Demonstration Project for the Industrial Sector
Published 18 Dec 2020
Download the call
Applications are received on a running basis and processed in groups.
If all funding available to the respective topics has been allocated at a given time, the Research Council will post a notification of this here. Applications received for topics that do not have available funding will be rejected.
A Demonstration Project for the Industrial Sector (IPD) should strengthen the business sector’s own efforts to demonstrate new technology that will provide significant socio-economic benefits. The projects should contribute to securing Norwegian expertise, jobs, value creation and competitive industry.
Applications submitted from 4 January to mid-April with a funding decision between mid-May and the end of June.
01 Jul 2021
Earliest permitted project start
Applications submitted between mid-April and mid-September with a funding decision between the end of October and mid-December.
About the call for proposals
The call for demonstration projects in 2021 concerns topics relating to the Maritime industry (green shipping), Petroleum and Land-based food, the environment and bioresources.
Funding is available for projects that promote collaboration to ensure that new innovations are developed and taken into use, whether they are products, services or processes. The call targets Norwegian companies and other actors in the value chain that need to collaborate on piloting and demonstrating new technology for use nationally and for sale in international markets. For industrial projects that need extensive research activity, the call Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector will be more relevant.
We require a significant part of the work on the technology to be carried out in Norway leading to Norwegian value creation and jobs. Demonstration and qualification activities are to be carried out under realistic conditions. However, the piloting itself can be carried out outside Norway.
Project grant applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Applications will be processed in groups. Read more under the section ‘Expected funding decision’ (under ‘Processing procedures’ towards the end of the call).
The call for proposals constitutes a funding scheme that is notified to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), and must be practised in compliance with the EEA state aid rules. Read more about what this means under ‘Conditions for funding’ below.
The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version. We will provide three months’ notification of any significant revisions to the call.
Who is eligible to apply?
This call is open to companies that have been issued an enterprise number under the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises and carry out economic activity in Norway.
Specific requirements apply for collaboration with other companies/actors in the value chain. These requirements vary somewhat between the thematic areas and are described under the respective areas in the section ‘Relevant thematic areas’.
Sole proprietorships and research organisations are not eligible to serve as a formal applicant.
Who can participate in the project?
Requirements relating to the Project Owner
- The Project Owner must be a company that carries out activities of an industrial or business nature and has been issued an enterprise number under the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises
- The Project Owner must secure funding for the project (in addition to the Research Council’s funding) and make provisions for utilisation of the project results in the company.
Requirements relating to collaboration and roles in the project
- The Project Owner must carry out the project in collaboration with at least one other company/actor in the value chain. More information about the expectations of such collaborations can be found in the descriptions of each thematic area. The partners must normally contribute financial and/or scientific commitments to the project. A letter of intent/letter of interest describing the partners' contribution to the project must be enclosed with the application. The partners must be listed in the section ‘Project partners’ in the application form. Read more about project partners and R&D providers here.
- The Project Owner can carry out the project in effective collaboration with other companies in Norway. Parts of these companies’ project costs will then be covered by the Research Council’s funding of the project, and the companies will therefore become recipients of state aid.
- Norwegian and foreign expert environments and research organisations may participate in the project as R&D providers with responsibility for performing R&D work on assignment for the business partners. R&D providers may not contribute to project funding and in general have no rights to the project results. They deliver on assignment and should receive the market price for their work. If they are nonetheless to maintain the rights to results, this should be reflected in the assignment’s pricing. These must be listed in the section ‘R&D providers’ in the application form. Read more about project partners and R&D providers here.
- Other international actors may participate in the project, but will not receive Research Council funding.
- The Project Owner and partners to the project may not be in an interdependent relationship with any of the R&D providers in the project, e.g. be part of the same corporation. The ‘arm’s length principle’ must be observed when engaging R&D providers.
- The Project Owner and partners that are interdependent will be considered as one entity and as a single recipient of funding in accordance with the state aid rules.
- The application with relevant partners and R&D providers at the time the application is submitted forms the basis and is a stringent condition for funding. Changes made to the composition of a project before a contract is entered into, if relevant, may result in the Research Council withdrawing its offer of funding.
Typical characteristics of a funded project
- A demonstration project builds on a specific innovation stemming from the companies participating in the project. The innovation may be a new product, service or production process, or a new means of delivering products and services. It can also be in the form of significant improvements to or new characteristics of existing products, services or processes.
