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1st Singapore-Germany Academic-Industry (2+2) International Collaboration

CALL FOR PROPOSALS 2018

(For Singapore-based Public Sector Research Performers)

  • Call Opens: 15 January 2018
  • Submission deadline: 29 March 2018

 

SUMMARY OF INITIATIVES

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), jointly announce the 1st Singapore-Germany Academic-Industry (2+2) International Collaboration call for proposals.

The goal of the Call for Proposals is to promote research and development bilateral collaboration between Singapore- and German-based public and private institutes and organizations, through joint scientific projects. Specifically, this collaboration calls for the union of 4: one Singapore-based and one German-based public sector research performer, and representatives from one Singapore-based and one German-based industry collaborators. Against the backdrop of globalization and Singapore government’s recent step up to help companies stay competitive through innovation and technology adoption, this “2+2” cooperation framework could incentivize Singapore-based companies to undertake open innovation partnership and provide the additional avenue for them to internationalize.

For the 1st Singapore-Germany Academic-Industry (2+2) International Collaboration joint grant call, A*STAR and BMBF would like to invite researchers based in Singapore and Germany to submit proposals for joint research projects in the area of Advanced Manufacturing.

This Call for Proposal is a joint submission that must involve TWO public sector research performers and TWO industry collaborators. Applicants are required to submit their applications electronically via the Integrated Grants Management System (iGrants) by 29 March 2018, 17:00hrs SGT. The German-based public sector research performer must also concurrently submit the joint proposal to BMBF.

All joint proposals will be assessed and evaluated by scientific panels appointed by the respective implementing agencies from Singapore and Germany. For the Singapore component, the first stage application (at the pre-proposal phase) will be evaluated by a combined panel comprising representatives from A*STAR, EDB and SPRING Singapore. Selected proposals enter a second stage evaluation and will be cross ranked with nominated proposals from BMBF. Industry collaborators of shortlisted proposals may then proceed to apply for appropriate funding support from EDB/SPRING Singapore (subject to assessment by the respective agencies).

 

INITIATIVE DESCRIPTION

This grant call serves to further strengthen efforts in research and innovation between Singapore and Germany in the area of Advanced Manufacturing, based on the agreement on scientific and technological cooperation, to build a basis for mutual market access and sustainable economic alliance. The grant call is both competitive and multi-disciplinary in nature, and is aimed at encouraging engagements between the Singapore and German research community and industry collaborators. Projects should also aim to achieve a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) between 5 and 7 upon completion. Key topics include:

  • Advanced manufacturing and cyber-physical systems in production (Industry 4.0),
  • New material and methods for additive manufacturing,
  • Robust security systems for Industrial Internet of Things, and
  • Smart sensors and actuators for production.

Up to three projects can be jointly funded through this grant call. All projects can be up to 36 months in duration. For each project, a funding sum of up to SGD$ 500,000 for Singapore-based researchers, across public sector research performer and industry collaborator, while BMBF shall grant a funding sum of up to € 300,000 for German-based researchers. A*STAR would fund the Singapore-based public sector partner, while EDB and SPRING could use appropriate existing funding initiatives to provide funding support to the Singapore-based industry collaborator. The funding application will also be subjected to the respective agency’s evaluation criteria.

 

PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

The objective of this initiative is to catalyze public-private partnerships between Singapore and German public sector research performers and industry collaborators.

It is A*STAR SERC’s intent that the proposed project leverage on existing infrastructure and other programs that SERC has previously supported and pre-positioned. No major investments in tools and equipment are envisaged. Allocation of manpower, service and share time charges for use of equipment should be factored in proposal submissions. SERC may assist and ensure that adequate time and resource provisions are made for services and shared activities.

 

ELIGIBILITY

This Call for Proposal is a joint submission that must involve one public sector research performer and one industry collaborator from Singapore and Germany respectively. Eligible Singapore-based public sector research performers include the Institutes of Higher Learning (including universities and polytechnics), A*STAR Research Institutes, and non-defense-related public sector agencies (e.g., Ministries, Statutory Boards). Applicants are required to submit their applications electronically via the Integrated Grants Management System (iGrants) by 29 March 2018, 17:00hrs SGT. The German-based public sector research performer must also concurrently submit the joint proposal to BMBF.

Selected research project under this 1st grant call will be funded up to SGD$ 500,000 by A*STAR with its partner agencies (for Singapore-based public sector research performers and industry collaborators) and € 300,000 by BMBF (for the Germany component) for up to 36 months, and this includes funding for general overheads (20% indirect costs).

Companies incorporated in Singapore that are prepared to make significant investments in R&D activities in science and technology may submit an application to either EDB or SPRING Singapore (for local Small and Medium Enterprises). Companies will be assessed on the quantitative and qualitative merits of the proposed project. These include the employment of research scientists and engineers, total business expenditure in R&D which generates spin-off to the economy, investments in fixed assets, and the company’s commitment to growing R&D capabilities in Singapore. The grant will be subject to incentive terms and conditions requiring the company to implement its plans to grow and sustain R&D activities in Singapore.

