Q: Is the application template available online?
A: the application template is a word document to fill-in (one per project team) and is downloadable at the bottom of the Virchow 2.0 open call webpage, together with the signature page (1 per applicant) which should be signed by each applicant of the project team and then submitted as one pdf file to the email address email@example.com by 12 December 2021, 12:00 am CET.
Number of applications
Q: Is there a limit on how many projects we can apply for? Can I apply for two different projects with two different partners for unrelated projects? Does that decrease my chances? If both proposals are good, only one will be selected?
A: The number of applications per partner and per consortium is not limited. Applicants are welcome to apply with different projects. It does not decrease their chances, rather the opposite. We can’t say if only one proposal will be selected if both are good because it depends on the other submitted proposals. Of course if very similar projects are submitted by other applicants with the same score, we might prioritize these other applicants over applicants with already a selected project, however this is very unlikely to happen and therefore applicants are encouraged to submit several project ideas if applicable.
Q: Can one partner participate in multiple projects?
Q: What does “a minimum of two partners are required” mean? Can it be 1 partner from academia and 1 partner from industry or should it be 2 partners from academia and 1 partner from industry?
A: A minimum of two partners means that each project team should include at least two applicants from two different organisations. So it can be 1 partner from academia and 1 partner from industry.
Q: Are there any preferences to applications with more than 2 partners?
A: This is not a criteria or an additional benefit over other submitted applications. Only the workplan and the budget plan have to be appropriate for the size of the proposed project team.
Q: Can I apply without an industry partner? or do all applications absolutely need an industry partner?
A: Yes, this is possible, but the chance that project ideas involving only academic applicants are selected for inclusion in the final cluster proposal is very low. In principle, we could consider R&D projects without industry partners for the Virchow 2.0 cluster. However, that would require securing enough co-funding from other R&D projects selected by the open call to reach the overall 20% own contribution required by the BMBF. That we cannot guarantee to manage since it depends on the submissions we received. In addition, even if we secure 20% own contribution for example with co-funding from academic partners, please note that a key criterion of the BMBF Clusters4Future competition is the strong engagement and financial commitment of industry partners. Hence, they would like to see many industry partners involved in the R&D projects. Otherwise, we would risk not being chosen as a cluster for the implementation phase by the BMBF.
Q: How do I obtain information on all interested companies?
A: On the following page you can find (among other partners) most of the companies that have been supporting our cluster: Virchow 2.0 supporters/associated partners. These companies have provided an LOI for the cluster proposal sketch submission in February and/or have signed an associated partner agreement for the conception phase.
Following-up on the Virchow 2.0 kick-off event and to find partners for project ideas, we also offer the matchmaking platform with the option to browse through the event participants and newly registered potential partners: matchmaking participants and book 1:1 virtual meetings. We are also organizing matchmaking events for interested applicants to find partners including from industry.
Q: How much does an industry partner need to contribute to the project?
A: Industry partners must co-fund their own eligible project costs with a rate that depends on the type of the partner and the type of the conducted research. In addition, there are other reasons which can change the rate. Please see the Virchow 2.0 budget plan guidelines for further details and the BMBF Clusters4Future guidelines (section 5 and section 2 of the annex).
Q: When in the whole application process do you need a letter of intent (LOI) from the respective industry partners?
A: LOIs are probably needed when we submit the final cluster proposal by 31 March 2022. We will check with the BMBF/Projektträger and confirm this as soon as possible. In any case, the commitment of all partners including industry partners is already a requirement for the open call deadline (12 December 2021) as part of the application.
Q: What is the financial frame for a single project (max budget)
A: There is no limit to the budget that can be requested per application or applicant. However, it is reasonable to consider the indicative range of 200 to 500K€ per year for a project budget. Project ideas with a duration of maximum three years can be submitted.
Please note that this is not a call for project funding yet. The selected projects will be included in the final cluster proposal and will receive funding only if Virchow 2.0 is chosen by the BMBF to realize its first implementation phase. Up to 4.5 million € would be available per year for all R&D collaborative projects in the cluster. You can also find this information on the open call call website in the section “Duration and potential funding”
Q: If successful, how much money does the BMBF contribute to the Virchow 2.0 cluster?
A: If the Virchow 2.0 application is successful in the Clusters4Future competition, the BMBF would contribute in total up to 5 MEUR/year to the Virchow 2.0 cluster (maximum amount which can be requested) that includes at least 10% i.e. 0.5M€/year for innovation supporting activities within the cluster (such as entrepreneurship education, network events, training and education program, communication, etc.) and 4.5 MEUR/year for the R&D collaborative projects we are selecting via the call. An additional 20% i.e. 1 MEUR/year needs to be secured on top of the BMBF funding from the cluster partners (own contribution).
Q: What happens to Virchow 2.0 if the 20% co-financing is not reached?
A: Then the Clusters4Future application is not eligible for the maximum amount of 5M€/year and can’t be submitted to the BMBF. In that case we might need to scale down the number of projects included in the final proposal (i.e. request less than 5M€/year) to make sure we reach the 20% own contribution.
Q: Which kind of commitment for the co-financing is necessary for the open call proposals to be submitted by 12 December?
A: Co-financing must already be planned and indicated in the open call application as part of the budget plan. Each partner has to fill-in a budget table including the appropriate co-funding rate (as defined by rules of the BMBF Clusters4Future guidelines) and corresponding co-funding amount planned for each of their project costs. In addition, each applicant has to sign the signature page confirming their organisation agrees with the proposed budget plan including co-financing if applicable.
Academic partners can have 100% of their eligible costs funded by the BMBF while for industry partners a contribution of 50% of the eligible costs incurred is generally required but can be decreased depending on the type of industry partners, the type of conducted research and with other reasons. Please see the Virchow 2.0 budget plan guidelines for further details.
Q: To which topic does my idea fit?
A: In case you didn’t see the full topic descriptions yet, please go to the section “Topics” on the Virchow 2.0 open call website.
If yo send a brief description of the aim of your project idea in one or two sentences to firstname.lastname@example.org, we can help you identifying the best topic fit. Also it is important that your project idea fit with the cell-based medicine vision.
Q: Who is reviewing the open call applications?
A: Each application will be evaluated by 2-3 international science and innovation experts with a proven track record in the corresponding topic. The reviewers will sign a confidentiality agreement. The review is performed anonymously, therefore we cannot share the review panel list.
Q: Do you have an estimate on how many project ideas will be submitted?
A: We expect quite a few proposals and look forward to your applications!