- R&D activities must comply with Article 25 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid and primarily concern experimental development as this concept is defined in the state aid rules. The companies depend on R&D activities in the form of demonstration and verification of the technology/innovation before market introduction and further commercialisation.
- The scope and risk profile of the project is such that the companies would not be able to carry out the project without public funding. The funding from the Research Council should provide critical risk relief for implementation of the activities. The project funding should be instrumental in obtaining private investments in the company that can be used to realise the innovation.
- The project must have clear objectives and a concrete plan for implementation of activities and for utilising the results. The intended users in the project in question must be described in the grant application. You must also describe the short and long-term impact.
- Demonstration and qualification activities are to be carried out under realistic conditions. A clear plan for this must be included in the project description.
What can you seek funding for?
Parts of the companies’ costs pertaining to R&D activities under the project qualify for funding. This applies to costs associated with R&D activities carried out by the project partners and to costs incurred in connection with purchase of services from subcontractors or R&D providers. The costs incurred by business partners must be entered in the budget tables on a par with the Project Owner’s costs.
You can apply for funding to cover the actual costs necessary to carry out the project. Read more about what to enter in the project budget on the Research Council’s website.
The Research Council does not provide funding for operational business activities including activities associated with the commercial exploitation of the R&D results, such as protection of intellectual property rights, market surveys and marketing. Nor is funding provided for costs that will not be recorded in the Project Owner or partners’ official accounts, such as own unpaid work effort. Nor are commercial rates for infrastructure owned by a partner or equipment/datasets donated to the project free of charge approved project costs. Such costs are therefore not to be included in the application’s budget tables.
Scope of funding
Projects should have a project period of between 1 and 3 years. The minimum amount available from the Research Council is NOK 1 million, and the maximum amount is NOK 16 million.
The project activities are defined under the category ‘Experimental development’. Effective collaboration does not qualify for additional funding. The aid intensity may vary from 25 per cent to maximum 45 per cent depending on the size of the company as defined in the state aid rules. For applications awarded funding, the final grant amount will be determined in conjunction with contract negotiations.
Conditions for funding
This call for proposals constitutes a funding scheme that is notified to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).
Funding awarded under this scheme is granted in accordance with Article 25 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid (Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014). The general terms and conditions in Chapter I of the Regulation must also be satisfied. A consolidated version of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid with amendments from July 2020 is found here.
This funding scheme must be practised in compliance with the EEA state aid rules. This means that conditions and concepts are interpreted in keeping with corresponding conditions and concepts in the state aid rules. In the event of conflict between the text of the call and the state aid rules, the latter will have precedence. The text of the call may be adjusted for this same reason.
State aid may not be given to an undertaking that is subject to an outstanding recovery order following a formal decision by the EFTA Surveillance Authority or the European Commission stating that state aid received is illegal and incompatible with the internal market. Nor can the Research Council award state aid to an enterprise that is defined as an undertaking in difficulty under the state aid rules, unless the undertaking was not in difficulty as of 31 December 2019, but became an undertaking in difficulty in the period 1 January 2020 – 30 June 2021. It may in such case receive funding.
The call for proposals has been approved as an aid scheme by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) with the reference: GBER 31/2021/R&D&I.
- If the project application is awarded funding, the Project Owner must revise the project and grant application in accordance with the conditions set out by the ruling body in the Research Council. The revised application must incorporate updated and supplementary information about the project and participating partners.
- The participating companies must also submit a declaration confirming that they are qualified to receive state aid.
- Other public funding allocated to the project, or to activities under the project, will affect the amount of funding that the Research Council can provide.
- Allocated state aid of EUR 500,000 or more will be listed in a public registry.
- When the Project Owner is informed that the project will be allocated funding, they must inform any partners listed on the stock exchange or that have applied to be admitted to trading to give them an opportunity to assess whether the allocation of funding will be considered sensitive inside information.
- For awarded projects, the project must commence no later than six months after the awarded grant was announced. Projects approved for funding that have not started within this date may lose their grant.
- Projects awarded funding under this call are among other things required to submit accounting reports annually documenting incurred project costs and their financing.
You can read more about our requirements relating to allocation in the General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects.
Relevant thematic areas for this call
The call targets the petroleum industry relating to oil and gas activities in open areas on the Norwegian continental shelf, the maritime industry relating to green shipping, and land-based food, the environment and bioresources.
The thematic areas below provide a brief description of objectives, emphases and priorities for the allocation of funds. See the respective portfolio plans referred to under "Relevant plans" for more information about priorities under each thematic area. We encourage applicants to read them so that they understand the basis for our qualitative assessment and how we prioritise applications. The Research Council strives to achieve a balanced project portfolio of supported projects within the specified topics.
