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					                              Announcement of Opportunity
                                  Earth Observation

                     Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation

                      GUIDANCE NOTES TO APPLICANTS
          (Date issued: 12th September 2006, Closing date: 24th October 2006)

NERC and DTI (the ‘funding partners’) invite full proposals in response to the
Announcement of Opportunity for the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation

1. Introduction

This opportunity is open to HEI, other research organisations and industry. Proposals
are expected to involve a consortium including both, academic and industrial partners,
and the credibility of the collaboration between the partners must be demonstrated. A
Centre Director will lead the Centre from either the academic or industrial
community. The Centre Director must be able to command the respect of both the
academic and industrial communities, and will be responsible for: leading the Centre;
preparing its annual work plan; and the successful operation of the collaboration
between the centre partners. It is expected that the Centre Director will commit the
majority of their effort to this programme.
The Centre will initially be funded until 31st March 2008. The total funding available
for this opportunity is £1.45m1. Further funding, up to a total of 5 years, is foreseen,
but this is subject to the availability of funds following the outcome of the CSR2007
(Comprehensive Spending Review 2007) and the success of the Centre in meeting the
funding partners’ objectives, which will initially be reviewed on the basis of the
Centre’s work over the first year.
The funding will be awarded to the lead institution in the form of a contract. The
contract will include agreements regarding the collaboration between the partner
organisations and the management of Intellectual Property Rights.
Applications must be submitted to NERC by Tuesday, 24th October 2006.

 DTI Funding is available at the following commitment: £225K (FY 06/07) with no unused funds
being available after 31 March 2007; and £500K (FY 07/08), again no unused funds being available
after 31 March 2008.
2. Guidelines for preparing an application

Only the lead institution should submit an application, which should summarise the
applicants and resources required for all partner organisations in the collaborative
Applicants must include in their response the information required under the
following headings:

   a) Details of the Centre Director and Co-Investigators
       Name, organisation, address, telephone number, fax number, email address.
   b) Vision and Overall Strategy for the Centre
       The vision and overall strategy should be based on a potential 5-year
       programme and should address the criteria listed in the Announcement of
       Opportunity (bullet points under ‘The Centre must demonstrate’ and ‘The
       Centre will be able to provide’).
   c) Work Plan and Project Plan
       A summary of the work plan and a detailed project plan up to March 2008,
       including fully costed deliverables and outputs for individual work packages.
   d) Financial Information (see paragraph 4 on financial information)
       To include a justification of the resources requested and requests for the use of
       NERC Services and Facilities.
   e) Proposed Management Structure and Plans
       A description of the Centre’s proposed management structure and plans, to
       include information on data management, collaboration between partner
       organisations and Intellectual Property Rights.

In addition, you should include:

   f) Previous Track Record
       For each partner organisation.
   g) Associated Collaborations, Co-Funding and In-Kind Funding
       Where co-funding is applicable, please give details of the source and level of
       funding, reference number, and whether funding is in place or if not, when a
       decision is expected.
    h) Summary for all Partner Institutions
        List the individuals involved and the resources requested. This is to help
        reviewers identify precisely which institutions and individuals will be
        performing which functions and the respective resources requested. This
        summary should be no more than 1 page long
    i) Nominated Referees
        Details of referees whom NERC and DTI may approach for assessment of the
        tender. Please give name, address, Email, telephone number
    j) References (Industry only)
        The names of at least three referees in the UK with whom you have recently
        undertaken similar work who may be approached

Applications should take the form of a proposal of no more than 16 pages of A4
paper in single-spaced typescript (minimum font size 12 point Times New Roman
or Arial, minimum 1.5 cm margins all round, including diagrams and tables) and
attached financial information. Where these limits are exceeded, NERC may reject the
proposal, refer the application back to the applicant for revision, or use only the
qualifying number of pages for the assessment process.

3. NERC Directed Stand-Alone Studentships
As part of this opportunity, funding in addition to the Centre core funding is available
for a maximum of two NERC directed stand-alone studentships. Requests for any
associated NERC directed stand-alone studentships should be made using form RS1a
available        from        the       NERC          Forms        and       Handbooks
[] page. The RS1a form should be submitted at
the same time as the application for the Centre. Applicants are reminded that, as for
all NERC studentship schemes, directed stand-alone studentship projects should
provide strong training elements and scope for innovation. Furthermore, the success
of other parts of the Centre proposal should not depend on studentship results.

