Call for proposals
In the framework of its Research Initiatives scheme, ILTER provides small research grants for compact projects, or for instance as seed grants for larger undertakings, or for supporting thesis or post-doctoral work by young scientists. 

ILTER ensures the scientific quality of the supported Research Initiatives through a competitive and professional approach of projects selection. 

Our call for proposals is open to all interested parties, and it is set up in a bottom-up fashion, that is, applicants are free to choose a research topic of their interest, provided it is in line with at least one of the ILTER conceptual pillars and/or the ILTER scientific goals. Likewise, project durations may be freely defined. 

Before submitting your proposal, carefully read the below specifications of our project fiunding scheme. 
General Principles
Exploiting the ILTER Infrastructure
Project initialisation process
Financial regulations
Dissemination and data policy
General Principles
All proposed ILTER Research Initiatives must tangibly exploit the ILTER infrastructure, that is, make use of ILTER sites and/or ILTER data or other ILTER services. 

Moreover, they should fulfil at least one of the following criteria:
  • Enable new use cases of the ILTER infrastructure
  • Support ILTER cross-site and possibly multi-member network research 
  • Demonstrate the potential for creating new ILTER datasets and of using existing ILTER datasets
  • Develop new approaches which contribute to data sharing and integration across sites and/or networks
  • Promote ILTER internal balance and/or ILTER enlargement through a focus on researchers from disadvantaged areas
  • Expand the outreach of ILTER through attracting new users from various stakeholder groups to ILTER sites
  • Foster education and training to strengthen the next generation of ILTER researchers
Exploiting the ILTER Infrastructure
Our metadata portal DEIMS SDR is your entry point that shows you where the ILTER sites are located and it describes each site in detail. Many sites enable physical access to users, that is, they can be visited for field work. Moreover, many sites offer remote access, that is, site staff performs research based upon protocols received from users. 

Datasets are available for download directly from some sites, and most make them available upon request. Many ILTER datasets can be accessed through DEIMS SDR and various data portals of its member networks, such as the US Environmental Data Initiative (EDI), the SAEON Data Portal, the eLTER Data Integration Platform, the UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) data portal, the Australian TERN Data Services and several other ones. 

DEIMS SDR also provides contact details for each ILTER site, and site staff will gladly provide specific information to potential users regarding site and data access conditions and other matters. 
Project initialisation process
  1. Publication of the call for proposals through the ILTER website
  2. Proposal submission
  3. Eligibility check (in line with the rules of the scheme)
  4. Plausibility check (e.g., by staff of the site(s) concerned)
  5. Scientific evaluation and ranking (by the ILTER Science Committee)
  6. Project selection (by the ILTER Executive Committee)
  7. Notification of applicants
  8. Logistic support of users and site staff during the project run-time
  9. Reporting after the project is concluded
See below for details. 
Financial regulations
Research Initiatives should use ILTER financial support in the most efficient way possible (least cost principle). Travel should be restricted to a reasonable minimum (also for environmental responsibility reasons), for instance to visit one or more ILTER sites or to organise a workshop. 

There are almost no formal restrictions regarding items being eligible for funding, provided the requested financial support can be justified as needed to execute the Research Initiative. ILTER will provide funding to successful project applicants and, if needed, may also cover certain costs incurred by ILTER site owners during the respective project. For instance, if a researcher (or a group of researchers) wishes to visit an ILTER site for the purpose of fieldwork, and site staff will travel to the site as well to provide support and advice, the travel costs of both the user(s) and of the site staff would be eligible for funding. 

Exceptions include capital investments of any kind and long-haul travel to scientific conferences, which are not eligible for funding. In cases of doubt, the decision regarding eligibility will be up to ILTER. 

The overall budget available per call will be decided each year by the ILTER Coordinating Committee. 

ILTER will usually reimburse costs upon receipt of the related invoice(s). For this purpose, the person who claims funds must use the form ILTER Reimbursement Request (for download on our Public Cloud). Advance payments are however possible provided they are well-founded. 

The grant should be acknowledged in all products resulting from ILTER Research Initiatives. ILTER logo files are also available at the Public Cloud
ILTER considers that proposals requesting a contribution of up to 12.000 EUR could reasonably address the above-described concept. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. 
Dissemination and data policy
Applicants must confirm that they intend to disseminate the outcomes of their Research Initiative. If new data are collected, these must be made available to the respective site owner organisation (where the data originate) and to the wider scientific community within a reasonable time frame and without significant delays (recommended time frame: at most two years). Data should be released using a standard Open Data license and be free of intellectual property rights (IPR).

On a completely voluntary basis, successful applicants are encouraged to share their experiences with like-minded colleagues by contributing posts to the blog Short Stories about Long Term Research. Likewise, this blog may inspire you as to possible use cases of the ILTER infrastructure!
Tentative timing
Currently, no call for proposals is open. The next one is expected to be published in late 2024. 
The scheme is overseen by the ILTER Secretariat and Financing Office which also serves as contact point for the applicants through the address
Proposal submission and processing
Applicants should download the Proposal Template for ILTER Research Initiatives (MS Word format). The filled-in template should be sent via email to the ILTER Secretariat and Financing Office (see above) which will also answer possible questions by applicants. For technical reasons, the template must be sent in Word format, not as PDF. 

If a proposed Research Initiative includes a visit to one or more ILTER sites for the purpose of fieldwork, prior to submitting a proposal for a Research Initiative, the respective applicant is strongly encouraged to contact the site manager(s) to discuss a possible collaboration and to check whether the site(s) can actually fulfil the potential needs. Furthermore, possible restrictions, such as requirements for permits should be investigated. Likewise, if datasets from particular sites are needed, their accessibility and the related data policy should be clarified before proposal submission. 

The eligibility check of the received proposals will be conducted by the ILTER Secretariat and Financing Office. Thereafter, if applicable, it will contact ILTER site staff, ILTER information management experts, etc., regarding the plausibility (doability) of the proposed approach. 

The scientific evaluation will then be performed by the ILTER Science Committee. Evaluation criteria are
  • Scientific quality (innovative, original, well founded?)
  • Approach and methodology (adequate, clear, consistent?)
  • Relevance for ILTER (in line with the Research Initiatives Scheme?)
  • Adequate management (sensible financial planning, mobilisation of needed resources?)
Projects will be selected for funding by the ILTER Executive Committee based upon the recommended ranking by the ILTER Science Committee. 

The ILTER Secretariat and Financing Office will send an anonymised evaluation summary to each applicant and a formal notification regarding the funding decision (acceptance or rejection). If needed, the office will offer some logistic support to the successful applicants before, during and after their project work. 

After completion, for each ILTER Research Initiative, a short summary report must be submitted based upon a template which will be provided to the Research Initiative point of contact.