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Public call for the (co-)financing of research projects in 2018

  1. Title and address of the budgetary funds user
    Slovenian Research Agency, Bleiweisova cesta 30, 1000 Ljubljana (hereinafter: the Agency). 
     
  2. Subject of the call
    The subject of the Public call to for the (co-)financing of research projects in 2018 (hereinafter: the Call) is the (co-)financing of research projects:
  1. small basic research projects and small applied research projects
  2. post-doctoral basic and post-doctoral applied research projects
  1. Amount of funds for the call

The estimated annual amount of funding allocated for the realisation of this call is €12,000,000.00. When allocating funds for the co-financing of research projects as part of the implementation of the call, the distribution of funds is considered by scientific discipline annually so that the ratio of resources among scientific disciplines in 2018 is approximately the same as the ratio in 2017.

The call will be realised in view of the funding resources available in the budget of the Republic of Slovenia and the Agency’s financial plan.

3.1 Scientific disciplines of the Call for the (co-)financing of research projects and approximate annual funding resources:
 

Scientific disciplines Ratio of resources in 2017
(in %)
Ratio of resources in the call
(in %)
Natural Sciences and Mathematics 21.6 22.5
Engineering 28.0 26.6
Medical Sciences 13.8 14.6
Biotechnical Sciences 10.9 8.6
Social Sciences 10.3 9.3
Humanities 15.4 18.4
TOTAL 100.0 100.0

10% of the funding of each scientific discipline is allocated for interdisciplinary studies. Applicants of interdisciplinary projects must list the social objective of their research project proposal when applying. The chosen social objective must be from the field of the primary discipline that the applicant lists in their interdisciplinary project application. If the chosen social objective is not from the field of the primary discipline, the application is rejected.

Below is the list of social objectives and their corresponding relevant primary field, as set out by the ministry responsible for science.

Suitable primary disciplines in relation to social objective are marked with . Short descriptions of the social objectives and their relevant thematic fields or research fields are published on the Agency’s website.

Information about the capacity of the research fields is published on the Agency’s website.

3.2 Amount of (co-)financing

Small basic or applied research projects will be financed annually, with approximately €100,000. Each project that applies for €100,000 can be approved for either €100,000 or €50,000.

Calculated into project research hours this equates to approximately 3512 hours annually in Price Class A (1756 for projects valued at €50,000), 3100 hours annually in Price Class B (1550 for projects valued at €50,000), 2699 hours annually in Price Class C (1350 for projects valued at €50,000), 2412 hours annually in Price Class D (1206 for projects valued at €50,000), 2184 hours annually in Price Class E (1092 for projects valued at €50,000) or 1995 hours annually in Price Class F (997 for projects valued at €50,000).

The scope of the post-doctoral project is 1700 research hours annually (1FTE) in Price Class B, whereby the amount of co-financing from the Agency for the applied post-doctoral project is 1275 research hours annually (0.75 FTE) in Price Class B.

The Agency will finance up to 100% of eligible project costs for basic research projects, and up to 75% of eligible project costs for applied projects. The applicant of an applied project must ensure that at least 25% of eligible project costs are covered by other interested users and submit proof of the project’s co-financing (a co-financing agreement) for the entire period of the project’s implementation in view of the value of a research hour at the start of financing. Projects cannot be co-financed by research organisations registered as RO, except for corporate entities. Co-financing can only be in the form of money. Up to 10% of the scope of an applied project may be co-financed by a researcher on the same applied project, except if they are the applicant of this same applied project.

In view of the number of research hours financed by the budget of the Republic of Slovenia, the Agency will, in accordance with the provisions of the Decree on norms and standards used to determine funding for research activities financed by the budget of the Republic of Slovenia (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 103/11, 56/12, 15/14, 103/15, 27/17), finance an individual researcher in view of the ratio of employment options for research, but no more than 1700 research hours per year. The minimum annual load of a researcher per project is 17 hours. The participating RO must collaborate for at least 170 hours during the period of the project’s implementation, whereby the minimum amount of RO annual collaboration is 170 hours. During the project’s implementation, the number of hours rendered by the participating RO annually can be 0.

