Conditions And Procedure For Applying For, Awarding And Amending The Amount Of Institutional Research Funding


Published: 2012-03-01

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Conditions and procedure for applying for, awarding and amending the amount of institutional research funding

Passed 27.12.2011 Annex 73

The regulation is established on the basis of Subsection 152 (4) of the Organization of Research and Development Act.

Chapter 1 General Provisions 

§ 1.  Scope of application of regulation

The regulation establishes the conditions and procedures for applying for, granting and amending the amount of the institutional research funding for research and development institutions.

§ 2.  Terms used in the regulation

In this regulation, terms are defined as follows:
1) institutional research funding – support allocated for financing high level research and development and related activities (research themes) of a research and development institution, for ensuring the continuity of research and development of a research and development institution, and for upgrading, supplementing and maintaining the infrastructure necessary for this purpose;
2) consolidated application – the sum of all aggregate applications for research funding for all research themes of one research and development institution and for continuation of allocation of research funding (hereinafter extension application) and documents appended thereto;
3) research theme – a research and development institution’s basic and applied research conducted in the framework of the clearly defined and scientifically justified research and development activity plan;
4) research funding applicant – research and development institution operating as a legal person or state institution whose research and development has received a regular positive evaluation in at least one research field as of the application date.

§ 3.  Core infrastructure

(1) Core infrastructure is the infrastructure belonging to the research and development institution and necessary for carrying out the research themes, which was established in the public interest and which can also be used by other persons pursuant to the conditions and procedure established by the research and development institution.
(2) Research funding can be applied for in the purpose of common use of the core infrastructures listed in subsection 1 of this section; the list of core infrastructures shall be prepared and its records kept by the Estonian Research Council in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Research.

Chapter 2 Applying for research funding 

§ 4.  Applying for research funding

(1) The consolidated application and data to be appended thereto shall be submitted to the Ministry of Education and Research via the relevant electronic environment of the Estonian Research Information System (hereinafter ETIS) from 1 February to 20 March of the year preceding the year of application for the research funding.
(2) The part of the consolidated application to be forwarded to foreign experts shall be submitted in English.
(3) The application for the research funding for a research theme (hereinafter research funding application) shall specify the following:
1) the number and structure of workplaces necessary for fulfilling the research theme, and if the research theme has been funded previously, data on the number and structure of workplaces in the previously funded research theme;
2) if the research funding is applied for ensuring core infrastructure activity, the conditions and procedure for its use, compliance with which allows other persons to use the core infrastructure specified in the application for research funding;
3) the period to be financed with the research funding (up to 6 years);
4) the justified monetary amount of research funding (hereinafter research funding amount);
5) monetary resources to become available due to the merger, expiry or termination of other projects financed on the basis of the Organization of Research and Development Act, which the research and development institution shall direct into the research theme specified in the application;
6) information on other research themes carried out by the research and development institution in the same sub-fields of research and development as the research theme, or on other projects to be funded during the period of the application on the basis of the Organization of Research and Development Act (title, amount, number and structure of workplaces, expenses planned for implementing the project based on Section 7 of this regulation).
The following data shall be appended to the research funding application:
1) the justification for and relevance of the research theme;
2) the expected results of the research theme;
3) the research team leader and senior research staff of the research theme and their qualification;
4) the existence and condition of the infrastructure necessary for carrying out the research theme.
(5) The applicant shall submit the following data regarding the justification for and relevance of the research theme:
1) general theoretical background of the planned research theme and its place in science;
2) main objectives, hypotheses and methods, and an explanation of how ethics requirements will be adhered to and fulfilled in the case of any and all animal and human experiments;
3) assumed importance to science and to the economy and culture of Estonia and the EU;
4) overview of the research and development subfields covered by the research grant, their development prospects and the objectives related to research and development and their association to strategic development plans and the research and development institution’s development plan.

