The Szeged-based facility, which was implemented from a total budget of HUF 80 billion (EUR 260 million), is expected to run at full capacity from 2019 together with two other laser facilities of similar scale in the Czech Republic and Romania. At the end of 2017, the representatives of the three ELI institutions and the EU commissioner for research agreed on how the facilities will enable world-class research as part of the European Research Consortium (ERIC).
József Pálinkás, President of the NRDI Office said: in order to make the consortium attractive for future members, strong Hungarian research groups are also necessary. The HUF 1 billion (EUR 3,2 million) call of the NRDI Office titled ELI Related Experimental Research National Programme will support 3-4 research projects.
Zsolt Fülöp, envoy extraordinary for the international coordination of the ELI consortium, highlighted: from 2019, similarly to the researchers of other countries, Hungarian researchers will also have to compete for having access to the research equipment, that is, for the so-called “beam time” by submitting applications to a scientific committee. The facilities will ensure the operation of the lasers and the research groups awarded in the call will build their experimental equipment next to them. Part (an estimated 20%) of the beam time of all pillars will be available to Hungarian researchers for use, but their project proposals will also be evaluated by an international panel. Hungarian researchers will be able to apply for both this beam time and the “international” one.
Last November the ELI hosted nearly 150 researchers and this number have been increasing since then. The number of publications and conference presentations also indicates that ELI-ALPS is a functioning research institution. Károly Osvay, research technology director at ELI-ALPS primarily emphasised that the Szeged pillar mainly differs from the other two pillars in the highly diverse laser-based sources that have been, and are being, developed. The lasers themselves are unique, and the majority of the laser radiations generated with them, particularly attosecond light sources, will be even so. The units of the equipment in Szeged will be put into live operation gradually, while specifications will be subject to change initially. The grantees of the current excellence programme are primarily expected to perform experiments as scientific users. This may include the development of equipment closely related to the discovery research mission of the ELI.
Click here to download Károly Osvay’s presentation: The ELI-ALPS research infrastructure - collaboration possibilities in the NKFIH-NKP programme PDF (5 282 KB)
Gábor Dósa, deputy head of the Funding Management and Innovation Department of the NRDI Office presented the call for proposals and gave detailed answers to audience questions:
- The call is open to businesses, NGOs, universities, research institutions (i.e. research and knowledge-dissemination organisations) with registered seat in Hungary, independently or in consortium. Institutions will have to prove their compliance with the category of “research and knowledge-dissemination organisations” with a deed of foundation. Duration of the project: 3 to 4 years. The projects have to be divided into 12 month milestones.
- The maximum 10% overheads specified in the call relates to the “general overheads” (e.g. public utility fees, internet costs), and will have to be reported.
- Research and knowledge-dissemination organisation have to cover at least 35% of the total project cost if they collaborate with an industrial partner in the project. Realistic budgeting will form part of the assessment criteria.
- The project proposal must also include the full-time equivalent (FTE) and its value must be specified in addition to any parallel running thematic research project. CVs required for the project proposal cannot be automatically taken from the (separate) system dedicated to the management of thematic research projects.
- The call features a new element: funding provided for research infrastructure investment (procurement of assets). In the case of research and knowledge-dissemination organisations this not only covers depreciation but the entire acquisition cost – if the procured asset is available to the researcher community (but “publicly available” does not mean free use). Compliance with this requirement is supported by the research infrastructure register created by the NRDI Office. Such asset can be, for instance, experimental equipment to be built in the ELI for long-term use.
- In order to prove that the budget is realistic and conforms to market prices, supporting documents (indicative price quotes) have to be attached to the project proposal in line with the legislative provisions on public finances. Naturally, the assets specified in the price quotes may change during project implementation. In most cases such changes do not require contract modification, they only need to be reported to the Office. If, however, the acquisition of the planned or modified asset becomes more expensive, the Office will not provide more funding.