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R&D Projects

Frequently Asked Questions about Calls (FAQ)

General questions

What are the main differences between the Call for Projects in all Scientific Domains – 2014 and the previous rounds of the same call?
  • The call for projects in all scientific domains -2014 include only the typology of Scientific Research ant Technological Development Projects;
  • Will only be allowed the submission of one application by Principal Investigator.
Which documents should be consulted before submit a proposal?

Public Announcement:
http://www.fct.pt/apoios/projectos/concursos/index.phtml.en

Scientific areas for the 2014 Call for Projects in all Scientific Domains?
http://www.fct.pt/apoios/projectos/concursos/2012/docs/Dominios_e_Areas_Cientificas_C2012_EN.pdf

Current Legislation, Regulations and Norms:

Guide for Writing and Submitting Proposals for R&D projects
http://www.fct.pt/apoios/projectos/guioes#todos_candidatura

FAQ’s:
http://www.fct.pt/apoios/projectos/concursos/faq.phtml.en

Glossary and News: Available at the Call for Proposals’ Portal at
https://concursos.fct.pt/projectos/

Guide for Peer Reviewers
http://www.fct.pt/apoios/projectos/guioes.phtml.en#todos_avaliacao

What is the maximum funding and duration of research scientific and technological development projects in the Call for Projects in all Scientific Domains - 2014?
  • Maximum funding: € 200 000.
  • Duration of 36 months, exceptional renewable for 12 months.
What is the minimum percentage of time devoted to projects required on the part of PIs and other members of the research team?

It remains the requirement for a minimum time allocation of 35% for the PI and 15% for all other elements of the research team (sections 2 and 3 of the article 3º of the Regulations).

How is a scientific field for a project defined on the online form?

A project’s scientific field is automatically defined by the principal scientific area and sub-area chosen by the Principal Investigator.

What are the areas for the 2014 Call for Projects in all Scientific Domains?

The full list is available at http://www.fct.pt/apoios/projectos/concursos/2012/docs/Dominios_e_Areas_Cientificas_C2012_EN.pdf

Are all projects funded at 100%?

Yes, all main contractors and participating institutions will be funded at 100% except for companies, which will be funded at 50%.

I keep having my session in the projects application portal expire. Why?

Check if your browser is considered obsolete at http://www.fct.pt/navegador.

The warnings that appear during validation prevent sealing the application?

No, the warnings do not prevent sealing the application. Only errors have that effect.

When are the curricula and the application frozen?

Curricula, both FCTSIG/cv as well as DeGois, are frozen for application purposes when the call closes. Other application data is frozen when the application is sealed by the Principal Investigator.

Can the Curricula Vitae of the members of the research team be changed after the project proposal has been sealed?

Yes, but only until the Call closes.

What is the maximum number of characters that can be entered in each of the fields on the application?
Field Limit
1. Identification of the project - Title PT 255
1. Identification of the project - Title EN 255
3.1. Summary PT 5000
3.1. Summary EN 5000
3.2.1. Literature Review 6000
3.2.2. Research Plan and Methods 9000
3.2.3. Tasks - Description and Expected Results 4000
3.2.4.a. Description of the Management Structure 3000
3.2.4.b. Description of milestone 300
5. Projects Funded – Results 5000
6. Predicted Outcomes - Actions to publicize scientific activity 3000
8.1. Justification of Human Resources 600
8.2. Justification of Travel Expenses 600
8.3. Justification of Consultants 600
8.4. Justification of acquisitions of goods and services 600
8.5. Justification of patents 600
8.7. Justification of adaptation of buildings 600
8.8.2. List of equipment to be purchased - Justification 600
Is letter-spacing taken into account?

Yes. Spaces, line endings, etc.

Which documents must be printed and submitted to the FCT?

A scan copy of the Declaration of Intent, duly signed and authenticated, must be submitted to the FCT using the URL indicated on the form (no later than 10 working days after the call is closed or the proposal will not be accepted). The Declaration of Intent must be signed by the Principal Investigator, the Principal Contractor, the Research Unit and all Participating Organizations with budget. Please note that the Declarations of Intent must be signed and initialled on every page by the highest governing body of the participating organizations and by the PI.

