GUIDELINES FOR ETH RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATIONS by cze94904

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									GUIDELINES FOR ETH RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATIONS
Revised August 12, 2009


The ETH Research Grant System
ETH Zurich Research Grants are intended to promote world-class research at the ETH that
may result in fundamental new knowledge or technologies. Grant applications that involve
innovative (particularly high-risk) approaches with the potential for exciting new discoveries
in engineering, natural sciences, mathematics and social sciences are particularly welcome.
Grant applications that involve scientifically sound but relatively routine investigations are
automatically assigned lower priority.
ETH Research Grants should not be the primary and certainly not the only source of
research funding for any ETH Zurich group. Rather, they should be a source of funding for
step-out projects.


There are three types of ETH Research Grants:
          ETH Independent Investigators’ Research Awards (ETHIIRA)
             ETHIIRA is a new designation for the grants formerly known as “TH-
             Gesuche”. These grants are intended to support highly innovative graduate-
             student projects involving a single ETH Principal Investigator or a small
             number of colleagues. It acknowledges the continued importance of individual
             investigator studies for innovative research. ETHIIRA is not meant to be a
             substitute for regular SNF (Swiss National Science Foundation) grants but
             should complement SNF funding in the area of high-risk / high reward
             research. Therefore, ETHIIRA Principal Investigators are, in general, required
             to have active SNF grants. Exceptions from this rule are ETH fields of
             research that are not eligible for SNF funding and proposals from SNF
             Professors (recipients of “SNF-Förderungsprofessuren”).
          Collaborative, Highly Interdisciplinary Research Projects—stage 1 (CHIRP1)
             CHIRP1 will explicitly support research that crosses disciplinary and
             administrative boundaries. Its purpose is to initiate new classes of high-risk,
             innovative research. CHIRP1 proposals will be subjected to an initial formal
             screening for strategic fit with the overall goals of the School Administration
             (Schulleitung), scientific added value with respect to the combined
             contributions from the partners, and track record of the project team. All
             projects will be reviewed externally. The funds are seen as a high-risk
             investment by the school and as seed funding only, with a size of a maximum
             of CHF 750,000 over 3 years. Although supporting PhD and postdoctoral
             research is the cornerstone of the CHIRP1 program, the range of fundable
             activities is not limited to PhD or postdoctoral projects, and may, for example,
             also include seed funding for ETH Competence Centers. Successful CHIRP1
             proposals with a very positive post-review can be continued within the
             framework of CHIRP2.
          Collaborative, Highly Interdisciplinary Research Projects—stage 2 (CHIRP2)
             CHIRP2, (which can be regarded as equivalent to the earlier “Polyprojects”)
             will provide a high level of support (approx. CHF 2 Million over 3 years) for

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              collaborative, interdisciplinary projects, with an average of one new project
              funded per year. CHIRP2 projects can be submitted without a preceding
              CHIRP1, and such submissions will be evaluated competitively with the other
              CHIRP2 projects according to the same criteria. Again there is a premium
              placed on added value of the collaboration, and a record of collaboration
              between the participating groups must be demonstrated.


Funding Rules

   1. Who May Submit an Application
In general, a grant application may be submitted by a Principal Investigator and, where
appropriate, one or more co-applicants. The Principal Investigator of a grant application
must be an ETH Zurich employee with at least an earned doctorate or equivalent
qualification and at least a 50% ETH position. For CHIRP projects, at least three applicants
and at least three different research groups must participate.
For those applications that include funding requests for doctoral projects, the formal
doctoral supervisor (Leiter/Leiterin der Doktorarbeit) must either be the Principal
Investigator or a co-applicant. Alternatively, the formal doctoral supervisor should submit a
letter to the Vice-President of Research accepting ultimate responsibility for the supervision
of the doctoral projects. The formal doctoral supervisor must have a guaranteed ETH
position for the duration of the proposed projects. It is preferable that the Principal
Investigator also has a long-term position.

   2. Who May Not Submit an Application
In general, researchers who do not have at least a 50% ETH position at the Research
Assistant or higher level, doctoral students, potential doctoral students, and employees who
do not have guaranteed ETH positions for the entire duration of the proposed projects (e.g.,
professors who are about to retire) are not eligible to apply for ETH Research Grants.

   3. What May Be Funded Through an ETH Research Grant
ETH Research Grants should be used primarily to fund doctoral research projects
completed at the ETH Zurich under the supervision of ETH Zurich employees. Doctoral
students are provided a 60% salary at the standard ETH PhD salary level for a maximum
period of three years. Well-justified post-doctoral research positions that are absolutely
necessary for the successful completion of a project may be funded for a maximum period
of two years. See www.ethgrants.ethz.ch for standard salaries applicable to ETH Research
Grants.
The following items that are explicitly required for the completion of the project(s) may also
be included in an ETH Research Grant application: (i) purchase price of capital equipment,
(ii) running and maintenance costs, rental fees, and costs of consumables, (iii) travel
expenses, including field expenses.

