[Comp-neuro] Funding Opportunity: Bernstein Junior Research Groups
in Computational Neuroscience, Germany
Simone Cardoso de Oliveira
cardoso at bccn.uni-freiburg.de
Thu Dec 13 15:50:12 CET 2007
Dear list subscribers,
please find below the annoucement for a very attractive funding
opportunity for junior research groups in the area of Computational
Neuroscience in Germany.
Regulations for the
"Bernstein Award" Funding Initiative
within the framework of the National Network for Computational
Announcement of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
[November 20, 2007 - deadline: June 02, 2008]
*1. Funding purpose and legal basis**
*1.1 Funding purpose*
*Computational Neuroscience is a very dynamic research discipline in the
field of the neurosciences. With its interdisciplinary approach and
systematic cooperation between biology, medicine, physics, mathematics
and computer science, this research area promises the accelerated
generation of new findings as well as major impetus for
application-oriented fields such as health research, information
technology and education.
The BMBF has established four "Bernstein Centres for Computational
<http://www.bernstein-zentren.de>) within the framework of its "National
Network for Computational Neuroscience" funding activity. These
high-performing centres are the major structural elements of the
National Network. This means that a new structure has been created which
is necessary for developing a new quality in Computational Neuroscience,
for networking this research area and for promoting its international
It is particularly important to attract excellent young researchers in
order to lastingly strengthen and establish Computational Neuroscience
as a field of research in Germany. The Bernstein Centres contribute
substantially to achieving this goal with their concepts for supporting
junior researchers at the level of study programmes and postgraduate
studies. But there is also a great need to attract and support young
researchers at the level of research group leaders, where they will be
able to develop their own research profile and greater scientific
independence by establishing and heading their own junior research groups.
The "Bernstein Award" funding activity aims to support research projects
in the field of Computational Neuroscience, thus enabling excellent
young researchers working in this field to implement innovative project
ideas in Computational Neuroscience in the German research environment.
This is intended inter alia to promote the academic qualification of
these outstanding young researchers. The projects supported under the
"Bernstein Award" initiative will become an integral part of the
National Network for Computational Neuroscience and give new impetus to
*1.2 Legal basis**
Projects can be supported with grants awarded in accordance with the
present funding regulations, the BMBF's standard terms and conditions
for grants on expenditure or cost basis and the administrative
regulations under section 44 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO).
Applicants have no legal claim to a grant. The grant-awarding agency
will decide freely after due assessment of the circumstances within the
framework of the budget funds available.
*2. Object of funding **
Funding is provided for research projects which have been designed by
young, German or foreign postdocs which the latter will conduct at a
German research institution. Researchers are required to furnish
evidence of extraordinary scientific achievements in the field of
Computational Neuroscience. By realizing research projects which they
have designed and will supervise themselves and by establishing their
own junior research group, the young project leaders are to be given an
opportunity to conduct independent research. The funded research
projects are to be conducted at a German university or scientific
institution (see para 3. below) within or outside the Bernstein Centres.
The funded projects of the young researchers are to be integrated in the
National Network for Computational Neuroscience in order to strengthen
this network. The young researchers should therefore participate in the
annual workshops and status seminars of the Bernstein Centres. The
purpose of the status seminars is to facilitate exchanges on the
progress and results of research and to promote networking between the
*3. Grant recipients**
Research proposals may be submitted by institutions of higher education
and non-university research institutions based in Germany. Research
institutions which receive joint basic funding from the Federal
Government and the Länder can only be awarded project funding to cover
their additional expenditure under certain conditions.
*4. Prerequisites for funding **
Funding under the "Bernstein Award" initiative is only provided for
innovative research projects which have been designed by outstanding
postdocs and will be conducted by them at a university or non-university
research institution in Germany (see paras 2. and 3. above). A project
will only be eligible for funding if the university or research
institution concerned employs the young researcher during the funding
period. Furthermore, it is expected that the working facilities required
for carrying out the project (basic equipment in terms of laboratory
space and other infrastructure) will be made available and the young
researcher supported in all matters. A statement made to that effect by
the receiving institution must be included with the project outline to
be submitted in accordance with para 7.2.1 below.
In their own interest, applicants should familiarize themselves with the
EU's Research Framework Programme in the context of the planned national
project. They should check whether the planned project includes specific
European components which make it eligible for exclusive EU funding.
Applicants should furthermore examine whether an additional application
for funding can be submitted to the EU in the context of the planned
national project. Applicants should briefly state the results of such an
examination in their national application.
*5. Type, scope and rates of funding**
Project funding may be awarded in the form of non-repayable grants.
The basis for calculating the grants for universities, research and
science institutions and similar establishments is the project-related
expenditure eligible for funding (grants for Helmholtz centres and the
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG) will be calculated on the basis of the
project-related costs eligible for funding); up to 100 per cent of this
expenditure/costs can be funded in individual cases.
The European Commission's Community Framework for State Aid for Research
and Development must be taken into account when fixing the rates of
funding. The Community Framework allows differentiated rules on extra
percentage points for collaborative projects proposed by applicants from
the new German Länder and for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),
which may result in a higher rate of funding.
Under the "Bernstein Award" initiative, funding will be provided for one
research project per year within the framework of relevant medium-term
fiscal planning. The maximum funding period for each individual project
is five years. Funding for each individual project can amount to up to
EUR1.25 million over the entire project period.
