Funding of convergence environments 2018/2019: Frequently asked questions
Q: Last time seven convergence environments received funding. How many convergence environments will receive funding this time?
A: Probably five or six, dependent on how much own contribution participating department will contribute and size of each environment
Q: Which departments can the researchers involved come from?
A: Any department, centre or museum. The definition of life science used by UiO:Life Science is:
- All scientific disciplines studying the composition, structure and functions of living organisms.
- medicine and biology constitute the core, backed by chemistry, physics and mathematical subjects
- application of knowledge is a focus for UiO:Life Science
- The UiO life sciences initiative also includes social sciences and humanities when researchers:
- examine the relationship between human behaviour or awareness and its biological component
- analyse challenges arising in the encounter between life-science innovations and social values and priorities
Q: Who can be project leader?
A: Any tenured researcher from any unit at UiO.
Q: What is funded?
A: Mainly PhD positions, sometimes also postdoc positions. Usually 2–3 PhD positions and up to one postdoc in addition to expenditures. There is flexibility in time with respect to when potions are announced.
Q: Can the positions be external?
A: No, all the PhD candidates must be employed by UiO and admitted to one of the eight PhD programs at UiO. The PhD programs have different regulations when it comes to residency and other matters that the candidate needs to oblige to. Other partners in the convergence environment can be external.
Q: Will there be a distribution of the funding to ensure that all life science research areas have a convergence environment?
A: The quality of the applications will always be the most important aspect. The UiO:Life Science board will however reserve the right to depart somewhat from the panel’s recommendations for strategic or distributional reasons.
Q: What is more important? Quality of research or convergence potential?
A: A good application will be excellent in both these areas.
Q: Does the convergence need to be between researchers who never have worked together before?
A: It does not have to be a “blind date”, but the project should have novelty (“beyond state-of-the-art”).
Q: How is convergence defined? Researchers from more than one faculty?
A: The definition so far used is “more than one discipline”. The number of units involved have been less important.
Q: Does the project group have to be co-located physically in one place?
A: No, but the organization of the convergence environment is an important part of the application. This will be described in the call.
Q: Will there be a feedback on the submitted sketch?
A: Last time there was a feedback from the international expert panel on the sketch. This time the feedback will be more administrative from the UiO:Life Science initiative. This is to ensure that projects that need to talk to each other get that information, and that projects that do not fulfill formal criteria or are not in line with the UiO:Life Science strategy gets the appropriate feedback before a lot of work is been put into a final application.
The sketches will also be made available for all UiO employees to open up for others potential collaborators to contact the project leaders before the final application is written.
Q: Will there be different criteria, different tracks for convergence environments focused on innovation or education? What about topics, will there be specific topics that are more likely to get funding?
A: There will be no separate tracks, and the topics are “Health and Environment” as in the UiO:Life Science Strategy.
Q: Is there any formal criteria about support from host institution(s) or other funding for the project?
A: No, other funding can be of different origins. Support from participating departments can be financial support, additional positions, technical or administrative support or other in kind contributions.
Q: Does there have to be international participation or support?
A: No, but the research should have international quality and standards.
Issues that are still in discussion in the UiO:Life Science Board:
- How can we make sure that the projects actually leads to convergence?
- To what degree do the projects have to include experimental research?
- How should we secure gender balance?
- How should we secure participation from humanities and social sciences?
- How much emphasis should be made on innovation, and what definition of innovation should be utilized?
- This needs to be thoroughly described in the call
- Details on expected contributions from the host departments
- Can members/leaders of existing convergence environments apply?
- The content/organization of the meeting places
- How educational aspects will be evaluated