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Access to EXCITE in a nutshell

Call timeline

The 1st EXCITE2 call for access closed 22 May 2024 (23.59 CEST). Our next call is expected to open somewhere in November 2024. To ensure proper preparation, we suggest to already contact the facility of interest to check feasibility, before the next call opens.
An overview of the equipment and facility contact details can be found here.
Potential users must contact the facility managers before submitting a proposal for TNA to discuss technical aspects of their projects.

Eligibility criteria

Important: proposals must meet specific rules to be eligible for TNA. These rules are:

  • Applicants and/or applicant teams from any European and non-European research institutes, SMEs** or large enterprises*** are eligible to apply. Applications from users working outside of countries associated with Horizon Europe* are limited to a maximum of 20% of the total access available in EXCITE.
  • The main user and the majority of the user group (>50 % per proposal) must work in a country other than the country where the facility to which they are applying is located.
  • The user/user group agrees to publish the data related to the TNA project as a data publication in an appropriate Open Access data repository (unless they are working for SMEs). The user/user group also commits to a maximum moratorium period of 6 months for data publication, starting the day after the TNA project is completed. 
  • If peer-reviewed publication(s) result from the data acquired under the TNA activity, the user/user group must ensure Open Access publication – via a trusted repository – at the latest i) on publication. If an electronic version is available for free via the publisher, or ii) within six months of publication in any other case. 

* = List of countries associated with Horizon Europe
**= small and medium-sized enterprises employ fewer than 250 people
*** = enterprise that employs more than 250 people.

EXCITE uses a web-based platform, called the Facility Access SysTem (FAST), to handle the application and review process. You can find information on how to use FAST in the FAST FAQ section. Below are the steps you go through in the application process:

How to apply

  • 1. Create an account on the FAST platform*.
  • 2. Go the FAST call page for an overview of the call information, equipment and participating facilities. This overview can also be found here.
  • 3. Each applicant can submit maximum 1 proposal per TNA call. Each proposal can request access to multiple equipment from maximum 2 different EXCITE facilities.
  • 4. Prior to submitting your proposal, contact the facility manager(s) of the facility(s) you want to apply to discuss the technical feasibility of your project. This contact is mandatory.
  • 5. When contacting the facility for the first time, we encourage you to fill out this pre-proposal contact form, which includes questions related to sample details, scientific objective and equipment. The contact details of the facilities can be found on the FAST call page or in this overview file.
  • 6. Download the proposal template. Carefully read the instruction. Failure to comply with the template, page limits and the provided guidelines results in exclusion from the review process.
  • 7. Finalize the proposal and submit your application through the FAST platform by May 22nd (23:59 CEST). Fill out the title, don’t forget the keywords(!), and upload the proposal. Subsequently, select the equipment you would like to use and complete the requested information (list the requested access units and other details related to your application). Finish by submitting your application. You can check the status of your application by logging into your FAST account.

*NB: Please make one user account only. If your affiliation is not in the system yet, we will add it manually. If you run into any problems, please contact us at fast_support@uu.nl.

TNA Access Modes

01
Physical Access (hands-on):
The user is required 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 Access (send-in-sample):
Resources and services are offered free-of-charge without users physically visiting the facility. Samples are sent for analysis to the facility where they are analysed by an operator. Sample shipment can be reimbursed up to a fixed amount.br>

Selection process

The selection procedure consists of i) a technical feasibility assessment conducted by the manager of the requested facility, and ii) a review of the scientific excellence of the proposal by an external scientific reviewer. The review will be blind; therefore, you are requested to exclude personal information from the proposal.

Technical feasibility assessment:

Before submitting your proposal, you are required to contact the facility manager and discuss the technical feasibility of the proposal. Please use this pre-proposal contact form when contacting the facility for the first time.

After submission, the technical feasibility will be formally assessed on:

  • 1. Rationale for the requested equipment, methodology, sample quantity and access units.
  • 2. Compliance to facility specifications of sample material, size, geometry, and preparation.

Scientific excellence:

The scientific excellence of the proposal is assessed on the following criteria:

  • 1. Suitability of the proposed methodology for answering the research question(s)
  • 2. The rationale for, and link between, the objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes of the study
  • 3. The innovativeness and timeliness of the proposed research, and the scientific significance of the expected outcome(s)
  • 4. Structure and writing style of the proposal.
  • Additional points are awarded if the applicant i) is an early career scientist, ii) is using the facility(s) for the first time, and/or iii) does not have access to equivalent equipment in their country of affiliation. When applicable, please select the corresponding tick boxes on the next page.

User responsibilities

Before access: access agreement

After access: reporting

Once the TNA application is approved, the user may contact the facility to sign an Access Agreement with the facility. This Agreement details the mode of access, access units, compliance with Health and Safety regulations, data processing, reporting, confidentiality, and liability related to the TNA project. The access agreement must be signed before access takes place.

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).

After access, the TNA user must create a scientific report. The user is requested to fill out this template (coming soon). Note that the scientific report needs to be signed by both the user and the facility manager.

Once the facility manager receives the scientific report, the reimbursements of the travel/housing/sustenance/shipping costs can be done using the facility’s reimbursement procedures.

As part of submitting the scientific report, the user is requested to complete a feedback questionnaire about the TNA services.

Within 6 months of finalizing the TNA project, the user is requested to share the data resulting from the TNA project in an open access repository.

User reimbursement

Upon submission of the scientific report, the user will be reimbursed for the following expenses:

  • travel expenses (in case of physical access):
    • EU*-applicant: up to €500,- travel expense, up to €200/day housing and subsistence
    • Non-EU* applicant: up to €1500,- travel expense, up to €200/day housing and subsistence
  • sample shipment (in case of remote access):
    • up to €100 for shipping of samples per project.

Original receipts/tickets must be presented in original and stored until 31/03/2033.

Confidentiality of personal data

All personal data collected from the user in the application process are only used by the EXCITE Network for management of TNA and for the proper performance of its legal tasks and duties for communication and research. This is in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR – Regulation (EU) 2016/679) and the Utrecht University Privacy statement. 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. 

Contacts
For questions about the application process in FAST, please check the FAST FAQ, or contact FAST support. For general information on the TNA call, please contact us by email at: info@excite-network.eu,

No rights can be derived from the information displayed, and the TNA management team reserves the right to modify the information on this website

Curious to learn more?

Interested in gaining access to the EXCITE2 facilities? Please enter your email address and be one of the first to be informed when we open the first EXCITE2 call for proposals. Other questions? Contact us here.

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