The monetary amounts listed under each topic indicate how much funding is available. If all funding available to the respective topics has been allocated at a given time, the Research Council will post a notification of this at the top of the call for proposals. Applications received for topics that do not have available funding will be rejected and will not be forwarded to our experts for assessment.
Please remember to select the thematic area and topic in the application form. The chosen thematic area is merely for guidance to help the Research Council plan the application review process, and applications may be transferred to other thematic areas under the call. Please contact the advisers affiliated to the respective topics for more information about the topic and the amount of project funding available.
Petroleum has five thematic priorities:
- Topic 1: Reducing greenhouse gases, energy efficiency and the environment;
- Topic 2: Subsurface understanding;
- Topic 3: Drilling, completion, intervention and permanent plug and abandonment of wells (P&A);
- Topic 4: Production, processing and transport, and
Topic 5: Major accidents and the working environment.
The Petroleum portfolio plan provides a more detailed description and delimitation of the prioritised topics described above. Applications that do not fall within one of these four thematic areas will be rejected. Please select which of the sub-topics above are most relevant to your application in the application form.
We will emphasise projects that are mature enough for early start-up and implementation and that secure jobs, expertise and value creation for the Norwegian petroleum industry. The portfolio board will prioritise projects that address challenges for which no existing solutions are already available on the market. We will not prioritise the further development of tried and tested technology.
Within this thematic area, applications that target the main topics above will be relevant for funding. We also wish to support more projects that address the priorities listed below:
Improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
The portfolio board will prioritise using at least NOK 35 million on projects under the first thematic area, which targets energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions relating to petroleum activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. This priority applies across the calls for applications under Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector, Demonstration Project for the Industrial Sector (this call) and Knowledge-building Project for Industry in 2021.
Examples of research and technology needs in this thematic area include:
- Heat and power production with higher efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to current solutions;
- Offshore energy systems and management;
- Socio-economic research and new concepts, ideas and technology that can elucidate or enable integrated energy systems that promote low emissions, including solutions that incorporate new midstream value chains.
On the basis of this prioritisation, the applicant must describe the total emission reductions envisioned for the technology/technologies the project aims to develop. The application must also describe the time perspective and framework conditions for implementation of the knowledge/technology in relation to the industry’s new climate targets for 2030 and 2050.
Applicants must give an account of the estimated total emissions reduction for the technology/technologies the proposed project has targeted for development.
Plug and abandonment of wells (P&A)
If any applications are found to be of equal quality, we will prioritise projects relating to cost-efficient abandonment of wells. There are no earmarked funds. The number of projects that will be awarded funding therefore depends on the volume and quality of applications.
Requirements relating to collaboration and roles in petroleum
For projects targeting topics under ‘Petroleum’, the Project Owner must carry out the project through effective collaboration with companies that are the end user(s) of the technology. For the petroleum sector, this will normally be oil companies, but relevant end users also include shipping companies, suppliers or other petroleum industry actors. This will affect the application criterion ‘Relevance to the call for proposals’.
Collaboration between Petroleum and Maritime industries in green shipping
A big part of the Norwegian maritime fleet comprises vessels that support offshore petroleum activities. Projects that both contribute to climate and environmentally friendly maritime operations and help to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions relating to petroleum activities on the Norwegian continental shelf will be relevant for co-funding with the Maritime topic. There are no earmarked funds. The number of projects that will be awarded funding therefore depends on the volume and quality of applications. More information about the topics is provided under ‘Maritime industries’.
Budget, project period and funding amount
Roughly NOK 70 million has been set aside for Petroleum for 2021.
The projects may have a duration of between 1 and 3 years, and receive NOK 1–16 million in funding from the Research Council.
Reducing greenhouse gases, energy efficiency and the environment
Other relevant calls with the same topic
In the context of this call, maritime industries include: the shipping industry, the shipbuilding industry, service and equipment suppliers for all types of ships and vessels, including vessels and maritime technology used in other ocean industries.
Funding is available for demonstration projects that help to increase value creation in the maritime industry. The objective is to work within a sustainable framework to enhance competitiveness, strengthen the capacity for restructuring and improve interactivity and knowledge transfer between the R&D community and the industry.
This part of the call targets one of the priority areas in maritime and offshore operations, namely climate and environmentally friendly maritime operations/green shipping.
