DIREC Starter Explore project

Introduction

Explore projects are small agile research and innovation projects with the purpose to quickly screen new ideas within or between the core thematic topics of DIREC – possibly in relation to specific challenges of companies or society. Explore projects run for 3-12 months with a focus on identifying and creating new research challenges and areas.

Projects can be stand-alone projects or part of a sequential evolution of projects. For example, an Explore project may be a natural start to investigate into a new field or topic, which can lead to the creation of a larger research project.

In this special call we are looking for project proposals from researchers that are in the beginning of their carrier (up to 7 years after defending their PhD) and have an idea for an excellent project within one or more of the workstreams of DIREC.

Who can propose projects?
  • The primary project investigator needs to be a computer science researcher working at one of the 8 Danish universities/Alexandra Institute and within the research scope of one of the DIREC workstreams. The focus is on computer science and related research areas. If you are in doubt whether your research or department is eligible, please consult your local DIREC representative.
  • The primary project investigator has less than 7 years of experience since defending their PhD thesis. Extension is possible for delays due to maternity leave, illness or work in industry.
  • The proposal can include senior collaborators, but the proposal need to state clearly that the young research is the primary project investigator (PI).
What proposals are eligible?
  • The research proposal needs to address a research topic within one of the DIREC workstreams and the proposal need to be sponsored by one of the researcher’s associated with the workstream.
  • The proposal needs to include at least two universities. The collaborating university can either apply for part of the budget, provide co-financing by collaborating with the project, host the young researcher for a limited time or in other ways support the project and collaboration between the two universities.
  • The proposal can include external partners (public or private companies) and they can contribute to the budget with hours spend working on the project (flat rate 600 DKK). The inclusion of external co-founding will strengthen the proposal by showing a clear external interest in the project, but we also welcome pure science projects without external partners.
How much?

Each explore project may be supported with up to 300-500.000 DKK including overhead for a period of up to a year.

Evaluation process

The proposal will be judged by the DIREC management team (the workstream leaders + the director of DIREC).

Primary evaluation criteria:

  • The project has a clear goal addressing a state-of-the-art research or innovation problem within one of the workstreams of DIREC.
  • The explore project is part of a plan for accelerating a research carrier for a talented researcher.
  • The explore project can strongly connect the research topic with how it will create value for society and industry.
  • The project either addresses a core scientific research problem or can bridge research and industry by including external partners and co-financing (as a guideline 0,5x = decent, 1x= good, 2x = excellence)
  • The explore project brings new people together or is used to explore a novel research direction.

Beside the primary evaluation criteria, the evaluation of the explore project is bound by the general assessment criteria for all DIREC projects.

Excellence – Quality in research, teaching and innovation

  • Ambitious and clear objectives.
  • Probability of breakthrough with high gain reflecting the risk.
  • Clear description of the methods used.
  • State-of-the-art and excellence of the question(s) investigated as well as the excellence of the solution and its method(s).
  • Competences of the team.

Value Creation

  • Value creation for and impact on the international research community.
  • Value creation for Danish society, for the beneficiaries and for the partners – including innovation and commercial potential if relevant.
  • Link to (inter)national strategies fitting the general strategy of the centre, and/or a specific strategy in the field in case the Board decides on such a strategy.
  • Qualification of excellent researchers needed by universities to serve the societal demands, including maturation of early-stage researchers.
  • Education of students at a high level in areas of high demand, and new educational activities increasing capacity in areas of high demand. The projects are thus expected to have an impact on courses and Thesis projects carried out by the participating universities.
  • Demonstrate the objective DIREC to bring partners together in the Danish eco-system that have not previously worked together (either researchers, companies, or public organisations).

Implementation

  • A clear, shared vision by the partners, and actions undertaken to ensure the partners’ ownership.
  • A multi-organisational dream team with necessary competencies and qualifications, resource and time allocation. Diversity and experience to create synergy among the participants.
  • Commitment by all partners in terms of co-financing.
  • Economic efficiency by resource optimisation. Efficient decision-making processes. Interdependencies between tasks and results.
  • Relevant legal, ethical, and regulatory aspects. 
How to apply

Fill out the form and send it to lene.h.mortensen@direc.dk no later than November 5th, 2021.

The proposal needs to include:

Questions

For further information contact a DIREC work stream manager, Thomas Riisgaard Hansen (thomas.r.hansen@direc.dk) or send an email to info@direc.dk