The CIS Collaboration Grant was set up to support the launch of new research endeavors within the field of « Intelligent Systems » under the umbrella of CIS. The grantees will be attached to two or more labs of EPFL thus promoting the exchange between labs and different faculties of EPFL. Further the CIS Collaboration grantees, supervised by professors affiliated with CIS, can contribute to the preparation, submission and implementation of larger collaborative projects between EPFL and its partners through CIS.
General rules and conditions:
- The CIS Collaboration Grant serves as a research seed and acceleration grant for CIS application areas within “Intelligent Systems” through the selective financing of PostDoc positions.
- The CIS Board decides on the number of available CIS Collaboration grants. The CIS Steering Committee can involve additional experts from either within or outside EPFL in the application review process.
- Proposals for a CIS Collaboration Grant can either be submitted by EPFL professors or upon invitation by CIS.
- The CIS Steering Committee decides on the attribution of a CIS Collaboration grant.
- A CIS Collaboration Grant consists of 100 kCHF per year and can be used to cover primarily personnel costs, whereas up to 10% of the total budget can be allocated for travel cost. A larger grant to hire a more senior researcher can be proposed.
- CIS Collaboration Grantees report every 12 months to the CIS Steering Committee on their project progression.
- Each annual extension of your grant beyond 1 year is to be decided upon by the CIS Steering Committee after review of the project progress.
- The initial possible funding period of an CIS Collaboration Grant is max. 2 years with the possibility of a 2-year extension after evaluation.
- The CIS Steering Committee has the option to involve external experts in the annual project reviews.
CIS Collaboration grant conditions:
- CIS Collaboration Grant selection criteria:
- Any professor of a laboratory affiliated with CIS can apply for a grant.
- The goal of a CIS Collaboration grant is to initiate a research collaboration in an CIS application area in Intelligent Systems.
- A grant application must include a) a research plan with phases and activities and b) details about the PostDoc’s research (including timeline).
- Milestones and deliverables must be clearly defined in the application form.
- The project must be supported by two or more professors at least one of which is a member of CIS who is willing to host the grantee during the realization of her/ his project.
- The project should be an innovative collaborative research project and should not be feasible without a CIS Collaboration grant.
- The project shall be selected upon its scientific quality and the scientific qualifications of the researchers. The scientific quality is notably based on the following main criteria: (i) scientific relevance; (ii) topicality and originality; (iii) suitability of methods; (iv) feasibility. The scientific qualifications comprise notably: (i) scientific track record; (ii) ability to carry out the research project.
- CIS Collaboration Grant selection process:
- The application is transmitted to the CIS Executive Director who verifies its compliance with the selection criteria and approves it for submission to the CIS Steering Committee.
- The CIS Collaboration Grant application team presents its project to the CIS Steering Committee for vetting and approval.
- The CIS Steering Committee takes the final and irrevocable decision for the grant attribution.
Applicants must indicate whether they have a potential conflict of interest with a member of the CIS Steering Committee at the time of the submission of their application. The CIS Steering Committee may exclude one of its members if a potential conflict of interest has been indicated by the applicant(s). CIS Steering Committee members that are part of the applicant teams are excluded from evaluation of the project.
- CIS Collaboration Grant framework:
The hosting labs: the project must be carried out within at least one laboratory affiliated to CIS. The heads of the hosting labs are responsible 1) to ensure that the grant is spent for the submitted project in accordance with the CIS Collaboration Grant General Terms and Conditions and 2) to deal with all HR and administrative actions required for the payment of the applicant’s salary costs. The applicant must remain an employee of the lab during the funding period.
- Grant conditions
Amount: CHF 100’000 (hundred thousand) per year, paid in one installment, renewable annually after successful review by the CIS Steering Committee and/or its delegates.
Payment terms: The grant will be paid on a separate account in one installment per year, as mentioned in the CIS Collaboration Grant Agreement. The first installment is due within 30 days after the starting date of the CIS Collaboration Grant sponsored position. Further installments (if applicable) are payable upon each additional successful 12 months project progress presentation to the CIS Steering Committee.
Payments: will be arranged to specific and separate accounts that must be opened by the grantees’ hosting laboratories. The account numbers must be communicated when signing the grant agreement.
The installments will be paid to the CIS Collaboration Grantees on the aforementioned dedicated accounts. Upon receipt of these installments, the responsible applicants must, if applicable, transfer to her/his co-applicant(s) the amounts which they shall receive according to the proposal.
The CIS Collaboration Grantees will issue an invoice within 30 days upon a) the commencement of the CIS Collaboration Grant sponsored position or b) after each successful 12 months review presentation to the CIS Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will notify the responsible recipient if the conditions for payment of a given phase have not been fulfilled.
The payments reimburse the eligible costs incurred for the implementation of the Project during the corresponding reporting periods (see “Financial reporting” and “Scientific reports” below).
The invoices must mention the project’s name, credit and contract numbers, and they must be sent to the following address:
EPFL Center for Intelligent Systems (CIS) INF 330 Station 14
CH – 1015 Lausanne
The grant shall be paid in Swiss Francs (CHF) within 30 days following the a) starting date of the CIS Collaboration Grant sponsored position or b) (if applicable) upon each additional successful 12 months project progress presentation approved by the CIS Steering Committee, and includes all taxes that may be imposed on such funds (such as VAT, withholding tax, etc.), to the extent that such may be imposed.
