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Proof-of-concept funding

Up to NOK 50 million is available for new proof-of-concept projects with start-up in the first half of 2018. Funding may be sought by Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) and newly established companies. Projects must be based on research results from a publicly funded research institution.

Other support Choose
11.10.2017 13:00 CEST


Please note that the grant application form may be saved and submitted multiple times on “My RCN Web”. Applicants are recommended to save and submit their application as soon as it has been completed. Applications may be revised up to the expiry of the deadline. It is the most recently submitted version of the grant application that will be made available to the case officer at the Research Council for processing. Please note that the designated template for project descriptions must be used. It is available here as an attachment to the call for proposals.



Amount of funding presumed available for this call for proposals:

NOK 50 million is expected to be available for new proof-of-concept projects with a start date in the first half of 2018. Up to NOK 5 million in funding may be sought per project, distributed over a project period of up to three years.

Guidelines and important considerations relevant to all types of applications in this call for proposals:

The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version.

What is a proof-of-concept project?

Proof-of-concept funding under the FORNY2020 programme is designed to clarify questions relating to commercial, business-related, conceptual and technological challenges. The aim of proof-of-concept activities is to reduce the level of risk associated with a project to the extent that industry, customers, partners, investors and other actors are willing to invest and take part in further commercialisation and industrialisation once the project period has been concluded. Proof-of-concept funding is to be awarded to business-driven, business-oriented projects; it is not intended to finance research activities.

Who can apply for funding?

Proof-of-concept funding may be sought by Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) representing publicly funded Norwegian research institutions and newly established companies. Projects must be based on results from research conducted at a publicly funded research institution.

Support may only be awarded to TTOs for projects involving activities of a non-economic nature. This applies to the Project Owner and partners as well, cf. item 19(b) of the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s guidelines on state aid for research and development and innovation.

In accordance with Article 22 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid: Aid for start-ups, support cannot be awarded to enterprises that:

  • are more than five years old,
  • have more than 10 employees,
  • are part of a group of companies.

Eligible enterprises may seek up to NOK 5 million in support under this call for proposals. However, the maximum total support that may be awarded to such enterprises under Article 22 of the Block Exemption is EUR 0.8 million.

Read more about the state aid rules.

What can the funding cover?

Proof-of-concept funding is to be used to carry out activities that will provide the answers to questions that a customer, industry partner, investor or other relevant partner needs answered before deciding to invest in the development or procurement of a product, process or service.

See the Template for project descriptions DOCX - 54 KB .

Project organisation  

Projects must be managed correctly from the outset, so applicants are encouraged to:

  • assign the Project Owner (contractual partner) the responsibility for deciding how the project team will be organised;
  • put together an interdisciplinary project team that includes competence within business development, finance and economics, commercial competence, expertise in the relevant technologies/disciplines and other relevant expertise, depending on the nature and maturity of the project;
  • think about the project from a user and customer perspective from the outset;
  • designate a project manager who has experience with business development as well as leadership experience from the relevant industrial sector, and who in most projects should allocate a significant portion of his or her time to keeping the project moving forward;
  • ensure that the project has a steering group in which all of the partners are represented and which includes an individual from outside the project who has extensive knowledge about the business area.

Additional requirements may be set for the projects based on information that emerges in the application review process.

Prerequisites for funding

Grant proposals must satisfy the following criteria in order to be eligible for proof-of-concept funding under the FORNY2020 programme:

  • The project must be able to show great commercial benefit or great benefit to society.
  • The partners must have a clearly defined role in the project.
  • All financial and other contributions to the project must be clarified.
  • The project must possess the rights to further develop the technology.
  • The project must not have passed the proof-of-concept phase; i.e. industry, investors or other public sector actors must not have already taken on the responsibility for further commercialisation and industrialisation.

Projects will be followed up closely throughout the project period. Allocated funding may be reduced or terminated if the prerequisites for funding are no longer satisfied.


Assuming that all factors relating to scientific merit and relevance are essentially equal, priority will be given to projects led by women project managers.

Project assessment criteria

Grant proposals will be assessed on the basis of the Assessment criteria – Proof-of-concept funding under the FORNY2020 programme.