The projects should facilitate emission reductions from maritime transport and contribute to the maritime sector’s green transition. The Government’s action plan for green shipping was presented on 20 June 2019 and sets out ambitions to reduce emissions from domestic shipping and fisheries by half by 2030, and to promote the development of low and zero-emission solutions for all vessel categories. In 2018, the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a strategy including an ambition to reduce emissions from international shipping by 50 per cent by 2050.
On the basis of this prioritisation, the applicant must describe the total emission reductions envisioned for the technology/technologies the project aims to develop. The grant application must also include a description of the time perspective and framework conditions for implementing the knowledge/technology, viewed in connection with the industry’s climate targets for 2030 and 2050.
For more information about priorities for this thematic area, please see the planning document under ‘Relevant plans’ below.
Requirements relating to collaboration and roles in maritime industries
The Project Owner must carry out the project in effective collaboration with other companies in the value chain. If the Project Owner is a supplier company, the project must be carried out in effective collaboration with enterprises that are the technology’s end user(s). For the topic Maritime industry, the end user(s) may also be listed as the Project Owner and carry out projects in effective collaboration with suppliers.
‘Green shipping’ collaboration between the maritime industry and the petroleum industry
An important part of the Norwegian maritime industry and a big part of the Norwegian fleet comprise vessels that support offshore petroleum activities. Projects that both contribute to climate and environmentally friendly maritime operations and help to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions relating to petroleum activities on the Norwegian continental shelf will be relevant for co-funding with the Petroleum topic.
Budget, project period and funding amount
Roughly NOK 40 million has been set aside for Maritime industries for 2021.
The projects may have a duration of between 1 and 3 years, and receive NOK 1–16 million in funding from the Research Council.
Other relevant calls with the same topic
Land-based food, the environment and bioresources
In this call, biobased industries are defined as land-based food and feed, forestry and wood-based industries and industries that utilise other land-based bioresources.
If we are to succeed in limiting global warming, preserving biodiversity, reducing waste and pollution and ensuring a safe food supply, we need a new approach to production, value chains and consumption. Current solutions, technologies and value chains must be challenged, restructured and improved. There is also a need for brand new innovations and technologies that can form the basis for new industry in Norway and/or that can be scaled up in an international market.
Funding is available to businesses that will spearhead the work on realising the green transition and a sustainable future.
When assessing the relevance of the application, emphasis will be placed on the extent to which:
- The application describes how the project will contribute to the green transition, and to achieving one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals.
- The application shows that the project is not at the expense of other important ambitions related to sustainability, such as:
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate adaptation
- safeguarding healthy ecosystems and biodiversity
- reducing pollution
- transition to a circular economy
For more information about priorities for this topic, please see the portfolio plan below.
Requirements relating to collaboration and roles
For projects targeting topics under ‘Land-based food, the environment and bioresources’, the Project Owner must carry out the project in collaboration with R&D providers or relevant companies.
Budget, project period and funding amount
Roughly NOK 10 million has been set aside for Biobased industries for 2021.
The projects may have a duration of between 1 and 2 years, and receive NOK 1–2 million in funding from the Research Council.
Other relevant calls with the same topic
Requirements for this application type
Applications must be created and submitted via My RCN Web. The application and all attachments must be written in Norwegian or English. This call has an open-ended deadline. A unique grant application may only be submitted once (whereas calls with a fixed deadline may be submitted and resubmitted multiple times up to the submission deadline).
- All attachments to the online grant application form must be uploaded in PDF format. The templates for attachments can be found at the end of the call for proposals.
- The project description must be written using the designated template, and all sections must be completed.
- If the applicant has submitted the same or similar grant proposals to other Research Council calls for proposals, this must be stated in the grant application.
- At least one partner must be entered on the application form as described under ‘Requirements relating to collaboration and roles in the project’ and in the descriptions of the thematic areas above.
- Project description of up to 10 pages in length using the designated template for demonstration projects. Please note that there is new template for 2021.
- Information about partners for the company submitting the grant application (Project Owner) and each of the industry partners using the designated template. Please note that there is new template for 2021.
- The CV of the project manager using the designated template. Please note that there is new template for 2021.
- A letter of intent/letter of interest from partner(s) explaining why the project is important, and a description of its financial and/or scientific commitments to the project.
All requirements set out in the call must be met. Applications that do not meet the formal requirements, or requirements relating to the Project Owner, collaboration and roles in the project, will not be considered.
We will not assess documents and websites linked to in the application, or other attachments than those specified above. There is no technical validation of the content of uploaded attachments, so please ensure that you upload the correct file for the selected type of attachment.