Should national and foreign institutions without an associated budget sign the Declaration of Intent?

No. Institutions without an associated budget are not required to sign the Declaration of Intent.

How do I access the Declaration of Intent?

The Declaration of Intent can only be printed out after the proposal has been sealed.

What is the FCT NIF in order for it to be allowed to check another institution's fiscal status?

503 904 040

What is the FCT NISS in order for it to be allowed to check another institution's social security status?

2000 4040 865

In projects involving animal experimentation, who needs to be certified by Direcção Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária (DGAV)?

The institutions where experiments will be carried out and team members carrying out the experiments (this is not necessarily required of the PI) must be dully certified by DGAV.

It should be sent to FCT the following documents:

  • Authorization to perform the procedures with the animals described in the project;
  • Accreditation of researchers / team members who will perform these procedures;
  • Authorization for the institutions where animals will be housed.
The Call Announcement states: - Principal Investigators cannot be in a situation of unjustified noncompliance with the regulatory requirements with respect to submission of scientific reports from previous completed projects.

This refers to the technical progress reports and final reports which must be submitted in accordance with the respective Regulations.

The Call Announcement states: - 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. What does this mean?

This refers to financial reports or return of funds transferred to the Principal Contractor in previous projects with the same Principal Investigator.

Is there a limit for the project starting date?

The starting date indicated in the application is an estimate and may be changed later. According to article 15º of the Regulations governing access to funding for scientific research and technological development projects — 2010 (with 2011 changes), project start date shall be no later than 90 calendar days after the PI and PC have been notified of the funding decision.

Questions concerning the identification of the project, institutions involved, Research Team and Consultants

What is the difference between the Abstract and Abstract for publication?

The Abstract is a field in which the proponent must show the central point of the project argument and is intended to promote empathy with the evaluator in respect to the proposed research ideas and on methods to be used. Its content is confidential and is designed only to the FCT, IP and the panel members.
The abstract for publication is intended to be used by the FCT, IP for public divulgation. Thereby, the PIs should prepare a summary of the application for this specific purpose, safeguarding issues of confidentiality and other rights.

While choose an institution to add to the application I realized that it is not on the list. What should I do?

You have to access to the link “Organizations that are no listed” in the Section 2 of the application form.

The new institution will be added to the list of choices within two working days after you fill out the institution pre-registration form.

Can institutions without a NIPC or NIF be a Principal Contractor or Participating Organization?

National Principal Contractors or Participating Institutions, as institutions that may receive funding if and when the project is approved, must have a NIPC and their denomination when applying must perfectly match the one associated to that NIPC.
Foreign Institutions can act as Participating Organizations provided they do not have a requested budget. The application form will present the NIF as 0 in this case. Exceptional circumstances concerning foreign institutions are regulated by no. 6 of article 2 of the Regulations.

How do I include a foreign institution in the project?

You have two options: write the name of the foreign institution if you guess that you (and the community in general) do not need to refer often to this institution and the name is sufficiently well known for identification; another option is to fill out the institution pre-registration form. The new institution will be added to the list of choices within two working days after submission of the form.

Can foreign institutions participate in the project as participating organizations?

Yes, foreign institutions can be participating organizations in the project, but only with a zero budget. In situations where there are international agreements or international reciprocity mechanisms duly signed by FCT, authorized by the governing bodies and expressly indicated in the Announcement of the Call for Proposals, foreign institutions may be funded.

My curriculum is available through the DeGois platform. Can I use it in a project call?

When you supply the PI with your FCT Association Key, also supply the DeGois key used, for instance, in the public URL for your DeGois curriculum (it is a 16 digit number, see the image). After introducing the researcher in the team list, the PI can edit the researcher entry to add the DeGois key.

What is the field Name in publications mentioned in the Guide?

The field Name in publications or Name under which you publish or similar mentioned in the Guide is now available in the FCTSIG/cv curriculum system editing Personal Data. It is used to simplify recognizing the researcher name when an evaluator browses publication databases.

