DataPLANT advised on grant application and discusses compensation models with participants

February 11, 2020

The NFDI starts to shape the future scientific landscape and should be taken into account when planning research projects and cooperations. Together with a participant, the “Plant Genome and Systems Biology” group at the Helmholtz-Zentrum München DataPLANT discussed possible forms of support regarding both infrastructure services and consulting. Such cooperations would require agreed upon compensation models. Both parties acknowledged the fact of challenges regarding cost compensation models which comply with non-profit/public-benefit requirements and capable of being integrated into the central NFDI governance structure.

Calculation of costs and refinancing becomesunavoidable at some point to allow sustainable cooperation. Different funding streams need to betaken into account. Every institution has funds to pay for commercial third-party services andconsulting, but it is nearly impossible to proper receive such funds as a research institution.Direct flows of money in a consortium of differently organized and funded research institutions isan issue to be iterated and solved via the corresponding cross-cutting topic. The data stewardservices can be clearly accounted for. Thus, it could be an option to use vouchers or coupons onservices in exchange for redirected financing via a grant application. An endorsement model couldbe established to foster such developments, where research funding agencies see the NFDI asa service broker. The NFDI structure ensures good scientific practice by offering certified serviceswhich are in turn applied for by research groups. The funding agencies would divert a certainamount of support to the NFDI in relation to the equivalent of the services requested. A base levelfunding e.g. either through universities or the NFDI would compensate for consultation to non-successful applications. Such options need to be discussed and developed together with allstakeholders within DataPLANT, the general NFDI level, and the appropriate political sphere.Efficient ways of reimbursement without overhead and bureaucracy are needed to offer asustainable model for long-term cooperation and viability. The concept outlined in the DFG NFDI workshop last year end of August including the concept of the NFDI as a registered society could be a feasible way for a non-profit oriented operation model for the individual consortia.