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BBSRC/NERC-CONICET Joint Awards for AMR in the Environment

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Development of tools and solutions to tackle the development and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in the environment with the potential to negatively impact on human health.

Call status: Open
Application deadline: 13 December 2018, 23.59 ART (GMT-3)

Summary

BBSRC and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), both part of UK Research and Innovation, on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in the UK, and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, CONICET) in Argentina are pleased to announce a joint call for collaborative research proposals focussing on AMR in the environment. This follows from a memorandum of understanding between the DHSC in the UK and the Ministry of Health in Argentina to promote cooperation in antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which was signed earlier this year.

Funding

DHSC’s Global AMR Innovation Fund has allocated BBSRC, with NERC, up to £5 million of UK aid to deliver this call, while CONICET is committing up to ARS 2 million per year. On behalf of the UK partners, BBSRC will be managing the call process and issuing awards, but applications must be made to CONICET.

Applicants are invited to submit bilateral collaborative research proposals comprising UK-based researchers and Argentina-based researchers. Additional partners outside of the UK and Argentina are possible but cannot request funding through this call.

Projects must be 34 months in duration and must start on 1 August 2019. Applicants must request between £500,000 and £1 million on the UK side. We envisage funding five or six projects. The UK budget cap has been determined to facilitate multi/inter-disciplinary working (for example microbiology and economics/social sciences).

Applicants do not need to request equal funding from CONICET and BBSRC, but a balanced partnership in terms of research effort is expected.

Purpose

The aim of the partnership between the UK and Argentina is to build on existing peer-reviewed evidence to generate new knowledge and provide the deeper evidence base that can help to reduce the impact of drivers of AMR in the environment from agricultural sources as they apply to Argentina and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Each funded project will be required to produce outputs that translate research into policy, such as policy briefings or best practice position papers for LMICs, as well as the usual academic outputs such as publications. Where researchers are working in similar areas, we would expect them to work together to produce best practice position papers towards the end of the funded projects.

Research scope

Proposed projects should aim to inform efforts to combat Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in LMICs by investigating one or more of the following priority areas:

  • Research to underpin the creation of a theoretical framework for the surveillance and reporting on antimicrobial resistance and use of antibiotics, biocides and metals in agricultural and/or animal husbandry and how this framework might differ when applied to Argentina versus LMICs
  • Research to support options for animal husbandry and welfare practices that support antibacterial stewardship in agriculture to minimise emergence, transmission and/or exposure risk of resistance in the environment
  • Research to support development of strategies for manure, slurry and waste management that minimises the risk and persistence of antibacterial resistance, antibiotics, biocides and metals in the environment
  • Proposals should consider the implications of land use, socio-economic factors (for example incentives, technologies and their adoption/uptake and management practices), and climate change (for example water availability, etc.) on the sustainability and efficacy of proposed strategies to reduce the impact of agriculture on the emergence and spread of AMR.

The following areas are out of scope:

  • Vaccine and drug development
  • Antimicrobial resistance other than antibacterial resistance
  • Aquaculture.

Proposals should focus on the agriculture of poultry, cattle (including dairy) and/or pigs. Proposals that predominately relate to non-animal food systems will be considered out-of-scope.

The proposal should have clear potential for improving human health. The work also needs to be clear in how it addresses Official Development Assistance (ODA) objectives and how outputs will be translated into policy.

While they cannot receive funding, we would like to encourage work with relevant industry partners, where applicable, including farming, breeding and the water industry.

Global antimicrobial resistance innovation fund

This call forms part of DHSC’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF). GAMRIF was established in 2016 to provide seed funding for innovative research and development, specifically in neglected and underinvested areas, in the field of AMR. GAMRIF is a £50 million ODA investment, which means all projects funded must meet ODA-eligibility requirements, and support research primarily and directly for the benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with the ultimate aim of reducing poverty. The Fund takes a ‘One Health’ approach, seeking to invest in potential solutions to reduce the threat of AMR in humans, animals, fish and the environment. The Fund seeks to leverage additional global funding through interaction with international government bodies, public-private partnerships, product development partnerships, and global funding mechanisms.

The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Listsets out which countries and territories are classified as ‘low’ or ‘middle income’ and therefore eligible to receive ODA. For the current list governing ODA flows for 2018, 2019 and 2020, please see: OECD: DAC List of ODA Recipients (PDF) The DAC revises this list every three years with the next review taking place in 2020. Please note that there is a possibility that Argentina may graduate from the DAC list during the lifetime of the UK-Argentina bilateral partnership. As a result, the proposed research should explain explicitly how the proposal will address the issue of AMR in the environment as an international development challenge, with the primary purpose being to benefit people in low- and middle- income countries.