  1. Entities that can apply to the call

Research organisations and private researchers that are entered into the database of research and development activity providers (hereinafter the RO Records) or into the register of private researchers that is kept by the Agency, and that meet the requirements set out in the Research and Development Act (OG RS, No. 22/06-UPB1, 61/06-ZDru-1 112/07, 9/11, 57/12-ZPOP-1A) and the Rules on the procedures of (co-)financing, evaluating and monitoring the implementation of research activities (hereinafter the Rules) can apply for the call.

If there are several providers of research activities collaborating on a research activity, the applicant is the parent RO. The parent RO is the RO that submits the research project application, it is listed first on the application form and is where the project leader is employed at the time of the research project’s application.

Research projects that are (co-)financed by the Agency and are suitable for the framework programme for research and technology development activities of the EU are open to research subjects from the EU, whereby these subjects finance their own part of the research using their own funds. The applicants of these subjects can register as participating research groups.

  1. Objective of the call

The objective of the call is to select:

  1. small (basic and applied) research projects
  2. post-doctoral (basic and applied) research projects

At least 10% of the projects selected within each discipline must be post-doctoral projects. At least 30% of the projects in engineering, at least 20% in biotechnical sciences, at least 10% in medical sciences and the social sciences, and at least 5% in the natural sciences must be applied projects. At least 20% of the selected projects must include young doctors (up to 10 years after they defended their first doctorate).

No more than 10% of projects amounting to €50,000 can be approved for all the disciplines in total (particularly in clinical medicine, mathematics and social sciences). Projects amounting to €50,000 are usually assigned to applications that are at the bottom of the list of approved projects.

  1. Requirements

The requirements for the selection of research projects are set out in the Research and Development Act, the Methodology for evaluating applications for the calls (hereinafter the Methodology), in the Rules and in the Rules on the criteria establishing compliance with the requirements for the position of a project leader (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 53/16; hereinafter the Rules on the criteria for the position of a project leader). All listed documents are an integral part of the call documentation and are published on the Agency’s website.

6.1 Requirements for applicants and project leaders

The research project is carried out by a project group comprising the project leader, researchers, as well as professional and technical associates.

If the project group comprises several project subgroups at various research organisations, the applicant can only be the research organisation where the project leader is employed. The applicant must have a signed agreement with the other participating research organisations on the regulation of mutual rights and obligations.

The participating RO must collaborate for at least 170 hours during the period of the project’s implementation, whereby the minimum amount of RO collaboration is 170 hours annually. During the project’s implementation, the number of hours rendered annually by the participating RO can be 0. If the project is granted €50,000, the applicant can exclude or reduce the amount the participating research organisations carry out and must state this in the application – Phase II – Item 14 (indication of the share of participating research organisations).

Pursuant to an agreement with the Austrian FWF Agency and the Hungarian NKFIH Agency, the applicant can register projects in collaboration with Austrian or Hungarian researchers (researchers that work in Austrian or Hungarian research organisations), whereby the agency acts as the “lead agency” and performs the project review. The Austrian or Hungarian researchers submit the application together with the Slovenian researchers, whereby the FWF or NKFIH sends the application documentation as is required by the FWF or NKFIH. The joint project can only be (co-)financed if the project is co-financed by the Agency and the FWF or NKFIH. If the project selected by the Agency is not being co-financed by the FWF or NKIH, the project will only be co-financed by the Agency.

Only those researchers who have been leader of no more than one project (targeted research programmes (TRP), projects under Articles 139 and 146 of the Rules, and new projects are excluded, as are projects under Article 145 of the Rules that are co-financed less than €50,000 annually) as of one year after the application date for Phase I of the call can act as leaders of projects as part of this call.

Researchers who have received a negative grade on a project’s final report in the period of three years prior to the starting year of the call cannot apply as project leaders on this call.

Researchers who have already carried out a post-doctoral project or have received funds from the “Researchers at the start of their career/Raziskovalci na začetku kariere” call can no longer register a post-doctoral project.

Young doctor candidates are researchers for whom on the day of the conclusion of the call no more than ten years have passed since the defence of their first doctorate. Researchers who have already carried out a project as a young doctor can no longer register their project as a young doctor.