Why adding a researcher to a project through Association key fails in some cases?

The first FCT public keys included the login followed by 4 characters from the password. This was a security risk which caused the forceful expiration of these keys. The researcher should access https://sig.fct.pt/fctsig submit his/her login credentials and will find the Association Key following the Login menu item.
In case the login credentials are unavailable, they should be recovered using https://sig.fct.pt/fctsig/preregisto.asp?action=esqueceu which requires reintroducing the email used for registration. The system will automatically send a login and password reminder.

What is the URL for inserting/updating Curricula Vitæ?

The URL for the original FCT curricula system, FCTSIG/cv, is https://sig.fct.pt/fctsig/cv Curricula in the DeGois platform can also be used. In this case researchers should indicate to the PI not only their FCT Association Key but also the DeGois key.

In what language should the Curriculum Vitæ be written in?

The CV must be submitted in English with the obvious exceptions: postal addresses, publication titles (original title should be used), etc.

Can a PI or team member already with an accumulated percentage of time committed to FCT projects over 100% submit a new application?

In accordance with the Regulations it is not mandatory for a Researcher to make an application to hold an accumulated percentage of time committed to FCT projects not exceeding 100% at the time of application. Nevertheless, in case the project is proposed for funding and if on its start date holds an accumulated percentage of time committed to FCT projects exceeding 100% (including the new project), then the Declaration of Acceptance will not be made available.

How can a researcher verify the amount of time committed to FCT projects?

Each researcher can browse the current status according to FCT records by logging in to https://sig.fct.pt/fctsig/.

Retired researchers can participate in R&D projects acting as PI or members of the research team?

From a scientific viewpoint the participation of retired researchers as PI or team members of R&D projects does not affect the evaluation of proposals.

A grant holder funded in the frame of a research project may integrate the research team of more than one project?

No. The grant holder, funded in the frame of research projects ( i.e., the grant is Sim. Caso estejam filiados a instituições estrangeiras e efectuem deslocações no âmbito do projeto, as despesas apenas poderão ser consideradas elegíveis se apresentadas através das instituições nacionais e se realizadas em cumprimento com as disposições legais em vigor.supported by the funds of the project) has a time allocation to the project of 100% (article n.º 5 of Research Grant Holder Statute), thus preventing additional involvement in other projects.

A Post-Doctoral Fellow directly funded by FCT can act as PI or participate in an application?

Yes, if the activities in the project fall within the Fellowship Plan of Work and no additional payments are received in the framework of the project.

Can foreign researchers be members of the research team?

Yes. If they are affiliated with foreign institutions and travel as part of the project, expenses are only considered eligible if they are submitted through the Portuguese institutions involved and in compliance with the legal provisions in force.

Must the members of the research team be affiliated with the participating organizations?

The members of the research team do not necessarily have to be affiliated with the participating organizations, but they must show that suitable conditions available for them to carry out the tasks they are charged with.

Can a team member apply for a Fellowship within the framework of the project?

Yes. However we emphasize the need for compliance with the rules in “Research Grants in the Framework of R&D Projects”. Moreover, the team member should have full time dedication to the project (100%) and cannot participate in other projects of R&D.

Can doctoral or master’s students who are receiving a grant from the FCT be members of the research team? Can they be paid for the work they do on the project?

Yes. Doctoral or master’s students who are receiving grants from the FCT can be members of the research team, provided that the subject of their dissertations is appropriate to the subjects of the proposals. Remuneration for members who are receiving an FCT grant is not considered an eligible expense.

What do you mean by person*month?

It is a value expressed in full months equivalent to the total work of a researcher throughout the project. To calculate this, begin by estimating the percentage of full-time working week for all tasks of a professional nature that is dedicated by the researcher in each of the different stages of the project. Examples:

  • 1 person at 50% for 6 months = 3 person*month
  • 1 person at 30% for 6 months = 1.8 person*month
  • 1 person at 50% for 2 weeks = 0.25 person*month
The total number of person*month is calculated by adding up the amount of time dedicated to the project for all the stages that must be considered.
What restrictions apply to the percentage of full time that each researcher dedicates to a project?

