AQUACOSM-plus Transnational Access (TA)

In response to the COVID-19 related travel restrictions and related health hazards, planned TA activities may be postponed or adapted as needed – please contact the respective facility providers for updates on timing and feasibility.

Between 2021 and 2023 AQUACOSM-plus will offer >13000 person-days of Transnational Access (TA) to more than 60 different leading and highly complementary European mesocosm facilities located at 28 AQUACOSM-plus partners throughout Europe. The AQUACOSM-plus mesocosm facilities represent a cross section of European aquatic ecosystems ranging from Sub-Arctic to Mediterranean, from mountains to lowlands, from freshwater to marine, and from ultra-oligotrophic to hyper-eutrophic conditions.

Successful TA applicants will be offered access to AQUACOSM-plus facilities including logistical, technological and scientific support, specific training as well as travel and accommodation free of charge. Details on the aims and importance of TA, what TA offers, who can apply, the selection criteria and the evaluation procedure can be found below.

The first call for Transnational Access (TA) at AQUACOSM-plus facilities is closed.

We received 32 applications with 64 applicants.

The applications are checked for eligibility by the TA-Office and the evaluation process by the independent USP has been initiated.

Facility providers will be informed about the evaluation outcome and ranking of the applications per facility. The respective facility providers will inform successful applicants. Applications with eligibility issues will be notified by the TA-Office.

Prior to submitting an application you need to do the following:

  • Check out the AQUACOSM-plus mesocosm facilities here to explore the possibilities offered by each facility. Current opportunities for TA are also compiled on the AQUACOSM-plus TA-Calendar (see below).
  • Contact the respective facility provider(s) as early as possible in the proposal preparation process.
  • Read the AQUACOSM-plus TA Application Guidelines. Ensure that all requirements are met before submitting an application for Transnational Access.

AQUACOSM-plus TA-Calendar with links to detailed information of planned experiments at the Mesocosm Facilities.

For the submission you need to do the following:

  • Register on the AQUACOSM website for an account here and log in here in order to access the application section.
  • Prepare the required documents for your TA application:
    • CV (mandatory); It is required to use the ACplus TA CV template.
    • Confirmation letter (CL) from facility provider (mandatory)
    • Support letter (SL) (optional)
  • Group leaders submit the TA application for the whole group, including all CVs (and CL).
  • Individuals (expert or trainee) submit the TA application, their CV (and CL). A trainee has to be a student (Bachelor, MSc or PhD), those with completed PhDs or coming from SMEs/ Industry background have to apply as individual experts.

A successful TA application should cover the following main points:

  • Aims, objectives and motivation of your TA project
  • Scientific and technical value of your project
  • Quality of the work plan
  • Scientific excellence of expert or user group
  • Potential for seeding links with industry

Trainees (as defined above) apply for TA through a simplified application by expressing their motivation.

The TA applications from the first deadline (26 Feb 2021) for TA activities starting in April 2021 are currently in the evaluation process and TA applicants will be informed about the results soon.

The first call for Transnational Access (TA) at AQUACOSM-plus facilities is closed

We received 32 applications with 64 applicants.

The applications are checked for eligibility by the TA-Office and the evaluation process by the independent USP has been initiated.

Facility providers will be informed about the evaluation outcome and ranking of the applications per facility. The respective facility providers will inform successful applicants. Applications with eligibility issues will be notified by the TA-Office.

  • Attract and support a wide range of users primarily from Europe and also from third countries by providing access to high-quality infrastructures and services at unique and diverse aquatic mesocosm facilities, enabling first-class experimental research in aquatic ecology, including industrial Research & Development (R&D) activities.
  • Develop unexplored research and development potential between largely separated communities, such as freshwater and marine sciences, and between science, industries, environmental managers, and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Broaden cross-disciplinary collaboration and coordination of approaches and investigations over environmental gradients (salinity, climatic, nutritional, etc.).
  • Specifically offer access and train users from countries that lack state-of-the-art freshwater or marine mesocosm facilities, and/or have not previously been involved in experimental investigations using aquatic mesocosm facilities.
  • Invite students, scientists, industry, technical developers and other stakeholders that do not have access to similar facilities, know-how or services in their own country or institution. To foster a truly global initiative, AQUACOSM will welcome up to 20% of the funded participants from countries outside the European Union and associated states. Applications from female users are particularly encouraged!

AQUACOSM-plus partners have developed mesocosm facilities and supporting laboratories with different complimentary state-of-the-art, instrumentation, methods and know-how. To fully utilise this potential, we open our facilities for external users to implement their own experiment, but also to integrate into ongoing projects carried out at the facilities to facilitate international networking and knowledge exchange. Therefore, applicants from different fields can, through TA activities, suggest experiments or participate in already planned experiments.