The applicant of an applied project must ensure that at least 25% of eligible project costs are covered by other interested users.

A post-doctoral project can be only carried out by one researcher - a post-doctoral researcher. A post-doctoral researcher is a researcher for whom no more than three years have passed since the defence of their first doctorate of science.

As part of the call, a researcher can only candidate for leader of one research project.

6.2 Available capacities and employment

The project leader and the members of the project group must have available capacities to carry out the research project (the maximum permitted amount per person is 1700 hours annually or 1 FTE) and must be employed in the research organisation (that will carry out the project) for the implementation of the research activity or have the status of private researcher.

The project leader must have at least 170 research hours available annually, except for managing directors of public research institutes. The requirements regarding available capacities and employment are verified upon signing of the agreement. The agreement must be signed no later than three months after the decision on the selection of projects.

The post-doctoral researcher must be employed at the applying organisation at the time of application to the call and at least for the duration of the post-doctoral project.

6.3 Research performance of the researchers

Candidates for project leaders must fulfil the following requirements, stated with the minimum values for each parameter. Researchers with young doctor status must fulfil the requirements for young doctors where expressly required.

Candidates must fulfil the following requirements:

A1/2 ≥ 400 or A' ≥ 200 or A" ≥ 50 or basic requirement.

The basic requirement for a project leader candidates is:

A1 ≥ A1 minimum, CI ≥ CI minimum and A3 ≥ A3 minimum.

The tables below contain the information of the requirements for each discipline and field. The field is listed if it is an exception and therefore has different requirements than the discipline. For fields that are not listed, the requirements for the discipline are applicable.

1 Grade A1

  1. A1 minimum is set out in the following table:
Discipline/field A1 minimum
Natural Sciences, Engineering, Medical Sciences, Biotechnical Sciences, Social Sciences, Archaeology, Geography 0.5
Humanities, Law, Ethnic Studies 1
  1. For researchers with young doctor status, the A1 minimum is set out in the following table:
Discipline/field A1 minimum
Natural sciences, Engineering, Medical Sciences, Biotechnical Sciences, Social Sciences, Archaeology, Geography 0.4
Humanities, Law, Ethnic Studies 1

2 Pure citations

The minimum number of pure citations, CI minimum, is listed in the tables. If the field is not listed in the table, the value set out for the discipline should be used.

  1. The minimum number of pure citations, CI minimum, for project leaders is listed in the following table:
Discipline/field CI minimum
Humanities, Law, Ethnic Studies 1
Social Sciences, Archaeology, Geography 5
Mining and Geotechnology, Geodesy, Traffic Systems, Hydrology, Psychology, Sport 15
Engineering, Biotechnical Sciences, Mathematics, Geology 50
Medical Sciences, Biology, Computationally intensive methods and applications, Chemical Engineering, Energy engineering, Materials 100
Natural Sciences, Microbiology and Immunology, Biotechnology 200
  1. The minimum number of pure citations, CI minimum, for project leaders with young doctor status is listed in the following table:
Discipline/field CI minimum
Humanities, Law, Ethnic Studies 1
Social Sciences, Mining and Geotechnology, Traffic Systems, Hydrology 5
Engineering, Mathematics, Geology, Forestry, Wood and Paper Industry, Plant Production and Processing, Geography 10
Natural Sciences, Medical Sciences, Biotechnical Sciences 20

The leaders of all research projects must fulfil the requirement of value A' being more than 0. The minimum value of A3 is 0 for leaders of basic and applied projects.

Regardless of all previous provisions, there is an entry requirement for leaders of post-doctoral projects where A1 > 0 and A' >0.

Post-doctoral researchers fulfil the project leader requirements if no more than three years have passed since they defended their first doctorate (i.e. the doctorate was defended in the period 2014 – 4.9.2017). Post-doctoral researchers must have completed their doctoral defence by 4.9.2017. If a post-doctoral researcher utilises their parental leave under the parental protection insurance, whereby the duration of one year is taken into consideration for one child, the time period following the year of doctoral defence is extended up to three years. The same applies for documented absences due to illness or injuries or other cases of absence set out in the health insurance regulations, and employment outside of the research activities longer than three months.