§ 5.  Research team leader of a research theme

(1) The research team leader of a research theme may be a person:
1) who is a recognised scholar in the research field;
2) who holds a doctorate or corresponding qualification from a foreign country, and
3) who at the time of implementing the research theme is employed on at least 0.5-time basis at the research and development institution applying for the research grant.
(2) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee is entitled:
1) proceeding from the research and development field’s or the state’s interests, and providing justification for the decision, to consider as conforming to the requirements set for research theme’s research team leader a person who does not conform to the requirements set forth in clause 3 of subsection 1 of this section;
2) if the research funding is applied for core infrastructure, to consider, in justified cases, as conforming to the requirements for the research team leader of a research theme a person who does not conform to the requirements set forth in subsection 1 of this section.
(3) The research team leader of a research theme shall not take part during the period financed by the institutional research funding in the implementation of any other research theme financed by an institutional research funding either as research team leader or as senior research staff specified in subsection 6 (2) of this regulation.

§ 6.  Participants implementing the research theme

(1) The following shall take part in implementing the research theme:
1) the research team leader of the research theme;
2) senior research staff of the research theme who are recognised scholars and hold an Estonian academic degree or corresponding qualification from a foreign country;
3) other researcher, teaching staff member or administrative employee who holds an Estonian academic degree or corresponding qualification from a foreign country;
4) technician or auxiliary employee whose remuneration for work is covered completely or partially from the funding for the given research theme;
5) university student in master or doctoral studies who has not been assigned a personal research grant, the content of whose work is related to the research theme specified in the application, and whose remuneration for work is completely or partially covered from funding for the given research theme.
(2) In addition to the research team leader of the research theme, the applicant shall specify up to five senior research staff members participating in implementing the research theme, who, based on their scientific competence, have set the research theme objectives and whose qualification shall be considered by the Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee in evaluating the application.
(3) The senior research staff specified in subsection 2 of this section shall not take part in the implementation of any other research theme financed by an institutional research funding either as research team leader or senior research staff specified in subsection 2 of this section.

§ 7.  Amount of research funding for research theme

(1) The amount of research funding shall include the direct expenses and overhead expenses related to implementing the research theme.
(2) Direct expenses are the following:
1) personnel expenses;
2) travel expenses;
3) expenses related to acquiring fixed assets directly related to implementing the research theme;
4) expenses related to publication of results of research and development obtained during the implementation of the research theme, on popularization and on protecting intellectual property;
5) subcontracting;
6) direct expenses necessary for carrying out research based on the particularities of the research theme.
(3) The overhead expenses of implementing the research theme shall be the research and development institution’s expenses indirectly related to implementing the research theme, including infrastructure expenses and depreciation.
(4) Covering of the research and development institution’s overhead costs of implementing research themes shall be based on the principles established by the Estonian Research Council which are coordinated with the Ministry of Education and Research.

Chapter 3 Evaluation of applications for research funding for research themes, awarding the research funding and publication of the results of implementing the research theme  

§ 8.  Evaluating applications for the research funding for research themes

(1) The evaluation of the research funding applications shall be organized by the Estonian Research Council.
(2) The applications for the research funding shall be evaluated by the Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee based on the regulation of the Minister of Education and Research established on the basis of Subsection 121 (5) of the Organization of Research and Development Act and considering the specifications of this section.
(3) To evaluate the research funding applications, the Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee shall form sectorial expert panels which shall generally consist mainly of foreign experts.
(4) The expert panels shall present to the evaluation committee of the Estonian Research Council justified opinions as to the applications for research funding belonging to their field of expertise.
(5) The evaluation committee of the Estonian Research Council shall evaluate applications for research funding based on the opinions of the expert panels and considering:
1) the justification for the research theme;
2) the importance of the research theme to science and to the economy and culture of Estonia and the EU, including its conformity with national strategic development plans;
3) expected results, including results that, considering the research field’s particularities, shall ensure international acceptability, competitiveness and quality;
4) the qualification of the research team leader of the research theme and the senior research staff specified in subsection 6 (2) of this regulation;
5) condition of the infrastructure and research environment necessary for carrying out the research theme;
6) the justification for the amount of the research theme, and in the case specified in clause 4 (3) 5), the justification for directing into the research theme monetary resources becoming available due to the merger, expiry or termination of other research themes or projects financed on the basis of the Organization of Research and Development Act.
(6) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee may in the evaluation report describe the requirements that the research and development institution is obliged to meet upon receiving the research funding.
(7) The Estonian Research Council shall make the evaluation committee’s initial decision available to the applicant. If the Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee has described the requirements that must be met for obtaining the research funding, the applicant shall submit an activity plan for meeting these requirements.

