Enhancing life sciences participation in European projects

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Scope of Award

The SFC and SULSA wish to boost life sciences participation in European projects. We will consider proposals from any SULSA academics pursuing involvement in EU projects. For example through establishing network connections, showcasing skills and capabilities, and participating in specific networking activities both for policy influencing and project preparation.

Funding can be sought for a broad range of activities relating to any relevant EU call including:

  • Travel to consortium meetings
  • Travel for establishing network connections
  • Cost of specialist consultant support for EU funding bids (i.e. there are some organisations that specialise in helping to craft/polish EU bids and increase their chances of being funded)
  • Support for SULSA academics time to develop proposals (i.e. charging an agreed percentage of staff time to SULSA)
  • Admin time to coordinate bids and meetings (i.e. charging a percentage of staff time to SULSA)
  • Attend or host meetings of academic and external partners at any stage during the preparation of applications
  • Run workshops to share experience and best practice with regard to European funding
  • Co-ordinate meetings to engage with SMEs and to share best practice with regard to this engagement
  • Funding for academics travelling to consortium meetings where they introduce a Scottish SME
  • Showcasing skills and capabilities
  • Participating in specific networking activities both for policy influencing and project preparation

PLEASE NOTE: Research costs (experimental costs, reagents etc.) are NOT eligible for this funding.

Eligibility Criteria and Conditions

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The maximum amount that can be applied for is £20,000. The budgets will be scrutinised and may be cut if the reviewers feel that the application has been over-costed. We expect that many proposals will not require this level of support.
  • At least two SULSA universities must be involved in the EU project (proposals with greater numbers of SULSA collaborators viewed more favourably when assessing applications for PEER support).
  • Projects must have an EU dimension.
  • SME involvement in the bid is not mandatory but we would encourage every applicant to consider the potential for both involving Scottish SMEs and representing their interests whenever possible. Many of these types of activities are at an earlier stage of engagement with the EU Framework process than development of individual proposals, and may not lend themselves to direct SME involvement, however, SME engagement remains a priority for this funding and proposers are encouraged to consider the potential for both involving Scottish SMEs and representing their own interests whenever possible.
  • Clear deliverables and milestones should be provided as well as the potential for leveraging funds. Any University in-kind matched specialist support should be detailed.


  • Where possible, applicants should seek to engage a Scottish SME in the EU project supported by SULSA PEER funds (and provide evidence of this engagement). Where an SME is involved, a letter of support from the SME must be provided, either when the application is made or with the travel expense claim. Expenses cannot be paid without such a letter.
  • Claims will only be processed on receipt of valid, original receipts submitted to the SULSA Operations Officer.
  • Applicants will be asked to provide information for SFC equality monitoring (downloadable form provided).
  • A short report of the outcome of the meetings should be submitted to SULSA within three months of the announcement of EU awards (e.g. application successful/unsuccessful, SME engagement continues, new collaborations built etc.). If a proposal was not submitted, then a report will be required within three months of the funds being claimed.
  • Failure to provide receipts or a report in a timely manner may result in the funds being re-allocated at SULSA’s discretion.
  • Any changes to planned expenditure must be approved by SULSA.
  • Requests for further information on outputs/career progression etc. may be requested by SULSA, and must be provided from the recipient.
  • The funding must not be used for travel and subsistence costs for partner organisations or businesses, or general overhead expenses.
  • SULSA reserves the right to claw back funds should the grant not be used in accordance with these T&Cs.

Applicants are advised that:

  • The European Officers within the partner institutions should be the initial key contacts to provide relevant guidance and support.
  • Scotland Europa can be a point of contact to help research pools engage with Europe.
  • Pools may use the services of Interface to match-up with a business, where this is possible.
Previously Funded Projects

2018-19 PEER Awards:

  • Dr Stephen Yarwood, University of Heriot Watt and Professor George Baillie, University of Glasgow – Building an EU Consortium for Nano-domain Signalling
  • Professor Andy Porter, University of Aberdeen and Dr Tilo Kunath, University of Edinburgh – Progressing KromexTM chemistries towards clinical application
  • Dr Christine Edwards, Robert Gordon University and Dr Ian Watson, University of Glasgow – Consortium building – Sustainable biopolymer refinery (SBR): plastics from light and waste

2017-18 PEER Awards:

  • Professor Matteo Zanda, University of Aberdeen and Dr Asier Unciti-Broceta, University of Edinburgh – Creation of a new H-2020 Marie-Curie ITN Consortium on the project “In vivo chemistry for personalized medicine”
  • Professor Oscar Gaggiotti, University of St Andrews and Dr Catherine Jones, University of Aberdeen – International Marine Connectivity Network


Professor Sandosh Padmanabhan - The University of Glasgow

Bid Development of Horizon 2020 Grant Submission – Hypertension Stratification

PEER funds were awarded for professional consultancy support for development of a hypertension monitoring mobile phone app. This project was submitted as part of a phase 1 Horizon2020 application in October 2016.

(please note that previous applications did not necessarily have to contain multiple partner universities)

Professor Karen Halliday - Edinburgh Plant Science


GENbIOME was originally conceived as a Phenomics platform supported data and modelling infrastructure. PEER funds were put towards employing a project manager to assist with GENbIOME project development. To achieve this GENbIOME undertook a four-part evaluation process comprising:

Assessment of current UK/EU phenomics capabilities through site visits
Feedback on development plan from GENbIOME / SULSA Scientific Advisory Board
Consultation with IP Pragmatics to create openings for industrial interaction
Improvement of funding and engagement plan

As a result, the project plan was refactored to: emphasise the uniqueness in the UK phenomics landscape; improve fit to funding; draw on expertise from SULSA partners; provide a larger interface for industry. This award has already leveraged £1.1 million pounds of additional funding.

National Phenotypic Screening Centre: Dundee and Edinburgh Universities

NPSC Consortium-Building Activities

PEER funds were awarded for travel and meetings aimed at building research consortia, public-private partnerships and grant proposals. Costs included travel costs for visits to the European Lead Factory and potential new Pharma partners, as well as consortium-building meeting costs.