Frequently asked questions
Find answers to frequently asked questions from applicants.
Are educational institutions allowed to support multiple projects?
Yes. Both the division or department at the institution that is listed as the Project Owner and the individual who is designated the project administrator may have these roles in multiple STUD-ENT projects.
Are the students required to have studied at the institution that is supporting the project?
No, we do not require students to have studied or graduated from the educational institution that supports the STUD-ENT project. The project must, on the other hand, have a link to a relevant professional environment at a Norwegian educational institution, where the collaboration contributes to reducing technological or other critical risk in the project.
Can applicants include letters of intent to support their applications?
Letters/statements of intent or interest from potential customers/industrial partners/stakeholders may be uploaded as an attachment to the application.
These documents may improve the merit of an application if they describe specific commitments that will contribute to reducing concrete risks in the projects. General statements will be of little value.
Do applicants receive feedback on their applications?
When reviewing grant applications, the Research Council uses external referees with relevant experience in relation to the individual grant applications. These external referees have a background as an investor, business developer, technology developer, serial entrepreneur or the like. The referees provide critical and practical advice for all grant applications, regardless of whether applicants receive financial support. All projects that are assessed will receive written feedback. Thus, the STUD-ENT scheme also serves as a practical learning arena for students and educational institutions.
What if the applicant disagrees with the feedback on the application?
The assessment process itself is designed to be of value for applicants, regardless of whether the project is granted funding. The assessments of the referee panel do not represent set answers, but are to provide applicants with insight into where they succeeded in communicating and how the project is perceived from a commercial and market-oriented perspective. For applicants, critical feedback can often be divided into two categories:
- Feedback the applicant agrees with: This type of feedback typically identifies weaknesses or areas for improvement in the application that become clear to the applicant when they are pointed out by the referees.
- Feedback the applicant does not agree with: This type of feedback typically involves aspects of the application that may be perceived of as unclear, or inadequately explained or described, and which consequently may be misunderstood by the referees.
Please contact the case officer if any of the feedback is unclear.
Why is it necessary to describe a plan for the project when plans so often change later?
As part of the application process applicants are to convince the referees that the use of funding is based on a well thought out plan. The plan must describe prioritised activities that, at the time of application, have been assessed as able to reduce technology- or concept-related risk to clarify uncertainty so that the project will move forward in the commercialisation process after the STUD-ENT project has concluded.
NOK 1 million is a large sum of money, and projects that do not have sound enough plans to convince the referees of their maturity will be assessed as having too poor a starting point. The funding provided is taxpayers' money and must be prudently administered.
Projects granted funding have been afforded a huge opportunity and it is important to use it well. The Research Council understands that the original project plan may need to be modified due, for example, to a change in market conditions. Proposed changes to the project framework are to be submitted for approval via “My RCN Web” on an ongoing basis throughout the year. It is important to explain why the proposed change is necessary.
What are some typical problems with projects that do not win funding?
- a lack of practical customer understanding/market surveys prior to application submission;
- inadequate knowledge about the value chain;
- a lack of complementary expertise among the team;
- too much focus on the product instead of clarification of market potential;
- milestones and deliverables are not sufficiently clear and measurable;
- too much time has been allotted in the project plans before critical factors will be clarified;
- little focus on what the project can set in motion, what happens if the project succeeds?
- unclear who/how the project will be funded after the STUD-ENT project period has concluded.
Is it permitted to receive funding from both Innovation Norway and the STUD-ENT scheme?
Projects that have received support from the STUD-ENT scheme will during the project period carry out critical activities that reduce the technology and concept risk to clarify uncertainty that prevents the project from progressing in the commercialization process. During the project period, STUD-ENT projects will therefore have a continuous dialogue with relevant players in the market in order to be able to deliver on the specific technology and concept risk factors these players point to. A STUD-ENT project is therefore considered to have carried out initial market clarification activities, and it will therefore not be relevant for these projects to apply for market clarification grants from Innovation Norway. For projects that have received market clarification grants from Innovation Norway, and where there are technology and concept risks that the customer does not accept, it may be relevant for them to apply for STUD-ENT.
Is it permitted to receive funding from other funding sources and the STUD-ENT scheme?
STUD-ENT funding is not intended to be an alternative to private capital. Projects that already have other funding or are found to be in a position to obtain other funding may fall outside the intended target group.
STUD-ENT funding is also not intended to finance the entire commercialisation phase, nor does it support the general development of products or companies.
How is the funding disbursed and what are the reporting requirements?
- First disbursement: will be paid out after the contract with the Research Council has been signed. The amount disbursed corresponds to anticipated expenditures for the first budget year, limited to a maximum of six months of the year of start-up.
- Second disbursement: will be carried out in the beginning of the second budget year. The amount is the same as for the first disbursement minus 20 per cent, which will be held back until the final report is delivered and approved.
The remainder will be disbursed after the final report and project accounts for the second budget year have been submitted and approved.
Project accounts, progress reports and the final report are to be submitted in accordance with the standard routines employed by the Research Council. The project account report must be endorsed by a chartered accountant.
Please note that the project accounts for the first budget year must be submitted by 20 January of the following year, and any adjustment for higher or lower costs during the first budget year will take place in connection with the processing of the project account report.
Is there anything PhD students should pay particular attention to?
PhD students are subject to the Act relating to the right to employees’ inventions and are qualified to apply for funding under both the STUD-ENT scheme and for a Qualification/Proof-Of-Concept Project. We recommend the following:
- If an institution gives up its rights in a project, the PhD student can apply for funding under the STUD-ENT scheme.
- If the institution wishes to maintain ownership of rights in a project, the PhD student should apply for a Qualification or Proof-Of-Concept Project.
The STUD-ENT scheme has a twofold ambition to
- support promising student-driven business ideas
- strengthen the entrepreneurship culture in the university and university college sector
Students should therefore own most of the rights in a STUD-ENT project, but the application must describe how the collaboration between the project and educational institution will strengthen the entrepreneurship culture.
Support for a Qualification/Proof-Of Concept Project is project funding intended solely to increase commercial exploitation of publicly-funded research. In a course of commercialisation where the institution has ownership of rights, a technology transfer office (TTO) will normally play a key role in agreements.