Collaboration in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) plays an increasingly important role in the EU-India Strategic Partnership. In line with the EU-India Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025, and the Joint Science and Technology Steering Committee meeting on 12 February 2021, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), has identified calls for proposals in the Work programmes 2023-2024 of the EU R&I Research and Innovation Programme ‘Horizon Europe’, which it considers of mutual interest and aiming at jointly tackling global challenges. For this, DBT has established a mechanism outlining the conditions upon which it will co-fund the successful Indian entity/ies and in which call topics (hereafter Co- Funding Mechanism or CFM). The CFM will apply to the call topics earmarked by DBT in areas of pandemic preparedness and response, brain disorders, biofuels and healthy & environmentally-friendly food. This notice explains in the different Sections hereunder how to prepare and submit a co-funded project.
Proposals are expected to contribute to the development and validation of detection methods of products obtained through new genomic techniques, including all of the following activities:
· Examine innovative ways and/or specific markers that would allow for distinction between products resulting from new genomic techniques subject to the GMO legislation and products that are not subject to the GMO legislation. This should not only entail the detection of specific mutations, but also of other markers in the genome that are specific for the genotype containing the mutation/s. The methods should be able to distinguish between identical mutations obtained through different techniques;
· Development and validation of reliable detection methods including when possible quantification. Such methods could focus on products with known mutations (i.e. DNA sequence known) or on products with unknown mutations;
· The proposed detection methods should focus on a wide applicability of all or a subgroup of products, allowing for a screening approach. These methods should be assessed on pure products as well as on mixtures typical of food or feed products in the market. Proposals should always include plant-based products and may include also animal and/or microorganisms-based products.
· The proposal could also focus on the detection of unintended mutations or insertions (foreign DNA, CRISPR-Cas sequences, etc);
· The proposals could also include digital/virtual/AI modelling aspects along with the detection methods alternatives;
· The development and validation of standardized methodologies and the contribution to future standardisation processes is encouraged.
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project. Proposals should define clearly the TRL starting point for each involved technology and the plan to reach more advanced TRL.
The successful proposal will be in line with the European Green Deal priorities and the farm to fork strategy for a fair healthy and environmentally friendly food system, as well as with the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050. The farm to fork strategy aims to accelerate the transition to sustainable farming and food systems. It recognises the role that new innovative techniques may play in increasing sustainability, provided they are safe for consumers and the environment while bringing benefits for society as a whole. In addition, one of the strategy´s main priorities is to ensure traceability and authenticity, and to enhance transparency. In this context, the successful proposals should contribute to ensuring traceability and authenticity, enhancing transparency and promoting innovation in the area of new genomic techniques.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
· Reliable detection methods to address the challenges described;
· Development and validation of detection tools for enforcement authorities as well as for developers and agri-food operators;
· Empower enforcement authorities, developers and agri-food operators for the authenticity and traceability of products obtained through new genomic techniques;
· Enable informed consumer choices by enhancing transparency and traceability across the food chain;
· Enable innovation in the food system linked to new genomic techniques.
DBT will fund the Indian partners/entities in a successful project, as per requirement of the project, for the project duration up to 3-4 years. Budget should be commensurate with the essentiality of participation, workload, objectives of the project and cost of participation.
Budgeted costs of the project to legal entities subject to obligatory fulfilment of eligibility criteria:
1. DBT will support (Grant-in-aid) 100% of the approved budget costs to Government of India supported or recognised public or private academic institutions or research organisations;
2. Eligible costs for funding are: Capital expenditure (equipment’s) || Manpower || Consumables || Travel (local and international* travel) || Contingency || Overheads || Outsourcing || others. (Academia can factor in additional sub heads (in other category) such as training & awareness; workshops; publications; review meetings, etc. under expenditure based on the requirement of the project).
* The travel of investigator(s) and project staff (s) will be as per prevailing Government of India guidelines.
1. IPR legislation and other rules are often crucial for participants in research projects, as they may have a deep influence on the way in which the knowledge can be shared during a project development, and in which project results can be commercially used.
2. The participants shall jointly develop a Consortium Agreement (CA). The CA is a specific agreement to be concluded between the participants in joint research, defining, among other things, ownership, protection, user rights for research and development purposes, exploitation and dissemination, including arrangements for joint publication, the rights and obligations of visiting researchers and dispute settlement procedures. The CA shall also address foreground and background information, licensing and deliverables.
3. The IPR issues for all the proposals need to satisfy the S&T agreement between EU and India.
All proposals with Indian applicants should be submitted to both Horizon Europe Funder & Tenders portal and to DBT.
Dr. Abhishek Singh,
Scientist ‘C’, DBT
Deadline for submission of complete proposal: 12 April 2023
Deadline for submission of concept note/expression of interest to R&D Department – 30 March 2023, EoD. The project proposal in prescribed format or the concept note as the case may be, should be sent to Dean R&D (email@example.com), with CC to Associate Dean (R&D) (firstname.lastname@example.org) well in time.