   4. What May Not Be Funded Through an ETH Research Grant
In general, ETH Research Grants may not be used to fund:
a) The salaries of the Principal Investigator, the co-applicants or their relatives or
   cohabiting partners;
b) Diploma or M. Sc. research projects;


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c) Post-doctoral researchers who received their doctoral degrees from ETH Zurich or the
   University of Zurich immediately before commencement of the proposed project.
d) Research requiring security classification, such that publications are prohibited;
e) The development of products for immediate commercial marketing;
f) Replacement costs of laboratory and field equipment that is required for maintaining
   state-of-the-art research facilities. Applications for the replacement of laboratory and
   field equipment should be submitted as an equipment grant request (see
   www.equipment.ethz.ch).
g) Personnel employed by institutions other than ETH Zurich.


   5. Duration
The maximum duration of an ETH Research Grant is three years.


Application Procedure

   6. When and How to Submit Applications
There are three ETH Research Grant competitions per year. The relevant submission
deadlines are March 15, September 1 and December 1. Applications should be submitted
electronically using the www.ethgrants.ethz.ch web-based system.

   7. Language
To allow grant applications to be internationally reviewed, they must be written in English.

   8. What Primary Information Should Be Included in an Application
The grant application should include:
   •   A concise summary with key details on the objectives of the proposed research
       project(s), the methods to be employed and the significance of the anticipated
       results,
   •   Goals, milestones, and expected outputs of the proposed research,
   •   The rationale for the proposed research and state of research,
   •   A detailed research plan, (the formal requirements regarding length and the level of
       detail may vary between the different Research Grant types – see explanations
       below and the downloadable document templates for more information)
   •   A description of the resources available for the realization of the research,
   •   A list of recent relevant publications by the Principal Investigator and co-applicants,
   •   A list of recent relevant publications by others,
   •   In the case of CHIRP projects, a detailed description of the value that is added by
       virtue of the collaboration,
   •   A description of the significance of the project(s) to ETH Zurich, and
   •   Any additional information that may help the assessment process.



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Technical abbreviations and jargon should be avoided or adequately explained. In
particular, the summary should be written in a form that allows the educated layman to
understand the objectives of the proposed research project(s), the methods to be
employed, and the significance of the anticipated results.
In describing the state of research, it is essential to include appropriate references to the
most recent work of others, as well as those of the Principal Investigator and co-applicants.
In the case of ETHIIRA and CHIRP2 projects, the detailed research plan must include
scientific and technical details and expected milestones for each proposed doctoral project.
It is essential that the internal and external reviewers understand the potential and
limitations of the proposed doctoral projects. Furthermore, the respective roles to be played
by the Principal Investigator and co-applicants should be explicitly stated. Given the highly
exploratory nature of CHIRP1 projects, in general no detailed work plans on the individual
collaborator level are required. Nevertheless, CHIRP1 applicants must clearly indicate the
overall scientific goals and milestones as well as the possible scientific impact and the
innovation potential of the proposed work.
For ETHIIRA and CHIRP1 applications, the detailed research plan should not exceed 10
pages in total (single-spaced, 10-point Arial or equivalent). The corresponding parts of a
CHIRP2 application should not exceed 20 pages.
With regard to the list of publications, each reference must include (i) the names of all
authors in the order as published, (ii) year or publication, (iii) title of the article, (iv) title of
the journal or book, (v) volume number, and (vi) page numbers. If a publication or other
relevant manuscript is available electronically, the website address may be provided.
References to gray literature material (e.g. unpublished reports, papers in obscure or
difficult-to-access journals) are discouraged unless sufficient relevant information from them
(e.g., figures) is included in the application.
Relatively complete details associated with the personnel requests are required for each
ETHIIRA and CHIRP2 application (see the financial requirements form in the file download
area www.vpf.ethz.ch/thgrants_help/download). Although the description of the proposed
personnel and running costs budget may be brief for CHIRP1 proposals, the purpose of the
requested funds must be made clear.

   9. What Supplementary Information Should Be Included in an Application
The following details concerning costs and funding NOT included in the requested credit
are also required for ETH Research Grant applications:
   •   Construction,
   •   Computer resources,
   •   Other expenses,
   •   Contributions from other agencies,
   •   Requested contributions from other agencies.
Other details required for all types of ETH Research Grant applications are clearly outlined
in the downloadable document templates.




