[visionlist] Bernstein Award 2008, call for proposals
mbethge at tuebingen.mpg.de
Thu Apr 10 08:05:05 PDT 2008
within the Bernstein Network for Computational Neuroscience, the
German Federal Ministry of of Education and Research (BMBF) has once
more announced a call for proposals for the 'Bernstein Award 2008'.
This grant allows young researchers of any nationality to get fundig
(up to 1.25 M€, over a period of 5 years) for their own, independent
research group, to be installed at any German University or research
Please find the complete announcement on the webpage:
or see below.
of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
from Regulations for the "Bernstein Award" Funding Initiative
within the framework of the
National Network for Computational Neuroscience
1. Funding purpose and legal basis
1.1 Funding purpose
Computational Neuroscience is a very dynamic research discipline in
the field of the neurosciences. With its interdisciplinary approach
and systematic cooperation between biology, medicine, physics,
mathematics and computer science, this research area promises the
accelerated generation of new findings as well as major impetus for
application-oriented fields such as health research, information
technology and education.
The BMBF has established four "Bernstein Centres for Computational
Neuroscience" (http://www.bernstein-zentren.de/en/index.php) within
the framework of its "National Network for Computational Neuroscience"
funding activity. These high-performing centres are the main
structural elements of the National Network. This means that a new
structure has been created which is necessary for developing a new
quality in Computational Neuroscience, for networking this research
area and for promoting its international visibility.
It is particularly important to attract excellent young researchers in
order to lastingly establish and strengthen Computational Neuroscience
as a field of research in Germany. The Bernstein Centres contribute
substantially to achieving this goal with their concepts for
supporting junior researchers by means of study programmes and
postgraduate research groups. But there is also a great need to
attract and support young researchers at the level of research group
leaders, where they will be able to develop their own research
profiles and attain greater scientific independence by establishing
and heading their own junior research groups.
The "Bernstein Award" funding activity aims to support research
projects in the field of Computational Neuroscience, thus enabling
excellent young researchers working in this field to implement
innovative project ideas in Computational Neuroscience in the German
research environment. This is intended to promote the academic
qualification of these outstanding young researchers, among other
things. The projects supported under the "Bernstein Award" initiative
will become an integral part of the National Network for Computational
Neuroscience and give new impetus to scientific activities.
As announced in the funding regulations for the "Bernstein Award"
initiative of 21 March 2006, the Federal Ministry of Education and
Research intends to support one research project under this initiative
1.2. Legal basis
Project grants can be awarded in accordance with the present funding
regulations, the BMBF's standard terms and conditions for grants on
expenditure or cost basis and the administrative regulations under
section 44 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO). Applicants have no legal
claim to a grant. The grant-awarding agency will decide freely after
due assessment of the circumstances within the framework of the budget
2. Object of funding
Funding is provided for research projects which have been designed by
German or non-German young scientists (post-docs) and which will be
carried out by these young scientists at a German research
institution. Researchers are expected to furnish evidence of
extraordinary scientific achievements in the field of Computational
Neuroscience. By realizing research projects which they have designed
and will supervise themselves and by establishing their own junior
research group, the young project leaders are to be given an
opportunity to conduct independent research. The funded research
projects are to be conducted at a German university or scientific
institution (see section 3 below) within or outside the Bernstein
The funded projects of the young researchers are to be integrated in
the National Network for Computational Neuroscience in order to
strengthen this network. The young researchers should therefore
participate in the annual workshops and status seminars of the
Bernstein Centres. The purpose of the status seminars is to facilitate
exchanges on the progress and results of research and to promote
networking between the Bernstein Centres.
3. Grant recipients
Research proposals may be submitted by institutions of higher
education and non-university research institutions based in Germany.
Research institutions which receive joint basic funding from the
Federal Government and the Länder can only be awarded project funding
to cover their additional expenditure under certain conditions.
4. Prerequisites for funding
Funding under the "Bernstein Award" initiative is only provided for
innovative research projects which have been designed by outstanding
post-docs and will be conducted by them at a university or non-
university research institution in Germany (see sections 2 and 3
above). A project will only be eligible for funding if the university
or research institution concerned employs the young researcher during
the funding period. Furthermore, the host institution is expected to
provide the working facilities required for carrying out the project
(basic equipment in terms of laboratory space and other
infrastructure) and to support the young researcher in all matters. A
statement made to that effect by the host institution must be included
with the project outline to be submitted in accordance with section
In their own interest, applicants should familiarize themselves with
the EU's Research Framework Programme in the context of the planned
national project. They should check whether the planned project
includes specific European components which make it eligible for
exclusive EU funding. Applicants should also examine whether a
supplementary application for funding can be submitted to the EU in
the context of the planned national project. Applicants should briefly
state the results of these investigations in their national application
5. Type, scope and rates of funding
Project funding may be awarded in the form of non-repayable grants.
Grants for universities, research and science institutions and similar
establishments will be calculated on the basis of the project-related
expenditure eligible for funding (grants for Helmholtz centres and the
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG) will be calculated on the basis of the
project-related costs eligible for funding); in individual cases, up
to 100 per cent of this expenditure/these costs can be funded.
The European Commission's Community Framework for State Aid for
Research and Development must be taken into account when fixing the
rates of funding. The Community Framework allows differentiated rules
on extra percentage points for collaborative projects proposed by
applicants from the new German Länder and for small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs), which may result in a higher rate of funding.
