PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT OF CALL FOR PROPOSALS IN 2013

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1 WOODWISDOM-NET+ - PACING INNOVATION IN THE FOREST-BASED SECTOR PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT OF CALL FOR PROPOSALS IN 2013 The WoodWisdom-Net Research Programme pre-announces the upcoming call for joint European research projects. The indicative total available budget amounts to ,00 (national public funding + EC top-up funding of 8 M ). The total call volume with industrial co-funding is estimated to be up to ca. 30 M. The call for pre-proposals is expected to open in February, 2013 with a closing date for pre-proposals on 30 April. BACKGROUND 1. The forestry and forest-based industry (F-BI) is facing year on year increasing levels of change in the operating environment. These include increasing competition from regions of the world with fast-growing fibre reserves, changing consumption patterns by internet and electronic media, with issues such as energy, climate and environment gaining higher importance. Substitutes for wood set tough demands on the industry, especially in the wood products area. At the same time the industry is suffering from low profitability, increasing costs and decreasing prices, whilst being expected to deliver high environmental standards. In order to remain competitive the F-BI needs to improve its cost base and develop new, innovative and sustainable products, processes and services. In addition, step by step it has to transform from a traditional resource-intensive to a value-added knowledge-intensive industry. To accomplish these goals, the European forestry and F-BI has to join forces to strengthen the innovation system and promote knowledge exchange and technology transfer. Innovation and R&D, and access to raw materials are also central to the EU Commission s action plan to improve the competitiveness of the European F-BI. 2. The European F-BI is meeting the challenges for change and established the Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) in According to its Vision 2030 FBI comprises a competitive, knowledge-based industry that fosters the extended use of renewable forest resources. The two key documents of the Forest-based Sector ETP (Vision 2030 and the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA)) have been revised and the publication of the documents is planned for December Based on the European-level SRA 13 National Research Agendas (NRAs) have been published so far. 3. In 2004 a consortium of funders established the first WoodWisdom-Net project on wood material science and engineering with the aim of developing collaboration and integration between the forest sector, forest-based industry, wood material research, and funding organisations at the national and transnational levels. The collaboration was initiated under the European ERA-NET scheme which, in the context of the European Research Area (ERA), is to step up the cooperation and coordination of research activities (i.e. programmes) carried out at national or regional level in the Member States and Associated States through the networking of WoodWisdom Net 1(6)

2 research activities, including their mutual opening and the development and implementation of joint activities. 4. Collectively, through the previous three calls for proposals the funders from 15 different European countries have committed ca.40 MEUR to support strategic research in this area while the total volume of the calls totals up to 55 MEUR. 5. Now, as an ERA-NET Plus action under the ERA-NET scheme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission the partner organisations have agreed on an initial commitment of 24 MEUR (including a top-up funding of 8 MEUR from the European Commission) for the years The participating organisations are: Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Academy of Finland, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland, Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, Swedish Energy Agency, Research Council of Norway (RCN), Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) in Germany, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Resources in France, French Institute of Technology for forest-based and furniture sectors FCBA in France, French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), Ministry of Agriculture in Latvia, Latvian Academy of Sciences, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment & Water Management (BMLFUW) in Austria, The Commission for Technology and Innovation (KTI; in the Federal Department of Economic Affairs FDEA) in Switzerland, Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU; in the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC) in Switzerland, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport in Slovenia, The Forestry Commissioners in the United Kingdom, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Ireland and Ministry of Agriculture and rural Development of the Slovak Republic. PURPOSE 6. The overarching aim of this 4 th call under the trans-national WoodWisdom-Net Research Programme is to support the total transformation of the European F-BI and sustainable forest management to enable it to increase resource efficiency and develop a totally new products scope, while adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change. The initiative is intended to facilitate collaboration between industry, SMEs, stakeholder associations and research organisations in forestry and F-BI, and leading-edge scientists from the wider natural, biological, social, economic and other relevant research communities who have other, broader expertise that could be brought to bear on the increasing concerns about the total transformation of the European F-BI and sustainable forest management. Importantly, the call will also aim to encourage and make best use of interdisciplinary and systems approaches, and improve the impact and integration of social research and economics in this area. WoodWisdom Net 2(6)

3 SCOPE 7. The main approach in WW-Net+ is the substitution of non-renewable resources (e.g. materials or fossil fuels), by renewable forest-based solutions to reduce carbon emissions and waste. The joint trans-national call will address the whole forest-based value chain in four areas. These are: 1) the sustainable management of forest resources through 2) their efficient utilisation in industrial processes to 3) value added products and 4) competitive customer solutions. The exact scope of the call is currently being designed. A set of expert workshops to identify topics were held in the spring of 2012 and these will be continued during the autumn and early Furthermore, the FTP Revised Strategic Research Agenda for 2020 will be analysed as well as the latest related work programmes of the European Commission and any other related activities. Based on the analysis of all the above outcomes and the discussions among the funding organisations, the WW-Net+ consortium will decide on the final definition of the joint call topics in early The funders are particularly keen to encourage innovative trans-national proposals from multidisciplinary groups of researchers with optimal combinations of expertise to address the call topic areas. The participation of commercial and industrial partners especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is strongly recommended to ensure the relevance of the research to technological development and to the needs of society. 9. This early announcement of the call is to allow potential consortia time to start discussing ideas for collaborative projects before the formal call is announced. TIMETABLE FOR THE CALL 10. The call will have two steps. The timetable for these two steps is expected to be as follows: STEP 1: Pre-proposal phase 6 February 2013 Launch of call for pre-proposals via web (indicative) February2013 Launch of call for pre-proposals at the WoodWisdom-Net seminar in Munich, Germany (in connection with the seminar there is a brokerage event and mid-term seminar of WW-Net Research Programme) 30 April 2013 Closing date for pre-proposals May-June 2013 Assessment of pre- proposals 17 June 2013 Pre-proposal assessment results to applicants 17 June 2013 End of Step 1 STEP 2: Full proposal phase 17 June September 2013 Invitations for full proposals Closing date for full proposals WoodWisdom Net 3(6)