  • AQUACOSM-plus provides access free of charge to approved users to at least one of the partner facilities. The access includes logistical, technological and scientific support and specific training to users. Each facility provider within AQUACOSM-plus is responsible for the local administration of the TA users. The coordinators at each facility hosting TA will be responsible for practical installation and day-to-day scientific supervision.
  • Travel expenses from the home institution of the user to the chosen installation and return shall be reimbursed on the following basis: The airfare shall be reimbursed on submission of the original ticket with a travel imbursement form after the completion of the travel. The travel must be on economy class. Local transportation costs (bus, metro, train) for the arrival and departure dates may also be reimbursed upon presentation of receipts. Taxi fares are not eligible for reimbursement unless properly justified and clarified with the facility providers beforehand. Please make sure to retain the receipt and provide a written justification. If you need to travel by car, reimbursement conditions will follow the internal regulations of the TA host institution for guests. The costs of car rental or car insurance will only be covered when permitted by the regulations of the institution providing TA and then only when the costs are not exceeding the allocated funds of the host. Please contact your host in advance to verify and get confirmation regarding the terms of reimbursement.
  • Lodging will be booked and paid directly by the AQUACOSM-plus partner facility provider. The duration of the proposed project may vary, but generally between ca. three weeks to three months for each person.
  • Subsistence expenses will be provided for in the form of either a per-diem rate or through all meal costs covered by the facility provider depending on the local rules at the facility and the country.

The AQUACOSM-plus Transnational Access program does not cover salaries or honoraria! Appointed users should make their own travel, health and other insurance arrangements.

Individuals and groups from all over the world can apply for AQUACOSM-plus TA as long as the following regulations are met:

  • When more than one applicant submits a proposal, the group is led by a “user group leader”.
  • All TA grants to user group leaders, group members, individual users (experts and trainees) are personal. The person/s named on the application form cannot be exchanged.
  • The user group leader can neither transfer the grant leadership, nor a significant amount of allocated personal time to another member(s) of the group.
  • The user group leader and the majority of users must reside in a country other than the country where the installation/research infrastructure is located.
  • The number of TA access days is also personal, Modifications may be allowed after evaluation on an individual case basis.
  • After the call is closed it is not possible to add participants on TA funding.
  • Only users and user groups that are allowed to publicly disseminate the results generated under the action can benefit from TA, unless the user represents an industrial/private enterprise (for which special rules apply-please contact us for further info).
  • User groups with a majority of users not working in an EU or associated country is limited to 20% of the total amount of units of access provided under the grant.
  • Members of the AQUACOSM-plus consortium/partners and present members of their Department cannot apply for TA funding.
  • Non-associated members at the AQUACOSM-plus partner institutions, i.e. researchers from another department can apply for TA. However, all requirements mentioned above apply. Generally external and new users will be prioritised.

The applications are evaluated by the User Selection Panel (USP)composed of international experts in the field and being independent from the beneficiaries. The USP applies the principles of transparency, fairness and impartiality.

The USP bases the evaluation primarily on scientific merit following 5 key points:

  • Aims, objectives and motivation of TA project and
  • Scientific and technical value.
  • Quality of the work plan
  • Scientific excellence of individual expert or user group
  • Potential for seeding links with industry

In addition USP takes into account that priority is given to individuals or user groups who:

  • have not previously used the installation and
  • are working in countries where no equivalent research infrastructure exist
  • Incoming TA applications are registered by the TA-Office and checked for formal compliance according to the present European Commission Requirements.
  • The TA-Office then opens the online portal to give access to compliant applications to the independent User Selection Panel (USP)
  • The USP evaluates, prioritises and ranks the TA applications according to scientific merit and 5 key points attributed to prospective users as defined above.
  • The facility providers will check the feasibility of the proposed activities and follow the recommendations and ranking of the applications by the USP.
  • In unclear cases the SC will be consulted and final decisions are taken by the USP and followed by the respective facility providers.
  • Facility providers start organising the planned activity as soon as they are informed about approved TA applications.
  • Decisions on TA approval will be also reported to the TA-Office and publicly communicated via the outreach pathways of AQUACOMS-plus.
  • If more qualified applicants seek access to the same facility than there are available time slots, the less qualified applicants will be either directed to another facility (if they have given a second choice facility), alternatively put on a waiting list or their proposal will be declined.
  • By accepting TA funding, the TA users and groups are consenting to comply with the open data policy (see below). Details on open data policy within AQUACOSM-plus can be found in the Data Management Plan (DMP).
  • Uploading the metadata to the Mesocosm Metadata Catalogue is mandatory. Please see the instruction videos for further information and guidance on how to upload your metadata.
  • After the completion of the project in the AQUACOSM-plus partner facility, the TA user (group leader or expert/trainee) submit a short AQUACOSM-plus TA-Report (template coming soon)
  • Travel expenses and any other costs will be reimbursed upon approval of the AQUACOSM-plus TA Report and the metadata upload to the Mesocosm Metadata Catalogue.
  • All publications resulting from the project should acknowledge EC-support (see AQUACOSM-plus TA Report).
  • The TA users should publish the results of their own work at the infrastructure in an open access journal/repository. Proprietary research (research where results are not generally available to the public or only made available under confidentiality arrangements) cannot be supported.

If you have ideas for project(s) you wish to discuss with us please contact us any time, we are here to help developing the best possible open science projects! Welcome!

WP9 Leader: Dr. Stella A. Berger
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)
Department of Experimental Limnology
Alte Fischerhütte 2
16775 Stechlin
Office phone:  +49 33082 69941

WP9 Co-Leader: Dr. Tatiana Tsagaraki
Department of Biology
University of Bergen
Thormøhlensgate 53 A/B
Office phone: +47 55584630

WP9 Co-Leader: Prof. Silke Langenheder
Department of Ecology and Genetics/Erken Laboratory
Uppsala University
Norra Malmavägen 45
761 73 Norrtälje
Office phone: +46 18 471 2710