A Principal Investigator must have a sufficient amount of time dedicated to the project to carry out the proposed activities - no less than 35% of full time. Other members of the research team must also have a sufficient amount of time dedicated to the project in order to carry out the proposed activities, no less than 15%. The sum of the percentages dedicated by each researcher to FCT projects underway may not exceed 100% in the case of full-time researchers and must be commensurately less in other cases.

How many hours per week correspond to full time for a researcher?

The convention adopted by the OECD applies here. A full-time week for a researcher is not a fixed number of hours, but rather the total time dedicated by this individual to carrying out all professional activities, research or otherwise, during or outside normal working hours. The percentage of full time set aside for the project should be estimated according to the definition of full time given above.

What is a project consultant?

National or foreigner researcher, without affiliation to the beneficiary institutions, of recognized international scientific merit in the areas of study. The need to provide consultancy services should be fully justified in the application, showing the stages in which they will be held.
We emphasize that it is not considered consulting service the presentation of papers at conferences or other scientific meetings.

Questions on the budget and budget justification

Are there set limits for the various funding categories?

No, with the exception of Overheads and Adaptation of Buildings and Facilities.

Can we register national institutions at no cost?

Yes. Portuguese institutions do not need to have an associated budget.

If companies are participating in the research projects, can the expenses borne by these companies be reimbursed at 100%?

FCT co-funding to companies may not exceed 50% of the total cost of the company’s participation. During the course of the project, the companies involved must submit proof of the total expenses, both those that are funded by FCT and those borne by the company itself.

What is de minimis support?

It is some form of support granted by the State (or through state resources) to a company, whose value does not surpass a limit defined in EC regulations or a national legal diploma, during a period of three years starting on the date of the first incentive, independently of the form or objective. This type of support, due to its small amount, is not considered to be incompatible with European Union norms on competition, hence no notification to the European Commission is needed.

How does one estimate the amounts of the Contribution to Voluntary Social Security?

The amounts for the Contibution to Voluntary Social Security are available on the official website http://www4.seg-social.pt/.

Where in the budget can expenses related to voluntary social security contributions of individual grant recipients be included?

Expenses related to voluntary social security contributions of individual grant recipients can be included under Human Resources provided that these are duly justified.

Can members of the research team who are not faculty or hired researchers be remunerated (human resources or acquisition of services?)?

As a rule, project funding does not cover the cost of salaries or bonuses. In special cases, salary costs may be included under Human Resources, provided that these are duly justified in the proposal. It must be shown that the recipient organizations have no other alternatives at their disposal in terms of specialized human resources capable of carrying out the proposed work.
The beneficiaries cannot be affiliated with the public administration and the expenses resulting from contract signed are only considered eligible for the period of execution of the project and at the amounts corresponding to the % of full time at which the worker is hired.

Does the Human Resource budget item aims to fund preferably individual grants rather than contracts?

The Human Resources item is designed to give preference to funding of individual grants through opening public calls for applications according to the Norms for the award of grants in research projects, for the purpose of involving young researchers in training.

In the Human Resources section, under Other Costs, what types of expenses can be included?

As provided in the Section 6.1 of the Norms for the Award Grants in Research Projects may be included Contribution to Voluntary Social Security, Personal Accident Insurance, single travel allowance and single installation allowance.

Are project-related travel expenses for a member of the research team who is an FCT doctoral grant recipient considered eligible?

Yes, provided that the same eligibility rules as those that apply to the rest of the team members are observed and that there is no double coverage of expenses included in the individual grant.

Can mission expenses made by team member nonresident in Portugal be eligible within a project?

All travel expenses and accommodation are eligible under the project. They should be submitted through the host national institutions in compliance with the legal provisions in force.

Should the CVs of consultants be submitted?

Given the importance of the Curriculum Vitæ (CV) in evaluating the execution of the project and the research team, consultants should submit their CVs online.
As an alternative to online submission, a public access URL where the consultant’s CV can be viewed should be indicated.

