The Bio-Asia Regional Programme is a French cooperation initiative targeting Asia in order to promote and strengthen high-level collaboration and networking in the region with respect to research and development in the area of natural substances, from the study of biodiversity to development through sustainable uses of natural substances in health, drugs, nutrition, agronomy, cosmetics and renewable energies, which are key components of life sciences.
The programme is implemented by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) and the science and technology sections of French embassies in Asia in partnership with:
French research bodies and higher education institutions involved in the programme, including the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), the Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), the Research Institute for Development (IRD), National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the Pasteur Institute, the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) and the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA);
The Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR);
The Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing; the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Health; the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Affairs and Town and Country Planning; and the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry.
The programme is aimed at projects involving France and the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), the Far East (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan) and South Asia (India, Pakistan).
The objective of the programme is to promote the internationalisation of French research, to strengthen high-level collaboration with emerging and developed Asian countries on the basis of mutual benefit, and to contribute to regional integration of countries in the area by promoting high-quality research, and support for Asian scientific communities in the areas of biodiversity and natural substances.
The programme aims to:
present what is offered in terms of French research partnerships and develop information and exchange instruments;
select and finance basic and applied research projects with a potential technology transfer or innovation dimension and with a regional scope involving France and at least two Asian partners, including at least one of the following countries: Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam;
encourage future participation in other regional and multilateral programmes in this sector and in this area (National Research Agency, European Union, Europe-Asia Meeting, Asian Development Bank, University Agency of the Francophonie, etc.).
Launch of call for proposals : 18 April 2012
Deadline for applications : 25 June 2012
Assessment of the projects : July-August 2012
Selection Committee meeting : mid-September 2012
Notification of results to project leaders: First week in October 2012
Signature of financing agreements with AFD**: October-November 2012
** The date the agreement is signed by the project leader body and French Development Agency is the date the project begins.
All topics in the areas of research and innovation related to natural substances are eligible. However, priority will be given in the 2012 call for proposals to the following topics:
Biodiversity, ecology and conservation of land and water ecosystems (impact of climate chance and human intervention, invasive species control, role of local communities, marine biodiversity inventory, marine ecology, coastal ecology, taxonomy, payment for ecosystem services (PSE), legal aspects sustainable development in projects).
Land and water natural substances (new sources of natural products, micro-organisms associated with marine invertebrates, Asian bank of natural products, biomimicry, natural product analogues).
Development in the areas of health, drugs, cosmetics, nutrition, agronomy and renewable energies.
Projects with a social dimension will likewise be encouraged.
PROJECT NATURE AND DURATION
Each project must have a research component and may include innovation and/or doctoral or post-doctoral education components. The duration of the project is two years. Funding is allocated on an annual basis. Payment of the second amount at the beginning of the second year (the amount may be reassessed) is dependent on submission of an interim report by the project leader, which must be approved by the MAEE.
The Bio-Asia Programme targets public and private research units and laboratories that are attached to higher education institutions, research organisations or companies. Private-sector participation is encouraged.
Each project must include at least one French team and at least two teams from two different Asian countries, with at least one of them from one of the following countries: Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand or Vietnam.
The amount allocated by the MAEE shall be in the range €23,000 to €40,000 for the two years covered by the project (i.e. €11,500 minimum and €20,000 maximum per project per year).
Co-financing of the French project leader partner institution is mandatory (host institution).
Contributions from the other partners, whether Asian or French, must be declared in the text describing the proposal; since such contributions (funding, staffing or resources) mark the involvement of the partners they are a decisive criterion for project selection.
The consolidated budgets submitted must set out clearly the income that is expected (sources and amounts) and the expenditure budgeted for each year of the project. Funding is granted on an annual basis.
French project leaders shall contact the international relations department of their host organisation or the university in which their laboratory is based prior to the submission of the project and the meeting of the selection committee. If your host organisation is informed of the submission of a Bio-Asia project proposal this will allow anticipation of that organisation’s possible co-financing of the project at the meeting of the selection committee. Support from the host institution is mandatory for eligibility.
A subsidy from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs under the Bio-Asia Regional Programme can relate only to a contribution to payment of the extra project costs arising from its international aspect, i.e. for the mobility of researchers, doctoral or post-doctoral students (travelling and living expenses) or the organisation of international workshops and seminars (mobility and logistics). The estimated average cost of assignment allowances and travelling expenses must be indicated. All other funding necessary to project implementation, notably relating to equipment (except for minor supplies) and long-term study grants, must be funded from the laboratory’s own resources or from other sources.
