Trans-national access will be provided to selected ‘user groups’, i.e. teams of one or more researchers (users) led by a ‘user group leader’/principal investigator (PI). Proposals for access to any of the offered infrastructures will be accepted if they meet the following 9 strict criteria:
- Affiliation (I): The user group leader/PI, the majority of the proponents and users of a project must work in a country other than the country that owns and operates the infrastructure. They cannot apply for ship-time on a research vessel (RV) or access to marine equipment (ME) from their own country.
- Example 1: A PI based in Belgium is entitled to apply for ship-time on all of the listed vessels, except RVs carrying the Belgian flag (e.g. RV Belgica II), and/or any piece of marine equipment provided by Belgium (e.g. AUV VLIZ).
- Example 2: If an application is requesting access to e.g. AUV ASTERx (based in France) on board RV Simon Stevin (based in Belgium), the PI and the majority of users must work in a country other than France and Belgium.
- Affiliation (II): The PI of a proposal and the designated cruise leader (Chief scientist of the embarked team) must be affiliated to the same institution.
- International cooperation: The proposals within the SEA Programme must involve at least three partners from three different countries.
- Marine equipment: In the case of proposals requesting only a piece of ME to be deployed from an already funded cruise (not EUROFLEETS+ funded), the proposals can involve partners from one single country, as long as they work in a country other than the country the requested infrastructure is based. However, international partners are encouraged even if only as remote participants for data treatment and exploitation.
- Cruise duration: The cruise length/days of access to RVs and ME, requested by the applicants, should not exceed the number of days offered. Additional days can be chartered independently of EUROFLEETS+ funding, if agreed with the RV or ME operator.
- Data management: A Data Management Plan (DMP) must be submitted together with the proposal. The DMP should follow the EUROFLEETS+ guidelines.
- Training: Proposals must include an advanced training or educational programme for scientists or technicians.
- Dissemination: Only user groups that are entitled to and willing to disseminate the knowledge they will generate under the project are eligible to benefit from access free of charge to the infrastructures under the EUROFLEETS+ flag, unless they are working for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). User groups must agree to comply with the EUROFLEETS+ data policy.
- Expertise: The PI or a designated cruise leader of a proposal must have the appropriate scientific/ technical expertise to conduct on-board research cruises.
The non-fulfilment of any of the previous criteria implies the non-acceptance of the proposal for further evaluation.