Under the "Bernstein Award" initiative, funding will be provided for
one research project per year to the extent that this is possible
within the confines of relevant medium-term fiscal planning. The
maximum funding period for each individual project is five years.
Funding for each individual project can amount to up to €1.25 million
over the entire project period.
During the project period, funding can be provided for the salary of
the young project leader (up to salary group E14 TVöD or Ib BAT), for
up to two positions for further scientific staff (E13 TVöD or IIa
BAT), and for the required technical personnel in accordance with the
relevant collective agreements. Funding cannot be provided for posts
which are financed from public funds. Equipment and investment costs
will be reimbursed in accordance with the other terms and conditions
which are applicable (see sections 6 and 7 below, for example).
6. Other terms and conditions for awarding funds
The Auxiliary Terms and Conditions for Funds Provided by the BMBF to
Commercial Companies for Research and Development Projects on a Cost
Basis (Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen auf Kostenbasis des BMBF an
Unternehmen der gewerblichen Wirtschaft für Forschungs- und
Entwicklungsvorhaben - NKBF 98) will be part of the notification of
award for grants on a cost basis.
The General Auxiliary Conditions for Grants for the Promotion of
Projects (Allgemeine Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen zur
Projektförderung - ANBest-P) and the Special Auxiliary Terms and
Conditions for Funds Provided by the BMBF for the Promotion of
Projects on an Expenditure Basis (Besondere Nebenbestimmungen für
Zuwendungen des BMBF zur Projektförderung auf Ausgabenbasis - BNBest-
BMBF 98) will be part of the notification of award for grants on an
7.1. Involvement of a project management organization and request for
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has commissioned the
following project management organization to implement the funding
Projektträger PT-DLR - Projektträger Gesundheitsforschung
Tel.: + 49 (0)228-3821 210 (Sekretariat)
Fax: + 49 (0)228-3821 257
The contact is Dr. Krüger (Tel.: + 49 (0)228-3821 296).
Application forms, guidelines, information for applicants and the
auxiliary terms and conditions are available here or can be obtained
from the project management organization. Applicants are strongly
advised to use the electronic application system "easy" for drafting
7.2 Two-tiered funding procedure
The funding procedure is two-tiered.
7.2.1 Submission and selection of project outlines
In a first step, written project outlines must be submitted by post to
the project management organization (PT-DLR) by 2 June 2008 at the
latest. If necessary, further selection rounds will be carried out on
the basis of these funding regulations. The deadlines for the
submission of project outlines will be published on http://www.gesundheitsforschung-bmbf.de/en/175.php
in due course.
With a view to the international evaluation procedure, it is
recommended that the project outlines be submitted to the PT-DLR in
English. The deadline for submission is not a cut-off deadline.
However, it may prove impossible to consider project outlines which
are received after that date.
Young German and non-German researchers who meet the criteria set out
in this announcement (see section 4 above) are entitled to submit
project outlines in agreement with the host university or research
The project outlines must include a description structured along the
* Name of the young researcher, full office address, contact details
(phone, fax, e-mail).
* A meaningful CV (up to five pages, Arial 11 pt) which includes
achievements in Computational Neuroscience (e. g. supervision of young
researchers, national and international cooperation, raising of
external funds, invitations to or hosting of conferences, membership
of editorial boards of relevant scientific journals, expert opinions,
* List of publications
* Preliminary project description for the research programme of the
entire proposed junior research group, including all planned
scientific and technical staff members (up to ten pages Arial 11 pt)
and a financial plan
* Statement from the university or research institution at which the
research programme is to be carried out confirming that the young
researcher will be provided with the working facilities needed to
perform the project (basic equipment in terms of laboratory space and
other infrastructure) and will be supported in all matters.
Applicants are requested to submit 10 copies of their outlines.
No legal claims can be derived from the submission of a project outline.
The evaluation of the project outlines received will involve external
experts and be based on the following criteria:
1. Previous achievements of the young researcher in the field of
* Scientific work including publications
* Supervisory activities
* International activities
* Other activities (raising of external funds, etc.)
2. Quality of the proposed research programme
* Scientific and methodical quality
* Scientific expertise of the applicant
* Innovative potential
* Relevance to the research focuses of the host institution
A suitable project idea will be selected for funding on the basis of
the evaluation. The applicants will be informed in writing about the
result of the selection procedure.
7.2.2 Submission of formal applications and decision-making procedure
In a second step, applicants whose project outlines have received a
positive evaluation will be invited to submit (within six weeks of the
invitation) a formal application of the institution where the research
project is to be carried out; a decision on this formal application
will be taken after the final evaluation.
The approval, payment of and accounting for the funds as well as proof
and examination of proper use and, if necessary, the revocation of the
award and reclaiming of the funds awarded are governed by the
administrative regulations pertaining to section 44 of the Federal
Budget Code (BHO) and sections 48 to 49a of the Administrative
Procedure Act (VwVfG) unless deviation is allowed under the present
8. Entry into force
These funding regulations will enter into force on the date of
publication in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger).
Berlin, 29 October 2007
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Dr. Christiane Buchholz
Molecular Life Sciences Division
Dr. Matthias Bethge, Group Leader
Computational Vision & Neuroscience Group
MPI for Biological Cybernetics, T"ubingen
[ http://www.kyb.mpg.de/bethgegroup/ ]
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