Joint Call for Proposals with Brazil for Research and Technology Development in the Industrial Sector

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Purpose

The joint call for proposals aims to increase Brazilian–Norwegian collaboration for the purpose of developing new technologies and services targeting offshore petroleum activities.

Important dates

24 Mar 2021

Åpen for søknad

12 May 2021

Søknadsfrist

18 Oct 2021

Decision on funding awards

Applicants will be notified of the funding decisions on a running basis after this date.

19 Oct 2021

Earliest permitted project start

19 Feb 2022

Latest permitted project start

19 Feb 2025

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates

About the call for proposals

Research and development (R&D) funding of up to NOK 15 million is available for projects in the industrial sector. The funding provides incentives for Norwegian companies to collaborate with Brazilian companies to address knowledge and technology needs in the offshore petroleum industry.

Funding from the Research Council is intended to cover a share of the Norwegian project partners’ costs. Parts of the Brazilian partners’ costs will be covered by the Brazilian Innovation Agency Finep.

The 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. 

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. In principle, state aid may not be awarded to an enterprise that is defined as an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ under the state aid rules. Undertakings that were not in difficulty as of 31 December 2019, but became an undertaking in difficulty in the period 1 January 2020–30 June 2021, may nonetheless receive state aid.

The call for proposals has been approved as an aid scheme by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) with the reference: GBER5/2021 R&D&I.

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. Public enterprises that carry out activities of an industrial or business nature may also serve as the formal applicant.

The company applying for a grant will be designated Project Owner on entering into a contract with the Research Council.

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 (company)
The Project Owner must be a company or public enterprise 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 (over and above the Research Council’s funding) and make provisions for utilisation of the project results for innovation in their company.

Requirements relating to collaboration and roles in the project
The Project Owner must carry out the project in collaboration with a Brazilian company. This company must be listed as a partner in the application form submitted to the Research Council (the Brazilian partner is registered in the application as the ‘task-performing’ partner). The Brazilian partner must be registered as a recipient of funding from Finep. Any other Brazilian participants in the project should not be registered as partners in the application form submitted to the Research Council. This information should be provided in the mandatory attachment to the application.

The Project Owner can carry out the project in effective collaboration with other companies (business partners) 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. In general, business partners must fulfil the criteria listed under the section ‘Who is eligible to apply?’ to be able to receive funding.

Norwegian and foreign expert environments and research organisations may participate in the project as R&D providers with responsibility for performing R&D activities on assignment for the business partners. R&D providers in the project do not as a rule have rights to project results. Read more about project partners and R&D providers here.

Other international and public sector bodies may participate in the project, but will not receive Research Council funding.

Project partners must be defined as either ‘funding and task-performing’ (companies that contribute in-kind) or ‘task-performing’ (fully-funded R&D institution or company with the role of R&D provider in the project).

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. entities cannot be part of the same corporation. The ‘arm’s length principle’ must be observed when engaging R&D providers.

The companies (the Project Owner and partners) participating in the project that are interdependent will be considered as one entity and as a single recipient of funding in accordance with the state aid rules.

The project's partnership constellation is expected to form the basis for long-term collaboration, development and dissemination of knowledge and effective mutual utilisation of the results.

Typical characteristics of a funded project
The project builds on a unique and innovative idea generated by one or more of the partner companies in the project. The results of the project may create value in the form of a new product, service or production process, or a new means of delivering products and services. Innovations in this context can also be in the form of significant improvements to or new characteristics of the companies’ existing products, services or processes.

The companies collaborating in the project typically have a need for new knowledge or new technology in order to deliver the intended innovation. The knowledge or technology is to be developed through R&D activities using recognised methodology. The companies’ primary needs may also be to demonstrate and verify the technology/innovation before introduction to the market and commercialisation. 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.

The project has access to the expertise necessary to perform the R&D activities. The Project Owner (company) or a partner company may hire R&D providers to perform R&D activities. R&D providers include research organisations (universities, university colleges, research institutes, health trusts) or other independent R&D service providers. The project may use R&D providers outside Norway when deemed necessary and efficient. PhD candidates may be affiliated to the project by means of a special agreement with the degree-conferring institution.

The scope and risk profile of the project is such that the companies would not have been able to carry out the project without Research Council funding. This means that funding is a critical incentive for implementing the R&D activities. The project funding may also be instrumental in helping companies to obtain follow-up investments from private risk capital investors that can be used to further develop and utilise the results.

The project incorporates clear objectives and a concrete plan for its R&D activities and for utilising the results. Results from the project including knowledge and intellectual property that are not bound by protection or confidentiality agreements are disseminated via relevant publications and other relevant dissemination channels.