For UK Research and Innovation guidance on ODA compliance, please see: UK Research and Innovation: Official Development Assistance – RCUK Newton Fund Guidance.

Eligibility

For this call, BBSRC will support the project costs for successful UK applicants as well as some international travel costs for Argentina-based researchers, whilst CONICET will support the project costs for successful Argentina-based applicants.

UK applicants - Standard BBSRC eligibility conditions apply to this call, with the exception given below; see our grants guide in the downloads section: All UK applicants must be registered on the Je-S System before applying to CONICET.

The Principal Investigator on the application must be based at an eligible UK research organisation and fulfil all of BBSRC’s standard eligibility requirements as set out in our grants guide. Co-investigators must either be based at an eligible UK research organisation and fulfil all of BBSRC’s standard eligibility requirements or be a researcher at a UK public sector research establishment, as set out below.

For the purposes of this call only, due to the UK component of this call being wholly funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, BBSRC is making an exception to allow researchers from UK public sector research establishments including, but not limited to, Public Health England (PHE) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to apply as a Co-I. To be eligible to apply as a Co-I the named applicant must meet comparable eligibility criteria as set out for a Co-I in our grants guide. For example, they must have significant research experience, an appointment equivalent to lecturer level or above, with responsibility for independent supervision of research. This does not reflect an expansion of the list of UK Research and Innovation eligible independent research organisations, or a change to the eligibility status of individuals based at these organisations.

For the purposes of this call UK public sector research establishments can use the TRAC dispensations rates for estate and indirect costs, see: UK Research and Innovation: Funding Assurance Programme.

UK public sector research establishments can apply for funding on the same terms as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and they should calculate the full economic cost (FEC) of the project. Awards will be made at 80% FEC, with the Argentinian researcher travel exception paid at 100% FEC which is detailed below.

Argentina applicants - The Argentina Project Head must be a member of the science and technology research career of CONICET (Carrera del Investigador Científico y Tecnológico, CICT). The project head must be based at an eligible Argentinian Institution: CONICET, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologíca Agropecuaria (INTA), Administración Nacional de Laboratorios e Institutos de la Salud (ANLIS) and Argentinian universities.

Project group members may be researchers or holders of postdoctoral or doctoral fellowships awarded by CONICET or other Argentinian institutions. At least three different research groups from different research centres in Argentina must be included in an application.

Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that they, and any Co-Investigators included on the application, are eligible. Applications involving any ineligible applicants (UK or Argentina) will result in the whole application being rejected.

The following BBSRC schemes will not apply to this call: New Investigator; Industrial Partnership Awards and Industrial LINK. BBSRC will not fund studentships as part of this call.

Examples of eligible activities and costs:

Please note that BBSRC and CONICET are able to accept different eligible costs:

UK applicants (to be funded by BBSRC - please follow the rules laid out in the BBSRC grants guide)

  • Staff time and consumables
  • Travel and subsistence costs, including to enable consortia to participate in workshops
  • Exchange visits (short and longer term and in both countries) for DA and DI staff
  • Travel to/from the UK and expenses (for up to 30 days of stay) for one Argentinian postdoctoral researcher per year
  • Impact related activities
  • Access to facilities
  • Estates and indirects.

The maximum award value that UK researchers can apply for is £1 million. As all costs except the exception given below will be awarded at 80% FEC, the maximum grant value must therefore be less than £1.25 million. The purchase of capital (items over £10,000) is not permitted by UK applicants. The UK budget cap has been determined to facilitate multi/inter-disciplinary working (biological, environmental and social and economic sciences) and allow for enhanced impact/dissemination activities to be undertaken.

It is a requirement that the UK applicants host an Argentinian postdoctoral researcher in each year, with each stay lasting up to 30 days and three stays in total during the duration of the grant. No researcher may undertake more than one stay in the UK under this requirement and they must also not be the beneficiary of a CONICET international travel award in the same year. The costs of this requirement alone will be awarded at 100% FEC, all remaining travel and subsistence costs and all other costs will be awarded at 80% FEC.

The costs associated with translating research outputs into position papers and policy must be listed separately from all other costs and separately justified and must not exceed 5% of the total grant value. This includes the costs of collaborating with the holders of other grants awarded in this call. BBSRC reserves the right to remove this element of proposals where it appears unlikely that collaborative working between grants will achieve the required outputs. In this case, BBSRC will work with successful applicants to design integrating activities at a later date.

