Skip to content

The EXCITE project supports transnational access (TNA) to equipment offered free-of-charge by world-class European Earth Science research facilities in the field of X-ray and electron microscopy for structural and chemical imaging and analysis of earth materials. In 2022, access to 24 facilities hosting 50 pieces of equipment will be provided by 14 partners in the EXCITE community.

Access to 24 facilities

Electron and X-ray microscopy facilities are accessible under two access modes:

Acces modes

01
Physical access (hands-on), which requires a user to visit the TNA facility where the equipment is located. Use of the equipment is free of charge. In addition, the visiting user will also be reimbursed for travel, accommodation, and sustenance, up to an amount specified per facility; 
02
Remote service (send-in-sample), with resources and services offered free-of-charge without users physically visiting the facility. Samples are sent for analysis to the facility where it is analysed by an operator. The user does not visit the facility and is thus not qualified to receive travel/accommodation/sustenance reimbursement.

Access details

The type of access mode provided differs per facility and equipment. Please find more on the access details to each facility in the table (download PDF).

The 1st TNA call is open from 1st December, 2021, to 28th February, 2022.
During this period, proposals can be submitted at any time.

Projects accepted under this call can start as early as 1st May, 2022 and must be completed by 31st October, 2022.

Potential users are strongly advised to contact the facility manager before submitting a proposal for TNA to discuss technical aspects of their projects. Contact details for facility managers can be found in this table (PDF).

Proposals must meet specific EU, EXCITE and TNA facility rules to be eligible for TNA:

Eligibility rules

01
Teams affiliated with European and non-European research institutes are eligible to apply. Applications from user groups with a majority of users working outside the EU* are limited to a  maximum of 20% of the total access available.
02
The PI (Principal Investigator) and the majority of the applicants (>50 % per proposal) must work in a country other than the country where the facility to which they are applying is located.
03
Only applicants that are allowed and willing to disseminate the results generated during the TNA project in compliance with the EXCITE TNA data policy can be granted access. 

EU* = EU + countries associated with Horizon 2020 (Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia, Armenia).

Funding regulations


Finances to cover TNA visits have the following limits (average flat rate):

  • Remote access: max €100 for shipping of samples per project. 
  • Physical access: 
    • EU*-applicant: max €300 travel, max €150/day housing and subsistence.
    • Non-EU*: max €1000 travel, max €150/day housing and subsistence.

Travel tickets and accommodation and living expenses will only be reimbursed, by transfer to the user’s bank account, on production of receipts and the final visit report. 

If a facility offers both remote service and physical access to their equipment, the applicant can choose their preference during the application process. In case of physical access, the applicant must indicate in the form if the visit involves more than one participant. Restrictions may apply to the number of people allowed in a facility at a single time. In addition, Covid measures could be imposed that limit or prohibit physical access to a facility. The final decision on the type of access and number of visitors allowed is made by the facility manager.

List of facilities and access provided


Applicants will be able to select their preferred facility and equipment during the application procedure. Each application needs to address a single facility, from which they can select multiple equipment. If applicants are interested in requesting access to multiple facilities, they must submit different proposals (one per facility), indicating the other proposals submitted under the same scientific project.

The unit of access to a TNA facility can be days or hours. The total number of access units per proposal will be decided during the feasibility check.

Applicants are advised to contact the hosting facility and conduct detailed discussions with the facility manager before making their application, to verify details of access (e.g., samples, duration of the access, number of visitors) and technical aspects of the proposed activity (e.g., equipment specifications). This initial contact with the TNA facility makes the technical review process smoother and enhances the chances that the proposals meet the facility requirements, making a positive evaluation of the project feasibility more likely.

We have created a downloadable table for you with the email addresses of the facility managers, and information about the offered facilities, equipment, method and mode of access. Download it here (PDF).

How to apply

The PI must complete the online application form and upload a pdf of their TNA proposal. The proposal template can be downloaded here.

If you are unable to use the online application form please use this document and send it, together with your proposal, to tnamanagement@ingv.it

Please read the included proposal guidelines carefully, as they also contain the eligibility and scientific evaluation criteria on which the proposal will be assessed. The PI is strongly encouraged to discuss a draft of the proposal with the facility manager, prior to submission. This discussion should also encompass all the information that needs to be provided in the online application form – the type of equipment, access mode, number and type of access units, access for co-PIs, and intended access period.

After interaction with the facility manager , completion of the proposal, and collection of the submission information, the PI can submit the application and proposal.

The evaluation and selection of the TNA proposals shall be completed within 6-8 weeks after the call has closed.

Technical feasibility


All submitted applications will be screened to verify eligibility criteria, then forwarded to the designated facility manager, who will check the technical feasibility of the submitted proposal. 

The technical feasibility validation process is not a scientific assessment, but considers the application from an operational and technical perspective (i.e. requested units of access, sample preparation, desired spatial/temporal resolution, selected equipment, etc.).

