Second Call Announcement on Polish-German Sustainability Research ("STAIR")

The major goal of this call announcement is to strengthen the small and medium enterprises’ (SME) position in the accelerated transfer of technology from the precompetitive field to practical application in both countries. The research will be focused on sustainability research themes that are of major interest to the participating countries on the basis of their ecological, economic, and/or scientific significance. In addition to this, the scientific cooperation between the participating countries will serve to strengthen the European Research Area in the area of the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC).

1. Funding purpose

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Poland (MNiSW) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aim to intensify their support for bilateral research projects in the field of sustainability. This joint call announcement follows up on the German-Polish call announcement on sustainability research published on 23 May 2011.
The major goal of this call announcement is to strengthen the small and medium enterprises’ (SME) position in the accelerated transfer of technology from the precompetitive field to practical application in both countries.
The research will be focused on sustainability research themes that are of major interest to the participating countries on the basis of their ecological, economic, and/or scientific significance. In addition to this, the scientific cooperation between the participating countries will serve to strengthen the European Research Area in the area of the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC).

2. Type of funding and legal basis

Project partners will be funded by the funding institutions of the respective partner countries (the Polish National Centre for Research and Development and the BMBF). The projects will be supported with grants to the budget in accordance with the respective national funding regulations. The final selection shall be based on the common selection criteria (see paragraph 7) evaluated with support of experts. Applicants have no legal entitlement to funding until the contract on project execution and funding with the funding institution is concluded. The applicable grant-awarding agency will make its decision after due assessment of the circumstances within the scope of the budget funds available.

3. Object of funding

The main focus of the funding is on research and development (R&D) projects that:

  • make a contribution to the improvement of collaboration between the partner countries in the field of sustainability research;
  • correspond to the funding purpose described;
  • shall encompass the three pillars of sustainability: ecology, economy and society;
  • create added value to national R&D activities in the respective field by planned transnational cooperation.

4. Priority topics of common interest

The funded research projects are expected to result in tangible synergies for transnational research collaboration. Applicants should therefore substantiate why the proposed projects should be carried out in cooperation between the countries involved and what added value will be created through the cooperation.

Potential research projects shall originate from the following subject areas:

  • Energy efficiency and climate protection, eg:
    • Innovative products and services in the field of climate protection or to protect against climatic effects
    • Technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes, particularly key innovations with a broad application potential
    • Cultivation methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in rural areas
    • Systems-related technologies, processes and services to enhance energy efficiency in important industrial sectors.
  • Resource efficiency, eg:
    • Increasing resource efficiency, particularly in resource-intensive production systems (eg processing of metal and mineral raw materials, production of primary chemical products)
    • Improving the productivity of raw materials by optimizing value-added chains
    • Innovative recycling and processing procedures
  • Sustainable water management, eg:
    • Innovative drinking water production methods
    • Strategies and technologies for saving water (including recycling technologies); efficient irrigation technologies
    • Energy-efficient waste water treatment methods and energy recovery from waste water
    • New approaches and technologies for linking material flows (eg water/energy/waste) and possible recovery of (nutrient) substances
  • Socio-ecological research, eg:
    • Evaluation of the sustainability of products and services
    • More sustainable products through innovations on the consumer side and on the production side.

The projects should focus on topics of specific interest for both countries. The aim of the cooperation is to contribute to systemic solutions for the protection of the environment.
The duration of the projects must not exceed 36 months.

5. Legal status of applicants

Proposals may be submitted by public and/or private entities that are eligible to participate in the call according to the respective funding regulations of the funding institutions. Proposals are especially requested from small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Note that the maximum size of an SME is taken from the definition the European Union (http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/sme-definition/index_en.htm).

Universities, research institutions and big industrial companies (bigger than SMEs) may also submit proposals, if they are part of joint research projects with SME-partners.

6. Composition of consortia

Participation is open to applicants from the funding countries (Poland and Germany). Precondition for eligibility is balance in number of partners and financial contribution from both countries. The level of contribution to the overall project costs should not be less than 20% for each country.

The composition of bilateral consortia should comprise at least one SME in each country.

A simple clustering of only national projects is not sufficient.