§ 9.  Awarding research funding for research theme

1) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee shall make a justified proposal with regard to the evaluation results, the opinion received from the applicant and, in the case specified in subsection 8 (7) of this regulation, the activity plan:
1) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee shall make a justified proposal with regard to the evaluation results, the opinion received from the applicant and, in the case specified in subsection 8 (7) of this regulation, the activity plan:
1) to award the research funding in the amount applied for;
2) to award the research funding in an amount larger than applied for;
3) to award the research funding in an amount smaller than applied for, or
4) not to award the research funding.
(2) The Estonian Research Council shall forward the evaluation committee’s justified and impartial proposal to the Minister of Education and Research.
(3) The Minister of Education and Research has the right, in justifying its decision, to return a proposal to the Estonian Research Council for another review if:
1) it does not conform to the requirements specified in subsection 2 of this section, or
2) does not sufficiently take into account the importance of the research theme for science, higher education, the economy and culture in Estonia and the EU, or is not in harmony with strategic development plans.
(4) The provisions of Section 8, subsections 1-3 of this section, subsection 11 (4) and subsections 12 (1-7) and 12(9) of this regulation shall not apply, with regard to application and grant of the research funding, to a research theme whose research team leader or senior research staff specified in subsection 6 (2) of this regulation is a member of the Estonian Research Councils evaluation committee.
(5) In the case of a research theme whose research team leader or senior research staff specified in subsection 6 (2) of this regulation is a member of the Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee, the Minister of Education and Research shall proceed from the amount of the research funding allocated in the year preceding the appointment of the person as a member of the evaluation committee and may change this if:
1) there is a change in the amount of funds allocated from the state budget, proportional to the change in the amount of funds allocated for research funding from the state budget;
2) the applicant has applied for an increase in the amount of the research funding due to the merger of several research themes or the merger of other projects financed on the basis of the Organization of Research and Development Act with the research theme;
3) the circumstances specified in subsection 12 (4) of this regulation have become evident in the year preceding the extension application;
4) due to the circumstances specified in subsection 12 (4) of this regulation, the amount of research funding was decreased and the circumstances due to which the research funding was awarded in an amount smaller than applied for have ceased, or
5) there are other material and justified circumstances.
(6) The Minister of Education and Research shall approve by directive, on the basis of the justified proposal of the Estonian Research Council, the annual amount of institutional research funding by each of the research and development institution’s research themes, or, in case of need, may prescribe requirements which the research and development institution is obliged to meet upon receiving the research funding.

§ 10.  Publication of results of the research theme

(1) The publications that result from the implementation of the research theme shall be freely available to the public in ETIS, unless set forth otherwise in the conditions for publication, or protection of copyright and intellectual property rights.
(2) If a publisher establishes temporal access restrictions on publications that on the basis of subsection 1 of this section are available to the public, the publications that result from the implementation of the research theme shall be made freely available to the public in ETIS immediately after the restriction ends, unless set forth otherwise in the publisher’s conditions.
(3) Upon publishing the results of implementing a research theme, the publication shall note which research funding was used to finance the implementation of the research theme.

Chapter 4 Applying for the continuation of allocating research funding for a research theme and changing the amount of a research funding 

§ 11.  Applying for the continuation of allocating research funding for a research theme and evaluating the extension applications

