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II.1.1. Mini-grants programme for inter-institutional research teams in the framework of strategic partnerships – 2nd edition

The implementation of this action is aimed at strengthening scientific and research cooperation of the University of Warsaw within the 4EU+ Alliance and other strategic partnerships. Research teams consisting of researchers from the University of Warsaw and at least one other university with which the University of Warsaw is engaged in active research cooperation will be able to apply for the mini-grants. The condition for obtaining financial support is to submit, within 12 months from receiving the mini-grant, a project application in one of the funding calls under EU research programmes or other programmes financing scientifically advanced research projects involving international consortia.

The aim of both the previous and the current edition of the mini-grant competition is to strengthen research cooperation between the University of Warsaw and the other member universities of the 4EU+ Alliance through the implementation of joint research projects in the four flagship programmes of the Alliance.

The first, pilot mini-grant competition was closed in July 2020 and aimed at inter-university teams of researchers from the University of Warsaw and other 4EU+ Alliance member universities conducting research within the thematic realm of Flagship 2 “Europe in a changing world: understanding societies, economies, cultures and languages”. The call which is currently open under Action II.1.1. aims to support research initiatives in all four Flagships of the Alliance.

Please note: For the previous and the current mini-grant call, a requirement is placed for the research teams to comprise at least three member universities of the 4EU+ Alliance, including the University of Warsaw.

Note: new deadline for proposal submissions.

