T4.2. Scientific and logistic evaluation of proposals

T4.1. Preparation of Access Programmes and Systems
T4.2. Scientific and logistic evaluation of proposals
T4.3 Follow-up of funded Access Projects
T4.4 Scientific data management

Lead: AWI, with UGOT, IPMA, CSIC

The scientific and logistical evaluation and selection of proposals will be managed through a robust, tried-and- tested shared evaluation system established in Eurofleets and Eurofleets 2 and refined in Task 4.1. Processes to be used for selection of end-users will be based on open, transparent, merit-based, impartial and equitable evaluation and selection procedures. Principles of equal opportunity will be rigorously adhered to.
Note: please also see detail in section 1.3 and section 3.2 of this proposal.

User Selection Panel: This will be composed of a Scientific Liaison Panel (SLP) and Operational Liaison Panel (OLP). Evaluations for each Access Programme will be conducted by these panels according to defined criteria, with a strong focus on scientific excellence. The Panels will be overseen by a Scientific Advisory Committee. The evaluation and selection approaches are described in detail in section 1.3, and details of the Committee and Panels are described in section 3.2 of this proposal. The Scientific Liaison Panel (SLP) will be composed of independent international experts in different research area relevant to marine research. Given the likely broad nature of the incoming applications to Calls, the panel will ensure access to a wide range of experts. The Operational Liaison Panel (OLP) will be composed of the Eurofleets+ RVs operators for each geographic region. Expert evaluators will have an important role at all stages of the selection process and must formally declare no conflict of interest. Gender balance within panels will be prioritised.

Eligibility and evaluation criteria: In summary, user groups will apply for one of the Access Programmes through the unique central entry point (online registration system) developed in T4.1. The scientific excellence of the proposals, the quality of the work plan, the extent to which proposal objectives meet EU and global challenges, the involvement of industry, the level of innovation, inclusion of scientists from less well-equipped countries, early stage researchers, and women scientists, will all be all considered in the evaluation criteria in a fair and transparent manner. Research applications led by SMEs and larger industrial entities will be particularly encouraged (especially for technology development and testing). We will encourage early career scientists and explicitly female researchers to take leading roles in applications. A bottom-up approach will be taken to research topics, although a key priority of Eurofleets+ is to support research on sustainable, clean and healthy oceans, linking with existing ocean observation infrastructures. Evaluation criteria and scoring systems will be aligned with H2020 (Excellence, Impact and Implementation). Transnational access to be offered through Eurofleets+ will open up new opportunities in ship time availability for researchers from any discipline or sector. The selection panel must base its selection on scientific merit, taking into account that priority should be given to user groups composed of users who: have not previously used the installation; or are working in countries where no equivalent research infrastructure exists. Applicants can contact the Evaluation Office at AWI if they have any questions.

Selection process: AWI (WP4 Lead) will coordinate the evaluation and selection processes working with the Panels (SLP, OLP), and overseen by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) at all stages. Proposals passing the eligibility checks will be put forward for external evaluation, and those deemed ineligible will be retained. Reasons for ineligibility will be reviewed and documented, and researchers of ineligible proposals will be informed. The SLP will rank and recommend proposals for funding based on the evaluation by three external referees (T4.1) for proposals over the 70% scoring threshold. The SAC will oversee the proposal ranking by the SLP after discussion of the external evaluations; ranking will be based on scoring and scientific merit of the applications. The regional Operational Liaison Panel (OLP) will evaluate the logistic feasibility of the proposals ranked as Scientifically Excellent by the SLP. Access to the Eurofleets+ vessels and equipment will be granted after the positive scientific and logistic evaluation of proposals for ship time for any of the Eurofleets+ Access Programmes. There will be close collaboration with WP2. Scientifically excellent and logistically feasible proposals will be set for schedule on board the Eurofleets+ research vessels. The respective vessel operator will implement the selected cruises under the conditions set by the SLP.

Providing feedback to applicants: Successful applicants will receive an evaluation summary report and a Granting Letter. Those below the funding threshold (70%) will receive an explanatory letter and evaluation summary report. Those researchers not selected in Call 1 will be encouraged to re-apply in Call 2. Constructive feedback will be provided.

Report on Call evaluation and selection: A report will be prepared for each Call. This will include number of applications received (number eligible/ineligible); date when evaluation and selection took place; names and affiliations of experts involved, including expertise, country, gender, sector; details of remote and central evaluation activities; briefing provided to experts; number of experts evaluating each proposal; number of proposals passing/failing evaluation; number of projects finally selected under the specific Call (and in the reserve list, if relevant).