Health Pilot – Main Call for Proposals
Published 17 Jun 2021
Download the call
Through the Health Pilot initiative, we will finance innovation processes that can increase sustainability in health and care services and stimulate value creation in Norwegian trade and industry, cf. Report No 18 to the Storting (2018–2019) The health industry – working together on value creation and better services.
The objective of the innovation processes is to develop good solutions that reach patients and citizens more quickly while at the same time creating benefits and value in the private and public sectors. See also our information page about Health Pilot (link opens in a new window).
The innovation processes must be based on clear and recognised needs of patients, inhabitants or the public health services. The innovation processes must include targeted research, technological development and service development that can lead to the implementation, upscaling and commercialisation of innovations in the health sector.
Health Pilot is a collaboration between the Research Council, the regional health trusts, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) and SIVA.
04 Aug 2021
Date call is made active
15 Sep 2021
Application submission deadline
01 Jan 2022
Earliest permitted project start
01 May 2022
Latest permitted project start
30 Apr 2026
Latest permitted project completion
About the call for proposals
Health Pilot is intended to support ambitious and complex innovation processes. Through binding collaborations, public and private sector actors will develop innovative solutions that would not be possible for any one institution to pursue alone. The funding is intended to alleviate risk for both Norwegian companies and public health institutions.
Funding has previously been announced for pre-projects under the Health Pilot initiative, but applicants are not required to have conducted a pre-project in order to apply under this call. If you have not applied for funding for a pre-project, we encourage you to contact us at an early stage of the application process to receive advice about whether your project fits the description of a Health Pilot main project.
You will find the Health Pilot team's contact details under ‘Relevant thematic areas’.
You can also find answers to frequently asked questions on the Health Pilot website.
What characterises a Health Pilot main project?
A Health Pilot project must be
- based on recognised and specific needs in the specialist health services or municipal health and care services that are either related to the patients/inhabitants or the services themselves
- an ambitious innovation process with a high likelihood of leading to actual implementation and upscaling of solutions that cover these needs
- a collaboration between more than one participant across the public, private and, if relevant, voluntary sector that expediently addresses the user perspective
A Health Pilot project must
- include R&D activities that help to develop innovative technologies, processes, products or services that meet these needs
- include R&D activities that help to ensure that these solutions can be implemented, commercialised and scaled up after or in parallel with the R&D project
- be able to demonstrate quantifiable benefits in both the public and private sector
Delimitation in relation to other calls and schemes
The Health Pilot initiative is to support ambitious innovation processes that cannot normally receive funding or have difficulty achieving support from other schemes and policy instruments. The Research Council has a number of other calls for proposals that may be equally or better suited to your project.
The following open-ended calls for proposals and calls with the deadline 15 September are particularly relevant:
- Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector 2021
- Innovation Project in the Public Sector
- Pre-commercial Procurement
Applicants should also explore funding schemes by Innovation Norway, SIVA and the regional health trusts.
We encourage all applicants to carefully read the whole call for proposals.
The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version.
This 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 state aid under the section ‘Conditions for funding’.
Who is eligible to apply?
The proposed project must involve several partners. The application must be submitted by the Project Owner on behalf of all the partners in the partnership constellation. The Project Owner must be either
- a public sector body that is registered with a business register number in Norway and that represents the health and care sector (including municipalities). See the definition of a public sector body here
- a company that has been issued a business register number under the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises and carries out economic activity in Norway
Sole proprietorships, clusters, industry organisations and technology transfer offices are not eligible to apply, i.e. be the Project Owner.
Who can participate in the project?
Requirements relating to partners and roles
- If the Project Owner that submits the application is a company, the project must involve a collaboration with at least one public sector body that is registered with a business register number in Norway. This public sector body must represent the health and care sector (including municipalities).
- If the Project Owner is a public sector body, the project must involve a collaboration with at least one company that has been issued a business register number under the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises and carries out economic activity in Norway. Sole proprietorships, clusters, industry organisations and technology transfer offices are not eligible to be partners.
- Partners must be involved in what is known as an effective collaboration with the Project Owner, which entails sharing both the risk associated with the project and the results it generates. They must also contribute own funding. The partners and Project Owner must enter into a consortium agreement. This must regulate the rights to both the use and commercial utilisation of results in accordance with the definition of ‘effective collaboration’ given in the state aid rules.
- Norwegian and foreign research organisations, expert environments or R&D-performing companies may participate in the project as R&D providers with responsibility for performing R&D work on assignment for the project. 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 and be regulated in an agreement.
- Relevant user organisations, clusters, the voluntary sector, sole proprietorships and/or other relevant actors can participate in the project as sub-contractors. The sub-contractor's role in the project must be described in the project description and the costs must be specified in either the Project Owner or partners’ budget in the application.
- The Project Owner or one of the partners may not be in an interdependent relationship with any of the R&D providers in the project, e.g. where both entities are part of the same corporation. The ‘arm’s length principle’ must be observed when engaging R&D providers.
