BONUS research opportunities in the Baltic
The joint Baltic Sea research and development programme BONUS is providing EUR 38 million to support top research projects targeting the protection of the Baltic Sea. Two main areas are covered: EUR 31 million is being provided to research supporting the management of a viable Baltic Sea ecosystem, while EUR 7 million will target innovative technological solutions. BONUS is funded by the EU Commission's Research Framework Programme (FP7) and the national funding institutions in the Baltic Sea countries.
Speaking at the announcement of the competitive call for proposals on 12 November, the Executive Director of BONUS, Dr Kaisa Kononen, said: 'Today we are taking a leap forward in realising research and innovation support for developing regulations, policies and management practices specifically tailored for the Baltic Sea region. The novelty is that we have jointly with policymakers and other end-users developed a strategic research agenda which is serving as the basis for the projects to be funded. By engaging policymakers and other end users from the very beginning of the programme, we can ensure that the knowledge produced is fit for purpose and well communicated to those who really need it.'
At the heart of the BONUS programme is its aim to foster long-term collaboration. The programme also places emphasis on its support for the implementation of HELCOM's Baltic Sea Action Plan, the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC) and other related national, regional and European policy developments.
This emphasis is supported by the programme's vision: 'It is extremely important that - both intellectual and material - resources of the Baltic Sea science community are joined to support the protection of the Baltic Sea. In a core of BONUS is long-term collaboration that supports in particular the work of the Baltic Sea Environment Protection Commission HELCOM.'
Dr Kononen went on to encourage the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and highlight the important contribution they can provide: 'We are inviting [SMEs] to play a leading role in this part of the call. It gives them an unprecedented opportunity to actively develop knowledge and products which aim to achieve good ecological status of the Baltic Sea, improve our capacity to collect information about the sea and deliver it to the users. Innovation is a new area introduced to a joint regional sea research programme and hence it is necessary to allow adequate time to draw consortia with top SME knowledge in the region on board.'
Through BONUS the research funders play a critical part in ensuring that the open science-policy dialogue continues and that progress is made for the good of the Baltic Sea region,' Dr Kononen added.
The deadline for submitting 'Viable ecosystem' proposals is 14 February 2013 and projects can apply for up to EUR 4 million for 4 years per project. To be eligible, projects must be interdisciplinary (for example, they must include natural sciences and socioeconomics) and transnational, and involve at least three eligible legal entities independent of each other, from EU Member States or Associated Countries. At least two project partners should originate from the BONUS Member States of Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland or Sweden. Russian scientists can participate in the projects through funding made available by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research or other special agreements.
The innovation part of the call will be implemented in collaboration with BSR Stars, a flagship project of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Individual innovation proposals can apply for a maximum EUR 0.5 million for three years. Innovation proposals are accepted until 12 March 2013.
The BONUS programme began in June 2010 with both the European Parliament and the European Council supporting it. Since its inception, it has secured funding of up to EUR 100 million to fund research and innovation projects from 2013 to 2018. Half of the BONUS funding originates from the national funding institutions in the eight EU Member States around the Baltic Sea and half from the EU's Research Framework Programme.
Data Source Provider: Academy of Finland
Document Reference: Based on information from the Academy of Finland
Subject Index: Coordination, Cooperation; Environmental Protection; Scientific Research; Sustainable development