Last update: May 28, 2021
The Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P. (FCT) announces its 2021 Call for Exploratory Research Projects (ERP) under the UT Austin Portugal Program.
The ERP Call is designed to assist teams of researchers from non-corporate entities of the National Scientific and Technology System and The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) by bootstrapping high-impact potential research activities across the scientific areas of the UT Austin Portugal Program and lined up with national and international R&D agendas of strategic relevance. Industry partners are entitled to participate in proposals under this Call but are not eligible for funding.
Please note the information provided throughout this page does not replace the reading of the official announcement and related documentation, available on the sponsor’s website.
Submissions between May 19 and June 30, 2021.
Deadline for submission until 17:00 (Lisbon time).
What type of research projects are we looking for?
Submitted projects must aim at stimulating and promoting Portugal’s competitiveness and innovation capacity in Science and Technology (S&T) in the scientific areas addressed by the present call.
Proposals must configure groundbreaking, high-risk/high-reward projects and show promise and strategy for significant expansion of the project’s goals after the end of this funding cycle. Additionally, they should be able to present potential solutions to real-world problems.
Submitted proposals should fit in, at least, one of the following areas:
- Advanced Computing (High Performance Computing, High Throughput Computing and Quantum Computing);
- Medical Physics for Emerging Cancer Therapies;
- Nano Materials for New Markets;
- Space-Earth Interactions.
For detailed information regarding the topics covered by each research area, please refer to the Call’s Terms of Reference.
What Portuguese entities are eligible to apply?
The Portuguese entities eligible to receive funding through the present call are:
- Higher Education Institutions, their institutes and R&D units;
- State or International Laboratories with head office in Portugal;
- Non-profit private institutions whose main objective is R&D activities;
- Other non-profit private and public institutions developing or participating in scientific research activities.
Participating researchers at UT Austin will be funded by the UT Austin counterpart of the Program.
What are the criteria for consortium composition?
Submitted proposals must include:
- At least, one Portuguese entity with eligibility status (as identified above);
- At least, one partner at UT Austin (or at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in the area of Medical Physics, if applicable). In the area of Advanced Computing, full-time senior researchers from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) may also lead projects.
Consortia are allowed to bring onboard other public or private entities, profit or non-profit, which may also invest in the exploratory project and are expected to add relevant competencies to its work plan. However, such entities are not eligible for funding under this Call.
The total funding available will be up to €400,000 for Portuguese research institutions and an awarded project may be granted up to €50,000 to fund the research work conducted by the Portuguese team.
The participating researchers at UT Austin will be funded by the budget of the Program at UT Austin, up to a maximum of $50,000 (fifty-thousand dollars) per project. As such, the funding available through this Call is only destined for eligible Portuguese entities. UT Austin will ensure matched funding for its research teams.
The Program is expected to support, at least, 8 exploratory research projects through this Call.
The maximum duration of a project is 12 months, extendable for a maximum of 3 months, upon formal request, in duly justified cases.
Applications must be submitted only by the Lead PI in Portugal and the funding available through this call is solely aimed at eligible Portuguese entities. Nevertheless, the Portuguese research team is required to identify, at least, one Principal Investigator at UT Austin (or at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, MDACC, in the case of proposals in the area of Medical Physics). In the area of Advanced Computing, full-time senior researchers from TACC are also entitled to lead projects.
The UT Austin team must be led by a tenured or tenure-track faculty at UT Austin, who will be responsible for the project at UT Austin.
In the area of Medical Physics, faculty and researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center may also participate and/or lead projects as Principal Investigators.
In the area of Advanced Computing, full-time senior researchers from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) may also lead projects as Principal Investigators.
As previously mentioned, under this call, only proposals submitted in Portugal, through FCT’s electronic platform, will be considered for eligibility checks and evaluation. The lead PI in Portugal is responsible for submitting the application forms and required documents on behalf of their team in Portugal and of the UT Austin team.
The lead PI at UT Austin is required to send to the lead PI in Portugal a statement confirming he/she holds a faculty appointment at UT Austin (tenured or tenure-track position). In the case of PIs at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), the statement should confirm their faculty or researcher status at that institution.
In the case of proposals in the area of Advanced Computing led by PIs at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), the statement must indicate the PI is a full-time senior researcher with PI status.
Alongside this statement, PIs at UT (or MDACC) should also include in the application:
- Acronym & full title of the proposal;
- Identification of the lead PI in Portugal (name, institution, department);
- Work plan at UT Austin / MDACC / TACC;
- Requested budget (and its justification) at UT Austin / MDACC / TACC.
During the writing of proposals, UT Austin PIs are encouraged to contact the Program’s Executive Director at UT Austin, Marco Bravo (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss the proposals they are involved in.
No, there is no limit on the number of projects for which one particular PI at UT Austin or at MD Anderson Cancer Center (in the area of Medical Physics) may apply.
The total funding available for Portuguese research institutions under this call will be up to €400,000 (four-hundred thousand euros).
An awarded project may be granted up to € 50,000 (fifty-thousand euros) to fund the research work carried out by the Portuguese team.
Considering the maximum amount of eligible funding per project, the Program expects to support eight exploratory research projects through this call. However, the actual number of exploratory projects funded will depend on the quality of the submitted proposals and requested funding.
The budget of the Program at UT Austin will fund independently the research teams at UT Austin at a level similar to that of research teams in Portugal. The participating researchers at UT Austin will be funded up to a maximum of $50,000 (fifty-thousand dollars) per project.
Funding at UT will be executed at a 100% rate for eligible expenses directly related to the research activities. Eligible expenses at UT Austin are the ones directly related to the research: e.g. materials, lab time, equipment usage, graduate student tuition/stipends, travel. Faculty salary and equipment are non-eligible.
PIs at UT Austin (or MD Anderson for applications in the area of Medical Physics) should include indirect costs on their budgets at a rate of 38% of Total Direct Costs.
An international panel of independent reviewers will carry out the evaluation. The selection method and ranking of projects are based on the Project Merit Indicator using the following criteria:
- Scientific merit and innovative nature of the project from an international standpoint, and alignment with the goals of the UT Austin Portugal Program;
- Scientific merit of the research team;
- Feasibility of the project’s work plan and budget and resources adequacy;
- Potential social and economic impact of the research work.
Companies are highly encouraged to participate in these projects and be partners of the international consortia. Nevertheless, they are not entitled to receive funding through the present call; instead, they should be self-funded.
Cooperation Profiles for Faculty Matchmaking
To facilitate and accelerate the creation of partnering opportunities for the 2021 Call for Exploratory Research Projects, the UT Austin Portugal Program invites Principal Investigators (PIs) at UT Austin and in Portugal to submit cooperation profiles to be disseminated through the Program’s website.
Click here to read more about this matchmaking activity and browse through our cooperation profiles database.