- The application with relevant partners and R&D providers at the time the application is submitted forms the basis for grant allocation, and is a stringent condition for funding. Changes made to the composition of a project before a contract has been entered into may result in the Research Council withdrawing its funding pledge.
Requirements relating to project managers
It is an advantage that the project manager has prior experience from public-private sector innovation collaboration. The project manager’s scientific expertise and suitability to manage the project will be assessed by the referee panel.
Requirements relating to user participation
User participation and knowledge about users will often be essential if innovation efforts are to succeed. The term ‘user’ in this context refers to patients and/or inhabitants, professional users/user organisations and/or the service providers (employees). We expect you to incorporate user participation in Health Pilot projects, and the user perspective must be clearly stated in the project description. If user participation does not form part of the project, applicants must clearly state why this is not relevant to their project.
What can you seek funding for?
The Research Council’s funding for Health Pilot projects can only be used for R&D activities. A draft plan for implementation, upscaling and commercialisation must be included in the project description, but the funding cannot be used to cover these costs.
Funding allocated to companies (whether the Project Owner or a partner) constitutes state aid and the project’s R&D activities must satisfy the definition of either ‘industrial research’ or ‘experimental development’ as set out in the state aid rules (see ‘Important definitions for Article 25’ on our info page on state aid). 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, and production/completion of products or services to be marketed.
Funding awarded to public sector bodies must be used for R&D activities and other necessary adaptation activities of the organisation, systems and work processes so as to enable the solution(s) developed in the project to be procured and implemented when the R&D project has been completed.
You can apply for funding to cover the following project costs, which are actual costs necessary to carry out the project:
- payroll and indirect expenses
- procurement of R&D services from expert communities/research organisations
- equipment (rental expenses/depreciation of instruments and equipment)
- other operating expenses
You will find detailed and important information about what to enter in the project budget on our website. All project costs must be budgeted in accordance with the Research Council's guidelines, which you can also read more about on the information page.
Funding is not provided for costs that will not be recorded in the Project Owner or partners’ official accounts, such as own unpaid work effort. Such costs are therefore not to be included in the project budget.
Scope of funding
The level of support for project costs incurred by public sector bodies is limited to 80 per cent of approved project costs.
The level of support (aid intensity) available for a company’s project costs will depend on the size of the company and the type of R&D activities, as well as the extent to which the funding increases R&D investments among the project partners. Effective collaboration does not qualify for additional funding. The aid intensity may therefore vary from 25 per cent to 70 per cent, cf. the state aid rules (see ‘Article 25: Aid for research and development projects’ in the link, and the table below).
Type of company/type of activity
For applications awarded funding, the final grant amount will be determined in conjunction with contract negotiations. Applicants will receive an offer of funding on condition that a revised application is prepared in accordance with the conditional decision, cf. the bullet points below.
Conditions for funding
The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocation are set out in the General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects. Projects awarded funding under this call are among other things required to submit annual accounting reports documenting incurred project costs and their financing.
The project is to be implemented by means of effective collaboration between the Project Owner and project partners. The Project Owner and partners must enter into a consortium agreement that regulates the rights to both the use and commercial utilisation of results in accordance with the definition of ‘effective collaboration’ given in the state aid rules.
This call for proposals constitutes a funding scheme that is notified to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).
- This funding scheme must be practised in compliance with the EEA state aid rules, which means that conditions and concepts are to be 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 the same reason.
- 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.
- 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 XX/20XX/R&D&I (the correct reference will be published soon).
- The participating companies must submit a declaration confirming that they are qualified to receive state aid.
- Allocated state aid of EUR 500,000 or more will be listed in a public registry.
- Other public funding of the costs eligible for funding may affect the amount of Research Council funding that can be provided.
- 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 is sensitive inside information.
Scientific articles and research data
The Research Council requires full and immediate open access to scientific articles; see Plan S – open access to publications.
Research data must be made available in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). The Project Owner organisation of projects that process data must prepare a data management plan in connection with the revised application.
The Project Owner organisation is responsible for selecting which archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project.
Relevant thematic areas for this call
This first call for proposals under the Health Pilot will be open to all topics that aim to address clear needs in the health service, but the two following main topics will be given priority:
- The patient at home:New products and services in diagnostics, treatment (including clinical trials) and rehabilitation at home as well as new solutions for digital interaction between patients and the health service, including self-service solutions.
- Sustainable health service:New technological solutions that increase the efficiency of the health service through e.g. better and more efficient decision-making support, cooperation between services, area utilisation, logistics and use of personnel.
The project must lead to value creation and benefits for both public and private sector institutions. The potential for creating added value and benefits must be clearly described and, if possible, quantified. The project description must include a plan for implementation, upscaling and commercialisation of the solution(s) developed. The activities specified in this plan do not fall under the R&D project that forms the basis for funding. Only innovation processes with a high likelihood of leading to actual implementation and upscaling of solutions are eligible to receive funding.
Other relevant calls
Requirements for this application type
Applications must be created and submitted via My RCN Web. You may revise and resubmit your grant application form multiple times up to the application submission deadline. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as you have filled in the application form and included all mandatory attachments. After the deadline, it is the most recently submitted version of the grant application that will be processed.