In addition to scientific excellence, the main evaluation criteria are:
The competence of the teams involved;
The quality of the project infrastructures;
The innovative nature of the project;
The novelty aspect of cooperation;
The benefits of forming a partnership network for the execution of the project;
The complementarity of the teams involved;
Reciprocal transfer of skills;
The attention given to integration of countries with different levels of development of their R&D capabilities within the project;
Expected scientific, societal or industrial spin-off;
Participation of post-doctoral students or young researchers in the mobility programme;
The quality and effectiveness of co-financing from France and other countries;
Co-financing by one of the partner research bodies of the Bio-Asia Programme.
Following verification of proposal eligibility by the MAEE and the MESR, each application will be assessed by the International Expertise Mission (Mission d’Expertise Internationale – MEI).
The MAEE shall pass the project proposals received for MEI evaluation to the resource-persons of each organisation (international relations department) in order to inform the latter of the projects submitted and to allow them to provide, by the date of the meeting of the selection committee, a firm pronouncement as to their priorities and co-financing decision.
The selection committee shall meet following this to draw up a list of selected projects based on the scientific evaluation, the criteria for suitability and the availability of budgeted funds. This committee shall comprise the MAEE and the MESR representatives plus representatives from the co-financing organisations and institutes.
Project acceptance shall be notified to the project leader in a letter sent by the MAEE.
The arrangements and timetable for the payment of the contributions of donors other than MAEE shall be defined between those donors and the project leader.
The arrangements and timetable for the payments to be made by the MAEE are as follows:
1. Signature of a financing agreement between the French Development Agency (AFD) mandated by the MAEE for actual provision of its support and the project leader;
2. Payment by the AFD of the precise amount of the MAEE financial contribution for the first year of the project following signature of the abovementioned agreement;
3. Payment by AFD of the precise amount of the MAEE financial contribution for the second year of the proposal following submission by the project leader of an interim report detailing the progress achieved on the programme of scientific work and the expenditure incurred by the end of the first year, in addition to an estimated budget and a work programme for the second year.
Within three months of the completion of the project, the project leader should produce a final activity report, to be submitted to the MAEE and the other donors.
Important: If the project leader (A1) is attached to an Asian institution, a co-leader attached to a French institution must be indicated so that the managing institution based in France, co-signatory of the tripartite financing agreement with the MAEE and the French Development Agency (AFD), is clearly identified.
Please read the document on best practices attached to the application attentively, particularly regarding the intellectual property rules. The submission of project implies all the parties’ compliance with these rules.
It is up to the selected project leaders to conclude a partnership agreement including intellectual property provisions.
Download the application Form: here
Applications are to be completed and sent by e-mail attachment to André de Bussy (counsellor for cultural cooperation in Southeast Asia) and Emmanuelle Platzgummer (responsible for scientific exchanges with Asia at the MAEE): firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Project leaders are invited to send copies of their applications to the international relations department of their host research organisations.
In order to ensure due receipt of proposals, project leaders are requested to send their applications exclusively as PDF files less than 2Mo.
Non-exhaustive list of contacts for partner bodies (for information purposes, subject to change):
CEA: Mr Pascal Chaix: firstname.lastname@example.org
CNRS and its institutes: Ms Chantal Khan Malek: email@example.com / tel: +33 (0) 01 44 96 42 73
IFREMER: Mr Emmanuel Thouard: Emmanuel.Thouard@ifremer.fr / tel: +33 (0)2 40 37 41 44
CIRAD/AGREENIUM: Mr Patrice de Vernou, firstname.lastname@example.org / tel: +33(0)1 42 75 96 07
INRA: Ms Isabelle Bordier: email@example.com / tel: +33 (0)1 42 75 90 00
INSERM: Ms Agnès Kergus: firstname.lastname@example.org / tel: +33 (0)1 44 23 61 93
Institut Pasteur: Mme Eliane Coeffier : email@example.com / tel: +33(0)1 40 61 38 29
IRD: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
MNHN: Mr Jean-Luc Leduc firstname.lastname@example.org / tel: +33 (0)1 40 79 48 50/54 16