(1) Continuation of allocating a research funding shall be applied for annually until the end of the period financed by the research funding.
(2) The provisions of Subsections 4 (3-5), 8 (5) and 9 (1) of this regulation shall not be applied to the extension application and processing thereof.
(3) The following shall be appended to the extension application:
1) Research team leader of the research theme and senior research staff specified in the extension application;
2) details on material changes in the research theme, including changes in the senior research staff specified in subsection 6 (2) of this regulation and data on past research and qualification of new senior research staff specified in subsection 6 (2) of this regulation, and justification for the sustainability of the research theme;
3) a report conforming to the requirements specified in subsection 13 (2) of this regulation;
4) the interim report conforming to the requirements specified in subsection 14 (4) of this regulation, if the objective, Research team leader or senior research staff specified in subsection 6 (2) of this regulation have changed materially, or if the continuation of the allocation of research grant is being applied for in the year in which the interim report was due.
(4) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee shall assess the following upon evaluating the extension application and the data appended thereto:
1) the past implementation of the research theme on the basis of the annual report;
2) in the case of material changes, the sustainability of carrying out the research theme;
3) accessibility of the core infrastructure;
4) if the research funding awarded in the year preceding the submission of the extension application set forth requirements, the fulfilment of these requirements set pursuant to the activity programme specified in subsection 8 (7) of this regulation;
5) in the case specified in clause 5 of subsection 3 of this section, the interim report, based on subsection 14 (5) of this regulation.

§ 12.  Continuation of allocation of research funding for a research theme and changing the amount of research funding

(1) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee shall, upon evaluating the extension application and the data appended thereto, make a justified proposal:
1) to continue allocating the research funding in the current amount;
2) to continue allocating the research funding in an amount larger than applied for;
3) to continue allocating the research funding in an amount smaller than applied for, or
4) not to continue allocating the research funding.
(2) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee shall make a proposal to continue allocating the research funding in the existing amount if the implementation of the research theme is successful and no material changes in the sustainability of the implementation of the research theme or in other conditions established in the regulation are found during the evaluation.
(3) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee may make a proposal to continue allocating the research funding in an amount larger than applied for:
1) at its own initiative;
2) if the applicant has applied for an increase in the amount of the research funding due to the merger of several research themes or the merger of other projects financed on the basis of the Organization of Research and Development Act with the research theme;
3) if, due to the circumstances specified in subsection 4 of this section, the amount of the research funding was decreased in the year preceding the extension application and the circumstances due to which the research funding was awarded in an amount smaller than applied for have ceased;
4) there are other material and justified circumstances.
(4) The proposal to continue allocating the research funding in an amount smaller than applied for may be made by the Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee, providing a reason, if:
1) the success of implementation of the research theme is insufficient judging on the basis of the extension application or interim report;
2) the research team leader of the research theme has changed or the composition of the senior research staff specified in subsection 6 (2) of this regulation has been materially changed;
3) violation of the conditions established by this regulation is evident;
4) other material and justified circumstances.
(5) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee shall make a proposal to continue allocating the research funding in an amount smaller than applied for if a need for this stems from the annual state budget legislation.
(6) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee may in its proposal describe the requirements that the research and development institution is obliged to fulfil upon receiving the research funding.
(7) The Estonian Research Council’s evaluation committee may make a proposal not to continue allocating the research funding if:
1) a research funding in an amount less than applied for was allocated to the research theme in the year preceding the extension application, but the conditions referred to in subsection 6 of this section were not met, or
2) the success of implementing the research theme and the sustainability of implementing the research theme have significantly decreased;
3) other material and justified circumstances are present.
(8) The Minister of Education and Research has the right to immediately terminate allocation of research funding if:
1) the recipient of the research funding has submitted a relevant application, or
2) the recipient of the research funding is in material violation of requirements arising from the Organization of Research and Development Act or this regulation.

Chapter 5 Reporting 

§ 13.  Submission of annual report

(1) In order to decide on the continuation of allocation of research funding, the Estonian Research Council shall monitor the success of implementing the research theme on the basis of a report submitted by the research and development institution each year.
(2) The research and development institution shall submit a report for each calendar year in which the research funding was received, listing the following parameters financed by the research funding:
1) working time of researchers in full-time equivalent by each research theme;
2) the distribution of direct expenses, including workforce expenses, scholarships, fixed assets acquired, subcontracting and other operating expenses by each research theme;
3) conditions for use of core infrastructure and data on use in the case that the research funding includes support for core infrastructure;
4) the weighted average depreciation rate of fixed assets acquired for each research theme, and
5) the fulfilment of requirements set forth conditionally upon allocation of the research funding.
(3) The research and development institution shall submit the report via ETIS by 20 March of the year following the reporting year.