The funding institutions expect that the transnational research collaborations covered by the scope of this cooperative research funding will deliver significant synergy effects within the framework of the research projects to be funded. Proposals must therefore make clear why they should be developed cooperatively between the participating countries and what the added value will be created through this collaboration. Projects that do not indicate why this cooperation is necessary cannot be considered.

All project partners have to sign a consortium agreement before the research grant can be approved. The consortium agreement needs to contain duties and responsibilities, use of project results, intellectual property rights.

7. Selection criteria and procedure

The proposals will be evaluated according to the national regulations of the funding institutions. The final decisions on what projects to support will be made by the funding institutions based on evaluations from the external experts, national priorities and funding criteria. The project shall be specifically related to the topics of this call (see chapter 4).

Selection criteria are:

  • The quality of science and innovation potential of the research project. Novelty, originality and coherence to the key themes, additionally a clear focus on solutions to problems.
  • Expected sustainability effects (qualitative and, where possible, quantitative).
  • Technical, economic and scientific implementation potential of the anticipated research results. Opportunity/risk assessment covering long term implementation and usefulness. Actuality and priority of the task, contribution to a problem-solving and demand-orientated strategy, aimed target group.
  • Expertise of project partners.
  • Collaboration between commercial, scientific and other partners.
  • Significance of the utilisation plan with respect to the application of the expected outcomes.

8. Application procedure

Potential applicants are advised to contact the national contact points before writing proposals to carefully check the specific national application and funding conditions. The respective contact points are:

  • in Poland:
    National Centre for Research and Development
    Nowogrodzka Str. 47a
    00-695 Warsaw
    Maciej Jędrzejek
    Tel.: +48 22 39 07 160
    Email: stair@ncbr.gov.pl
  • in Germany:
    Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Projektträger Karlsruhe, Hermann-von–Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen
    Dr. Manuela Hübsch
    Tel: +49 721 608-24491
    E-Mail: manuela.huebsch@kit.edu  


Deadline of the call: 30.11.2015

There is a one-level procedure for the submission of proposals. The proposals shall comprise a common project description in English and in the national language (either Polish or German) and further national formal and financial information.

Polish applicants please see national formal and financial regulations: http://ncbr.gov.pl/programy-miedzynarodowe/wspolpraca-dwustronna/niemcy/ 

The common project description should be prepared in Arial 11, single-spaced, maximum 25 pages and shall consist of the following:

  1. Name of the institution submitting the application, nomination of the coordinator and names of all participating organisations.
  2. Objectives and task definition, based on the state of the art in terms of technology and knowledge. Detailed description of the environmental problem which shall be solved, description of the beneficiary and user of the project results.
  3. Specific description of the proposed solution and scientific methods used to achieve it.
  4. Description of how the content relates to the theme of sustainability research and especially the topics of this call; central focus of the work.
  5. Formulation of the added value due to the Polish-German cooperation.
  6. Characterisation of the expected sustainability effects, quantification of the economical and ecological effects of the proposal.
  7. Description of the Polish and German partners from higher education institutions, research establishments and commercial companies who are involved in the project (key competencies, capabilities, infrastructure, etc).
  8. Overview of previous contacts in and collaborations with the partner country.
  9. Prospects for the success of the proposed measures and implementation concepts describing how the project outcomes can be utilised after the funding period (utilisation plan).
  10. Detailed work plan and timeline, as well as details of work distribution and cooperation with third parties.
  11. Contribution and work plan for each partner
  12. Estimation and overview of time and cost scope (funding required and own resources).

9. Communication of project evaluation decisions

The outcome of the evaluation of the proposals will be communicated to applicants in accordance with the respective communication procedures of the funding institutions.

10. Decision process and the start of projects

The formal funding decisions will be taken jointly by the funding institutions after the proposals have been evaluated by the external experts. Each country will fund its own project partners.

When final decisions have been conveyed to project participants, successful applicants must enter into individual contractual agreements with their national funding institutions. A consortium agreement must be concluded between the project partners and has to regulate, inter alia, duties and responsibilities, use of project results and intellectual property rights (IPR) issues. The consortium agreement and the above mentioned individual contractual agreements are prerequisites for the first payments made to the project partners from the national funding institutions. The project partners in both countries should start at about the same time. The involved funding institutions will monitor and supervise the funded projects (reporting).

http://www.bmbf.de/foerderungen/29439.php