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User Guidelines

User Guidelines

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

This document intends to provide information to users regarding important aspects of the free-of-charge access to the EMERGE infrastructure, particularly on eligibility criteria, proposal evaluation/implementation and travel/accommodation support. Please also check the Proposal Submission Guidelines for detailed information on the proposal submission process.

This is v1.0 of the “User Guidelines”. Updated versions will be released as needed during EMERGE implementation and will be available through the EMERGE website.

EMERGE is an integrated set of high-technology platforms for free-of-charge access by a wide variety of user communities (research & technology organizations, industry, and small and medium enterprises, SMEs) to conduct their projects starting from different maturity levels, from basic ideas to proof of concepts for industrial exploitation.

The projects will be selected by an established procedure, including technical feasibility check by the EMERGE Technical Liaison Office (TLO) and international peer review led by the Selection Committee Board (SCB) and External Reviewers, which guarantees that a flow of advanced science projects and talented users will make the best use of EMERGE installations and will benchmark its effectiveness.

2. TLO and SCB

The TLO is a board composed by internal members of EMERGE intervening in multiple stages of the transnational access, namely checking project technical feasibility before scientific external review, defining the facilities where the approved projects are performed, solving problems during the EMERGE network access and assessment of final user reports and feedback. The TLO will act as the operative hub of EMERGE, linking the facilities, expertise, and skills available across the Consortium and connecting them to users.

The SCB is another critical board within EMERGE, being the panel handling the peer-review process. It is composed by international experts in nanoscience, including a chairperson appointed by the GA, internal members from EMERGE consortium and external members from industry and research institutes. The SCB selects external peer-reviewers for each proposal and collects the peer reviewers’ reports to establish the merit and priority of the projects.

3. EMERGE website catalog

In the section “Services & Infrastructures”, an online catalog provides the list of instruments and techniques that are available within the EMERGE Consortium, as well as an easy-to-use search tool to explore the facilities. The TA activities are organized in four main categories, each with specific installations, as follows:

  • TA1: Theory: Modelling, simulation, and design of materials, devices and systems:
    • Device design and architectures
    • Modelling & simulation
  • TA2: Materials synthesis and ink formulation:
    • Chemical and physical techniques
    • Materials characterization
  • TA3: Prototype fabrication:
    • Device preparation
    • Functional 2D and 3D printing
    • Industrial printing
    • Nanoimprinting & laser patterning
    • Vacuum assisted deposition
  • TA4: Characterization of FLAPEP prototypes and demonstrators:
    • Device metrology & characterization
    • Validation and standardization

The email of the responsible person for each available tool is provided on the website, in case potential users need further details about it. Users are also welcome to contact the EMERGE coordination to clarify any doubts, through the contact form or by sending an email to .

4. Proposal workflow: submission & evaluation procedure

The user must follow some procedures to apply for free-of-charge access to EMERGE facilities, as summarized in Figure 1. The procedure starts with a proposal submission through the private area of the EMERGE website, which is only accessible to registered users. The user proposal is then evaluated and ranked in two steps (TLO and SCB with external peer reviewing) to access the technical feasibility and scientific relevance of the user project, respectively. For granted projects, the user will take further steps to carry out the project as intended with the help of the TLO and host institution(s). Once the project has been completed, the user is requested to fill a simple report with the results achieved, providing also feedback of the whole EMERGE experience.

Figure 1 – Workflow for project proposal submission, evaluation and implementation within EMERGE via Single-Entry portal (SEP).

4.1. Step 1: Registration and login procedure

The user must in the first-place register on the SEP online platform (Sign Up) by completing a form sheet for data processing by the EMERGE management team and European Commission, which provides information about the user and its affiliation (see proposal submission guidelines for further details).

After concluding the registration process, the user can login to the private area of EMERGE website, where proposals can be managed (submit new proposals, check status/edit submitted proposals, provide user reports) and account settings can be changed.

4.2. Step 2: Proposal submission

The proposals should be formulated and submitted through the private area of the EMERGE website. Prior to submission users should read these User Guidelines as well as the proposal submission guidelines.

The proposals can be submitted whenever a Call for Proposals is open (see EMERGE website regularly for announcements), which tentatively happens each 3 months.

Until a Call for Proposals closes, users can edit the submitted proposal through the “my proposals” menu in “my dashboard” section.

4.3. Step 3: Project feasibility

When a Call for Proposals closes, all the submitted project proposals are forwarded to the TLO that evaluates the technical feasibility of the work considering the available EMERGE infrastructure. The user will be informed by email once this process is concluded, being then redirected to SEP to get more information, including the final decision of TLO assessment (“proposal technically not-feasible” or “proposal technically feasible”). If proposals are submitted well before the collection deadlines, possible technical problems will be promptly identified, and solutions worked out and proposed to the users.

Feasible proposals are sent for scientific evaluation, otherwise users will be encouraged to resubmit revised proposals in the next round.

4.4. Step 4: Proposal evaluation and selection

The submission will lead to the selection process in a transparent, non-discriminatory, and fair way by a scientific selection panel of internal and external EMERGE experts (SCB). From a list of external reviewers (External Review Panel, ERP) with expertise in the different TA installations of EMERGE, the SCB will select appropriate reviewers for each proposal and will collect their reports to establish the merit and priority of the projects. Selection is primarily done based on scientific and technological excellence as well as on the coherence with the EMERGE overall strategy and high-level objectives, and on the expected potential impact foreseen for both the community and the society.

