Frequently asked questions
Find answers to frequently asked questions from applicants.
Is it possible to apply for funding for a Proof-Of-Concept Project more than once?
The call for proposals may allow certain types of projects (see ‘About the call for proposals') to apply more than once:
The call is primarily for proposals for new projects that have not previously been awarded funding by the Research Council, with the following exceptions:
Qualification Projects (previously Milestone Project) that have received funding.
- Projects that have received support for a Commercialisation Project, where the completed project can demonstrate successful proof-of-concept with a clear trigger effect, but other funding possibilities are not available due to the project’s risk profile and time-to-market.
- Projects that have previously received funding as a Commercialisation Project must refer to the submitted final report and project number of the concluded project in the new application. The concluded project will be assessed under the new application assessment.
Do start-ups need to clarify the situation regarding rights with the research organisation at the time of the application?
Start-ups must refer to a Letter of Intent or letter of interest stating that a rights agreement will be entered into in the near future, and before the project can commence. The letter must briefly describe the content and intention of the agreement.
Can the project have partners from outside Norway?
Foreign businesses may be partners in the project but are not eligible to receive funding from the Research Council. These requirements are to ensure that Norwegian businesses receive the funding we channel, and that funding is awarded in accordance with the detailed requirements set out in the state aid rules. If a foreign partner is a research organisation, it's possible to fund the R&D services.
How should we record funding from a foreign ‘funding contribution only’ partner in the budget tables in the application form?
To use an example, if the Norwegian part of the project contributes NOK 4 million and the foreign partner contributes NOK 2 million, and the foreign partner is a ‘funding contribution only’ partner, it will be shown in the budget table ‘funding plan’, but not in the ‘cost plan’. The funding of NOK 2 million from the foreign partner must then be recorded under ‘Funding plan’ and ‘Foreign’.
Can a commercial partner be granted exclusive rights to negotiate for the project results?
As a rule, the Project Owner owns all rights to the results, cf. General Terms and Conditions (pdf), and these rights can be shared with their partners. Please note that Research Council funding may only be used for non-economic activities (read more about economic and non-economic activities). This applies to the Project Owner and other project partners. Transferral of project results is an economic activity that must take place after the project has concluded. Rights and obligations in the project are regulated in the collaboration agreement, where the parties exchange knowledge and/or technology in order to attain the joint project objectives. The parties therefore share both the risks and the results. There are no particular guidelines on how rights should be distributed, except in terms of non-economic versus economic activities, but the call states that, ‘If the Project Owner is a TTO, the research organisation that owns the intellectual property rights must participate as a project partner. If the Project Owner is a TTO, the research organisation that owns the intellectual property rights must participate as a project partner.’
What can commercial actors contribute to the project?
Contributions such as essential investigations of market conditions/customers etc. are activities that may be eligible for support, but commercial contributions pertaining to operations cannot receive funding.
What does it mean that the project must be based on publicly funded research, but not be open source?
The Research Council has a duty related to increasing commercial exploitation of publicly funded research in Norway. The calls for Qualification and Proof-Of-Concept Project funding have a limited target group with special challenges related to commercialisation of novel technology compared to start-ups or larger businesses that are not affiliated with a research organisation. If the research results that comprise the core of the innovation as a whole are published and made publicly available, all types of businesses will be able to utilise the results. The research results that are to be commercialised must represent a unique competitive advantage. For this reason, applications for Qualification or Proof-of-Concept Projects cannot be based on open source.
The project must be able to demonstrate research results forming the basis for the innovation and describe how these make up the core of its commercial application. The research results must be sufficiently robust to contribute to developing new products, processes and services. They must represent significant improvements relative to existing solutions (state-of-the-art) within the same area. Qualification and Proof-Of Concept Projects must have a commercial focus, and project activities related to research must have a clear connection with commercial aspects.
How do you calculate hourly rates for project employees?
Project employees must base the calculation of payroll and indirect expenses in the project on individual hourly rates, based on recorded costs that are necessary to carry out the project.
The Project Owner's project employees or partners that are a TTO or business must base the calculation of hourly rates on the actual costs. We have prepared a spreadsheet with examples that you can use as a basis for calculating the correct hourly rates. Contact the person responsible for the call for more information.
The Research Council will review its hourly rates during autumn 2020 and provide information about any necessary specifications. See also Calculating payroll and indirect expenses for companies, the public sector and other entities.
The Project Owner's project employees or partners that are a research institute must use the hourly rates submitted to the Research Council; see Calculating payroll and indirect expenses for research institutes. Project employees from the university and university college sector must use the TDI model; see Calculating payroll and indirect expenses for the university and university college sector.