If the project encompasses demonstration and qualification activities, these are to be carried out under realistic offshore conditions or in suitable onshore facilities. This must be clearly described in the project description.

What can you seek funding for?

Project costs pertaining to R&D activities under the project qualify for funding. We do 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 testing and completion of new products or services. Such costs are therefore not to be included in the project budget.

We can provide funding for parts of the business partners’ costs pertaining to R&D activities under the project. This applies to costs associated with R&D activities carried out by the project partners, and to costs incurred in connection with purchase of R&D services from R&D providers.

Project costs are the actual costs of the project and may include:

  • Direct project costs, which are the costs associated with carrying out the project, such as payroll costs for project employees.
  • Indirect project costs, which are the project’s share of costs for renting offices, IT/telephone and joint administrative costs related to personnel and finances.

The following types of costs must be specified in the project budget:

  • Payroll and indirect expenses, which are costs associated with the company’s own R&D activities in the project. See our guidelines for payroll and indirect expenses.
  • Procurement of R&D services, which are costs associated with hiring R&D providers.
  • Equipment, which encompasses operating and depreciation costs for scientific equipment necessary for the execution of the project.
  • Other project costs, which comprise costs for other activities that are necessary to carry out R&D activities under the project.

The budgeted project costs must be in accordance with the description given in the General Block Exemption Regulation Article 25 (3).

Scope of funding
The level of support (aid intensity) available for a company’s project costs will depend on the nature of the project and the type of R&D activities as defined in the state aid rules. This includes the size of the company and the research activities carried out under the project, as well as an assessment of whether the aid has a trigger effect on the R&D activities. For applications awarded funding, the aid intensity may therefore vary from 25 to 70 per cent. The final grant amount will be determined in conjunction with contract negotiations.

Conditions for funding
Funding 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).

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.

  • The Norwegian companies in the project 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.
  • 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.

Archiving of research data

The Project Owner is responsible for selecting which archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project. The Project Owner must specify the planned solution(s) in connection with the revised grant proposal.

Relevant thematic areas for this call

This call only encompasses the thematic area Petroleum. We describe the prioritised topics under this area below and in the agreement document ‘Joint Call Finep RCN 2020’.

Petroleum

In the context of this call, the thematic area Petroleum applies to support for industrial research and experimental development within the priorities given in the text of the call and the agreement document between the Research Council and Finep. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and the environment; Subsurface understanding; Drilling, completion and intervention; Production, processing and transport; Major accidents and the working environment.

Reducing greenhouse gases, energy efficiency and the environmentSubsurface knowledgeDrilling, completion and interventionProduction, processing and transportMajor accidents and the working environment

Please select which of the topics above are most relevant to your application in the application form.

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

Funding from the Research Council is only intended to cover a share of the Project Owner’s and the Norwegian project partners’ costs. You should therefore only include costs and funding pertaining to the Norwegian part of the project in the budgets in the application form. The costs and funding for the Brazilian partners should be provided in the mandatory attachment to the application.

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.

  • An application describing the same project must be submitted to Finep by the Brazilian company responsible for the Brazilian part of the collaborative project. Applications only submitted by one of the countries will be rejected.
  • The application and all attachments must be submitted in English.
  • All attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.

Mandatory attachments

  • Project description of 10 pages using the template that can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
  • Information about partners for the company submitting the grant application (Project Owner) and each of the industry partners using the designated template.
  • ‘Joint call Finep RCN mandatory attachment (2021)’, available for download at the end of the call.
  • CV of the project manager and all other key members of the project team using the template available for download at the end of the call

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.

Assessment criteria

Grant applications will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Excellence

To what extent does the project represent an ambitious innovation that is supported by relevant R&D activities of high quality?

• 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?

Impact

To what extent does the project pave the way for significant benefits for the Project Owner and the company partners, and lay a foundation for other positive impacts for society?

• 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?

Implementation

To what extent does the work plan provide a good basis for implementing the R&D activities and realising the potential for value creation?

• 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 does the project meet the requirements and guidelines set out in 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?

We will prioritise projects with female project managers when the applications are otherwise considered to be on a par.

Administrative procedures

The applications submitted by the Norwegian applications will be assessed by the Research Council in cooperation with external referees. An overall portfolio assessment will also form the basis for the ranked list of project applications endorsed by the Portfolio Board for Petroleum.

The final funding decision will be made in a dialogue between the Research Council and Finep. Preliminary results from this dialogue will be announced in mid-September 2021. The final results will be announced in mid-October 2021. See the document ‘Joint Call Finep RCN Petroleum 2020’ for more information.

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Applications for Joint Call for Proposals with Brazil for Research and Technology Development in the Industrial Sector should be created on My RCN Web. Application templates should be filled and uploaded in the application.

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