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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 16 | 10. Mai 2010
Inverse Problems Initiative

A trilateral Chinese-Finnish-German call for proposals

The Inverse Problems Initiative is a trilateral funding measure by three funding bodies: the Academy of Finland (AF, www.aka.fi/eng), the German Research Foundation (DFG, www.dfg.de), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, www.nsfc.gov.cn). 

The Inverse Problems Initiative aims to bring together relevant and competitive researchers and research teams from China, Finland and Germany to design and carry out jointly organised research projects in the field of inverse problems. Funding within this initiative will be available for multilateral collaborative research projects consisting of researchers from at least two of the partner countries. Within these research consortia, each national funding organisation will fund as a general rule only those project components that are carried out within its own country. The collaborative research projects must involve active communication and cooperation between the participating researchers. 

The collaborative projects selected to take part in the initiative will receive research funding for a period of up to three years. 

Objectives

The objectives of the initiative are:

  • to promote high-quality, multi- and inter-disciplinary research projects in inverse problems in the participating countries
  • to stimulate mobility of researchers between the participating countries
  • to promote training of researchers
  • to accelerate the exchange of new scientific knowledge among researchers and between researchers and other interest groups 

Research areas

Relevant research areas on the Inverse Problems Initiative include mathematical, statistical and physical aspects related to research in inverse and ill-posed problems.

Subjects under this general heading include, but are not limited to:

  • research on the theoretical and applied aspects of tomographic imaging techniques and other inverse problems for partial differential equations
  • inverse problems for incomplete models or data
  • regularisation theory including probabilistic and statistical methods
  • inverse scattering problems
  • inverse problems in remote sensing and space physics research

Research projects are encouraged to include multi- and interdisciplinary approaches in a collaborative manner to create a maximal synergy between the members of the research teams. 

Eligibility

The call for proposals for the Inverse Problems Initiative is open to researchers based at universities, academic institutions and research centres in China, Finland and Germany. Funding is available for bilateral and trilateral collaborative research projects comprising researchers and/or research teams from at least two of the participating countries. Within a consortium the number of respective national research teams should be roughly balanced. Applicants are required to fulfil any national requirements for funding and follow the general regulations of their respective funding organisation. Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered. 

Criteria for project selection

All proposals will be reviewed by an external, international peer review committee. Collaborative projects suitable for joint funding will be selected on the basis of this assessment.
The most important criteria applied in this selection process are the following:

  • relevance of the project to the Inverse Problems Initiative
  • scientific quality and innovativeness of the research project
  • feasibility of the research plan
  • cost-effectiveness of the budgetary plan
  • competence and expertise of the researchers / research teams
  • effective communication and cooperation between the researchers in each country and added value of the collaboration
  • mobility of researchers between the participating countries

Allowable costs

Funds may be used to cover salaries of postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students as well as for consumables and travel expenses for internal consortia meetings (at least one internal meeting per year) and scientific conferences. Within a collaborative project, researcher mobility between China, Finland and Germany is strongly encouraged (e.g. research visits for 3–6 months) and can be supported by funding travel expenses and housing costs.

In the case of mutual visit of scientists between China and a European partner country (Finland or Germany) the visiting scientist will cover international flights and the host will provide the local accommodation together with a daily maintenance allowance and domestic travel costs.

All requested cost items must be in accordance with the national administrative regulations, respectively. 

Submission of project applications

All individual subprojects of any bilateral and trilateral collaborative project must submit a joint application to the respective national funding body according to the national rules. Any subproject application must include the specific Chinese-Finnish-German application form andthe joint proposal of the international collaborative project. The specific application form, joint proposal and all annexes must be written in English.

All applications must be received by no later than 15 June 2010. Additional specific requirements for Chinese, Finnish and German applicants are outlined below. Applications arriving late and applications not fulfilling the national requirements will not be considered. No legal entitlement can be derived from the submission of a project description.

The joint proposal must include the following information:

  • cover page with name and address of the project coordinator, followed by the names and addresses of all subproject leaders
  • joint project summary (one page maximum, 12pt and 1.5 line spacing)
  • still a formulae free short project summary (15 lines)
  • joint research plan with a general description of the project including scope, topic, relevance, overall approach, structure of the cooperation and synergy for the collaborative project as a whole (12 pages maximum, 12pt and 1.5 line spacing)
  • for each subproject, a detailed description of the work plan to be carried out by the respective national research team, and a detailed financial plan of the subproject (six pages maximum per subproject, 12pt and 1.5 line spacing)
  • overall financial plan for the joint application (two pages maximum)
  • description of how results will be disseminated (one page maximum, 12pt and 1.5 line spacing)
  • annex with short CVs for each leader of a subproject (two pages maximum including 10 selected publications) 

Specific instructions for Chinese subprojects

Applications concerning a subproject to be carried out in China are requested to conform to all the requirements listed in the Chinese call for proposals published on NSFC website. 

Specific instructions for Finnish subprojects

Applications concerning a subproject to be carried out in Finland must be submitted to the Academy of Finland via the Academy’s online services in accordance with the instructions provided in the guidelines for applicants (www.aka.fi/eng > For researchers > How to apply). Any subproject application shall be accompanied by the Specific Chinese-Finnish-German application form and the complete joint proposal of the international collaborative project. This information must be submitted no later than 15 June 2010 at 16:15

If the project involves several Finnish parties and funding is applied for independently for different sites of research, a consortium application must be submitted. Each Finnish partner in the consortium shall complete an online application form for its own part and attach all required appendices. Each application of a consortium project shall include the consortium code, which identifies the consortium’s projects. The coordinator of the consortium shall be indicated in the joint research plan. 

Specific instructions for German subprojects

Applications concerning a subproject to be funded by the DFG and carried out in Germany are requested to fulfil the eligibility requirements of DFG’s Individual Grants Programme, see the corresponding general information and guidelines for proposals, form 1.02e. 

Notification of results

Applicants will be informed in writing of the results of the review and, where applicable, of the following administrative steps according to the national regulations, respectively. The selection of the projects will take place by the end of 2010. The projects may start as of the beginning of 2011.

Further Information:

Websites of the three funding bodies:

Contact:

  • For China:
    Lu Rongkai, Director of division, NSFC, phone: +86 10 623-25351, lurk@nsfc.gov.cn
  • For Finland:
    Mika Tirronen, PhD, Programme Manager, Academy of Finland, phone: +358 9 7748-8255, mika.tirronen@aka.fi
  • For Germany:
    Frank Kiefer, PhD, Program Director, German Research Foundation (DFG),
    phone:
    +49 228 885-2567, frank.kiefer@dfg.de

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