The quantitative grades for each evaluation factor (A1 and CI) and for each scientific discipline defined in the Methodology are obtained and calculated by the Agency. To calculate the quantitative grade, the Agency will use the data entered into the SICRIS (COBISS) databases and the Agency’s records on the day of the call’s closure (A1) or on the day of the last data capture in the SICRIS (COBISS) database prior to the closure of the call (CI).

  1. Applying to the call

Evaluation procedure takes place in two phases. All applicants apply to the call in Phase I with a short application using the ARRS-RPROJ-JR-Prijava/2017-I form. If there is a sufficient number of applications to enable the implementation of a single-phase evaluation procedure, depending on the available funds and number of reviewers required to evaluate an increased number of applications, the Managing Director can decide by issuing a decision to carry out the evaluation procedure in one phase, pursuant to the provisions of the applicable Rules for the evaluation of applications in Phase II. In this case the Agency will call for all applicants to submit an elaborated application.

Applications for the call are made by completing the ARRS-RPROJ-JR-Prijava/2017-I Application Form, available on the Agency’s website at eObrazci. The website can be used by researchers who are entered into the Agency’s records, the eObrazci administrators at the RO, RO representatives, RO authorised representatives and additional users. It is possible to carry out the application on the eObrazci website in two ways:

  • using a digital certificate (SIGEN-CA, SIGOV-CA, NLB-CA, POSTArCA or HALCOM-CA),
  • using a username and password (researchers can obtain a password themselves by going to the eObrazci website, other users are given a password by the eObrazci administrator at the RO or by the Agency). The application form must be filled out in Slovenian and English - it must be completed in both languages.

The applicant must state in the application form whether the research project proposal should be treated as a trade secret.

  1. Evaluation criteria

The evaluation requirements, criteria and indicators for evaluating the project proposals are set out in the Rules and the Rules on the criteria for the position of a project leader, and the evaluation method is set out in the Methodology.

The criteria and indicators for evaluating research projects are defined in Articles 99 and 100 of the Rules and are as follows:

- for basic projects and post-doctoral basic projects:

  • The scientific excellence of the researcher
  • Scientific, technological or innovation excellence
  • Quality and efficiency of implementation and management

- for applied projects and post-doctoral applied projects:

  • The  scientific excellence of the researcher
  • Scientific, technological or innovation excellence
  • The potential value due to the development, expansion and use of the expected study results
  • Quality and efficiency of implementation and management

Evaluation procedure will take place in two phases.

Phase I

Before publishing the call, the Agency notifies the leaders of research programmes of the option to register a limited number of project proposals within the call. Registering a limited number of applications is possible for leaders of research projects who are leaders or members of programme groups on 12.6.2017, whose (co-)financing of one or more projects (basic or applied) is ending within one year of the closure of the previous call for projects, i.e. on 21.6.2018. The implementation period is not considered to be a period of deadline extension for the implementation of the project without additional (co-)financing with the purpose of extending the period when eligible project costs are generated.

If research programme members as project leaders register no more than one more project than there are basic or applied projects (not considering post-doctoral projects) where the (co-)financing is concluded, their applications, in the realisation of the call in two phases, are directly placed into phase two of the call. The leader of the research programme and the people implementing the research programme mutually agree on the applicant and leaders of the research projects.

If members of the research programmes submit more project applications than set out in the preceding paragraph, all these applications are first evaluated in phase one, the same as all the other applications, in the event that the call is realised.

The project applications are examined by a member of the appropriate Scientific Council of the Scientific Fields (hereinafter the SCF). If a suitable scientific field is not listed in the application, the SCF member proposes its reassignment to another suitable field. In the explanation, the SCF member especially takes into account the OECD-defined (SCI-Expanded, SSCI) fields of the publications of the project leader and the content of the application. If a SCF member is registered as a project in the ongoing call or is a close family member of a project leader that is participating in the ongoing call, a different SCF member carries out the proposal reallocation on the basis of a proposal from the SCF president. Only if the SCF member agrees with the choice of field selected for the proposed reallocation does the Agency submit the proposal to a professional body to be decided on.

