrastructures they require to conduct their research, irrespective of location. They benefit from an increased focus on user needs.
  • New or more advanced research infrastructure services, enabling leading-edge or multidisciplinary research, are made available to a wider user community.
  • Operators of related infrastructures develop synergies and complementary capabilities, leading to improved and harmonised services. There is less duplication of services, leading to an improved use of resources across Europe. Economies of scale and saving of resources are also realised due to common development and the optimisation of operations.
  • Innovation is fostered through a reinforced partnership of research organisations with industry.
  • A new generation of researchers is educated that is ready to optimally exploit all the essential tools for their research.
  • Closer interactions between larger number of researchers active in and around a number of infrastructures facilitate cross-disciplinary fertilisations and a wider sharing of information, knowledge and technologies across fields and between academia and industry.
  • For communities which have received three or more grants in the past, the sustainability of the integrated research infrastructure services they provide at European level is improved.
  • The integration of major scientific equipment or sets of instruments and of knowledge-based resources (collections, archives, structured scientific information, data infrastructures, etc.) leads to a better management of the continuous flow of data collected or produced by these facilities and resources.
  • When applicable, the integrated and harmonised access to resources at European level can facilitate the use beyond research and contribute to evidence-based policy making.
  • When applicable, the socio-economic impact of past investments in research infrastructures from the European Structural and Investment Funds is enhanced.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation
Gender
Open Science
Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]See the Eligibility and admissibility conditions for this call.

[2]See part D of the section “Specific features for Research Infrastructures”.

[3] As framed by the directive 86/609/EEC, and by the Commission proposal for its revision, COM(2008)543

[4]When appropriate, proposals addressing areas under this domain are encouraged to develop synergies with Copernicus data and information as well as with GEO/GEOSS.

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.  

Given the specific nature of this topic, specific eligibility conditions, in addition to the standard eligibility conditions for Research and Innovation Action, apply: all the three types of activities: networking, access and joint research activities shall be included in the proposal. Please read carefully the provisions under the part D of the section “Specific features for Research Infrastructures” before the preparation of your application.

Legal entities established in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and USA, which provide, under the grant, access to their research infrastructures to researchers from Members States and Associated countries, are eligible for funding from the Union.

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 approach will be applied successively for every group of ex aequo proposals requiring prioritisation, starting with the highest scored group, and continuing in descending order:

(i) Proposals that address scientific domains or areas not otherwise covered by more highly-ranked proposals will be considered to have the highest priority.

(ii) The proposals identified under (i), if any, will themselves be prioritised according to the scores they have been awarded for the criterion excellence. When these scores are equal, priority will be based on scores for the criterion impact.

If necessary, any further prioritisation will be based on the following factors, in order: total number of users to whom trans-national access to research infrastructures will be provided, size of EU budget allocated to SMEs; gender balance among the personnel named in the proposal who will be primarily responsible for carrying out the research and/or innovation activities.

If a distinction still cannot be made, the panel may decide to further prioritise by considering how to enhance the quality of the project portfolio through synergies between projects, or other factors related to the objectives of the call or to Horizon 2020 in general. These factors will be documented in the report of the Panel.

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 Access Activities (Trans-national Access and/or Virtual 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.

For the criterion Impact the second sub-criterion is substituted by:

  • Where relevant, any substantial impacts not mentioned in the work programme, that would enhance innovation capacity; create new market opportunities, strengthen competitiveness and growth of companies, address issues related to climate change or the environment, or bring other important benefits for society;

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): 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
Specific proposal template will be available in the submission system at the time of call opening.
Specific evaluation form is foreseen for this topic, based on the specific evaluation criteria provided in the Work Programme.
Trans-national access cost calculation
Virtual access cost calculation
Specific Features for Research Infrastructure
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

For grants awarded under this topic beneficiaries being ‘access providers’ must provide access to research infrastructures or installations. The respective options of Article 16.1, Article 16.3, Article 25.5 and Article 31.6 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

For grants awarded under this topic the depreciation costs of equipment, infrastructure or other assets for providing trans-national or virtual access to research infrastructure will be ineligible costs. The respective option of Art. 6.2.D.2 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

For grants awarded under this topic beneficiaries being ‘access providers’ must provide virtual access to research infrastructures or installations. The respective options of Article 16.2 and Article 16.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

For grants awarded under this topic capitalised and operating costs of ‘large research infrastructures’ as defined in the Article 6.2.D.4 of the Model Grant Agreement are not eligible.

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
4. Research infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures) WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation 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

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