Call for programs - 2021 "Priority programs and equipment for exploratory research

23 July 2021

Built on the lessons learned from the "Structuring equipment for research" and "Priority research programs" actions of the PIA 3, the "Priority research programs and equipment" (PEPR) action aims to build or consolidate French leadership in scientific fields that are linked or likely to be linked to technological, economic, societal, health, environmental, etc. transformation, and that are considered priorities at the national or European level.

When this transformation is in its infancy, or even in its early stages, the State may decide to accompany and support the exploration of its potential. The exploratory PEPR launched in this context must then allow the conduct of a scientific policy in upstream research on exploratory areas of national and European interest; depending on its results and the concrete progress of the transformation, the strategy may be supplemented by other actions.

Exploratory PEPRs target emerging sectors with research work whose fields of application may, for some, still be in the realm of working hypotheses. It is a question of exploring scientific fields whose expected spin-offs may be multiple.

Through the launch of these PEPR, the State wishes to structure as widely as possible the scientific communities likely to participate in these programs at the best level while strengthening the capacity of national scientific steering in the sectors concerned.
This is why, for each PEPR, the State will designate one or more scientific leaders for this program. Except by way of exception, the steering will be provided by one or more national research organizations. For certain specific themes and when justified by an analysis of the strengths in the field, a higher education institution may be co-pilot with one or more national research organizations, or even, exceptionally, be the pilot. The establishment of a fluid dialogue between national research organizations and higher education institutions will be one of the priorities of this call. The pilot(s) will have to demonstrate their capacity to assume a national role with respect to the entire scientific community.

The purpose of this call for programs is therefore to simultaneously :

to identify and select priority exploratory research programs and equipment that are likely to lead to the emergence of national strategies and to be integrated into them at a later date;
to choose the scientific (co-)pilot(s) who will have proposed them;
to validate the governance and the scientific framework document of the program they will have submitted.

This call for programs is open: all scientific themes can be submitted, provided that the application highlights the potential long-term impact of the research work supported by the program on the economy, health, the environment, society, etc. However, the State has defined strategic priority fields, mentioned in this call for proposals, on which it would like to see applications submitted (Appendix 2).

It is planned to launch about twenty exploratory PEPRs in the first three years of the AIP4. The average support provided to each of these PEPRs by the Investments of the Future will be in the order of €50M (between €20M and €120M); the amount will depend on the sector and the potential impact of the PEPR results.

This call for programs will be launched in several waves. The second wave will be launched in Q3 2021.

Important dates:

May 25, 2021 at 11:00 am: deadline for submission of the letter of intent
June 8, 2021 at 11:00 am: deadline for the submission of the modified letter of intent
July 23, 2021 at 11:00 am: deadline for submission of the application