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FAQ for the OX|BUA Centre for Advanced Studies Call Global Health

The OX|BUA Centre for Advanced Studies is funded under the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the Länder by the Berlin University Alliance and improves the parameters for making Oxford/Berlin collaborative research partnership more flexible from an organizational point of view and strengthening the exchange of expertise across national borders. The Centre for Advanced Studies funds cooperating groups consisting of up to twelve fellows working together. These cooperating groups are to conduct research on topics relating to Grand Challenge Initiatives.

Cooperation Groups are consortia of two to five Principal Investigators (PIs) with a maximum of twelve fellows (in total) in the core Cooperation Group working together in research projects.

The Cooperation Groups should collaborate on an interdisciplinary basis and develop joint research ideas. The format of the Cooperation Group is intended to provide maximum organizational flexibility for each cooperation, the structure of which can be chosen by the Cooperation Groups themselves. Flexible funding opportunities should also promote mobility for researchers and graduate students from Berlin and Oxford working on joint projects. The goal is to establish long-term relationships and international networks possibly with the support of third-party funding.

The OX|BUA Centre for Advanced Studies strongly encourages inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to its research. This will be considered one of the key criteria in making any award.

It is not expected that the applicants' consortia are linked to those of other project proposals. Nevertheless, collaboration between the funded groups would be encouraged particularly in relation to the holding of a final joint conference and summer school.

Please note that an application in both BUA’s main Call in the Grand Challenge Initiative on Global Health and this OX|BUA CAS Call is not possible. Applicants who applied for BUA objective 1 call cannot lead a Cooperation Group in the OX|BUA CAS call. However, they could be involved either as a member of the core Cooperation group or involved in e.g. project workshops etc.

The Call for Proposals is open to professor/lecturers (for the University of Oxford: salaried faculty members) or equivalent post-doctoral level staff from any of the five partner institutions, working within any discipline.

Visiting professors are not eligible to apply. S-professorships or temporary professorships, on the other hand, are.

A valid employment contract of at least 50 % with a collaborative institution is decisive for eligibility to apply.

The funding of the position must be demonstrably secured over the entire course of the project (employment contract). If the employment contract is not guaranteed until the expected end of the project, a letter from the institute management or the dean's office can be attached regarding the effort to provide employment for this person until the end of the project.

Applicant groups must consist of three to five principal investigators and a maximum of 12 researchers in the Cooperation Group. These numbers are to be understood as fixed lower and upper limits. Participation by researchers from more than one of the BUA institutions is strongly encouraged.

No. Each eligible applicant can only participate in one application within the framework of the OX|BUA CAS Global Health call.

This also applies in the event that a PI wishes to act as a collaborative partner in another project.

Affiliated institutes (“An-Institute”) are not eligible to apply. Individuals, e.g. professors of an “An-Institut” with affiliation to an institution of the Berlin University Alliance are eligible to apply through this institution.

PhD students / doctoral candidates cannot apply for funding.

Funding has to be spent in Berlin.

Funding is provided for Cooperation Groups with material and personnel resources (incl. student assistants), as well as investment funds (excluding construction costs) in accordance with budgetary law and BUA institution’s regulations.

Typical expenditure should be travel and accommodation, costs for workshops or ‘work-in-pairs’, establishing digital activities and personnel costs. For further details see the call text on ‘Eligible Costs’.

Third party institutions or scientists, i.e. researchers who are not members (defined by having an employment contract of a minimum of 50% FTE) of a Berlin University Alliance institution or the University of Oxford, can act as applicants, but are not eligible to receive funding in their institutions. If they want to act as co-applicants, external applicants must state their financial contribution in the application (e.g. by contribution through their own position).

In addition, it is possible to name further external cooperation partners. These do not have to state their financial contributions in advance. However, it is possible to place external orders within the framework of the allocation guidelines for budget funds of the respective Alliance institution. These are to be billed as full costs.

Yes, participating applicants from the ‘Global South’ can apply for travel and accommodation funds to Berlin (only). (This is usually done through guest invitations from a BUA partner.)

Please note neither travel costs to Oxford or other locations, nor other project related costs such as personnel costs at the respective institutions can be covered.

As a small contribution to a better inclusion of participants from the ‘Global South’, we can provide funding for travel and accommodation to and in Berlin. We can offer support for applicants and members of the core Cooperation Group.

To determine, whether or not you/your partner qualifies for financial support, please refer to the following list by the DFG, which is based on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list by the OECD to identify whether or not you/your partner qualify for travel and accommodation subsidence.

https://www.dfg.de/download/pdf/foerderung/internationales/entwicklungslaender/entwicklungslaender_liste.pdf 

Please note: Similar to DFG standards, we assume, that partnering institutions in the countries marked with * usually provide funds to co-finance the partner side. We are only able to provide travel funds if project partners in these countries cannot provide funding due to certain restrictions.

We do not define the Global South preliminary as a geographical area, but rather as a term that challenges existing hierarchies in knowledge production. Accordingly, the Global South includes countries that, for various reasons which are often correlated with economic and political asymmetries, occupy a marginalized position in global science production.

Funding is provided for 24 months.

No. Cost-neutral extension may only be applied for in special exceptions e.g. case of illness or absence due to family reasons (e.g. pregnancy, maternal and parental leave).

