The Netherlands eScience Center presents new calls for proposals 2021

12 Mar 2021 - 6 min

The Netherlands eScience Center is pleased to present its new calls for proposals. Projects receive an in-kind investment of a dedicated team of research software engineers (RSEs) from the eScience Center that will work together with the applicant.

Open eScience

The Open eScience call for proposals supports research that requires the development and application of advanced digital technologies and research software. This call offers two types of projects: early career projects and spearhead projects. Both projects should address an urgent methodological research challenge that can count on broader support from the research community in which the applicants are active. The call reflects the eScience Center’s strategy to advance the use of sustainable research software in academic research. Read more.

Collaboration in Innovative Technologies

The Collaboration in Innovative Technologies call for proposals seeks to transform highly innovative, fundamental knowledge from computer science into applied technologies designed to have a substantial impact on research across the disciplines. The specific technology areas covered by this call are: FAIR-enabling technologies and Data-efficient AI. Read more.

Information events

On the 23 March, 47 participants gathered for our information event of our Open Call. Below is a list of the top questions that were asked:

Is there an overview of previously successful proposals (titles/abstract/applicants) to get an impression of the projects that are fundable? 
Unfortunately the eScience Center is not able to share past proposals as they are considered the intellectual property of grant applicants. An overview of past research projects can be seen here (please note the tab ‘Projects’ in the right upper corner of the page).

Is there any flexibility in the 0.3 FTE commitment required of successful applicants?
We are unable to change the requirement for submissions, but encourage applicants to negotiate with their department regarding your available research time. 

Is there a format and any requirements for the letter of commitment for the 0.3 FTE research time? For example, who it needs to be signed by?
All submission forms and requirements are available via the open call page here. The letter should be signed by any authority who can formally guarantee your time commitment (e.g. a head of department).

Can team members in the Spearhead Projects be researchers from outside the Netherlands? 
They can be, but as a publicly funded Dutch organization, the proposed project needs to be anchored firmly in The Netherlands.

Where can I find the preliminary application form?
All Open Call forms and information can now be found here on our website.  

What about software licenses? Which licenses are included in the software produced? And what happens if we already have an in-house code with no clear license?
We use Apache 2.0, and any existing software should have a permissible open source license. In-house software must also have a license, and it should be solved before the project begins.

How stringent is the PhD requirement for early career projects? Does the applicant need to be in possession of a PhD before applying, or is it enough if the expected graduation date is well before the start of the project? 
A graduation date alone is not enough to apply for the grant. Candidates must submit a letter signed by their supervisor that the examination committee has formally approved the thesis. 

Is this call also open for computer science researchers who have some domain-based questions they would like to answer (e.g. developing new technologies to solve a socially beneficial application)? Or is this open call more for researchers in the three mentioned domains? 
This call is open also for Computer Science researchers, if their project fits into call requirements, and where there is a need for eScience support. 

What is the selection procedure/criteria for stage 1 if there are too many submissions which are candidates for stage 2? Or is there always a lottery in stage 1 if there are too many? 
A notary will perform a random selection if there are too many submissions. We simply don’t know how many proposals we are going to get and the limit on the number of proposals we can accept still needs to be decided. 

Sustainability (and the letter of commitment to it) is a bit unclear. Based on the examples on the CfP, it seems to relate more to plans for further use of the software. Is that correct? How does it go for open source software that is meant to be available for researchers around the world (as a package)?
We consider putting software on Github, sorting out a software license and following best practice to organize your software as the first step. It’s also important that someone in your organization commits to maintaining your software; for example, through the use of national research organizations like CLARIAH, ODISSEI, ASTRON, and so on. You can also check with the local DCC of your institute.

I would also like to know more about the RSEs. Are they able to contribute in scientific terms to the project (i.e. working on the ‘science’ of the project together with the other team members), or is their role more that of software developers? 
Our RSEs know how to develop software but their expertise reaches far beyond that. They will not so much contribute to the content of the science as to the scientific methodology, since they are methodological experts. At the same time, RSEs understand the science, since many of them have been trained within a discipline. Moreover, our RSEs contribute to scientific papers, and in particular, lead the methodology section of the papers. 

Is there a limit on the number of proposals that one can be a part of?
Applicants can submit one proposal as a lead applicant, but can be part of the research team on multiple applications.

Can you assist in the process of licensing code that is unlicensed? Or does that need to be arranged beforehand? And regarding GPL2, how is the situation of old in-house code within a research group with many contributors typically handled?
It’s best to sort this out beforehand. Please contact us and we will try to help out with more details.