Scientific Research and Technological Development Projects - 2012

Announcement of Call for Proposals

1. Objectives and Priorities

The Portuguese government’s science and technology policy considers growth, reinforcement and consolidation of the National Scientific and Technological System (NSTS) to be a national priority in order to make the system more competitive, both within the country and internationally, and encouraging the transfer of scientific knowledge and technological innovation to the productive field. In this framework, fostering and strengthening the capabilities of scientific and technological institutions by enabling research teams at these institutions to participate in scientific research and technological development (SR&TD) projects in all scientific domains is deemed particularly important.

This announcement of call for proposals comprises four action lines that are materialized in different typologies of projects that differ in terms of organizing SR&TD activities and in terms of size and need of mobilization of material resources and highly qualified human resources. The scientific research and technological development projects correspond to research projects addressing scientifically relevant and original issues with reference to international standards that foster the advancement of knowledge.

The scientific goals shall be based upon clear expected indicators creating, at the same time, the conditions to the sustainable development of emerging areas and/or the consolidation of the scientific excellence in areas identified as priorities for the National Scientific and Technological System.

It is also important to reinforce and consolidate the scientific skills necessary for the research of excellence, an essential condition for the development of scientific production, surpassing the absence or insufficiency of material resources or qualified human resources.

In this context, the exploration of new opportunities or specific needs in a way that can be structured in a project in all scientific domains is of particular importance to the promotion of the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge in Portugal.

It should also be taken on the contribution of the sector of Science to the definition of public policies for entrepreneurship, innovation and applied research in order to increase the impact of R&D in the national economy following the guidelines of the objectives of the Strategic Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme.

2. Typologies of Projects

This announcement of call for proposals is intended to support scientific research and technological development (SR&TD) projects in all scientific domains, according to the paragraph a), number 1 of article 5 of the Regulations of the Support System to Entities of the National Scientific and Technological System and of the Regulations Governing Access to Funding for Scientific Research and Technological Development Projects/2010.

For reasons related to the timeframe of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), in which co-financed RD&TD projects are funded, the financial execution of the projects shall not exceed three years duration including possible renewals.

Typologies of projects that can be funded:

  1. SR&TD Projects - correspond to research projects addressing scientifically relevant and original issues, with reference to international standards, that contribute significantly to the advancement of knowledge and produce identified outcomes within the duration of the project in terms of scientific production and taking into account the priority research areas defined by public policies.

    The duration of projects to be funded is two years renewable up to one year and the maximum funding per project is 200.000€.
  2. Exploratory research projects - correspond to a more open scientific research project configuration intended for the exploration of ideas or concepts considered as having great originality and/or innovative potential.

    The duration of projects to be funded is one year renewable up to six months and the maximum funding per project is 50.000€.
  3. SR&TD Projects in research lines of excellence – correspond to a structured and coherent organization of the scientific activity in major lines of research. The scientific or technological goals shall be based upon clear expected indicators and supported in emerging areas and/or of excellence consolidation areas identified as priorities for the National Scientific and Technological System.
    These projects shall present a five-year scientific plan and the timeframe to the financial execution shall not exceed the three years duration of this call. The maximum funding per project is 500.000€.

    These projects require a significant dedication of the teams to its objectives and an investment of time of the Principal Investigator not less than 60% dedication to the project.
  4. SR&TD Projects of consolidation of research skills and resources - correspond to research projects that by their nature and specificity strongly depend on material resources and qualified human resources in order to develop competitive skills, particularly for international participation programs.

    Applications to this line of research shall clearly identify the scientific goals that the research teams intend to achieve, justifying the need for investment in human resources, equipments or other requested means to reach the expected indicators.

    The following are considered eligible: human resources, acquisition of goods and services and other current expenses, adaptation of buildings and facilities and acquisition of scientific and technical instruments and equipment.

    These projects shall present a scientific five-year plan and the timetable for the financial execution shall not exceed the three years duration in this call. The maximum funding per project is 500.000€.

The priority research areas in the different typologies shall be defined together with the priorities of public policy support to innovation.

3. Recipient Entities

Research teams from the following entities, either individually or jointly, may apply:

  1. Institutions of higher education, their Institutes and R&D Centers;
  2. Associate Laboratories;
  3. State Laboratories;
  4. Private, not-for-profit organizations whose principal object is science and technology activities;
  5. With the exception of the typology “SR&TD projects of consolidation of research skills and resources”, companies, as long as they are integrated in projects led by public or private not-for-profit R&D organizations;
  6. Other public and private not-for profit organizations which carry out or participate in scientific research activities.

4. Regional Scope and Funding

4.1. Regional Scope

The region to which the projects belong is determined by the NUTS II Region where the Principal Contractor and the Participating Institutions are located.

