PIER Seed Projects

Call for applications now open!

Science is done in the scientists’ heads. Research thrives on curiosity and good ideas. The PIER Seed Projects promote innovative, creative and unusual research ideas. The funding program is particularly aimed at qualified young scientists, enabling them to initiate, develop and implement completely new research ideas, concepts or methods. Acting as a funding instrument, the PIER Seed Projects provide rapid and non-bureaucratic seed money and start-up funding for the implementation of fresh ideas. Funding will focus on creative ideas, lateral thinking as well as risky research ideas with possibly high potential benefits.

Aim and object of the funding
The aim of the funding is to pick up good research ideas and to enable their implementation. This funding instrument supports the identification, testing, elaboration and implementation of innovative ideas in research and development in the four PIER research fields. The funding concentrates on innovative research and development projects at an early stage where a rapid and non-bureaucratic financial support can significantly contribute to advances in knowledge.

Funding will be granted to
       1) Analysis and studies of new hypotheses, new concepts and new methodological approaches.
       2) Experimental research and development work on building prototypes, demonstration of the feasibility or
             viability as „proof of principle“, or identification and development of new areas of application.
       3) Conceptual work and studies on an experiment, experimental set-up or device with high discovery and
             innovation potential and high benefit potential.

The applicant must be registered as a PIER Scientist (PhDs of the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School do not need to register as PIER Scientist). Members of the Universität Hamburg and DESY can apply as main applicants for a funding of their project proposal. Researchers from the PIER partner organizations (such as BNITM, EMBL, HPI, MPSD, XFEL) can apply for funding as co-applicants.

The underlying concept must have at its core a new approach and, as such, must not be the objective of an existing funding support or a separate part of a funded third-party project.

The funding by PIER excludes institutional funding or covering budget deficits of a third-party project. Should the concept arise within the scope of a third-party project, the context of the project and the further third-party funding must be described in the project proposal.

Nature and scope of the funding
The funding is provided in the form of a non-repayable grant, covering up to 100% of direct project costs. The average funding amount of previously funded projects was 40,000 Euros. The proposed project duration for which support is requested must be consistent with the nature and complexity of the proposed activity. Grants are awarded for a maximum of up to two years. Please note that funds must be used within the funding period. The funding focuses on project-related expenses exclusively. Personnel costs are generally not eligible.

Structure of the project proposal
A proposal of maximum five pages (including CV but without cover application form, budget plan and enclosures) has to be made in English and has to include (application form at www.pier-hamburg.de/templates):

General information:
       • Project title
       • Duration of project (in months); beginning of the project (at the earliest 1 December 2017)
       • Contact details of main applicant
       • Institute/group affiliation of main applicant
       • Project partners and corresponding institutions
       • Assignment to the PIER Research Fields
       • Total requested project costs

Project details:
       • Summary (up to 1,500 characters (including spaces))
       • Proposal description
       • Project plan
       • Evaluation of the chances of success; effects on future research
       • Brief description of the applicant’s expertise
       • The applicant’s CV and five relevant publications

Budget plan:
       • Detailed budget plan in tabular form -total requested and per calendar year- including specification of own
             (or other) resources
       • Cost estimates need to be as accurate as possible to cover the expenses proposed in the project
       • Typical budget line items are equipment, materials & supply, services, travel etc.

Proposals for PIER Seed Projects have to be submitted by e-mail to the PIER Office by 31 August 2017. The evaluation follows a two-stage procedure by the PIER Executive Board.

First, the project proposals will be checked for compliance with formality requirements by the PIER Office. Each proposal will then be reviewed by both spokespeople of the related PIER research field who will then give a recommendation.

Based on those evaluations the projects that receive a funding recommendation will be invited to present their project in front of the PIER Executive Board on 16 October 2017. Based on those presentations the PIER Executive Board will make their funding decisions.

A short report has to be submitted to the PIER Office six weeks after the expiration of the funding measure. In case the report of expenditure of funds cannot be completed due to ongoing settlement procedures, missing documents will have to be filed subsequently.

Evaluation criteria
The evaluation criteria are as follows:

       • Novelty or novelty grade of the research concept, originality of approach
       • Scientific quality of the research project
       • Relevance of the project with regard to the objectives and contents of the PIER research fields
       • Scientific qualification and applicant’s expertise
       • Support of young scientists
       • Quality of the project planning and structure and cost plan
       • Adequacy of the requested funds
       • Cooperation between Universität Hamburg and DESY

PIER is a partnership between Universität Hamburg and DESY. PIER is not a legal entity. The financial support of funded projects will be handled by one partner of PIER, either Universität Hamburg or DESY.

A legal claim to funding cannot be derived from the submission of a project proposal.

Funded projects are obliged to refer to the funding authority PIER when presenting the project or project results from the funded project.