2019 Call for Exploratory Research Projects (ERPs)

The Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P. (FCT) announces its 2019 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 in the scientific areas of the UT Austin Portugal Program and aligned with strategic international R&D agendas.

Please note the information provided in this page does not replace the reading of the official announcement and related documentation, available at FCT’s website.

Deadline

Submissions between November 6 and December 17, 2019
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 future expansion of the project goals, while proposing potential solutions to real-world problems.

Research Areas

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 Terms of Reference.

Which 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 consortia 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 include other public or private entities, profit of non-profit, that may also invest in the exploratory project and bring relevant competencies to the project. However, those entities are not eligible for funding by this call.

This call will fund only resources and activities of Portuguese beneficiaries.

Available Budget

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.

The Program is expected to support, at least, 8 exploratory research projects through this Call.

Duration

The maximum duration of a project is 12 months, extendable for a maximum of 3 months, upon formal request, in duly justified cases. 

Contact Us

For inquires of scientific nature, please contact the UT Austin Portugal Program at:

For specific information related to the application submission, please contact concursoprojetos@fct.pt

Faq’s

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 research partner 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 tenured-track faculty at UT Austin, who will be responsible for the project on the American side.

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.

In the area of Advanced Computing, full-time senior researchers from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) may also lead projects.

As previously mentioned, under this call, only proposals submitted in Portugal, through the electronic platform of FCT, 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 also required to send to the lead PI in Portugal a statement confirming they hold a faculty appointment at UT Austin (tenured or tenured-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.

During the writing of proposals, UT Austin project PIs are highly encouraged to contact the Program’s Executive Director at UT Austin, Marco Bravo (bravo@utexas.edu) to discuss the proposals they are involved in. Provided information should include:

  • Statement confirming the eligibility status of the PI at UT Austin, at  MDACC (for applications in Medical Physics) or at TACC (for applications in Advanced Computing);
  • 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.

The total funding available for Portuguese research institutions under this call will be up to €400,000 (four-hundred thousand euros) to ERPs starting in 2020.

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 8 exploratory research projects through this call. However, the actual number of exploratory projects funded will depend on the quality of the submitted proposals.

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.

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:

  1. Scientific merit and innovative nature of the project from an international standpoint, and alignment with the goals of the UT Austin Portugal Program;
  2. Scientific merit of the research team;
  3. Feasibility of the plan of work program and reasonableness of the resources and budget;
  4. Potential social and economic impact of the research work.

Companies are 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.

Organization

Funding