The French National Research Agency Projects for science

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Preannouncement: a forthcoming European call for proposals on the theme of biodiversity

The French National Research Agency (ANR) is going to launch a new large-scale call for proposals in collaboration with about thirty partners from some ten countries within the framework of the BiodivERsA ERA-NET. This European initiative aims at promoting transnational research on biodiversity. Opening of the call is scheduled for May 2015.

The loss of biodiversity and the deterioration of ecological services or "ecosystemic services" are increasing at an unprecedented rate on both the European and global scale. This damage is impacting not just the natural world but human society as a whole. Financial support to biodiversity science should thus help find solutions for the major societal and global problems.

In this context, the BiodivERsA programme aims at reinforcing the European scientific community in the area of sustainable conservation and management of biodiversity. An ERA-NET supported by the European Commission, it brings together around twenty partner funding agencies who launch European calls for proposals in this area of research.

Promoting European research on biodiversity

The aim of this new call for proposals is to support the development of European collaborative projects addressing the following two themes in particular:

  • Understanding and managing the biodiversity dynamics of soils and sediments to improve ecosystem functioning and delivery of ecosystem services;
  • Understanding and managing biodiversity dynamics in land-, river- and sea-scapes (habitat connectivity, green and blue infrastructures, and naturing cities) to improve ecosystem functioning and delivery of ecosystem services.

At present, fourteen countries, including the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) and overseas regions (ORs), have planned participating in the call: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. The definitive list of participating countries will be published around April 2015 on the BiodivERsA website.

Only transnational projects will be funded: each consortium must include at least three teams from three different countries participating in the call. The added value linked to the pan-European nature of the projects (which can include European OCTs and ORs) must be clearly stated.

Each agency will fund its national teams, therefore the candidates must ensure they comply with their respective agencies’ rules of eligibility. ANR will only fund the French teams. The overall indicative budget for the call is 30 million euros, including 33% co-funding by the European Commission.

Project evaluation and selection will be a joint peer review process by the participating countries based on criteria of scientific excellence, political and/or societal relevance and integration of the stakeholders.

The call is planned to be launched in May 2015 and closed in early November 2015.

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BiodivERsA, a European tool to serve biodiversity

In a global context of loss of biodiversity, European research funding agencies are focusing on this major societal issue through their collaboration in the BiodivERsA programme. Supported by the European Commission under the 7th Research and Development Framework Programme (FP7), the aim of the ERA-NET initiative is to initiate and promote a European collaboration for biodiversity by identifying strategic points and essential issues, and by encouraging the funding of high-quality research on the pan-European scale. In 2015 BiodivERsA enters its third phase of implementation through the European Commission's new instrument, ERA-NET Cofund.

Since the programme began in 2008, five calls for project proposals have been launched resulting in the funding of 47 collaborative European projects. ANR for its part has co-funded 33 projects involving French teams for a total sum of €12 M under this programme.