During the project period, funding can be provided for the position of
the young project leader (up to salary group E14 TVöD or Ib BAT), for up
to two positions for further scientific staff (E13 TVöD or IIa BAT), and
for the required technical personnel in accordance with the relevant
collective agreements. Funding cannot be provided for posts which are
financed from public funds. Equipment and investment costs will be
reimbursed pursuant to the other terms and conditions which are
applicable (see inter alia paras 6 and 7 below).
*6. Other terms and conditions for awarding funds**
The Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen auf Kostenbasis des BMBF an
Unternehmen der gewerblichen Wirtschaft für Forschungs- und
Entwicklungsvorhaben (Auxiliary Terms and Conditions for Funds Provided
by the BMBF to Commercial Companies for Research and Development
Projects on a Cost Basis -- NKBF 98) will be part of the notification of
award for grants on a cost basis.
The Allgemeine Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen zur Projektförderung
(General Auxiliary Conditions for Grants for the Promotion of Projects
-- ANBest-P) and the Besondere Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen des
BMBF zur Projektförderung auf Ausgabenbasis (Special Auxiliary Terms and
Conditions for Funds Provided by the BMBF for the Promotion of Projects
on an Expenditure Basis -- BNBest-BMBF 98) will be part of the
notification of award for grants on an expenditure basis.
*7.1 Involvement of a project management organization and request for
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has commissioned the
following project management organization to implement the funding
Projektträger PT-DLR -- Projektträger Gesundheitsforschung
Tel.: +49 228 3821-210 (Secretariat)
Fax: +49 228 3821-257
The contact is Dr. Jansen (Tel. +49 228 3821-296).
Application forms, guidelines, information for applicants and the
auxiliary terms and conditions are available here
<http://www.kp.dlr.de/profi/easy/formular.html> or can be obtained from
the project management organization. Applicants are strongly recommended
to use the electronic application system "easy
<http://www.kp.dlr.de/profi/easy/formular.html>" for drafting formal
*7.2 Two-tiered funding procedure**
The funding procedure is two-tiered.
*7.2.1 Submission and selection of project outlines**
In a first step, written project outlines must be submitted by post to
the project management organization (PT-DLR)
*by 02 June 2008 at the latest.**
It is intended to implement further funding decisions, if necessary.
Further deadlines for the submission of proposals will be published on
http://www.gesundheitsforschung-bmbf.de/de/175.php. With a view to the
international evaluation procedure, it is recommended that the project
outlines be submitted to the PT-DLR *in English*. The deadline for
submission is not a cut-off deadline. However, it may prove impossible
to consider project outlines which are received after that date.
Young German and foreign researchers who meet the criteria set out in
this announcement (see para 4 above) are entitled to submit project
outlines in agreement with the receiving university or research
The project outlines must include a description structured along the
- Name of the young researcher, full office address, contact details
(phone, fax, e-mail)
- A meaningful CV (up to five pages, Arial 11 pt), which includes
achievements in Computational Neuroscience (e. g. supervision of young
researchers, national and international cooperation, raising of external
funds, invitation to or hosting of conferences, membership of editorial
boards of relevant scientific journals, expert opinions, other activities)
- List of publications
- Preliminary project description for the research programme of the
entire proposed junior research group, including all planned scientific
and technical staff members (up to ten pages Arial 11 pt) and a
- Statement from the university or research institution at which the
research programme is to be carried out confirming that the young
researcher will be provided with the working facilities needed to
perform the project (basic equipment in terms of laboratory space and
other infrastructure) and will be supported in all matters.
Applicants are requested to submit 10 copies of their outlines.
A legal claim cannot be derived from the submission of a project outline.
The evaluation of the project outlines received will involve external
experts and be based on the following criteria:
a) Previous achievements of the young researcher in the field of
- Scientific work including publications
- Supervisory activities
- International activities
- Other activities (raising of external funds, etc.)
b) Quality of the proposed research programme
- Scientific and methodical quality
- Scientific expertise of the applicant
- Innovative potential
- Reference to research focuses of the host institution.
On the basis of the evaluation, a suitable project idea will then be
selected for funding. The applicants will be informed in writing about
the result of the selection procedure.
*7.2.2 Submission of formal applications and decision-making procedure**
*In a second step, applicants whose project outlines have been evaluated
positively will be invited to submit (within six weeks of the
invitation) a formal application of the institution where the research
project is to be carried out; a decision on such formal application will
be taken after final evaluation.
Approval and payment of and accounting for the funds as well as proof
and examination of proper use and, if necessary, revocation of the award
and reclaiming of the funds awarded are governed by the administrative
regulations pertaining to section 44 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO)
and sections 48 to 49a of the Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG)
unless deviation is allowed under the present funding regulations.
*8. Entry into force**
These funding regulations will enter into force on the date of
publication in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger).
Berlin, 29 October 2007
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Dr. Christiane Buchholz
Molecular Life Sciences Division
Dr. Simone Cardoso de Oliveira
Til December 2007:
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Freiburg
Coordinator for Teaching and Training Programs
>From January 2008:
Bernstein Coordination Site of the
National Network Computational Neuroscience
79104 Freiburg, Germany
cardoso at bccn.uni-freiburg.de
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