Funding rules

  1. Objective: Strengthening research cooperation between the University of Warsaw and the 4EU+ member universities through the implementation of joint research projects in the four Flagships of the 4EU+ Alliance:
    • Flagship 1: Health and demographic change in an urban environment,
    • Flagship 2: Europe in a changing world: understanding societies, economies, cultures and languages,
    • Flagship 3: Transforming science and society by advancing information, computation and communication,
    • Flagship 4: Biodiversity and sustainable development.
  2. Applicants: Research teams composed of University of Warsaw staff members and representatives of at least two other 4EU+ member institutions.
    • Interdisciplinary teams, composed of scientists carrying out research that corresponds to at least one of the five Priority Research Areas of the “Excellence Initiative – Research University” project, involving faculty members, as well as doctoral candidates and students, are encouraged. The joint research projects submitted in the call should relate to the aforementioned Flagships’ themes; projects addressing, within the thematic realm of Flagships, the impact of COVID-19 on European societies and economies are also welcome.
    • PhD candidates can join the projects as members of research teams, however, given the aim of the programme (increasing the capacity and chances of research teams to receive grants in large international research programmes, including the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme) PhD candidates cannot assume the role of project coordinators.
    • One person, assuming the role of both Applicant and Project Coordinator, should be indicated in the application.
  3. Expected outcomes of the mini-grant awarded projects: formulating research hypotheses based on the activities carried in the mini-grant awarded project (including preliminary research and pilot research), leading to the development and submission of a joint project proposal in grant programmes funded or co-funded from external sources (national or international, including the EU funds), thus demonstrating the potential for the project to continue and for the research partnership to grow further.
  4. Funding period: up to 12 months (start of the funding period: 1 January 2021 18 January 2021).
  5. Eligibility conditions:
    • Number of 4EU+ member universities participating in a joint research project: minimum two 4EU+ member universities and University of Warsaw (either as coordinator or partner).
    • The participation of institutions (universities or research institutes) not affiliated with the 4EU+ Alliance is possible provided that the conditions set below are met:
      • for every institution in the project consortium that is not affiliated with the 4EU+ Alliance there are at least three 4EU+ member universities,
      • due explanation is provided on the non-4EU+ institution’s contribution to strengthening the research capacity of the project team
    • The research team must submit a mandatory declaration, laying down the team’s plans to apply, within 12 months from receiving the mini-grant, for a grant funded or co-funded from national or international sources (including the EU funds, e.g. EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation) that would allow the team to continue their joint project beyond the mini-grant funding period. In the mini-grant application, the team should indicate, where possible, the selected funding programmes or calls for proposals they may consider applying for in order to ensure sustainability of their joint research efforts. The indication of programmes or calls for proposals at this stage is not binding, but the Applicant is obliged to get acquainted with the basic eligibility criteria and conditions of the chosen programme or call before indicating it in the application.
    • The submitted project proposal should include a description of the planned research activities together with a timeline, information on scientific output of team members and a budget plan (cost estimate). The proposal should be submitted with the following attachments:
      • a letter of consent, signed by the head of the organisational unit of the University of Warsaw (dean or director), giving consent to the submission of the proposal and the implementation of the project, should it be awarded a mini-grant (the scanned letter of consent should be dated, stamped with a name stamp and bear a handwritten or qualified electronic signature of the head of the unit),
      • a confirmation of partner institutions’ participation in the project in a form of letters of intent (each scanned letter should be dated, stamped with the institution’s seal and bear a handwritten or qualified electronic signature of the given university’s legal representative, i.e. a person authorised to sign legal agreements on behalf of the university.
  6. It is possible to submit only one mini-grant application per call.
  7. Examples of activities to be funded include:
    • preliminary or pilot research,
    • archive and library queries,
    • research and conference trips (travels of project team members from the 4EU + Alliance partner universities, i.e. faculty members, doctoral candidates or students, carried out to perform the project’s tasks; this includes participation in project meetings and workshops, thematic conferences, seminars or short (up to 2 weeks) research visits,
    • access to research infrastructure,
    • research consulting (remuneration for team members developing different parts of the research project application), including project consulting,
    • monolingual editing (performed by a native speaker) of the project proposal to be submitted in the call for international research projects;
    • the purchase of software licences (for the duration of the project) and small equipment for the implementation of the project (such as research materials) is possible provided that they are not subject to depreciation; appropriate justification for these resources should be included in the application.
  8. Non-eligible costs:
    • costs incurred outside the project duration,
    • purchase of fixed assets such as computers, laptops or printers.
  9. Funding available:
    • Maximum grant amount: € 10,000
    • Maximum number of mini-grants awarded in one competition: 10, including up to 5 mini-grants for COVID-19 research projects in the context of the research theme of the selected Flagship (1-4).
  10. Evaluation of applications:
    • The validity and eligibility check of submitted applications is performed by the members of the local 4EU+ team at the Office for International Research and Liaison, University of Warsaw.
    • The Evaluation Team, composed of representatives of Flagships’ Programme Committee and the Coordination Committee for Priority Research Areas, review the eligible applications based on the defined evaluation criteria.
    • The final list of awarded projects is approved by the Vice-Rector for Research of the University of Warsaw.
  11. Evaluation criteria: The submitted applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:
    • relevance to the 4EU + Alliance mission (available on the 4EU + Alliance website: https://4euplus.eu/4EU-10-version1-4eu_mission_statement.pdf),
    • relevance to the thematic scope of the selected Flagship (Flagships’ descriptions are available on the 4EU+ Alliance website: https://4euplus.eu/4EU-35.html),
    • relevance to the mission and aims of the selected Research Priority Area,
    • ability to take stock of and address the current challenges for Europe and the wider world in the proposal (e.g. migration crisis, ageing society, the use of Big Data or the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.),
    • innovative character of the project,
    • quality and feasibility of the planned activities,
    • cost-effectiveness of the planned activities.
  12. Online submission of proposals: Project proposals in English, together with annexes, should be submitted electronically via an online form.
  13. Important dates:
    • Opening date for proposal submissions: 15 September 2020
    • Closing date for proposal submissions: 5 November 2020, 16:00 / 4 P.M. CET 20 November 2020, 16:00 / 4 P.M. CETIncomplete applications or applications received after the deadline will not be considered.
    • The results of the call will be announced by 30 November 2020 15 December 2020. Applicants will be notified about the selection results by email.
  14. Reporting obligation – The implementation of the mini-grant awarded project is subject to a technical and financial settlement. The beneficiaries of the mini-grant awarded project should submit, via a team member from the University of Warsaw, the following documents:
    • technical report on the implementation of tasks signed by the team leader and a team representative from the University of Warsaw (max. 3 pages),
    • statement of the costs incurred during the implementation of project tasks (by category and according to the planned expenses-incurred expenses system), signed by the representative of the University’s Financial Department at an organisational unit where the mini-grant awarded project is being implemented and a person acting as the project’s coordinator, within 30 days from the project’s end date,
    • confirmation of submitting, according to the prior declaration, a project application in a grant competition under an external grant programme funding or co-funding international research cooperation.
  15. Supporting information:
    • Funds awarded as part of the mini-grant cannot be used to cover the remuneration costs of a project leader or members of the project team, unless they are directly involved in the writing process of the joint project proposal to be be submitted in the selected grant programme, funding or co-funding international research cooperation (in accordance with the declaration submitted in the mini-grant application).
    • Funding for the implementation of mini-grant awarded projects will be granted to the organisational units of the University of Warsaw partaking in the project;
    • The requested amount of funding in EUR will be converted at the average EUR/PLN exchange rate of the National Bank of Poland as of the date of opening of the mini-grant competition, i.e. 15 September 2020.
    • Consent to the submission of the proposal and the implementation of the project by the head of the organisational unit (dean or director) of the University of Warsaw (in Polish) – PDFMS Word
    • Letter of intent template (MS Word)
    • Should you have any questions concerning the call, please write to: 4euplus@uw.edu.pl.