Argentina applicants (to be funded by CONICET)

CONICET will fund each year:

  • Consumables
  • Field studies
  • Workshops.

Funds from CONICET are solely for use in Argentina.

The maximum award value that Argentinian researchers can apply for depends on the number of senior researchers involved in the project. Proposals with two, three and four (or above) senior researchers can request a maximum of ARS 150,000, ARS 250,000 and ARS 400,000 respectively per year. CONICET will pay regular salaries and stipends of its staff researchers and fellows during the project execution period independently of this call.

Workshop

A workshop was held in Buenos Aires from 10-14 September 2018 with the purpose of:

  • understanding key challenges around AMR in Argentinian agriculture and more widely, and its impacts on the emergence and spread of resistance in the environment that are also relevant to other low- and middle-income countries, and
  • to consider the research landscape and relevant expertise available in the UK and Argentina.

A report on this workshop may be downloaded below. Applicants are not required to have attended the workshop.

Presentations from the workshop can be found below:

AMR research in Argentina (PDF 7.12MB)

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AMR research in the UK - the environmental dimension (PDF 9.19MB)

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Argentine Program of Surveillance of AMR in Animal Health (PDF 1.85MB)

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Priorities for AMR Research: A global perspective (PDF 403KB)

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Webinar

A webinar was held by BBSRC and CONICET on 5 November 2018 to introduce the call and answer any questions. A recording of the webinar, webinar presentation, and FAQs can be found below:

Video

Webinar: UK-Argentina Joint Call on AMR in the Environment (PDF 517KB)

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Further information

UK researchers looking for Argentinian collaborators are advised to contact the CONICET International Co-operation team convocatoriascoopint@conicet.gov.ar.

How to apply

Argentina-UK research teams must prepare a joint research proposal, which will be submitted to CONICET by the Argentinian Project Head.

Applications may involve researchers from multiple eligible Argentinian institutions and multiple eligible UK institutions, but should be submitted as a single application to CONICET. If successful, the lead UK organisation would be the recipient of the UK component of the award, and would be responsible for managing and distributing funds to other participating UK institutions in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award. Funding for the Argentinian component of the collaboration will be paid by CONICET to the Argentinian partner institution(s). If successful, the lead UK organisation will be required to submit a simplified Je-S form in order to receive funding, which does not undergo peer review. Guidance on completing this Je-S form will be provided on notification of a successful application and is expected in late April 2019.

The application form can be downloaded below (see application downloads) or from the CONICET website: CONICET: Convocatorias y Oportunidades.

Completed applications must be submitted to CONICET by email (as a PDF file) to convocatoriascoopint@conicet.gov.ar. No applications will be accepted after the application deadline.

Please take particular care to request sufficient funds to enable the partnering aspects of the project such as travel and subsistence, in addition to salary and consumables. It is important to agree with all partners how eligible costs for accommodation, in-country travel and subsistence will be covered and by which funding agency, when visiting or hosting overseas partners. This should be explained clearly in the ‘Justification of Resources’ section of the application and any queries should be directed to the relevant funding agency.

Data protection statement

Compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation - In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the personal data provided in an application will be processed by BBSRC and CONICET for the purpose of proposal assessment, management and evaluation, and may be held on a computerised database and/or manual files for as long as is required to carry out processing for the purpose outlined above.

By providing your information you are consenting to its use as detailed above. View our privacy notice and data protection policy.

Details of CONICET application form

The application must include the documents specified in the table below. All documents, except where templates and forms are provided, must be written in English and prepared using:

