Joint Sino-Norwegian Researcher Project on Food Safety – Sustainable and Safe Food from Agriculture and Aquaculture

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This call for proposals is still being developed and will be updated on a continuous basis.

Purpose

Funding is available for Researcher Projects on sustainable and safe food from agriculture and aquaculture. The Research Council of Norway (RCN) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are issuing a joint call under the programme for joint funding of Sino-Norwegian in mutually agreed fields to achieve bilateral world-class scientific results.

Important dates related to this call:

22 Apr 2020

Sino-Norwegian networking event for researchers in aquaculture food safety

A Sino-Norwegian networking event for researchers in aquaculture food safety is being planned for 4-5 March 2020. The event is organised by the Research Council of Norway and the Natural Science Foundation of China to facilitate applications for this call.

Read about the event.

30 Jun 2020

Åpen for søknad

02 Sep 2020

Søknadsfrist

01 Jan 2021

Earliest permitted project start

01 Aug 2021

Latest permitted project start

31 May 2024

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates related to this call:

About the call for proposals

A Memorandum of Understanding on Collaboration between Norway and China was signed on 7 April 2017. With reference to the memorandum, the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) have started a programme for joint funding of Sino-Norwegian joint research projects in mutually agreed fields. The aim is to achieve world-class scientific results.

Food production and supply addresses one of the most important and basic human needs and has developed in parallel with humanity to ensure steady provision, safety and variety of food as well as improved nutritional composition. Food safety is the absence, or safe, acceptable levels, of hazards in food that may harm the health of consumers. Food borne hazards can be biological, chemical or physical in nature, e.g. bacteria, viruses, agricultural-, aquacultural- and industrial chemicals, heavy metals, radionuclide and pesticide residues. Food safety has a critical role in assuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption.

Under this call for proposals, funding is available for projects that address challenges related to the two topics below, either separately or combined. We also encourage transdisciplinary projects when relevant for the proposal objectives.

  • Basic research on food safety in optimized value chains
    Many food and feed value chains are optimized to ensure food safety and quality, but production, processing, storage, distribution and preparation may still cause food safety issues for consumers or farmed animals. In particular, the bioavailability, bioaccessibility, bioaccumulation and biomagnification of contaminants are important to understand risks to human or animal health, thus providing a scientific basis for optimizing food safety control.

  • Basic research on emerging food safety issues in sustainable food production
    Increasing sustainability and resource-efficient circular economy principles of food production may introduce untraditional or cross-sector raw material applications and circular use of resources. This may pose new risks to food safety, e.g. by using aquaculture biological waste in agriculture. This generates a need for new knowledge about interactions between nutrients and different hazards throughout the value chain from production to consumption.

The thematic area of this call is food safety as defined in the two topics above. Applications addressing other topics without food safety as an integral part of the application will not be prioritized for funding. E.g. applications addressing solely breeding, genetics, production biology, physiology, nutrition, food security or societal aspects will not be prioritized for funding (the list is not exhaustive).

Collaborative proposals

Proposals must be developed in cooperation between an eligible research organisation in Norway and an eligible institution in China. Project cooperation must be well-rooted in the research institutions in both countries and organised to ensure relevance and benefit to society and industry. The proposed bilateral collaboration must strengthen ongoing research activities in each research group and contribute significantly to added value to these ongoing activities.

The grant applications must be identified with a common short name/acronym, and a joint project description is to be enclosed. The joint project description must clearly describe project activities according to a timeline. The project should be organised into work packages if appropriate.

Grants to support the recruitment of PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows should be integral components of the proposal. Grant applications for individual fellowships on their own will not be given priority.

Proposals incorporating own/additional funding and projects that can demonstrate sustainable commitment from own institutions or other sources during and/or beyond the project period are encouraged.

The project should be realistic and feasible within the timeframe and budget limitations. Plans for publication in peer-review journals that are accessible in Norway and China are strongly encouraged.

This call for proposals is only in English, which is legally binding.

Who is eligible to apply?

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements relating to the Project Owner

The Norwegian research organisation is to be entered as the Project Owner in the application form, and must have authorised the submission of the grant application.

Requirements relating to the project manager

The Norwegian project manager must submit the proposal to the Research Council, and the Chinese project manager must submit the proposal to the NSFC.

To qualify as project manager, you must have an approved doctorate or equivalent qualifications before the date of the application submission deadline.

If you do not have an approved doctorate but are qualified at associate professorship level or have current or previous employment in the Norwegian research institute sector or a health trust in a position as forsker 1 (research professor), forsker 2 (senior researcher) or seniorforsker (senior researcher), you are also qualified.

Requirements relating to partners

Only approved Norwegian research organisations (see under “Who is eligible to apply?” above) and corresponding research organisations in other countries are eligible to be partners and to receive Researcher Project funding.

Conditions for funding

The Research Council will not award support that constitutes state aid under this call. This means that the Research Council funding must only go to the non-economic activity of the research organisations. The Research Council requires a clear separation of accounts for the organisation’s economic and non-economic activities. Companies will not be eligible to receive support to cover projects costs and may not receive indirect support through the granting of any rights to project results.

The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocation and disbursement of support for the first year and any pledges for subsequent years are set out in the General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects.

A project participant may not be assigned two different roles in the project. This means that a supplier of R&D services for the project may not have the role of Project Owner or partner in the same project.

What can you seek funding for?

Please see the webpage on “What to enter in the project budget” for details and important information.