If an application is considered not feasible, it will not go through the scientific assessment, and the applicant will be informed that their application did not pass the technical feasibility check. In some cases the facility manager will make recommendations to the scientific review panel (e.g. fewer/more units of access could be required).

To avoid rejection based on the technical feasibility check the PI/User is urged to contact the facility manager before submitting the proposal.

Scientific evaluation

After a successful technical feasibility check, the application will be sent for scientific evaluation to the TNA Review Panel, consisting of an independent group of international scientists without affiliation to EXCITE, with expertise in the field of X-ray and electron microscopy and microanalysis.

Evaluation of the TNA project proposal will be made in accordance with the EXCITE TNA General Principles and assessed on the basis of the scientific excellence of the proposal, which will primarily consider writing, methodology, scientific rationale and novelty of the proposed research. 

The review will be blind, and principles of transparency, fairness and impartiality will be applied through the whole revision process. Priority will be given to the scientific merit, but the selection will also take into account if the applicants;

  • have not previously used the facility;
  • are early-career scientists [i.e. An Early Career Scientist (ECS) is a student, a PhD candidate, or a practising scientist who received their highest certificate (e.g. BSc, MSc or PhD) within the past seven years);
  • are working in countries where no equivalent research infrastructure exists.


After the review process, accepted projects are allocated to their desired facility, or placed at an alternative facility in consultation with the PI and facility manager.

User responsibilities

Following proposal approval, the User has to accept the general EXCITE TNA data policy, with which they:

TNA Data Policy

01
Acknowledge the project and the support from the EC in the Horizon 2020 Programme, in any publication resulting from work carried out in the context of the TNA Activity in EXCITE (standard statement ‘this publication results from work carried out under transnational access action under the support of EXCITE – EC- HORIZON 2020 – INFRAIA 2020 Integrating Activities for Starting Communities under grant agreement N. 101005611’).
02
Ensure that the data resulting from the TNA are published in an appropriate data repository under a CC:BY 4.0 license after a maximum moratorium period of 2 years after completion of the TNA project.
03
Ensure that peer-reviewed publication(s) resulting from the data acquired under the TNA activity will be made available open access.

Access Agreement


Furthermore, before access, the User will sign an Access Agreement with the TNA facility, which covers the mode of access, access units, compliance with Health and Safety regulations, data processing, management and publication specifics, confidentiality, and liability, related to the TNA project. In certain cases the TNA facility can request to be a co-author on the scientific and/or data publications resulting from the TNA project.

All users involved in physical access need to be covered by medical insurance when conducting the TNA visit (either through the employing institution, or through a personal insurance if the institution does not fully cover the user when working abroad);

Post-project reporting


Finally, after completing their TNA project, the PI is requested to:

  • Provide a scientific report using pre-compiled templates (1 page, including 1-2 of most relevant acquired images, and include reference to where this work is/will be published).
  • Provide a financial report containing the expenses incurred during their visit, as well as the receipts, which will be checked for reimbursement (only for physical access).
  • Complete a feedback questionnaire about their TNA experience.
  • Collect and store the raw data/results of the TNA project as per the Access agreement with the host TNA facility.


The PIs and co-applicant(s) of the selected proposals might be invited to participate and have the opportunity to present their research results at the annual EXCITE meeting.

Confidentiality of personal data

All personal data collected from the user in the application process are used by the EXCITE Network for operational management of TNA and for the proper performance of its legal tasks and duties for communication and research, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR – Regulation (EU) 2016/679). No personal data is shared with the external review panel during the review phase, nor will personal data be rented, sold, or otherwise shared with or provided to third parties other than the EC for reporting purposes. Applicants are requested to view and consent to the EXCITE TNA privacy policy upon application.

Contacts

For general information on the TNA call please contact us by email: tnamanagement@ingv.itinfo@excite-network.eu

We would appreciate it if in email enquiries you include some standard text in the Subject field, e.g. “EXCITE TNA inquiry”.

Glossary

Apply for access


  • The PI must complete the online application form and upload a pdf of their TNA proposal. The proposal template can be downloaded here.
  • Please read the included proposal guidelines carefully, as they also contain the eligibility and scientific evaluation criteria on which the proposal will be assessed. The PI is strongly encouraged to discuss a draft of the proposal with the facility manager, prior to submission. This discussion should also encompass all the information that needs to be provided in the online application form – the type of equipment, access mode, number and type of access units, access for co-PIs, and intended access period.
  • After interaction with the facility manager , completion of the proposal, and collection of the submission information, the PI can submit the application and proposal.

Curious to learn more?

Twenty-four European facilities for electron and X-ray microscopy are joining hands. To better understand Earth and planetary materials and to together unveil the secret codes hidden under our feet. Curious? Like to learn more? Interested in gaining access to our EXCITE Imaging facilities? Please enter your email address and be one of the first geoscientists to be informed when we open calls for proposals. Other questions? Contact us here.

This website uses cookies

We are using cookies to measure the use of our website, to optimise your experience, to integrate social media and for marketing purposes.

adjust cookie settings
accept all cookies

Read more in our privacy statement.

accept these cookies