  • Arial font or sans serif equivalent with a minimum of font size 11 (excluding text in diagrams and work plans)
  • a minimum of single-line spacing and standard character spacing
  • margins must not be less than 2cm.
No. Document type Description
1 Cover letter (up to two pages A4) The covering letter should be a maximum of two pages of A4 and should identify any declarations of interest.
2 Application form (follow template, available in application downloads below) Complete the application form template. The submitted form must be signed, but this can be done electronically.
3 Case for Support (up to eight pages A4) Applicants wishing to apply to this call must provide a single joint Case for Support, making the detailed scientific case for the proposed research covering the entire 34 months of the project in the UK and Argentina. Applicants should complete this with the call assessment criteria in mind, and must provide information on the following:
  • Research track record of the applicants and specific expertise (and access to any specific infrastructure and equipment required to undertake the project) available for the research at the named organisations
  • Strength of the UK/Argentina scientific collaboration and how it will bring the relevant UK and Argentinian research communities together
  • Details of the proposed research and activities, including the proposed programme of work, individual measurable objectives against which you would wish the work to be assessed, the proposed methodology and expected outputs, and the scientific excellence and novelty of the proposal
  • How the proposed research could improve human health in low- and middle-income countries (i.e. not just Argentina).
4 Argentina Financial Resources Requested (follow template, available in application downloads below) Complete the Argentina Financial Resources Requested template.
5 UK Financial Resources Requested (follow template, available in application downloads below) Complete the UK Financial Resources Requested template.
6 Justification of Resources (JoR) (up to four pages A4) The Justification of Resources should provide a breakdown and full written justification of the costs of the entire project, both the UK and Argentinian components, and clearly state the total requested from each funder. The costs requested from BBSRC must be in GB pounds and the costs requested from CONICET must be in Argentinian pesos. The travel and subsistence costs of the UK component that are at 80% FEC and 100% FEC must be separately justified.
7 ODA Statement (up to one page A4) Attach a statement explaining how your proposed research is compliant with ODA guidelines, including answers to the following questions:
  • How is the UK funded element of the proposal directly and primarily relevant to the development challenges of ODA eligible countries?
  • Which country/countries on the DAC list will directly benefit from this proposal?
  • How do you expect the outcome of the UK-funded proposed activities will promote the economic development and welfare of a country or countries on the DAC list?
For guidance on ODA compliance, please see: Newton Fund: What is ODA?.
8 Pathways to Impact statement (up to four pages A4) Provide a statement on the significance and wider impact of the project which describes the likely impacts that will be generated by the proposed project, including the impacts on low- and middle-income countries (and not just Argentina). Applicants should highlight how research outputs will be translated into policy, any opportunities for knowledge exchange and transfer and any wider socio-economic and environmental impacts and benefits of the research. Please note that the impact of your research may be achieved after the lifetime of your grant, and you should include details of the potential mechanisms to achieve it. Progress against the Pathways to Impact Statement will be assessed yearly to ensure ongoing eligibility for ODA funding.
9 Data Management Plan (up to one page A4) Provide a description of the proposed data management and data sharing strategies across the whole consortium, including the management of intellectual property
10 CVs for applicants (up to two pages A4 per applicant) Provide a single combined PDF document containing a CV for each applicant in the entire project team (as listed in the application form) in both the UK and Argentina. Individual CVs must be no longer than two pages of A4.
11 Letter of Support (single combined document) Provide a single combined PDF document, containing an official letter of support from the Head of Department/Institute Director for each Research Organisation involved in the project (both UK and Argentinian institutions). The letter should confirm the organisation’s commitment to the proposed project and highlight any additional support that will be made available.
12 Animal Usage form (Complete form) Complete the Animal Usage form.
13 Animal Usage Statement If the proposed research involves moderate or severe procedures on vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act are proposed, this statement is mandatory and must be signed by both the Argentine Project Head and UK Principal Investigator, stating that
  • they will adhere to all relevant national and local regulatory systems in the UK and overseas
  • they will follow the guidelines laid out in the NC3RS: Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research document and ensure that work is carried out to UK standards
  • before initiation of the proposed research work, appropriate approvals from institutional and/or central animal ethics committees will be obtained for experimental protocols to be adopted in their projects.Successful proposals may be expected to provide copies of these permissions before funding is released
  • details where the animal research will take place (UK or overseas) and through which funder the resources are being sought.
14 Additional questions on the use of pigs, sheep or rodents overseas (Complete form) If the proposed research involves the use of pigs, sheep or rodents outside of the UK, the relevant form is mandatory. In this context, overseas includes Argentina.
15 Facility form (Complete form) If relevant, use this section to provide a Technical Assessment Form if your project requests access to BBSRC facilities. The form can be provided by the relevant facility.
16 Workplan (up to one page A4) Please provide a Gantt chart, or other diagrammatic work plan for the project, including milestones. Applicants should ensure that the work plan demonstrates equal commitment to the project (in terms of hours dedicated to the project rather than project costs) between the UK and Argentina. Projects that appear to be working in parallel with little interaction between countries will not be supported.

Assessment criteria

ODA compliance will be determined on receipt of the application; non-compliance will result in the application being rejected. If you are unsure about whether your project is likely to be ODA compliant, please contact BBSRC amr@bbsrc.ac.uk in advance of submitting your application.

Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Scientific excellence: novelty, importance, feasibility and timeliness of the proposed research
  • Relevant expertise and track record of research teams
  • Potential impact of the research on AMR in low- and middle-income countries
  • Potential for research outcomes to be translated into policy formation
  • Research collaboration: including strength, balance and clarity of collaboration, and added value of the collaboration
  • Quality of the management structure proposed (including governance, arrangements for data management and sharing and management of intellectual property)
  • Quality and suitability of the research environments and of the facilities available
  • Value for money.

