EASI-Genomics will provide free-of-charge sequencing and data analysis services to selected projects. Researchers from academia or industry willing to benefit from this opportunity will have to submit complete proposals responding to the EASI-Genomics Calls, through the online application platform established for this purpose. Eligible proposals will be evaluated by external reviewers, and eventually selected and allocated to one of the EASI-Genomics facilities. The sections below summarize the application, selection, and implementation processes for the 4th TNA Call.
EASI-Genomics has already launched four calls over a period of 4 years. EASI-Genomics Transnational and Extraordinary Access Calls were/are announced and published on the EASI-Genomics website and on its Twitter account (@EasiGenomics). The opening and closing date and time of each call as well as the topics and services offered for each call are published online on this page.
Timeline for the fourth TNA Call:
- Applicants will be able to submit their proposal through an online application platform on the website for six weeks and will be notified about acceptance/rejection of their application within 8 to 10 weeks after the call for the applications closure date.
- The submitted projects will undergo ethics check by an internal panel of independent experts.
- Applicants will be notified about their proposal's ethical acceptance/requirements/rejection within 4 to 5 weeks from the call for applications closure date.
- Applicants receiving ethics clearance will become official users of the EASI-Genomics service.
- The selected users will have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding no later than September 15, 2022.
- Users will contact the facility(ies) for organizing the sample/data transfers at their own costs.
- Samples and/or data will have to reach the allocated EASI-Genomics facility(ies) by November 1, 2022 at the latest.
- The facilities will provide their allocated users with the sequencing data as agreed. If requested, they can ship back the sequenced samples always at the user's expense.
- It is mandatory to deposit the sequenced data within open-controlled data repositories as soon as possible upon receipt.
- Scientific publications partly or entirely based on the sequenced data generated through the TNA will need to acknowledge EASI-Genomics contribution. Sharing the DOI or equivalent link towards the publication with EASI-Genomics is mandatory.
Access: EASI-Genomics provides Transnational Access through its 11 Infrastructure nodes/facilities. The support offered comprises sample processing, sequencing and/or large-scale genomics data analysis. EASI-Genomics will support between 150 and 300 access projects for a total budget of 6 million € over 4 years.
Applicant: The natural person(s) applying to EASI-Genomics calls for access on behalf of its home institution.
Providers: Eleven infrastructure nodes or facilities will be providing sequencing and/or bioinformatic analyses services. More information about EASI-Genomics facilities can be found here.
Services provided: EASI-Genomics offer is focused on advanced sequencing and data analysis services. The list of services offered by EASI-Genomics can be found here.
Transnational access (TNA): Term used for designating access to genomic sequencing services operating across national boundaries by involving a sequencing centre established in a different country than that of the applicant's institutions.
Online application system: The ARIA application platform for EASI-Genomics Access Calls is handled by Instruct-ERIC. Although potential EASI-Genomics users are requested to register with the ARIA system, the application, review, and reporting process will be handled by EASI-Genomics.
Open science and data sharing policy: Data resulting from EASI-Genomics access should be published by the user. Open access (gold or green) is required for any publication of access results. Costs of open-access publication should be covered by the user.
An exception may be considered for SMEs accessing EASI-Genomics services, which are encouraged but not obligated to disseminate the access project results.
Sequencing data generated with EASI-Genomics facility(ies) have to be deposited to the open access repositories legally set up and maintained by the EBI and CNAG-CRG, namely the ENA and EGA databases for open and controlled access respectively, no later than publication time.
Funding statement: EASI-Genomics funding must be clearly acknowledged in all publications by: “EASI-Genomics - This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824110”.
• Applicants may come from Academia or Industry (including SMEs).
• Applicants may have their home institutions based in the EU Member States or Associated Countries as defined by the Horizon 2020 programme, or outside of the EU.
• Access is transnational only, applicants cannot request access to services only offered by facility(ies) from their home country.
• EASI-Genomics principal investigators and members of their research groups are not eligible to apply.
• Applicants must demonstrate the ethics-legal compliance of their project in the submission process.
• Applicants are required to provide copies of valid legal and ethical authorisations relative to their research, their samples, and/or their data through the ARIA submission platform online at the time of submission of their application.
• Applicants must ensure that the samples/dataset are available at sufficient quantity and quality before the closing date of the application period.
• EASI-Genomics facilities can accept biological samples of biosafety containment levels (BSL) 1 or 2.
• Applicants agree with EASI-Genomics' open science and data sharing policy and commit to comply with it.
• Successful applicants from previous EASI-Genomics TNA calls are not allowed to apply again until sequencing and bioinformatics analysis of their funded project has been completed.
• Applicants or co-applicants whose proposal was not selected for funding in a previous EASI-Genomics call for TNA can apply again.
• For a given EASI-Genomics TNA call, the number of applications that can be submitted as the main applicant is limited to 1 per research group.
• Proposals for projects involving sequencing of material from human embryonic stem cells or tissue of human embryonic origin cannot be accepted.