Cooperation Groups can apply for a minimum of € 150,000 and maximum grant amount of € 333,200 Euros for a maximum funding period of 24 months. This excludes funds for a joint summer school (€ 15,000) and final conference (€ 28,000) of the funded projects.

At the discretion of the review panel and depending on the demand, applicants may not receive all the funding that they applied for.

Yes, your budget plan should be based on and, if possible, not exceed the following budget allocations:

  2021 2022 2023
Funding for Cooperation Groups with a maximum grant amount of 333,000 € 41,650 € 166,600 € 124,950 €

Please note: Within the project funding period, a maximum of 20% of the total funds can be carried over to the next funding period year. Unspent funds exceeding 20% cannot be carried over and are therefore no longer available to the project.

Approved funds are generally tied to the budget year according to the funded project period. Carryover of funds to the following year must be requested from the Alliance administrative office (“Geschäftsstelle”) by September 1 of the current year and should not exceed 20 percent. Similarly, by September 1 of the year, funds that are not needed must be reported to the administrative office.

Funding is provided as university budgetary funds (“Haushaltsmittel”). As such, the state budgetary regulations and guidelines of the Alliance's institutions apply. Additionally, this means that the German law on fixed-term contracts in academia (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz, WissZeitVG) applies to staff employed as “Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter” and these positions come with a teaching obligation (“Lehrdeputat”).

The funds are to be used economically.

No, since the funding is provided as university budgetary funds.

Within all applications, a long-term perspective within the Alliance or outside must be formulated.

Within the OX|BUA Centre for Advanced Studies, there will be no follow-up funding.

Approved funds are university budgetary funds and are tied to the budget year in accordance with the funded project duration. They are earmarked and are to be used exclusively for personnel, material and investment funds according to the provided financing plan within the submitted application. Personnel, material and investment funds are generally fungible; however, the balance between the types of expenditure should not exceed 20 percent. If a corresponding reallocation between the funds eligible for cover exceeds 20 percent, please contact the administrative office.

Applications may only be submitted online via the BIH portal: https://portal.bihealth.de/portal

The deadline for submission is July 15, 2021 at 3 pm. More information on the submission criteria can be found on the call website.

Additionally to the information entered in the application portal, you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • A two page CV of each lead applicant in tabular form as PDF here, including a list of ‘no more than five’ of the applicant’s most significant publications. These publications need not be related to the proposed project.
  • a narrative project description of no more than 3 pages as PDF (font: Calibri, font size at least 11 pt; line spacing at least 1.2), including:
    - An overview of the field of study and general intellectual content of the project suitable for a non-specialist audience; please specifically address how the project meets the criteria set out in the call documentation;
    - A lay-out of the proposed project and its specific objectives as well as its operations and functions;
    - A description of any additional financial support from sponsoring faculty/units including any PhD stipends/funding allocated to the proposed activity; and
    - A summary of any additional resources (office or laboratory space, library access etc) required for the project and their availability.
  • Budget Sheet (Download on Website)
  • an endorsement letter of the respective university's (University of Oxford or any university from partners from the Global South) head of faculty or head of department, preferrably on university letterhead as PDF here.
    The letters are intended to ensure that the respective persons are informed about the individual application activities at the faculty or department. The contents of the letters are not included in the evaluation of the projects.
    For other external partners, this letter must include a confirmation of the provision of funds (including the respective amount provided by your institution).
  • For BUA institutions: the completed template “Anzeigebogen für Projekte der Berlin University Alliance” (this is a mandatory supplementary document for submission.) Please use the relevant template for your institution (Download on Website)
    This document is intended to ensure that the respective persons are informed about the individual application activities at the faculty or department. The contents of the letters are not included in the evaluation of the projects.

Projects are assessed in a multi-stage process.

  1. An initial check for completeness of submitted documents and formal fulfillment of el- igibility criteria is carried out by the administrative coordinators of the OX|BER Research partnership. In case of technical deficiencies, the applicants have the possibility to correct the deficiencies.
  2. After the initial check, all proposals will be assessed in a written review by at least three external, international/national experts in the field of Global Health. The review is based on scores and explanations of the eligibility criteria as well as an overall numerical rating of the application.
  3. Based on scores received in the written review the administrators of the OX|BER Research Partnership will create a ranking of the submitted applications.
  4. In case of ambiguity, the applications will be sent to relevant Steering Committee members of BUA objectives for further assessment to ensure the best possible compliance to all goals set by the OX|BER Research Partnership.
  5. The selection committee (consisting of the Academic and Vice Academic Directors of the OX|BER Research Partnership) will discuss the proposals and rankings to make the final decision based on the written and scored reviews in a closed session. The funding recommendation will be recorded and documented.
  6. In a formal act, the Executive Board of the Berlin University Alliance releases the final funding decision.

No. It does not matter if an application is submitted through Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin or Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

Cooperation groups have to submit a final report. In case a progress report is required, the Cooperation Groups will be notified in advance.

Yes. All applicants must inform their corresponding dean’s offices and administrative departments (for BUA ‘Stabsstelle’). For the BUA applicants, please use the ‘Anzeigebögen für Projekte der Berlin University Alliance‘ provided on the call website.