On the basis of the grades obtained in the evaluation procedure the Agency will classify the project into two categories, A and B:

Category A:Projects classified into Category A are placed into phase two of the evaluation procedure.

Category B:Projects classified into Category B are projects that were not classified into Category A. Category B projects are rejected.

When allocating the applications into groups A and B, the consolidated grade from the reviewers, or a grade from a panel in the event of an unconsolidated report from reviewers, is considered, as well as the field’s capacities and other priorities and the obligatory number of each type of project, as set out in the call. The suitable number of projects is placed into Category A in view of the expected planned funds, capacities and obligatory quotas per project type, including projects that are registered in accordance with the provisions of Article 91 of the Rules and that are directly placed into Phase II of the call. Projects that have a total or individual grade that is lower that the limit set in the Rules and Methodology cannot be classified into Category A. Projects in Category A are not yet considered as selected for financing.

Phase II

Applicants who are classified into Phase II of the project selection process (Category A) are called upon by the Agency to submit an elaborated research project proposal using the ARRS-RPROJ-JR-Prijava-2017-II Application Form (hereinafter the Application Form - Phase II) on the eObrazci website within three weeks.

The project structure is an integral part of the application for Phase II. The project structure from the Application Form - Phase II of the call cannot be amended until the end of the year in which implementation of the research project begins, except in the case of employment termination, retirement or death of a project group member, or for other reasons eligible in writing.

The applicants of projects in which a corporate entity is registered as an implementer, co-implementer or co-financer of the project will have to also submit a completed ARRS-RPROJ-JR-Prijava/2017-II-DP Form for Granting State Aid in Phase II pursuant to the Rules for State Aid for R&D, No. 007-7/2015-11, published on 8.4.2016, entering into force on 9.4.2016.

Projects that have a total or individual grade that is lower than the limit set in the Rules and Methodology cannot be selected as a co-financed project.

  1. Research project duration

The expected start of the (co-)financing of project implementation is from 1.7.2018 to 1.10.2018, depending on the funds available in the budget of the Republic of Slovenia and the Agency’s financial plan. The applicants will be notified during the call about the expected start date of the co-financing of project implementation.

Selected projects will be (co-)financed by the Agency for up to three years, except for post-doctoral research projects, which will be (co-)financed for two years. The selected research projects will be allocated an annual amount of research hours, and this number of research hours is applicable for each year of the project’s duration as part of this call.

  1. Selection of research projects

10.1. – Phase I

Applications will be evaluated using the procedure and manner determined in the Rules and the Methodology.

Temporary expert body draws up a draft list of projects that are to be classified into Phase II of the selection (Category A; see Item 8 of the call) and a draft list of projects that are to be rejected after Phase I of the selection (Category B), which they send to be examined by the Agency’s Scientific Council.

The Agency’s Scientific Council draws up a draft of the financially evaluated priority list of Category A projects that are then classified into Phase II of the application selection, and a draft list of Category B projects that are rejected after Phase I of the selection. The draft decision is then sent to the Managing Director of the Agency for a decision. On the basis of a decision, the Managing Director of the Agency then issues each applicant with a notification on the selection or rejection of their application.

10.2 – Phase II

Temporary expert body draws up a draft priority list of projects and submits it to be examined by the Agency’s Scientific Council. The Agency’s Scientific Council draws up a draft of the financially evaluated priority list for the selection of projects following the second round of evaluation and sends it to the Managing Director of the Agency for a decision. On the basis of a decision, the Managing Director of the Agency then issues each applicant with a notification on the selection or rejection of their application.

10.3 – Legal remedies

An applicant can appeal the decision within 15 days of receiving notification of the selection. Management Board of the Agency issues a decision on the appeal.

A filed appeal does not delay the signing of contracts with selected applicants.

10.4 – Website

After the project is approved, the applicant must create a website or subpage on their RO’s website dedicated to the project and will enable the dissemination of its results. The minimum requirements of the website content are: a description of the project’s content including basic information about financing, the structure of the project group with SICRIS links, the project phases and descriptions of their realisations, bibliographical references arising directly from the implementation of the project, the Slovenian Research Agency’s logo and those of other co-financers. Only information that is in the SICRIS system needs to be linked, references do not need to be provided twice. The project presentation website must remain active for five years following the conclusion of the project. The implementer reports on the establishment of the website in the interim and final report.