4 October-November 2013 December 2013 Early 2014 Assessment of full proposals Full proposal assessment results to applicants Research grants awarded and projects start APPLICATION, ASSESSMENT, FUNDING AND REPORTING 11. In this call a two-stage submission process is used. The planned work is first presented as a short proposal which is evaluated by independent experts against a limited range of criteria. Proposers who achieve satisfactory scores at that stage are then invited to submit a full proposal based on this initial concept by a date specified by the Call Committee. Step 1: Pre-proposals 12. Interested parties are invited to attend the WoodWisdom-Net seminar (incl. call launch, brokerage event and mid-term seminar of the ongoing WW-Net projects), expected to be held in Munich, Germany on February, The registration deadline and means of registration will be announced later. The purpose of this seminar will be to: Introduce the call and explain its aims and scope. Bring the industry, SMEs and different research communities and disciplines together to explore opportunities for collaborative working in this area and to start building consortia. Present the main outcomes of the ongoing WW-Net research projects. 13. Pre-proposal applications must be submitted on the WW-Net outline pre-proposal form (to be provided in the call pack on the WW-Net website in the beginning of February 2013) by CET on 30 th April Submission should be made electronically via the electronic submission system which will be available on the WW-Net website, too. All applications are subject to confidential evaluation. 14. The funding organisations will first check the eligibility of the pre-proposals and their suitability for national funding. Then representatives of the participating funding organisations will evaluate the pre-proposals against the set of other selected criteria (to be announced in the call text). Proposers who achieve satisfactory scores at that stage are then invited to submit a full proposal based on this initial concept by 24 September STEP 2: Full proposals 15. In step two, the full proposals are submitted to a unique facility and evaluated centrally through a joint and independent international peer review. This step is resulting in a ranked list of proposals agreed by the international peer review panel, which determines the proposals selected for funding. WoodWisdom Net 4(6)

5 16. The following evaluation criteria, scores and thresholds are compulsory for the evaluation by international peer review in step two of the joint call: - Scientific and/or technological excellence - Quality of the transnational project (Threshold3/5) Sound concept, and quality of objectives Progress beyond the state-of-the-art Quality and effectiveness of the scientific and technological methodology and associated work plan - Quality and efficiency of the implementation and the management (Threshold 3/5) Appropriateness of the management structure and procedures Quality and relevant experience of the individual participants Quality of the consortium as a whole (including complementarity, balance) Appropriate allocation and justification of the resources to be committed (budget, staff, equipment) - Potential impact (Threshold 3/5) Contribution, at the European and/or international level, to the expected impacts listed in the FP7 work programme under the relevant topic/activity Appropriateness of measures for the dissemination and/or exploitation of transnational projects results, and management of intellectual property. The evaluation step two aims at selecting and ranking excellent proposals based on the above three sets of criteria. Furthermore, the funding organisations may introduce some additional subcriteria in the call text. Each proposal submitted to this second step shall be evaluated with the assistance of at least three independent experts appointed by the consortium. The consortium shall ensure that the principle of confidentiality is upheld and that any case of conflict of interest is avoided during the evaluation and selection procedures of the joint call. 17. Research grants will be funded through the participating national funding organisation. In addition to the general rules and procedures laid out in the call document, applicants shall refer to the terms and conditions of their responsible funding agencies and programmes (will be mentioned in the call text). If a proposal includes any participants from third countries, the participants from these countries are required to finance their activities from other sources. 18. The contracting and funding of the research contracts will be by each participating funding organisation. The total amount of funds available for full proposals are estimated to be up to 24 MEUR and it is anticipated that awards might typically be in order of 1-2 MEUR, but costs and value for money will be one of the criteria when evaluating applications. WoodWisdom Net 5(6)

6 19. The research projects funded through this initiative are expected to be of three years duration (also the maximum duration). 20. Brief annual reports and a final report will be required to meet the requirements of the WW-Net Research Programme. Successful applicants will be advised by the WW-Net Secretariat on the format of these reports and where to send them. The final reports will be published on the WW- Net website. ELIGIBILITY 21. The call invites proposals for collaborative research and development from transnational consortia of industry, SMEs, stakeholder associations and research organisations. Due to the nature of the call, prospective applicants who have any queries about their eligibility, or that of prospective collaborators, should contact their respective national funding organization. In the call text there might be additional eligibility requirements. Wherever possible and eligible, the participation of Non-Governmental Institutions (NGOs), commercial and industrial partners especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is strongly recommended to ensure the relevance of the research to technological development and to the needs of society. Also, the participation of young scientists in the research teams is encouraged. 22. Partners from third countries not officially participating in the call can be included in the consortium if they finance their activity from other sources and if the consortium fulfils the set minimum requirements on the number of partners from officially participating countries (will be specified in the call text). Projects involving third countries must ensure that exploitation of project results will focus on the officially participating countries. CONTACT INFORMATION 23. The administration of the call is being led by the WoodWisdom-Net Secretariat on behalf of all of the funding partners. General enquiries about this call should be addressed to: Mika Kallio WoodWisdom-Net Secretariat Tel: +358 (0) WoodWisdom Net 6(6)

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