[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.

Best regards,

Simone Cardoso

  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 
Neuroscience" (www.bernstein-zentren.de 
<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 
scientific activities.

*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 
Bernstein Centres.

*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. Procedure**

*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
Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
53227 Bonn
Tel.: +49 228 3821-210 (Secretariat)
Fax: +49 228 3821-257
Internet: http://www.pt-dlr.de/

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 
following lines:
- 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 
financial plan
- 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 
Computational Neuroscience
- 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 

Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
Hansastr. 9A
79104 Freiburg, Germany

phone: +49-761-203-9575
fax:   +49-761-203-9559

cardoso at bccn.uni-freiburg.de

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