The implementer must adhere to the principle of open access to scientific information to the highest degree, as is published in the National strategy for open access to scientific publications and research data in the Republic of Slovenia 2015–2016.

  1. Means, form and deadline for application submission – Phase I

The application to the call can be submitted in the form set out in Item 11.1 (an electronic application using a qualified digital signature) or as is set out in Item 11.2 (in electronic form without a qualified digital signature and printed application).

We advise applicants to not submit their application on the last day before the deadline as the server may experience an overload.

11.1 Submitting applications using a qualified digital signature

(1) The application must be completed and submitted using the ARRS-RPROJ-JR-Prijava/2017-I Application form available on the Agency’s website at eObrazci. A submitted application is deemed complete if it carries both digital signatures (the applicant’s representative or authorised person and the project leader).

(2) Applications must be submitted by 14:00 on 4.9.2017.

(3) An application using digital signatures will be considered timely if it is completed and carries both digital signatures on the Agency’s website at eObrazci by 14:00 on 4.9.2017.

11.2 Submitting applications without a qualified digital signature

(1) If the applicant (representative or authorised person of the applicant) and/or project leader do not have a digital signature, the application can be completed and submitted in electronic form (digitally unsigned) on the Agency’s website at eObrazci (the ARRS-RPROJ-JR-Prijava/2017-I Application Form) and in printed form, which must have a handwritten signature of the representative or authorised person of the applicant and project leader, as well as a stamp of the applicant.

(2) Both forms of application, electronic without a digital signature and printed application, must be completely identical in content.

(3) The printed application must be delivered in a sealed envelope marked “Do not open – application for the Public call for the (co-)financing of research projects in 2018 – application no. ______” and the name and address of the applicant to: Slovenian Research Agency, Bleiweisova cesta 30, 1000 Ljubljana.

(4) An application without a digital signature will be considered timely if it is completed on the Agency’s website at eObrazci by 14:00 on 4.9.2017 and is received by the main office of the Slovenian Research Agency by 14:00 on 4.9.2017. An application is also considered to be timely if it is sent by registered mail in Slovenia by 14:00 on 4.9.2017 (determined by the post stamp).

11.3

Untimely and incorrectly marked applications will not be considered by the committee for opening applications and will be returned unopened to the applicant with an accompanying letter (except in the event that the applicant’s details on the envelope are illegible and the application must be opened). 

  1. Date of opening applications

The committee for opening applications will open all applications that are delivered in time and marked correctly on 7.9.2017 at 10:00, at the registered office of the Slovenian Research Agency, Bleiweisova cesta 30, 1000 Ljubljana.

  1. Deadline for applicant notification on the outcome of the call

The applicants will be notified about the selection of projects following the Phase I selection in February 2018. The applicants will be notified about the selection of projects following the Phase II selection in February 2018.

  1. Means, form and deadline for application submission – Phase II

The application submission process will be similar to that of Phase I. Applicants who will be accepted into Phase II will be notified in writing about the means, form and deadline for the submission of applications.

  1. Time, place and person where interested parties can collect the call documents

15.1 The call documents are available on the Agency’s website (http://www.arrs.gov.si/sl/razpisi/).

15.2 All additional information in connection with the call can be found on the Agency’s website at http://www.arrs.gov.si or at the Slovenian Research Agency, Bleiweisova cesta 30, 1000 Ljubljana or by calling +386 (0)1 400 5960 (Ms. Vanja Rodič, Ms. Almira Bremec, Ms. Alja Kastelic Primc, Ms. Mateja Gašpirc and Ms. Tina Valenci).

 

Number: 6316-15/2017-22
Date:   12.6.2017

Slovenian Research Agency 
Prof. Dr. József Györkös 
Managing Director

Published in the Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 30/2017, on 16.6.2017.

Page maintained by: Simon Ošo Date: 18.09.2017