Purpose of the grant: to cover the salary costs of the project described in appendix 1 (the approved CIS Collaboration Grant Application), according to the budget confirmed by CIS. The CIS Collaboration grant covers primarily personnel costs, whereas up to 10% of the total budget can be allocated for travel cost.
Duration: 12 months renewable. The CIS Collaboration grant period should start within 6 months from the official confirmation of the grant by CIS in function of recruitment of the PostDoc researcher. If a grant period extension is required, a duly justified request must be submitted to the CIS Executive Director.
Eligible costs: EPFL budget guidelines (https://www.epfl.ch/about/overview/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/5.1.1_r_financier_an.pdf ) and salary scales are applicable (https://inside.epfl.ch/internalhr/fr/prestationsrh/salaires/forfaits/ ).
Only personnel and travel costs according to the EPFL salary scales and provisions are considered as eligible costs.
Audits: EPFL may conduct audits in order to, among others, review the commitment of expenditure, the examination of orders and contracts with regard to their financial implications, the verification of the budget, the account, the commitment appropriations and the accounts. The CIS Collaboration Grantees must cooperate with such audits carried out by or on behalf of EPFL, or by the competent authority, and shall grant the auditors reasonable access to any premises, documents, and devices involved with the grant.
Communication: Funding provided by the CIS Collaboration Grant must be recognized in all project-related scientific communication, e.g. peer-reviewed journal articles or conference papers, by the acknowledgment mention: “This research was supported by the EPFL Center for Intelligent Systems (CIS)” and the inclusion of the CIS Collaboration Grant logo where possible. The CIS Collaboration Grant logo is provided by the CIS Management team.
For internal and external communication purposes, CIS would highly appreciate receiving on a regular basis information on the development of the project it helped to launch with the CIS Collaboration Grant (e.g. publications, conference participations, media coverage, start-up creation, etc.). This information can for example be included in the CIS newsletter or shared through the CIS social media channels.
The grantees must mention on their project website and communication material “CIS Collaboration Grant” and show the CIS Collaboration Grant logo for a duration of 5 years. The CIS Collaboration Grant logo is provided by the CIS Management team.
Ethical and legal aspects: The CIS Collaboration Grantees will have responsibility for the administrative and financial management of the grant. They shall in particular:
(a) review and follow-up on the ethical conformity of the project, comply with the relevant local ethical requirements, and submit, if required, an application to the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC);
(b) prepare consortium agreement or research agreement with other collaborative partners of the project;
(c) oversee the financial management of the project, including annual and final reporting;
(d) comply with the applicable public procurement law (by contacting the services of ECO or DABS);
(e) comply with the rules regarding research integrity and good scientific practice.
An annual financial report must be provided upon request by CIS. The financial report must comprise a financial statement which details the eligible costs. The CIS Collaboration Grantees must declare all eligible costs, even if they exceed the amounts indicated in the estimated budget.
The financial report is verified by the EPFL auditors and expenditure found not compliant with the CIS Collaboration Grant Agreement, EPFL and CIS budget guidelines and salary scales will be claimed for reimbursement from the grantee/ hosting lab.
Participation to CIS events
Grantees are strongly expected to participate for a period of at least 5 years starting the commencement date of their CIS Collaboration Grand period in the CIS-organized events.
Sanctions: The Steering Committee can verify the legitimate use of the grant. The CIS Collaboration Grantees must cooperate to the extent required by monitoring.
The Steering Committee will penalize any misuse of the funds and any breaches of these regulations or other provisions applicable to the submission of proposals. The following sanctions will result therefrom:
- letter of reprimand;
- letter of warning;
- reduction, suspension, or demand for repayment of grants;
- non-consideration of any further proposals for a limited period.
Scientific reports: CIS requests from the grantee the following information, which shall comply with CIS requirements and templates (where applicable):
- Annual Progress report: a short document (5 A4 pages) describing the project achievements and the use of the grant, for annual reporting purposes, as per the current reporting year will be asked for by the CIS Executive Director. In addition, the grantees may be asked to present the project progress to the CIS Steering Committee.
- Final closing report: a detailed report depicting the project achievements during the grant period must be submitted to the CIS Executive Director the latest 3 months after the end of the grant period.
Unspent grant balance: any unspent balance at the end of the yearly grant period must be paid back to the CIS main fund (2047-1).
Withdrawal: The CIS Collaboration Grantees who withdraw their project or are forced to terminate their project prematurely must inform the CIS Steering Committee without undue delay, stating their reasons for doing so. Any unused funds must be reimbursed.
- Term and Termination
This agreement remains effective until the end of the funding period and the fulfilment of all obligations set forth herein with the exception of the requirement to mention the CIS Collaboration Grant acknowledgement (“This research was supported by the EPFL Center for Intelligent Systems (CIS)”) and to show the provided “CIS Collaboration Grant” logo on all project related communication material that prevails for a duration of 5 (five) years).
The CIS Steering Committee has the right to terminate this agreement at any time shall the grantee(s) or the hosting lab(s) not comply with these GTCs and the CIS Collaboration Grant Agreement and ask for reimbursement of already payed funds.