On 20 December 2017, MUSE Steering Committee released the results of its first research support call-for-projects: 58 projects were selected for funding, to be coordinated by 54 different research units and involving an even larger number of laboratories via inter-laboratory collaborations. In order to pursue the undertaken effort, MUSE Board of Directors decided to publish a second vast research support program, using the funds from the I-SITE endowment that the formal signature of the grant agreement released on 28 December 2017.
MUSE seeks to create a university that will encompass many scientific fields and leverage the talents of 19 partner institutions. This university will also stand out from others at international level by its ability to produce knowledge and/or innovative solutions to address three major societal challenges: food safety, environmental protection, and human health (cf. annex). The present call-for-projects aims to contribute to this scientific objective while providing answers to several remarks made by the international jury.
Indeed, the IDEX-ISITE international jury pointed out that the way science develops around MUSE three key sectors (FEED – PROTECT – CARE) has yet to change, together with the way in which these sectors interact and strengthen each other. The jury also stressed out the need to clarify the links between health facilities and the university, and more generally, the necessity to shed light onto the ties between research organizations and the university.
Finally, the jury recommended that the three key sectors be developed by seeking interface activities between them, that attention be paid to integrate social science issues in the research, and that an international strategy be defined based on a strong partnership with IRD and CIRAD.
This call is open to all 6,000 scientists of MUSE 19 partners, currently employed in a research structure within MUSE scope.
Funding for this research support program amounts to approximately 3.6 M€ (from MUSE funds).
This program calls for only one type of project.
The selection of about ten major research projects is foreseen (with financing by MUSE from 300 to 400 k€, possibly supplemented by co-financing), and may include salaries (doctoral and/or post-doctoral fellows who are an essential part of research development, as well as support staff, recruited for the project), operating costs or equipment.
Similar to the first call-for-projects, proposals should be compatible with MUSE global scientific scope which focuses on addressing three major challenges (FEED – PROTECT – CARE) and yet remains open to all disciplines (cf. Graph in annex). In addition to general consistency and scientific quality, the following three criteria must be met:
- 1- Ability to create links between scientific communities and between MUSE challenges, and/or between major scientific sectors that contribute to MUSE global scientific scope (see annex: agriculture // environment-biodiversity // health // social sciences // formal sciences and technologies // chemistry).
- Each proposal shall include research issues (what question is being addressed?) which will generate research (how is this question addressed?) significantly involving research units from at least two Labexes, and/or at least two out of MUSE five research clusters (Reminder – MUSE research clusters are: Agriculture-environment-biodiversity // Chemistry // Biology-Health // Social Sciences // Mathematics, computer science, physics and systems).
- However, for proposals dealing specifically with health issues, the cross-disciplinary requirement may be overlooked (it will be possible to remain within the “biology-health” sector only), but in this case it will be essential to demonstrate the effective involvement of clinical research teams and/or clinical services (involving health facilities and patients in the project) alongside fundamental research teams (translational research).
- 2- Opening to external partners, demonstrated by a significant contribution (staff and/or financial means and/or equipment, or the like: the extent of external partners’ participation will be one of the selection criteria). External partners’ involvement may correspond to the following situations:
- Participation of civil society members including associations, companies, communities and more;
And / or
- Participation of international academic partners deemed to be “international references” for MUSE key sectors (favoring MUSE key international strategic partners: the universities of Barcelona, Heidelberg, Wageningen, Kyoto, and UC Davis) and/or partners from Southern countries (preferably for destinations where IRD or CIRAD have strongly and durably established their activity, as indicated by the presence of platforms in partnership abroad such as Joint International Laboratories).
- 3 – The inclusion of issues specific to social sciences will be required for finalized projects, and will be appreciated in other cases.
The submission and selection procedure will be carried out in two stages:
- Intent – A two-page letter of intent describing the targeted topic, addressed issue(s), and main foreseen methodology, indicating involved MUSE research units and their participation in the project, the main coordinating laboratory and external partners. Letters of intent will be assessed and selected by MUSE Steering Committee.
- Proposal – For selected letters of intent, a detailed proposal that includes a description of planned costs. Proposals will be assessed by a commission comprised of renowned scientists from outside of Montpellier. MUSE Steering Committee will make the final decision based on those assessments.
Applications (in French or English) will be submitted via the submission portal on the muse.umontpellier.fr website, section Research support Call-for-projects. All requested attachments must be submitted for the application to be valid.
For inquiries, please write to MUSEemail@example.com