A ranking of the full list of proposals will be made available through the same web platform for full transparency.

The total turnaround time for proposal evaluation and selection is targeted to last, on average, about 40 days, and will not exceed 60 days in the most critical periods.

In case a proposal is not granted due to lack of scientific originality or relevance, users will be encouraged to resubmit a revised proposal for the next evaluation round based on feedback from the SCB and ERP. In the case of a particular infrastructure being over-requested, users will be recommended to be granted access to equivalent EMERGE infrastructures or will be in the “waiting list” for proposals to be considered for the next round of experiment time. In this situation, priority will be given either to users who have not previously used the requested infrastructure or those who are working in countries where there is no equivalent research infrastructure.

The user will be informed by email about the results of the scientific evaluation of the proposal, being then redirected to SEP to get more information, including the final decision (“proposal rejected” vs. “proposal accepted”), the referee comments, and information related to the next steps to follow to have access to TA infrastructures.

4.5. Steps 5 and 6: Design and execution of a workplan (access to EMERGE facilities)

A typical user project will require the use of one or multiple EMERGE nodes so that the access plan will need an overall operational coordination of the partners, to be assured by the TLO. TA access will be steered under a variable geometry, according to methods, techniques, complexity of instrumentation and experience by the user’s group. Therefore, after successful selection by scientific peer review, the TLO agrees with the users a workplan with an optimized access schedule at the EMERGE infrastructure where the proposed work will be carried out. According to the complexity of the proposal, the access to a given installation will be quantified in multiples of the units of access (UoA) for that installation, being 1 UoA equivalent to an 8 hours shift (with a maximum of 5 UoA being established for the 1st Call for Projects). Before scheduling any work at the relevant EMERGE infrastructures, users will be requested to accept and sign the User Access Policy, which describes all the terms, conditions and obligations regarding ownership, dissemination and exploitation of results.

4.6. Step 7: Quality Control and User Feedback

After conclusion of the experiments, the TLO will collect satisfaction and impact metrics from the users. Users will receive an automatic request from the SEP system to complete a form (“User Feedback”) asking about their opinion on publicity of access opportunities, the submission/selection procedure, as well as the quality of the logistic, administrative, scientific and technical services provided by the host facility. Users must also submit an “Experimental Report”, mentioning the main achievements and difficulties of the experiments.

User meetings, including round table discussions between users and infrastructure/Hubs managers, will be arranged annually.

5. Eligibility criteria

The access to the installations is awarded to one or more researchers (travel and subsistence costs only supported for a maximum of two researchers per proposal) in accordance with the following criteria:

TRANSNATIONALITY

The users must not work in the same country(ies) where the installations are located.

RUSSIAN INSTITUTIONS/ RESEARCHERS

Following the new directives implemented by EU to suspend cooperation with Russia on research and innovation, in response to the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and in solidarity with the people of Ukraine (Press release), TA proposals are not considered eligible if they come from:

  • Russian researchers working in non-Russian/ Russian institutions.
  • Non-Russian researchers working in Russian institutions.

EU &THIRD COUNTRY USERS

For approved proposals, the access is granted within the capacity of EMERGE for user groups working in an EU or associated countries. For groups containing users that are not working in an EU or associated country, access will be limited to 25 % of the total available access hours.

INDUSTRY

Users working with or for industry can apply for EMERGE access. There are two access modalities that can be chosen:

SME

In the specific case of users working for SMEs, they are allowed to use results obtained within EMERGE for proprietary research. Proposals from these users are subjected to the same feasibility checks and scientific evaluation as those from academic-based users.

DISSEMINATION OF RESULTS

With the exceptions listed above for SMEs and Industry, users must be allowed to disseminate the results generated within EMERGE to apply for free-of-charge access to the infrastructure.

6. Proposal requirements

  • Proposed projects must have between 1 UoA (8 h or a day) and 5 UoA. These numbers are valid for the 1st Call for Projects and can be changed in future Calls.
  • While users specify preferred sites (institutes) to have access to in the proposal submission form, the TLO will have the final decision on this, based on the availability of the overall infrastructure. Access will be granted with preference to a single site containing all the required installations for cost and logistic effectiveness.
  • Access may be performed both in person or remotely. The latter can be offered by specific facilities when possible and/or necessary.

7.   Travel and accommodation financial support

Besides the free-of-charge access to the EMERGE infrastructure, users with approved projects can benefit of travel and accommodation support, according to the following rules:

  • A maximum of 450 € for travel expenses (flight, train, rental car…) per person, for each accessed site, incurred on the days of the onward and return journey. The contribution will be equal to the incurred cost, if lower than the maximum value. Local transportation costs in the in-between days are not supported.
  • A maximum of 100 € per day, per person for accommodation expenses. The contribution will be equal to the incurred cost, if lower than the maximum value.
  • When the TLO contacts users to schedule their workplans it will send contact details of multiple travel agencies that are already aware of the financial support rules listed above. Users are thus recommended to make travel arrangements through any of those agencies to turn the financial support process simpler and faster for users and for the EMERGE consortium. Nevertheless, users are free to make their own travel arrangements. In that case, please contact the EMERGE coordination beforehand through the contact form or by sending an email to so you are informed of all the requirements to be eligible for travel and accommodation financial support.
  • No other forms of financial support than those described above will be provided.