Knowledge Hubs/Knowledge Platforms as “Funding tools for trans-national & multidisciplinary collaboration & networking”: the JPI HDHL’s case study
As part of the work plan of the current CSA “MicrobiomeSupport - Towards coordinated microbiome R&I activities in the food system to support (EU and) international bioeconomy goals” a case study about two JPI HDHL Knowledge Hubs/Knowledge Platforms has been performed since this funding instrument has been widely used by the JPI HDHL already.
The key facts of the case study Funding tools for trans-national and multidisciplinary collaboration and networking have now been published in the format of a fact sheet on the CSA MicrobiomeSupport website.
The coordination unit of the ERA-Net HDHL-INTIMIC at DLR-PT, Germany, has analysed the two JPI HDHL funded Knowledge Hub on Determinants of Diet and Physical Activities (DEDIPAC KH) and INTIMIC Knowledge Platform on Food, Diet, Intestinal Microbiomics and Human Health (INTIMIC KP) in its responsibility as task leader for task 3.1 “Exploration of existing tools (Knowledge Platforms etc.) to foster transnational and multidisciplinary collaborations and networking on microbiomes research”.What are the main findings?
- KH/KPs are innovative funding instruments to promote transnational and multidisciplinary collaboration. The participating research groups start their network proposal from scratch or can contribute with already funded projects and create an overarching work plan to combine those. If relevant for the respective research field, KH/KPs can also incorporate industrial partners.
- Every funder will only fund their national researchers via the virtual common pot funding model. Despite the potential for unbalanced national funding budgets KH/KPs still result in successful transnational collaboration.
- KH/KPs have the potential to align research priorities and to address the specific challenges in a given research area between nations. Due to its unique funding mechanism this tool can be of particular use for international networks that do not have a joint budget.
The results will be presented to the Working Group ‘Food Systems Microbiome’ of the International Bioeconomy Forum on 15th of December 2020 to promote Knowledge Platforms or Hubs as a unique funding tool to improve multidisciplinary and transnational collaboration, coordination of research activities and alignment of future research priorities.
Knowledge hubs/platforms are specific funding instrument to implement interdisciplinary and transnational research networks. They consist of selected research groups within a defined area of research and aim to optimize research outcomes by facilitating the exchange of information among the actors; creating a critical mass of experts in a designated field; and pooling already existing knowledge and data to conduct joint research.
The implementation of a KP/KH follows a 3-step-procedure:
(1) interested researchers from the participating countries submit an Expression of Interest form (EoI); based on these submitted EoI the most promising participants will be selected based on agreed criteria to create a well-balanced network with the necessary expertise to reach the defined aims of the call;
(2) during a networking meeting of the selected research groups, the group of researchers start preparing one joint network proposal;
(3) after submission the network proposal undergoes an independent peer review process without competing proposals as in traditional calls.