The funders will take a portfolio approach in order to ensure that the potential for research outcomes to be translated into policy formation is maximised. For a proposal to be funded, it must therefore be ranked highly in its benefit to LMICs and its potential to lead to policy formation and its scientific quality.

Additional considerations

Collaboration agreement

As the research projects will be carried out by multiple research organisations and project partners in Argentina and the UK, the basis of collaboration between the organisations and project partners, including ownership of intellectual property (IP) generated during the project and rights to exploitation, and IP management, is expected to be set out in a formal collaboration agreement between the research organisations involved. It is the responsibility of the research organisations to put such an agreement in place before the research begins. The terms of collaboration must not conflict with the funding agencies’ terms and conditions or national laws, nor compromise the ODA compliance of the proposed research by inappropriately restricting use of its outputs by potential beneficiaries.

Arrangements for collaboration and/or exploitation must not prevent the future progression of academic research and the dissemination of research results in accordance with academic custom and practice and the requirements of the funding bodies. A temporary delay in publication is acceptable in order to allow commercial and collaborative arrangements to be established.

Key aspects of the Collaboration Agreement, for example management of IP, should be detailed in the ‘Partnership and Project Management Statement’ document. If the project is subsequently funded, the full Collaboration Agreement must be available on request to BBSRC and CONICET in due course.

Intellectual property

Ownership of intellectual property (IP) generated during the project and rights to exploitation, as well as any costs regarding management of IP, are expected to be agreed between the collaborating research organisations before the research begins. Details of this agreement should be included in the collaboration agreement (as above). Agreements must not conflict with the funding agencies’ terms and conditions or national laws. Any agreements in place between a research organisation and their respective funding organisation must be adhered to, including the sharing of IP costs or benefits. Any IP sharing agreements in place between a research organisation and their national funding body would be expected to apply only to the IP share of that research organisation. For BBSRC, research organisations should adhere to our knowledge exchange and commercialisation policy.

Transfer of biological materials

Collection and exchange of materials may occur between collaborating institutions, as necessary, in compliance with relevant Argentinian and UK legislation. Applicants should familiarise themselves with regulations surrounding the transfer of materials between countries when writing their applications and should ensure that they obtain appropriate guidance on how to go about this before submitting the application, in order to reduce delays once the grant has started. In any case, a material transfer agreement should be put in place prior to any transfer.

Data management

Applicants to this call should give full consideration to the practical requirements for data sharing both within the research teams and to the wider community and describe in the appropriate sections of the application how this will be conducted. Applicants should ensure that they have requested appropriate resources for data management and data sharing.

Use of animals

Experiments using animals funded by UKRI-BBSRC must comply with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, amended 2012 and any further embodiments. Institutions and grant holders are responsible for ensuring that all appropriate personal and project licences required under the Act have been granted by the Home Office, and that appropriate Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body approval has been given. All BBSRC awards are made on the absolute condition that no work that is controlled by the Act will begin until the necessary licences have been obtained. Welfare standards in any overseas animal facilities used must be consistent with those required under UK legislation.

Applicants must ensure that all of the proposed research, both in the UK and any partner country, will comply with the principles of BBSRC’s guidance on Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research (PDF 147KB) and with the animal use requirements in section four of our grants guide. For details, please see: Animal use in research.. In particular, UK Institutions should be aware of the following aspect of the guidance relating to research or collaboration outside the UK: ‘When collaborating with other laboratories, or where animal facilities are provided by third parties, researchers and the local ethics committee in the UK should satisfy themselves that welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation (for example the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986), and set out in this guidance, are applied and maintained.’

Timetable

Call launch 1 November 2018
Webinar 5 November 2018, 15:00 GMT
Application deadline 13 December 2018, 23.59 ART (GMT-3)
Assessment panel meeting Late March 2019
Outcomes announced to applicants Late April 2019
Awards start 1 August 2019

Application downloads

BBSRC-CONICET bilateral call - Animal usage form (DOCX 24KB)

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BBSRC-CONICET bilateral call - Application form (DOCX 196KB)

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BBSRC-CONICET bilateral call - ARG resources (DOCX 62KB)

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BBSRC-CONICET bilateral call - Data management plan (DOCX 174KB)

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BBSRC-CONICET bilateral call - Pathways to Impact (DOCX 169KB)

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BBSRC-CONICET bilateral call - UK Resources (DOCX 28KB)

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Contact

BBSRC enquiries


+44 1793 413279


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