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   10.        Documents that Must Accompany an Application:
a) A one-page Curriculum Vitae (CV) together with a list of publications for the past five
   years are required of the Principal Investigator and any doctoral student or post-doctoral
   researcher to be funded by the project. If critical to the application, and always in the
   case of CHIRP projects, the co-applicant(s) may also submit this information.
b) A two- to three-page report for each of the Principal Investigator's ETH-funded projects
   that were completed within a period of three years prior to the grant application. Each
   report should include the abstract and the goals of the original grant application, brief
   statements highlighting the achievements and advances made during the course of the
   research project(s), reasons for not achieving the original goals, and a list of the outputs
   (e.g., publications, patents, presentations at international conferences). Individual
   reports longer than three pages are strongly discouraged.
c) For ETHIIRA applications: a list of active grants and submitted grant applications. This
   list should include the names of the Principal Investigators and co-applicants, titles of
   the projects, funds granted or requested, project periods, and the granting agencies.
   Where appropriate, similar information on contracts should also be provided.
d) A list of suggested external reviewers. The suggested external reviewers should be
   independent of the Principal Investigator, co-applicants, and any person that may
   receive funding as a result of the ETH Research Grant application. As examples, the
   suggested external reviewers should not be (i) close colleagues, (ii) former supervisors,
   (iii) co-authors of publications, (iv) co-editors of journals or books or (v) co-investigators
   on other grant applications with the Principal Investigator, co-applicants and any person
   that may receive funding as a result of the ETH Research Grant application. In general,
   the suggested external reviewers should not be employees of ETH Zurich or the
   University of Zurich.

   For an ETHIIRA grant application that seeks funding for one or two doctoral research
   projects, suggestions for at least five external reviewers are required. For larger
   ETHIIRA applications and CHIRP projects, the number of suggested external reviewers
   should be proportionally larger. As examples, at least ten external reviewers should be
   suggested for an ETH Research Grant application that seeks CHF 500,000 - 1,000,000
   of financial support and at least five external reviewers per subject area should be
   suggested for CHIRP projects.

   The Executive of the ETH Zurich Research Committee will seek reviews of a submitted
   ETH Research Grant application from a selection of the suggested external reviewers
   and other experts in the relevant research field(s). To maintain confidentiality and avoid
   bias in making their recommendations, the names of the external reviewers, who are
   selected by the Research Committee and Subcommittee Presidents, are not released to
   the other ETH Zurich Research Committee Members.
e) For certain rather rare ETH Research Grant applications, the applicants may wish to
   provide a list of researchers whom they consider to be inappropriate external reviewers.
   Such a list should provide the reasons for excluding the potential external reviewers.
f) Price quotes for expensive materials and three price quotes for each item of capital
   equipment.
Of the above documents that should accompany the grant application, only the CVs,
bibliographies and cost estimates will be forwarded with the applications for external review.



GUIDELINES FOR ETH RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATIONS —12 August 2009                      page - 5 - of 7
Evaluation


   11.        Review, Recommendation, and Decision Procedures
Assuming that certain criteria are met (see point 13.), every ETH Research Grant
application will be reviewed by independent external experts and initially assessed by one
or more Subcommittees of the ETH Zurich Research Committee. Larger ETHIIRA and
CHIRP proposals can be also assessed by an ad-hoc committee that comprises relevant
Members of the ETH Zurich Research Committee and—if necessary—external experts. In
addition, a 30 minute hearing with applicants of CHIRP2 proposals will be conducted,
provided the proposal passes the initial screening in the Subcommittees. If approved,
major interdisciplinary projects may be subject to periodic review.
The Subcommittees' recommendations will be forwarded to the entire ETH Zurich Research
Committee for consideration. The President of the ETH Zurich Research Committee will
communicate the final recommendations of the Committee to the Vice President of
Research, who makes the final decisions.

   12.         When to Expect a Decision
Notification of decisions made by the Vice President of Research will normally be sent to
the Principal Investigators within 3 to 4 months of the respective submission deadline.
In the case of a rejection without external review (see point 13.), notification of the decision
will normally be made within one month of the respective submission deadline.

   13.        Rejection without External Review
Grant applications will be rejected without being subjected to external review by the
Executive of the ETH Zurich Research Committee if one or more of the following applies:
a) The application is not written in English;
b) The application in identical or similar form has been submitted at the same time to
   another granting agency;
c) The application in identical or similar form has been rejected or only partially funded by
   another granting agency prior to submission to the ETH Grant system;
d) The application is submitted by someone who is not allowed to submit an application
   (see point 2.);
e) The description of the research plan is particularly poor (e.g. the proposed doctoral
   project(s) is inadequately explained);
f) The review of the state of research is significantly incomplete;
g) The referencing system does not follow the specified rules;
h) The summary is not written in a form that allows the educated layman to understand the
   objectives of the proposed research project(s), the methods to be employed and the
   significance of the anticipated results;
i) The required documents specified under point 9. are not provided;
j) The signature of the budget officer (Budgetverantwortlicher) of the PI professorship on
   the proposal cover sheet is missing;
k) The description of the detailed research plan is too long (see point 8.)
GUIDELINES FOR ETH RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATIONS —12 August 2009                     page - 6 - of 7
l) The Principal Investigator of an ETHIIRA application does not have active SNF grants.
m) The number of applicants and/or the involved groups in a CHIRP application is
   insufficient (see point 1)




Peter Chen                                           Nicholas Spencer
Vice President Research                              President
ETH Zurich                                           ETH Zurich Research Committee




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