§ 14.  Submission of interim and final reports

(1) The implementation of a research theme shall be evaluated for the purpose of deciding upon continuation of allocation of research funding for the first time after half of the research grant period has elapsed on the basis of the interim report, and for the second time after the end of the research funding period on the basis of the final report.
(2) A research theme that has been awarded a research funding for up to three years shall be evaluated after the end of financing the research theme (final report shall be submitted).
(3) The research and development institution shall submit the interim report via ETIS by 20 March of the corresponding calendar year after half of the research funding period has elapsed or in the case specified in subsection 2 of this section after the end of the financing of the research theme.
(4) The research theme interim report shall specify the following:
1) the achievement to this point of the objectives specified in the research funding application;
2) the number and structure of workplaces available for implementing the research theme and the number and structure of workplaces necessary for implementing the research theme;
3) the existence of infrastructure related to the research theme and its use in implementing the research theme;
4) sought supplementation of infrastructure related to the research theme.
(5) The Estonian Research Council shall take the following into consideration upon evaluating the interim report:
1) the success of implementing the research theme;
2) compliance with requirements set out conditionally in allocating the research funding.
(6) The research and development institution shall submit the research theme final report via ETIS by 31 March of the year following the research theme financing period.
(7) The research theme final report shall specify the following:
1) the achievement of the objectives specified in the research funding application;
2) the number and structure of workplaces available for implementing the research theme and the number and structure of workplaces necessary for implementing the research theme;
3) the existence of infrastructure related to the research theme, including supplementation of infrastructure from the research funding resources, use thereof in implementing the research theme being financed and the volume of services provided outside the research theme;
4) if a research theme is connected with core infrastructure to which a research funding has been awarded, the conditions for use thereof and data regarding its use;
5) other circumstances that the recipient of the research funding deems material.
(8) Based on the final report, the Estonian Research Council shall give an opinion regarding the implementation of the research theme and publicly disclose the opinion.

Chapter 6 Implementing provisions 

§ 15.  Exceptions to the institutional research funding up to 1 January 2014

(1) Until 1 January 2013, institutional research funding is a grant allocated for financing high level research and development and related activities (research themes) of a research and development institution and for ensuring the continuity of research and development of a research and development institution.
(2) From 1 January 2013 to 1 January 2014, the institutional research funding is a grant allocated for financing high level research and development and related activities (research themes) of a research and development institution and for ensuring the continuity of research and development at a research and development institution as well as for maintaining the infrastructure necessary for this purpose.

§ 16.  Transition

(1) Submission of research funding applications in 2012 shall take place from 15 March to 30 April.
(2) A research theme to which targeted financing has been granted before 1 March 2012 shall be financed according to the conditions and procedure valid at the time of the financing decision until the end of the targeted financing period determined in the decision.
(3) Starting on 1 March 2012, the basis for continuing targeted financing in accordance with the conditions and procedure valid at the time the targeted financing decision was made shall be the opinion of the Estonian Research Council regarding the results of the work done. The research and development institution’s research themes shall be evaluated for the first time after half of the targeted financing period stated in the targeted financing application has elapsed and for the second time after the end of the financing of the research theme from the state budget.
(4) A research grant allocated to a research theme specified in subsections 9 (4-6) of this regulation before the appointment of the Research team leader or a senior research staff member thereof as a member of the evaluation committee shall be considered equivalent to the targeted financing allocated before becoming a member of the evaluation committee.
(5) The Estonian Research Council shall prepare a list of the core infrastructures specified in subsection 3 (1) of this regulation by 1 March 2013.

§ 17.  Entry into force of regulation

(1) The regulation shall enter into force on 1 March 2012.
(2) Subsection 7(3) of this regulation shall enter into force on 1 January 2013.
(3) Clause 4 (3) 2), 5 (2) 2), 11 (4) 3), 13 (2) 3), 14 (4) 4) and 14 (7) 4) shall enter into force on 1 January 2013.
(4) The overhead costs specified in subsection 7 (3) of this regulation shall include a depreciation expense component starting 1 January 2014.

Jaak Aaviksoo
Minister
Janar Holm
Secretary General

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