The French National Research Agency Projects for science

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Formation of European and International Scientific Networks: New Call for Proposals Launched

The French National Research Agency (ANR) has announced a new call for proposals entitled "Setting up European or International Scientific Networks" (MRSEI). The aim of this new instrument is to encourage the formation of transnational networks coordinated by French researchers. Funding will only be provided for research networks that have specifically been set up to submit a collaborative project in response to a large-scale European or international call for proposals. The deadline for the submission of proposals for this first edition is January 12 / 2015.

One of the main challenges facing ANR is to boost French participation in European and international calls for proposals, with a view to raising the visibility and profile of the country's research.

Strengthening France's scientific standing on the European and international stage

ANR has set itself the priority of improving coordination between national and European funding schemes within the European Research Area (ERA). ANR's 2015 Work Programme is divided into four parts, one of which is entirely dedicated to building the ERA and developing France's international attractiveness. The new "Setting up European or International Scientific Networks" (MRSEI) instrument comes under this heading.

The aim of the instrument is to encourage the formation of research networks that are well placed to respond to European and international funding programmes, thereby facilitating French researchers' access to these programmes – in which France's scientific community is currently under-represented.

Developing European and/or international networks that will lead to new multidisciplinary projects

The aim is to encourage French researchers to set up networks composed of national and foreign teams from public or private research organisations that represent a wide range of skills and disciplines. The short-term aim of these networks should be to design and develop collaborative research projects involving the networks' members.

These networks can cover any number of scientific disciplines related to a topic with recognised scientific, technological or societal impact.

Developing a research project in response to a European or international call for proposals is a complicated process that can run into several difficulties: the community may not yet be well established; meetings and workshops may be needed to decide on the best research strategy; the topic may need to be addressed by a broad, multidisciplinary community, etc. Creating a network in advance can help overcome these problems.

The selected projects will receive funding of €50,000 for a period of 18 months. The ANR grant is intended purely to fund the operating costs of the project (communication campaigns, meetings, workshops, etc.); this call is not designed to offer funding for the research itself.

This instrument has been designed to be flexible and effective, facilitating swift decision-making and deployment of funds. The application file has been simplified; a single beneficiary (the French research organisation, which acts as principal investigator) receives the funding on behalf of the entire consortium; and peer selection is carried out by a single ad hoc evaluation panel, without the need to consult external peer reviewers.

There will be two calls for this instrument per year.

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