Applicants are encouraged to get in contact with the potential provider facilities before submission of their proposal to discuss the feasibility and technical specificities of their project through the generic email address provided at each facility page.
Applicants are instructed to avoid referring to a specific EASI-Genomics facility in their proposal.
Applicants are invited to submit their proposal through an online application system, the ARIA application platform for EASI-Genomics Transnational Access Calls. ARIA is handled by Instruct-ERIC and is accessible from EASI-Genomics website at the open call page and directly using the link provided.
Applicants are required to register upon their first visit to ARIA or log in directly if they have previously registered onto ARIA platform.
Once registered, the applicants are required to follow ARIA instructions.
A note on Information to Data Subjects relative to the processing and management of user’s personal data through the reviewing process can be found here.
EASI-Genomics applications will go through three stages of review. The application will remain strictly confidential throughout the whole review process.
Stage 1: Eligibility check. The first stage will be an eligibility check (cf. eligibility criteria above).
Stage 2: Scientific and Technical Evaluation. The second evaluation stage is an independent scientific review, conducted by two external reviewers. Proposals will be assessed based on the following detailed criteria:
- Scientific merit of the proposal;
- Impact and innovation potential;
- Availability of biological samples and data;
- Quality of phenotypic data;
- Dissemination of results in open access media and data management plan. (SMEs may be released from this criterion in case of documented conflicting reasons).
In addition to the external experts, one internal EASI-Genomics member will contribute by reviewing the technical feasibility of each project. The call managers will generate a ranked list of the applications that could benefit from access.
Decision and allocation: The Access Committee of EASI-Genomics, consisting of representatives of the infrastructure sites and one Scientific Advisory Board member, will establish a threshold score for successful project proposals.
The successful projects will be allocated by the committee to the most appropriate EASI-Genomics sites according to the strengths of specific methodology and various expertise of the facility, always considering the trans-nationality requirement.
Applicants will be informed about the decision within 10 –12 weeks after the end of the submission period.
- Applicants of non-selected proposals will be informed by email about the result of the selection process, including the provision of reasons for non-acceptance.
- Successful applicants will be informed by email about the results of the evaluation and the assignment of the project to an EASI-Genomics facility.
Once the project is selected, the applicant will receive an exemplary of the MoU and the standard Materia/Data Transfer Agreement(s) for information only. Signatures of these documents will only be required after the successful ethics check (see section "Project Start and Implementation").
Stage 3: Ethics Check.
Each proposal is evaluated by an independent pool of experts regarding ethical and legal compliance.
The ethics check considers existing international, European, and national regulations relevant to the project and is based on the information and documents provided by the applicant in the ARIA Platform. Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide the required documentation online, preferably in English, at the time of the initial submission in order to facilitate the selection process.
The ethics check particularly focuses on human rights and protection of human beings in research activities, data protection and privacy, animal protection and welfare, environmental protection, and open science contribution according to the research areas of each project.
Decision: The applicant is notified about the ethics check result in 4 to 5 weeks after the initial project selection notification.
The Ethics Team of EASI-Genomics can require further documents or explanations from the applicants that are important for decision-making. In such a case, the applicant receives a "Conditional Ethical Clearance" detailing missing elements and additional delays planned for processing the application. The applicant will only get the user status once the final full Ethical Clearance is granted after the complementary scrutiny is concluded.
Applicants will always be notified of the final full Ethical Clearance and next steps for starting TNA or the project rejection and motives.
Step 1: TNA formal agreements.
MoU: Once a project receives full ethical clearance, a Memorandum of Understanding detailing the expected interactions between EASI-Genomics and the user shall be signed no later than September 15, 2022.
Contract: Both users and the allocated EASI-Genomics facility(ies) will be responsible for establishing a Material and/or Data Transfer Agreement (MDA or DTA) directly among themselves before any exchange of the samples/data for the TNA, at the latest, on October 1, 2022. Standard contracts will be made available.
Important note: The documents mentioned above need to be personally signed by both the natural person who applied to the call and a legal representative from the user's institution.
Step 2: Sending samples.
Applicants are responsible for providing the allocated EASI-Genomics facility(ies) with biological samples and/or data described in the proposal within four months (16-20 weeks) of the first ethics check result notification, and, at the latest, on November 1, 2022.
Step 3: Sequencing results management.
The sequencing facility will return the requested data to the user, and samples if requested, in the best delays.
As a follow-up of user's compliance to EASI-Genomics terms of services, deposition of the sequenced data in open-controlled data repositories such as EGA or ENA is undertaken as agreed in the TNA framework agreements with the support of the corresponding services and eventually designated broker (see Annex III od the standard MTA).
The user must mention the contribution of EASI-Genomics in the publication using data sequenced in the TNA and send back a copy/reference of the publication to the EASI-Genomics facility and coordination. Referencing the publication on the EASI-Genomics website is proposed free of charge.