 

PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS

Proposals must attempt to fully disclose the research ideas and approaches. It is important that proposals are well crafted and provide substantial description of the research plan for a fair review of the scientific and/or technical plans and approaches. Proprietary or confidential information must be clearly indicated in the proposal. Proposals must not be duplicative or substantially similar to any previous project or proposal submission, and public sector research performers should not be represented in more than one proposal.

The proposal shall contain the following:

  • The overall detailed joint project description,
  • Details on the involvement and contribution of the Singaporean public sector research performers,
  • Details on the interaction among public sector research performers of both countries,
  • Details for the funding required for the Singaporean effort.

 

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

Only COMPLETE proposals will be accepted for review, evaluation and assessment for awards.

All joint proposals must be submitted by the Singapore-based research performer electronically via the Integrated Grants Management System (iGrants). Proposals must be submitted with the appropriate endorsement by the respective Host Institution (by the Chief Executive Director, Executive Director, the Director of Research or equivalent) to ensure that the organizational support is clearly associated with the proposed research plan.

 

CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION OF GRANT PROPOSALS

Other factors will include the level of synergy of the proposed research to the collective set of activities, the abilities of the researchers, their past performances in prior awards, comments of the referees (if required), effectiveness of project management, and appropriateness of the requested budget.

A formal contract involving the relevant Singapore-based public institutions and German institutions shall be drawn for each project. Each project shall inter alia:

  • Implement research findings to the industry or society (TRL 5-7).
  • Apply state-of-the-art methods and advance technologies.
  • Be tackled in an inter-disciplinary approach involving scientists with different backgrounds in basic research and/or applied/closed research.
  • Involve a mix of experienced and young scientists.

Projects should preferably provide leverage in one or more of the following means:

  • Provide access to unique and/or specialized characteristics of overseas partner country (i.e. specific scientific knowledge or technique), available of key manpower, common interest in seeking a breakthrough in a specific field, etc;
  • Tap on specialized capabilities of overseas partner agencies, and through this, create strategic linkages to tap on specialized capabilities in the future; and
  • Provide opportunities to learn/share/benchmark research with your international public sector research performer.

 

PROPOSAL SELECTION AND AWARD PROCESS

Only COMPLETE proposals will be accepted for review, evaluation and assessment for awards.

All joint proposals will be assessed and evaluated by scientific panels appointed by the respective implementing agencies from Singapore and Germany. These panels will consist of scientific experts who will review and recommend complete proposals for the award. Project proposals with clear strategies for implementing research findings to industry or society, and show greater prospects of attaining a TRL between 5 to 7 would be preferred.

A*STAR SERC may seek referee reports, written submissions or presentations from some public sector research performers to justify, elaborate or clarify aspects of the research approach described in the proposal during the review process.

Notification of awarded projects will be sent to the respective employing organizations and copied to the respective public sector research performers.

 

INFORMATION OWNERSHIP

The following should be satisfied prior commencement of the project:

  • Cooperating parties should enter into formal contract agreement, which should specify the roles and tasks to be undertaken by each party to the cooperation; and
  • Share the ownership of IP rights brought to and resulting from the cooperation, as well as the commercialization rights agreed amongst cooperating parties, and will be subjected to the contract assigned by both parties in the joint collaboration within reasonable limitations before the commencement date of the project.

A formal Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA) between the collaborating parties from Singapore and Germany would need to be signed and forwarded to A*STAR and BMBF not later than twelve (12) months after the Letter of Award of the project has been issued. Permission from A*STAR and BMBF must be sought at least one month in advance if further time extension is required for the completion of the RCA.

 

PROJECT REVIEW, MONITORING AND EVALUATION

Each awarded project will be evaluated and assessed for progress to ensure that proposed milestones and deliverables can be achieved. Successful grant applicants will be required to submit an annual progress report and a final report upon project completion to the review panel comprising of a scientific experts appointed by A*STAR and BMBF representatives.

The assignment of commercialization rights and distribution of any intellectual property (IP) (made according to the contributions by the respective parties) shall be established in a RCA between Singapore and Germany research entities within one year of the issuance of a Letter of Award. The RCA will include the following:

  • Specify roles and tasks to be undertaken by each party within the cooperation; and
  • State the sharing and ownership of relevant IP and commercialization rights brought to and resulting from this cooperation.

Presentations and public seminars may also form part of the progress review of a project.

 

DEADLINES

This Call for Proposal opens 15 January 2018. Singapore applicants are required to apply electronically via iGrants by 29 March 2018, 17:00 (SGT).

German-based applicants are required to submit their applications to BMBF’s online system.

Grant recipients will be notified in October 2018.

Indicative timeline of grant call activities are as follows:

Activity Timeline (SGT)
Call for Applications 15 January 2018
Deadline for Submissions 29 March 2018
First Stage Peer Review and Cross-Ranking 01 July 2018
Second Stage Review and Final Decision 01 September 2018
Announcement of Outcomes October 2018

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

ENQUIRIES

For enquiries pertaining to this grant call, the respective contact persons are:

A*STAR (Singapore)  
Dr. Tan Ei-Leen tan_ei-leen@hq.a-star.edu.sg
Dr. Terri Phua terri_phua@hq.a-star.edu.sg
Project Management Agency European and International Cooperation for BMBF (Germany)
Dr Hans Stähle Hans.Staehle@dlr.de