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Package 04

Operationalisation of the Research Programme

To implement and monitor the BIOPOLIS Research Programme in close collaboration with UM, thereby ensuring the development of excellent research towards innovation, the alignment of research with the objectives of the CoE, and the necessary links with the PhD and Post-doctoral training Programmes, the network of stakeholders and business partners, and the wider society at large.
4.1. Strategic Research Programme
This Task will refine the research strategy developed in the Business Plan, preparing a roadmap to steer the development of excellent research towards innovation. It will set up the Research Units (RU), and will create the conditions for implementing the research strategy. There will be six RUs, each aligned with one of the Research Lines. The number and organization of RUs can be expanded and adjusted during project implementation to face new challenges and opportunities. Each RU will be led by a Senior Researcher with adequate qualifications and experience, and will include at least 2 Principal and 3 Assistant Researchers, who will be transferred from ICETA-CIBIO (Task 2.4) and/or hired following procedures described in T2.4. The team of each RU will establish links with UM researchers working in similar areas, through a programme of regular visits to UM for receiving training and working in joint projects. Moreover, researchers will receive training in the preparation of project proposals and in project management, and will be incentivised to be proactive in raising research funding. Close contact within each group will be maintained within each RU through weekly journal clubs and other joint activities. Members of all RUs will regularly communicate their research and findings through regular workshops open to the whole BIOPOLIS community. The RUs will also be closely involved in PhD and Post-doctoral programmes (WP5), contributing to the recruitment processes and providing the conditions for the development of PhD and Post-doctoral research projects and training. Finally, RUs will link to the private and public organizations associated with BIOPOLIS, to promote the alignment of research with societal needs (see WP7). A Strategic Research Programme (D4.1) will be produced and revised every 3 years by the SC with the assistance of RUs, including the monitoring and evaluation results (T4.2).
4.2. Monitoring, Evaluation and Review of the Strategic Research Programme
This task involves the monitoring, evaluation and review of the Research Programme, which will result in its evaluation and review. Monitoring will be based on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to be defined (see WP9), which are expected to include indicators such as the number of project and grant applications submitted, the success in project and grant applications, number of patents, number and quality of publications in international journals, and so on. In general, it is intended to monitor a wide range of metrics, and not focusing only on simple quantification of Impact Factors and similar quantitative measures. A detailed track record of these indicators will be maintained by the SC, assisted by researchers designated by RUs. Evaluation of the CoE will be made considering the KPIs, using as benchmarks the equivalent indicators monitored at UM and other high- performing research centres. The monitoring, and evaluation will involve a strong commitment of researchers from UM, who contribute to providing a more external appraisal of BIOPOLIS performance. Monitoring and evaluation will provide information towards the update and expansion of the Strategic Research Programme. The review process will include a formal SWOT analysis, and will consider the performance of the CoE, new scientific and technological demands, the demands of the industry and the society at large for new services and products, and the impact of research on sustainable development and the contribution to public policies. The review and update process will be carried out in collaboration with experienced researchers from UM, who will be invited to participate in this process.
4.3. Research internationalisation and networking
This task will deal with the development and implementation of the internationalisation strategy, aiming at increasing the integration of researchers in international consortia, steer research collaborations and networking, and ultimately boost excellent research and innovation trough strong collaborations and partnerships. The strategy will be coordinated by the BoD in articulation with the CD&EU, with the assistance of the International Relations Officer, and in close collaboration with the RUs and the IAB. The internationalisation strategy will include provisions for streamlining interactions with key researchers and research centres worldwide, with a focus on three main axes: (i) Europe, aiming at enhancing participation of BIOPOLIS CoE in ERA and to partner with leading institutions in the EU; (ii) North America and other advanced countries, aiming to strength relations with the best universities and research centres, and contributing to the global positioning of the CoE; and (iii) Africa and South America, particularly Portuguese-speaking countries, following the strategy of TwinLab creation already started by ICETA-CIBIO (Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe), contributing to establish joint partnerships to develop research with impact on sustainable development, reduction of poverty, and fixation of populations through the sustainable use of natural resources. Internationalization will also involve the creation of a CoE Virtual Laboratory hosted by Agropolis International, allowing permanent representation of BIOPOLIS CoE in Montpellier, which will facilitate interactions with the scientific community in Montpellier and with its partners at regional, national and global scales. To facilitate collaborations, UM will propose that BIOPOLIS becomes an “international associate laboratory”, a new device which would allow personnel of UM and of its linked third parties to work at BIOPOLIS. Activities to be developed under the internationalisation strategy will involve highlevel visits to other institutions, and vice versa; signing of collaboration protocols; invitation of researchers to present
their work, and to participate meeting and training courses; among others.
4.4. Research Ethics and Animal Welfare
This task involves setting up an Ethics and Animal Welfare Committee, which will monitor CoE activities to guarantee that all research is conducted following the best practice and the highest international standards (WP11). The Committee will have at least five members designated by the BoD in consultation with senior researchers of each RU, and it will include researchers with experience in Research Ethics and Animal Welfare Standards. This Committee will draft the Research Ethics and Animal Welfare Guidelines for the CoE, and will supervise its implementation. To draft these guidelines the Committee will review the best practice in the UM services (CECEMA, Centre d'Elevage et de Conditionnement Expérimental des Modèles Animaux), and get advice from them, and will receive inputs from UM researchers involved in this component. Given the research focus of the CoE, particular attention will be given to the aspects regarding experiments with animals and the quality of the facilities to keep animals in captivity, while complying with the three R’s strategy (replacement, reduction, and refinement). Selected researchers will receive training to obtain the certificates required to deal with captive animals and conduct experiments with animals.
4.5. Data Management and Open Access Policies
This Task aims at planning, implementing and monitoring all aspects regarding data management and open access policies. An initial Data Management Plan will be produced within the first 6 months of the project, following the guidelines set in the H2020 Online Manual. The Plan will include the provisions for making data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR), and it will describe the open access policies. To assure that Data Management evolves over time according to best practices, regulations, and societal demands, a Data Management and Open Access Committee will be designated by the BoD in consultation with the SC and senior researchers from each RU. The committee will have at least five members, including senior researchers and IT experts with experience in Data Management and Open Access. This Committee will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Data Management and Open Access Procedures, and reporting the results in the regular Implementation Reports (D10.8 – D10.12). The Data Management Plan will be reviewed and updated at 48, or at shorter intervals if considered necessary by the Committee. The Plan will be widely advertised among all researchers. This committee will also advise on technological solutions for data preservation and sharing among BIOPOLIS researchers, namely on the need to create virtual research environments.
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