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Submission and selection procedures

The current procedure for the submission and evaluation of research projects is based on a three step process that depends on the category and funding scheme of the project as well as on the target technical platform among the five currently available:

- Step 1: The principal investigator (PI) of the research project submits an online application (pre-project) available on this website that describes briefly the aims, content and funding scheme of the research. This pre-project is reviewed by the Ecotrons executive committee within less than two weeks in order to evaluate the technical feasibility of the research project and to validate the best match with the platforms available at the proposed execution date of the project. At this step, a pre-project can be rejected based on a major misconception, it can be redirected to a more suitable platform, or it be accepted for further peer-review, if necessary after some requests for minor revisions or additional information. Thus, a pre-project may be routed to a different technical platform than the one where the application was initially sent to, when this seems more appropriate or more efficient. Accepted pre-projects will then proceed to step 2.

- Step 2, case 1: If the PI requires external funding to cover some of the operation, running and/or personnel costs, a pre-project accepted at step 1 shall be submitted to a national or international call for proposals. In this case, the PI will ensure smooth coordination with the scientific and technical directors of the host Ecotron platform during the construction and submission of the grant proposal. The proposal will then be evaluated by the scientific board and reviewers of the national or international call. Proposals accepted for funding will not be further evaluated by Ecotrons board of reviewers and will be given first priority.
- Step 2, case 2: When public or private funds are available to run the project and when the project does not involve the use of more than 75 % of a platform for over one year and does not require large new technological development, the online application will be evaluated by the board of reviewers of the host Ecotron platform, possibly with the help of external reviewers whenever needed. For non-standard projects requiring more significant time commitment and cost to develop new technologies or requiring most of a given platform for more than a year, a full proposal will be produced and complementary evaluation by the international scientific committee will be done. Results of this peer-review process will be communicated to the PI within one to two months. Proposed projects will be either i) unconditionally accepted, ii) unconditionally rejected, or 3) accepted conditional on revisions. Accepted projects will proceed to step 3.

- Step 3: Whenever a project is accepted, the staff of the host Ecotron platform will propose a date, a procedure and a budget to run the project in the best conditions currently available in the host platform. This may take the form of a detailed protocol, a collaboration contract and/or a secured private access to a web platform dedicated to the users of Ecotrons. The exact documents will depend on the research project, the administrative status of the legal entities involved in the project, and the host platform.

All selected projects must conform to the procedures, internal rules and cost policy listed in the user charter of the Ecotrons research infrastructure (see following sections).