What must be considered regarding the composition of a consortium?

The composition of a consortium is one of the evaluation criteria for reviewers. All information about requirements and restrictions regarding consortia are specified in the call text. Within these framework conditions, applicants are free to compose their consortium according to scientific needs. For example, it is possible to include different groups from the same country. At the same time, the added value of transnational collaboration may be higher with diverse research groups from different countries. Against this background, it is unlikely that a consortium will be recommended for funding if groups from one country are dominating a consortium.

However, we would like to emphasise that there are no “hidden expectations” or “political issues” that should be considered, e. g., including partners from selected countries due to political reasons.

How do I find partners for a joint research project?

For these calls, JPND is recommending use of the pilot JPND Partnering Tool. The JPND Partnering Tool is free of charge and can be used by anyone. The tool allows researchers to present their research group and expertise in a closed forum, tailored for JPND, thus making it easier for research partners to locate each other and collaborate on a proposal. Researchers can also register a new idea and receive comments from expert scientists and researchers who signed up within the tool. Consortia can then be built around this idea and a proposal can be drafted directly within the Partnering Tool. We believe that this tool will especially support early-career researchers and research groups not yet included in established consortia. Experienced researchers may use the tool to find specific expertise which may be missing from their pre-existing consortia.

The JPND partnering tool can be directly accessed here:

Can I include external collaborators in a proposal?

Yes, it is possible to include external collaborators in a consortium (e.g. for co-working on specific aspects or for including patients, cohorts, biomaterial samples or data). An external collaborator is a research group that is part of a proposal, but does not apply for funding. In principle, this could be a research group from either

– a non-JPND member country (e.g., the United States)
– a JPND member country that is not participating in the specific call
– a JPND member country that is participating in the call, but the research group is not requesting funding.

External collaborators must be able to secure their own funding. It must be stated clearly in the proposal if these funds are already secured or, if not, how the external collaborators plan to obtain funding in advance of the project start. The number of external collaborators should be well justified. Although the number of external collaborators is not formally restricted, external collaborators should not be overrepresented in a consortium. In addition, an external collaborator cannot be the coordinator of a JPND-supported research consortium.

Can collaborators from non-JPND countries be involved?

It is possible to include external collaborators (from both JPND- and non-JPND member countries) in a research project (see question and answer on external collaborators).  However, external collaborators cannot be funded by these calls, and thus must be able to secure their own funding, or provide their work for free (pro-bono).  It must be clearly stated in any proposal if these funds are already secured or, if not, how the external collaborators plan to obtain funding in advance of the project start.

Additional limitations include the following:

  • A project must involve research groups applying for funding from at least three different JPND member countries participating in the individual call.
  • The coordinator of a research consortium must be from one of those countries.

The call text, which can be downloaded from the JPND website, provides you with all information on countries and organisations that participate in the call.

Are there limitations with regard to the size of a consortium?

Yes, the minimum and maximum size of an eligible consortium is explicitly stated in the call text. Within these limitations, there is some flexibility to apply with a bigger or smaller consortium. Although the size of a consortium – within the permitted range – is not a direct review criterion, the reviewers will evaluate whether the size of a consortium is in-line with the indicated aims and the work plan. Therefore, the number of research groups participating in a consortium should be well-justified.

How much money can I apply for and which costs are eligible?

In principle, there is no formal restriction with regard to the maximum budget requested by a consortium. However, the budget should be justified by the work plan of the proposal. It is important to note that there is no direct funding of projects by JPND itself, but all successful call applicants are funded by the relevant national funding organisation(s) participating in the call. As a consequence, funding rules depend on the relevant national regulations and restrictions, which differ between the funding organisations. Each funding organisation provides detailed budgetary information as part of the country-specific information sheet of each participating country. The country-specific information sheet includes important information on the maximum budget available, eligible and non-eligible costs, overhead costs and specific regulations and restrictions. In addition, applicants should also consult their national contact point. Contact information is provided in the call text as well as in the country-specific information sheet.

May I join or even coordinate more than one proposal?

Yes, joining more than one proposal as an applicant may be possible, even within the same call, depending on the national/regional regulations of the respective funding organisations. Applicants who wish to join more than one proposed consortium must be able to demonstrate that they have the capacity to fulfil their work in case that several proposals they are participating in are suggested for funding. However, please make sure to check your national regulations with regard to this issue. Any applicable restrictions will be included in the country-specific information sheets.

However, this policy is different with regard to the coordinator of a proposal. Being a coordinator is a high responsibility, very time consuming and demanding. Therefore, although there may be no formal restriction set forth by your national/regional funding organisation, it is not a good idea to act as a coordinator in more than one proposal.