How to enter the CV of a Consultant?

The consultant should register to FCTSIG and access https://sig.fct.pt/fctsig/cv to register or update the CV.
The association key should be indicated in the field on the application form for justification of consultants (point 4.3).

Can expenses relating to payments made to specialists who collaborate on the project be included?

Only eligible expenses related to acquisition of services from foreign institutions are considered admissible.

Can expenses relating to payments made to specialists who collaborate on the project be included?

Yes, if the tasks they perform are essential to carrying out the project and provided that the research team does not have the specialized skills needed to carry out these tasks. These expenses should be included under Acquisition of Services.

Can the work of foreign researchers be remunerated under the project? Or can their work only be contracted as acquisition of services?

According to the Regulations, expenses incurred to acquire goods and services are considered eligible. Therefore, a service performed at the institutions of origin of foreign researchers can be contracted.

Which categories of costs are considered when calculating overheads and how are the overheads calculated?

According to the Regulations, institutional overheads arising from the execution of the project are considered eligible up to a maximum of 20% of the total eligible direct costs, i.e. the types described in the Regulations and in the Announcement of the Call for Proposals.

Can expenses related to technical/administrative personnel who provide direct support to the project be included?

Yes, but only under Overheads.

Questions related to the scientific component of the form

Can I introduce mathematical formulas in the Scientific Component of the application?

FCT supports MathJax in its application and evaluation web applications. MathJax allows most mathematical notation constructs used at the research level and a subset of chemical formulas as supported by the LaTeX package mhchem. The latter requires the command \(\include(mhchem)\) in each field. For other types of formulas use a graphical annex.

Why am I unable to introduce some URL?

Some forms now have stricter checking of URLs and we plan to extend that checking to all similar locations. We suggest you to browse http://www.blooberry.com/indexdot/html/topics/urlencoding.htm

When an author gives away publication rights to a publisher, how does one make available a copy for evaluation?

Use the web server in your school or center to create a controlled access area with login and password, or with a URL unlikely to be guessed and inside a directory that cannot be listed, and indicate the url (and eventually the login and password) when submitting your application. If you choose controlled access then create a document named authentication.pdf with that information. The evaluation panel will receive instructions to access authentication.pdf and to refrain from distributing the material except for the purpose of this evaluation.

What should be included in the section 3.2.1. Literature Review?

The goal of this section is to describe the group’s previous work, any alternative methodologies competing with those proposed in the current project and to justify the need for the proposed innovation. The literature review should by critical, i.e. simply referring to a previous work without commenting on the contribution the work brings to the approach proposed for this project or without mentioning its limitations is neither significant nor useful. Previous results of the PI and the research team are evaluated positively. The reviewers look at this section to evaluate the PI’s vision and knowledge regarding the state of the art and the reason why the PI believes that the methodologies proposed will produce the best results. The PI must convince the reviewers that he/she and the project research team have suitable background and awareness of the open problems in the research area in question.

What is a “Milestone”?

It is the date on which it has been reached a certain goal or completed a stage. The timing starts at the beginning of the project. The number of milestones is limited to six.

What information should be included under section 3.3. Bibliographic References?

Include the references cited in the technical and scientific description of the proposal, using a cross-referencing method chosen by the PI. Include the title, the authors’ names in the order that they appear in the publication, the name of the book or periodical, volume number, page numbers and year of publication. If the publications are available online, include the corresponding URL.

Can one import an application which has not been approved in 2010 for resubmission in 2012?

Yes, unless an appeal is pending. This fact should be signaled under the section 3.5 Project Resubmission.
Please notice that there is no automatic procedure for that purpose. The practical way to recycle pieces of a previous application is to open two different browsers, for instance Internet Explorer and Firefox, an application in each, and copy from one to the other.

Which projects should be mentioned in section 5.1 Funded Projects?

The information should be limited to projects which have been approved through peer-review and that have been completed, are underway or are pending that have been led by the PI of the current proposal. The most relevant projects initiated within the last 5 years should be mentioned, regardless of the source of funding.

Revision date: November 25th, 2014