The following costs may be covered by the funding sought from the Research Council:

  • Payroll and indirect expenses relating to researcher time (including research fellowships) at the research institutions participating in the project.
  • Procurement of R&D services. The Project Owner and Norwegian partners may jointly or individually procure R&D services from R&D-performing companies. Suppliers of R&D services for the project may not have the role of partner or be granted any rights to project results developed in the project.
  • Costs relating to procurement and use of scientific equipment. The Research Council's guidelines for calculating costs of equipment are found here.
  • Other operating expenses, including support for research stays abroad and travel expenses and other project-related costs not covered under the categories above.

To ensure adequate participation of all project partners and encourage long-term cooperation, the project description should clearly describe specific in-kind and financial contributions by each partner, as well as their role in the joint project.

For more information about financing from the Research Council, please see the guidelines for what to enter into the budget. For more information about costs being requested from the NSFC, please refer to the call text on NSFC’s website.

Scope of funding

The Research Council may provide NOK 3-5 million in funding per project under this call. There are no requirements for own financing and the Research Council can therefore provide support for up to 100 per cent of the total approved costs. Funding may be sought for joint Researcher Projects for a duration of 2-3 years, including dissemination and networking activities (i.e. workshops and conferences).

Conditions for funding

The Research Council will not award support that constitutes state aid under this call. This means that the Research Council funding must only go to the non-economic activity of the research organisations. The Research Council requires a clear separation of accounts for the organisation’s economic and non-economic activities. Companies will not be eligible to receive support to cover projects costs and may not receive indirect support through the granting of any rights to project results.

Archiving of research data

The Project Owner (R&D organisation) is responsible for selecting the archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project. The Project Owner must specify the planned solution(s) in connection with the revised grant proposal.

 

Regarding medical and health-related studies involving human participants

The Research Council of Norway has specific requirements and guidelines for prospective registration and disclosure of medical and health related studies involving human participants.

Other information

A consortium agreement detailing the obligations of each partner must be drawn up before the contract with the Research Council is signed. The consortium agreement should include a specification of the regulation of the rights to and use of findings (IPR).

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Relevant thematic areas for this call

The relevant thematic areas for this call are described above under the heading "About the call for proposals".

Land-based food, the environment and bioresources

Oceans

Requirements for this application type

The grant application form must be created and submitted via “My RCN Web”. You may revise and resubmit your grant application form multiple times up to the application submission deadline. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as you have filled in the application form and included all mandatory attachments. After the deadline, it is the most recently submitted version of the grant application that will be processed.

  • The grant application, including all attachments, must be submitted in English.
  • All mandatory attachments must be included.
  • Requirements relating to the project manager must be satisfied.
  • Requirements relating to the Project Owner (research organisation) must be satisfied.
  • The project must start between 1 January 2021 and 1 August 2021.
  • Funding must be sought from the Research Council for 2021.

Mandatory attachments

  • A project description of maximum 11 pages using the designated template found at the end of this call.
  • A CV for the project manager of maximum four pages using the designated template found at the end of this call.
  • A CV for the main PI among the Chinese partner(s), maximum four pages.
  • A letter of support from participating partners
    Grant applications that do not satisfy the above requirements will be rejected.

Optional attachments

  • A maximum of 5 optional CVs for the key project participants. Each CV must not exceed four pages; CVs that exceed the maximum length will not be included in the application review process.
    • Applicants themselves are to decide which project participants are most important and in which cases it will be of significance to the review process to assess these participants’ qualifications.
  • Applicants are free to propose up to three referees who are presumed to be impartial and qualified to review the grant proposal.

Attachments other than those specified above as mandatory or optional, as well as any links to websites in the grant application, will not be included in the application review process.

Assessment criteria

Grant applications will be assessed in relation to the following criteria:

Excellence

The extent to which the proposed work is ambitious, novel, and goes beyond the state-of-the-art
• Scientific creativity and originality.
• Novelty and boldness of hypotheses or research questions.
• Potential for development of new knowledge beyond the current state-of-the-art, including significant theoretical, methodological, experimental or empirical advancement.

The quality of the proposed R&D activities
• Quality of the research questions, hypotheses and project objectives, and the extent to which they are clearly and adequately specified.
• Credibility and appropriateness of the theoretical approach, research design and use of scientific methods. Appropriate consideration of interdisciplinary approaches.
• The extent to which appropriate consideration has been given to ethical issues, safety issues, gender dimension in research content, and use of stakeholder/user knowledge if appropriate.

Impact

Potential impact of the proposed research
• Potential for academic impact:
The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address important present and/or future scientific challenges.
• Potential for societal impact (if addressed by the applicant):
The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address UN Sustainable Development Goals or other important present and/or future societal challenges.
• The extent to which the potential impacts are clearly formulated and plausible.

Communication and exploitation
• Quality and scope of communication and engagement activities with different target audiences, including relevant stakeholders/users.

Implementation

The quality of the project manager and project group
• The extent to which the project manager has relevant expertise and experience, and demonstrated ability to perform high-quality research (as appropriate to the career stage).
• The degree of complementarity of the participants and the extent to which the project group has the necessary expertise needed to undertake the research effectively.

The quality of the project organisation and management
• Effectiveness of the project organisation, including the extent to which resources assigned to work packages are aligned with project objectives and deliverables.
• Appropriateness of the allocation of tasks, ensuring that all participants have a valid role and adequate resources in the project to fulfil that role.
• Appropriateness of the proposed management structures and governance.

Relevance to the chosen topic in the call for proposals

The extent to which the project satisfies the priorities in the chosen topic in the call for proposals.

Administrative procedures

Grant applications will be reviewed by an international panel.

The Research Council of Norway and the National Natural Science Foundation of China will take the decision on granting or rejecting grant applications.