4.2. Funding

Projects in which the Principal Contractor is located in the NUTS Regions of Lisbon, or in the Algarve, or in the Autonomous Regions are fully financed through national funding from the Ministério da Educação e Ciência (MEC).

Projects in which the Principal Contractor is located in the NUTS II Convergence Objective Regions (North, Central and Alentejo) are co-funded with funds from the Operational Programme Thematic Factors of Competitiveness. In these cases, any Participating Institutions located outside the Convergence Objective regions are financed by national funding through the Ministério da Educação e Ciência (MEC).

Funding from the Operational Programme Thematic Factors of Competitiveness shall take the form of non-reimbursable funding in the amount of 85% of eligible project expenses. The remainder funding component is met through national funds, or up to 50% in the case of companies, taking into consideration, in this latter case, that funding will be granted under the de minimis funding framework and only fundamental and applied research activities will be supported. Companies located outside the Convergence Regions shall be funded up to 50% through national funds.

5. Regional Scope and Funding

The FEDER budgetary allocation in the framework of the Operational Programme Thematic Factors of Competitiveness is 20 million €.

6. Application Submission

Applications must be submitted to FCT, using English for the main components of the proposal, in the appropriate electronic web application through https://concursos.fct.mctes.pt/projectos/.

Applications shall be done sequentially, according to the four scientific fields, on the following dates:

  1. Life and Health Sciences, starting 15 February 2012 and before 5 pm (Lisbon time) of 15 March 2012;
  2. Exact Sciences and Engineering, starting 1 March 2012 and before 5 pm (Lisbon time) of 29 March 2012;
  3. Natural Sciences and Environment, starting 21 March 2012 and before 5 pm (Lisbon time) of 19 April 2012;
  4. Social Sciences and Humanities, starting 3 April 2012 and before 5 pm (Lisbon time) of 3 May 2012.

It is recommended to follow the Guide for Application Submission available at http://www.fct.pt/apoios/projectos/concursos/ as well as the Regulations mentioned in the point 8 of this Announcement.

No applications will be accepted where the Principal Investigator has less 35% dedication to the project, with the exception of “SR&TD Projects in research lines of excellence”, and each team member has less than 15% dedication to the project. The same Principal Investigator can not apply to more than one typology of projects. In each typology of projects will only be allowed the submission of one application by Principal Investigator, with the exception of the typology of SR&TD projects in all scientific domains in which two applications are considered. The same Principal Investigator cannot submit the same SR&TD project to different scientific fields/areas.

In case of re-submissions of applications submitted in previous calls and not recommended for funding, it must indicated the reference of the application and a detailed comment to the panel evaluation with a clear indication of the changes introduced in the new proposal.

No applications will be accepted in which the Principal Investigator is in a situation of unjustified noncompliance with the regulatory requirements with respect to submission of scientific reports from previous completed projects.

No applications will be accepted in which the Principal Contractor is in a situation of unjustified noncompliance with the regulatory requirements with respect to submission of financial reports or return of unused balances from previous projects with the same Principal Investigator.

Projects still under review in other calls are not admissible in this call.

7. Selection Method of Projects to be Funded

The evaluation shall be done by international panels of independent reviewers, to be set up for each scientific area.

The selection method and ranking of projects is based on a Project Merit Indicator using the following criteria, which are described in greater detail in the Regulations Governing Access to Funding for Scientific Research and Technological Development Projects:

  • A = Scientific merit and innovative nature of the project from an international viewpoint,
  • B = Scientific merit of the research team,
  • C = Feasibility of the plan of work and reasonableness of the budget,
  • D = Contribution to increasing the body of knowledge and competence of the Portuguese National Science and Technology System (expected effects and results).

For the purpose of selection and decision-making regarding funding, projects shall be ranked by score obtained in the review process in decreasing order.

8. Publication and Further Information

This announcement and other pertinent items and information, in particular the Regulations Governing Access to Funding for Scientific Research and Technological Development Projects/2010 and the Regulations of the System of Support for Ententies Belonging to the National Scientific and Technological system, are available on the websites of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (http://alfa.fct.mctes.pt/projectosFCT2010) and of the Operational Programme Thematic Factors of Competitiveness (http://www.pofc.qren.pt).

Information regarding the contents of the application form may be requested by e-mail from concursoprojetos2012@fct.pt.

For information regarding questions related to the technical aspects of the website, please contact the webmaster by e-mail at webmaster@fct.pt.

Information 29.03.2012

Due to a system overload, we inform that the deadline for locking of proposals in the “Scientific Research and Technological Development Projects – 2012 / Exact Sciences and Engineering” has been postponed till 24:00. of the 29th March 2012, Lisbon time.