- The application and all attachments must be written in Norwegian or English. The templates for attachments can be found at the end of the call for proposals.
- All attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.
- If relevant, state the ES number of the application for a pre-project in the field ‘Other relevant programmes/activities/projects’ (both approved and rejected applications must be entered).
- A project description of maximum 15 pages using the designated template (use the standard template, which lists the requirements for format).
- Partner information using the designated template (only applies to companies – use the standard template)
- CV of the project manager and other key members of the project team
Applications that do not meet the requirements listed above will be rejected.
Documents and websites linked to in the application, or other attachments than those specified above will not be assessed.
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 novel?
• To what extent will the innovation help to resolve a challenge and/or meet a recognised need in the health services?
• To what extent is the innovation targeted towards new market opportunities for 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 the Norwegian business sector with significant economic benefits for companies?
• To what extent will the project form the basis for benefits and value creation in the health sector in the form of more sustainable health and care services?
• To what extent can the project generate other positive external effects for patients, inhabitants and society or in the form of knowledge dissemination?
• To what extent does the plan for implementation of the R&D results and realisation of benefits give reason to indicate that the project can achieve the impacts described? Is the plan relevant and appropriate, for example in relation to
- needs and plans for adapting the organisation, systems and/or work processes;
- needs and plans for investments and allocation of resources;
- management of IPR and regulatory approvals;
- development of business models and/or commercialisation plans incl. partnerships;
- risk assessments in relation to e.g. implementation and/or market access;
- dissemination and communication.
• To what extent does the R&D project plan incorporate appropriate and effective objectives, work packages, milestones, resources and relevant risk assessments?
• To what extent are the plans for user participation relevant and appropriate?
• To what extent does the project group have the competence and expertise necessary to ensure efficient implementation of the R&D project and with sufficient capacity?
• To what extent is the project strategically aligned with the partners and is the distribution of the budget, roles and responsibilities clearly defined and relevant?
• To what extent does the project manager have relevant expertise and experience to lead an R&D project targeted towards innovation and value creation through public-private collaboration?
• To what extent does the project group have the competence and capacity necessary to ensure utilisation of the R&D results and realisation of the benefits?
Relevance to the call for proposals
• To what extent does the application meet the requirements set out in the call and expectations with regard to the Project Owner and partnership constellations?
• To what extent does the application meet the expectations and characteristics of the projects set out in the call?
• To what extent is the project in keeping with thematic priorities set out in the call?
The application must meet the following qualification requirements:
- applicants must have been issued a Norwegian business register number
- the project must be carried out by at least one public sector body and at least one company in effective collaboration
- applications must demonstrate value creation and benefits in both the public and private sector and must include a realisation plan to this end
- companies in the consortium may not be an ‘undertaking in difficulty’; see the state aid rules
- all mandatory attachments must be included in the application
Grant applications that do not satisfy the qualification requirements will be rejected and, where relevant, referred to other policy instruments.
Once the grant applications have been received, the Research Council will conduct a preliminary administrative review to ensure that they satisfy all the stipulated formal requirements. Applications that do not meet the formal requirements will be rejected.
Identical applications submitted both under this call and under the ‘Innovation Project in the Public Sector’ call under the thematic area ‘Health’ will only be reviewed under one of them.
Step 1: After the preliminary administrative review, the applications will be assessed on the basis of the criterion ‘Relevance to the call for proposals’ by the Research Council’s case officers. The assessments will be presented to a reference group consisting of representatives from KS, the regional health trusts and SIVA, and potentially other funding agencies like Innovation Norway. Applications that are considered to have low relevance to the Health Pilot call, will not proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Applications that are assessed to be relevant and that meet the formal requirements and expectations in the Health Pilot call for proposals will be divided between panels comprising referees with relevant expertise.
For each individual application, the Research Council will check that the referee panel is impartial and has sufficient expertise to assess the research topic in question. The referees will assess the applications in relation to the criteria ‘Excellence’ ‘Impact’ and ‘Implementation’. An overall assessment and mark is awarded for each of these criteria.
The referees’ assessment will be decisive to whether the project is eligible for funding.
The assessment and marks for all four criteria will be consolidated into a single, overall mark that indicates the merit of the application.
The Research Council administration will then present the project proposals and assessments to the Portfolio Board for Health for the final funding decision. The portfolio board will attach importance to achieving a balanced project portfolio in the areas under their purview and the thematic priorities in the call, also seen in light of ongoing projects and applications submitted under other calls for proposals. 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.
Each portfolio board will also act in accordance with the Research Council’s general policy for allocation of funding, which means that we assess applications on the basis of:
- research ethics perspectives
- prioritisation of projects led by women project managers, assuming all other quality-related factors are essentially equal
- prioritisation of projects based on the impact on sustainability and the environment, assuming all other quality-related factors are essentially equal
We expect to publish which applications have been awarded funding in week 49. For updated dates and a list of the applications granted funding, see application results here.