Grant applications will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:
• To what extent does the innovation represent something new?
• To what extent is the innovation targeted towards clear needs or new market opportunities for the Project Owner and the companies that are partners in the project?
• To what extent does the project build on relevant and updated knowledge?
• To what extent does the project employ relevant and recognised R&D methods?
• To what extent are the R&D activities essential for the success of the innovation?
• To what extent will the project entail a potential for sustainable value creation in Norway with significant economic benefits for the Project Owner and the companies that are partners?
• To what extent can the project have positive external impacts, such as:
– helping to disseminate knowledge through networks and publications;
– producing results that can be used by other industries, the public sector or in society at large;
– leading to an innovation that can address UN Sustainable Development Goals or solve other important societal challenges.
• To what extent are the potential impacts of the project clearly formulated and highly plausible?
• To what extent does the R&D project work plan incorporate appropriate and effective objectives, work packages, milestones, resources and relevant risk assessments?
• To what extent will the project have access to the necessary R&D expertise and adequate capacity to carry out the R&D tasks?
• To what extent does the project reflect the strategic priorities of the Project Owner and the companies that are partners and have a project organisation appropriate to the task?
• To what extent does the project manager have appropriate expertise and experience to lead an R&D project targeted towards innovation and sustainable value creation for companies?
• To what extent is the plan for implementation of R&D results and realisation of benefits relevant and appropriate, for instance with regard to:
– IPR issues,
– assessment of the competitive framework and market risks,
– investment needs and plans,
– needs and plans regarding partnerships for commercialisation or industrialisation,
– need to develop business models.
Relevance to the call for proposals
• To what extent do the companies in the project meet the requirements and expectations set out in the call for proposals with regard to the Project Owner and partners?
• To what extent have the conditions set out in the call for proposals with regard to collaboration and specification of roles been met?
• To what extent can support from the Research Council be expected to trigger increased R&D investment among the Project Owner and the companies that are partners in the project and provide added value to the project beyond the financial support?
• To what extent is the project in keeping with thematic or budgetary guidelines in the call for proposals, where this is relevant in light of the project’s content?
The application and mandatory attachments will be made available in a digital portal for referees who will perform an assessment of the criteria ‘Excellence’, Impact’ and ‘Implementation’. Each application will be assessed by a referee panel comprising at least three experts. The referee panel will submit a consensus-based assessment for each of the three criteria.
After the panel has completed its assessment, the Research Council will conduct an assessment of the criterion ‘Relevance to the call for proposals’. The result of the assessment of the four criteria given above are summarised as an ‘overall mark’, which represents the overall assessment of the application’s quality, and this will be of decisive importance to whether the project is eligible for funding.
The Research Council administration will then present the projects to the relevant Research Council portfolio boards for the final funding decision. The portfolio boards emphasise achieving a balanced portfolio of projects within their area of responsibility, including in relation to ongoing projects and applications from other calls. These assessments will be based on the budgetary framework, the text of the call for proposals and documents referred to in the description of the respective thematic areas.
The portfolio board will also consider the Research Council’s general policy for allocation of funding, which takes account of:
- research ethics
- prioritisation of projects led by women project managers, assuming all other quality-related factors are essentially equal
Expected funding decision
Applications will be processed in groups. The expected funding decision dates are presented in the table below. The Research Council will have two periods in 2021 during which applications will be received and processed. It is possible that certain topics will allocate all available funding in period 1. The Research Council will in such case post a notification of this at the top of the call for proposals. Applications received for topics that do not have available funding will be rejected.
Please note that rejected applications that are resubmitted without significant changes to the project and grant application will be considered on the basis of the original assessment by the portfolio board. If a previously unsuccessful grant application is resubmitted, but with significant changes to the project and the grant application itself, this application may be assessed again and by a panel comprised wholly or in part by the same referees who assessed the previous version of the application. Applicants who are re-submitting a previously unsuccessful grant application must provide an account of the relevant changes and their significance to the project in Part 4, item 14 of the project description.
Applications submitted from
Normal reply date
First possible start-up date
Last possible start-up date (approx.)
4 January to mid-April 2021
No later than by the end of June 2021
1 July 2021
31 December 2021
Mid-April to mid-September 2021
No later than mid-December 2021
1 January 2022
30 June 2022
Applications for Demonstration Project for the Industrial Sector should be created on My RCN Web. Application templates should be filled and uploaded in the application.Create application