4. Financial information
The total funding available for this opportunity is £1.45m2. Further funding, up to a
total of 5 years, is foreseen, but this is subject to the availability of funds following
the outcome of the CSR2007 (Comprehensive Spending Review 2007) and the
success of the Centre in meeting the funding partners’ objectives, which will initially
be reviewed on the basis of the Centre’s work over the first year.
Financial information must be provided on the tables, which can be downloaded from
the website. Applicants must provide a summary of the total resources requested as
 DTI Funding is available at the following commitment: £225K (FY 06/07) with no unused funds
being available after 31 March 2007; and £500K (FY 07/08), again no unused funds being available
after 31 March 2008.
well as a financial breakdown for each partner organisation showing the amount
requested from the funding partners and the contribution from partner organisations.
You must complete one sheet for each partner organisation. Definitions and guidance
for completing the tables are provided on a separate worksheet in the Excel document.

Full Economic Costs (FEC)
HEI and other research organisations will be funded at 80% of full economic costs.
Industrial costs will be covered to a maximum of 50%, with the exception of the
Centre Director’s management activities (see below). Applicants should note that the
selection panel will take into account cost effectiveness in its evaluation. Within its
funding envelope the Centre will be expected to involve and fund additional academic
and industrial collaborators outside the original consortium at a moderate level. This
will enable the Centre to bring in specific specialist capabilities as they arise and
further its relationship with the broader (national and international) scientific and
industrial communities. NERC and DTI will work to introduce other funding partners
into the Centre.

Centre Directors Management Costs: This is the only element, which is eligible for
100% support from DTI. All other areas require 50% PV [see below]. This element
covers costs associated with managing the industrial component of the consortium,
and administering the DTI funds.

Please provide details of costs in the provided financial information spreadsheets.
Definitions and guidelines regarding costs may also be found in this spreadsheet.

'PV' (Private Venture) Contribution
Industry is required to provide 50% of the industry part of the eligible project costs.
Universities can bring PV (either IPR or cash) to the project under the condition that
their contribution is of direct commercial benefit to either the consortium or to the
commercial activities of the University and has not received previous public funding.

 The following text will also be relevant to Universities:
’In kind’ inputs are generally restricted to 10 -15% of project costs, however you
should note that they will not be allowable if the costs have been incurred against
another government-supported project.”
Public sector partners can take part as sub-contractors to an industrial partner, in
which case their costs will be an eligible project cost of the contracting partner.
Subcontracted organisations would not be signatories to the required collaboration
agreement, which sets out exploitation rights for the consortium members.

EC grants awarded on related projects may not be included as eligible PV cost effort,
as these arise from public funds. Background IPR that is brought to the project by one
of the partners is admissible as a PV contribution provided the following conditions
are met:
     There is clear justification of the need for the IPR in the proposed project;
      The method for valuing the IPR is clearly explained;
      The IPR was not developed in previously public funded programme.

The award will be cash-limited, therefore indexation should be included in the proposal
at a level of 2.5%.
Awards to the Centre will be considered outside the scope of VAT.

5. Assessment of proposals

A Selection Panel, comprising representatives from academia, industry and the
funding partners, will assess the proposals against the following criteria:

      Scientific and technical excellence;
      Centre vision and strategy;
      Approach to implementation, methodology, quality of outputs and
      Management structure, organisation and leadership potential;
      Capability, track record, quality of staff;
      Approach to knowledge transfer;
      Value for money;
      Potential impact on UK economy;
      Potential to retain industrial capability of instrument development expertise in
       the UK.

The panel will take into account the commitment of the organisations involved, in
particular the lead organisation, to the success of the Centre. The financial viability of
the organisations involved will also be considered. Applicants may be invited to give
a presentation to the selection panel.

Applicants should be aware that the funding partners envisage a negotiation step, prior
to making an award, to ensure that the Centre will fully respond to the funding
partners objectives.

6. Timetable

Closing date:                                 24th October 2006
Assessment panel meeting:                     week of 20th November 2006
Expected date of award:                       December 2006
Date contract expected to commence:           January 2006
7. Submission

The closing date for submission of applications for the Centre for Earth Observation
Instrumentation is Tuesday, 24th October 2006.

One copy of the signed proposal and attached financial information and studentship
forms should be sent to the following address:

Sophie Hodgson
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House
North Star Avenue

Applicants should also submit an electronic copy of the application, financial
information and studentship forms to

8. Further information
For enquiries, please contact:
Sophie Hodgson (Email:, Tel: 01793 442831)