Completed

Purpose

The purpose of this call for proposals for Pilot-T projects is to accelerate the application of novel, smart mobility solutions by developing and testing and/or piloting technologies and business models with the potential to contribute to the creation of an efficient, safe and environmentally-friendly transport system for the future.

In a Pilot-T project, a company cooperates with other entities to generate new knowledge or use existing knowledge in new ways or areas. The Pilot-T scheme is a collaborative effort between the Research Council and Innovation Norway, commissioned by the Ministry of Transport.

Important dates

04 Aug 2021

Date call is made active

15 Sep 2021

Application submission deadline

01 Jan 2022

Earliest permitted project start

01 Jun 2022

Latest permitted project start

31 May 2025

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates

About the call for proposals

What is Pilot-T?

Pilot-T is part of the Government’s innovation initiative, presented in Report No 33 to the Storting (2016–2017) National Transport Plan 2018–2029 (NTP) and continued in Report No 20 to the Storting (2020–2021) National Transport Plan 2022–2033 (link opens in a new window). The goal of the initiative is to exploit the potential for business development and innovation linked to new mobility solutions. NTP describes a large international market for smart mobility solutions. Pilot-T aims to enhance Norwegian business and industry’s ability to compete in this market, facilitate knowledge transfer between R&D environments and business and industry and contribute to competence-building in the sector.

New technology – particularly new information technology – is expected to help achieve the goal of an efficient, environmentally-friendly and safe transport system. Through Pilot-T, new technological solutions will be developed and/or tested for Norwegian conditions and the scheme will also accelerate the application of new technology.

The Research Council requires companies that apply for funding under the Pilot-T scheme to procure R&D services from an approved R&D organisation. More information about this is available under ‘Requirements relating to R&D providers’.

You can also apply for funding to work on the Pilot-T application or search for a partner/partners. The call Pilot-T: Funding to work on applications and search for partners is available here

A Pilot-T project must:

  • help to achieve the transport policy objective of an efficient, environmentally-friendly and safe transport system;
  • generate industrial development and new knowledge in Norway and enable Norwegian business and industry to take advantage of the potential for value creation inherent in restructuring the transport sector;
  • incorporate multiple actors in a collaborative effort;
  • have a need for new knowledge in order to be realised;
  • result in a pilot or full-scale solution that is applied.

See the definition of ‘experimental development’ and ‘industrial research’ for a description of the type of pilot testing and demonstration activities that are eligible for support. For more information about the types of activities projects may incorporate, please see under ‘What can you seek funding for?’ below.

Which projects will be eligible to receive funding?

This call is targeted towards both commercial and passenger transport within all four modes of transport – road, rail, air and sea.

Projects related to efficient, environmentally-friendly and safe maritime commercial and/or passenger transport may apply, but the call is not open to activities related to offshore operations, fisheries or the development of general technology for the maritime sector. 

Projects involving the development of environment-friendly energy for transport, including battery power, hydrogen and biofuels, are not eligible to receive funding under this call. Projects related to this area should be directed to the Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector call, under the topic Maritime industries or Environment-friendly energy and low emissions, Innovation Norway’s Environmental Technology Scheme or Enova.

The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version.

Who is eligible to apply?

Only companies that conduct business activities in Norway and have been issued an enterprise number under the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises are eligible to apply. Public enterprises that carry out activities of an industrial or business nature and that are registered in the Register of Business Enterprises may also serve as the formal applicant.

Groups of companies (e.g. industry organisations), sole proprietorships, research organisations and other organisations are not eligible to apply for funding.

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements relating to the Project Owner

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.

Requirements relating to R&D providers

The Project Owner must procure services from at least one Norwegian R&D provider that is an approved research organisation.

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. The scope of the R&D provider’s role in the project is based on the Project Owner’s and partners’ needs. Therefore, no requirement applies to the scope of work. The R&D provider’s role in the project must be clearly described in the grant application.

Collaboration with companies and public sector entities

  • The applicant can carry out the project in cooperation with other companies if these companies either cover their own costs or make use of Pilot-T project funding. Partners must fulfil the criteria listed under the section ‘Who is eligible to apply?’ to be able to receive funding. 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. Partners whose project costs are covered in part by Research Council funding are recipients of state aid. We do not require Project Owners to cooperate with other companies, but such collaboration may trigger extra state aid if the requirements in the state aid rules are met.
  • Public sector entities may participate in the project, but will not receive Research Council funding. Public sector partners must also be included in the effective collaboration with the Project Owner and with any other partners.
  • Research services for the project may also be procured from international research groups or Norwegian expert environments that are not approved R&D organisations, but this in itself does not fulfil the requirements relating to R&D providers. Other international partners may be involved in the project provided that their participation promotes value creation in Norway, but their costs will not be eligible for Pilot-T support and the international partner must cover all of its own costs.

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 offer of funding.

Roles 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. where both entities are part of the same corporation. The ‘arm’s length principle’ must be observed when engaging R&D providers.

What can you seek funding for?

Support for Pilot-T projects is awarded in accordance with the EEA state aid rules, more specifically Article 25 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid. Among other things, this means that:

  • Support is only available for project costs relating to R&D activities. Activities that are eligible for support include, but are not limited to, applied research, prototyping, demonstration and pilot testing.
  • Costs for other types of activities and measures to exploit R&D results, such as filing for patents, market surveys and marketing, testing and completion of new products and services are not approved for funding.
  • The level of support (aid intensity) is subject to limitations and will depend on the project’s R&D content. Activities classified as ‘industrial research’ are eligible for a higher aid intensity than “experimental development” activities.
  • Other public funding of the costs eligible for funding will affect the amount of Pilot-T funding that can be provided.
  • Notification of all allocated state aid will be published on the Research Council’s website, and allocated state aid of EUR 500,000 or more will be listed in a public registry.

We can provide funding for parts of the business partners’ costs pertaining to R&D activities under the project. Funding can be provided for both direct and indirect project costs to the extent they can be categorised as costs pertaining to industrial research or experimental development. 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.

You will find detailed and important information about what to enter in the project budget on our website.

Scope of funding

The amount of funding that may be sought is limited to a minimum of NOK 2 million and a maximum of NOK 16 million for a project period between one and three years.

The scope of funding for the enterprise’s project costs depends on the size of the company and the type of R&D activities to be carried out:

Type of company/type of activity

Industrial research

Experimental development

Small business

70 %

45 %

Medium-sized business

60 %

35 %

Large business

50 %

25 %


The aid intensity for industrial research and experimental development can be increased by 15 percentage points up to a maximum aid intensity of 80 per cent as follows: if the project entails effective collaboration between enterprises where at least one is an SME and no single enterprise incurs more than 70 per cent of the costs eligible for funding. We do not provide other types of additional funding. The aid intensity may therefore vary from 25 per cent to 80 per cent, cf. the state aid rules (see ‘Article 25: Aid for research and development projects’ in the link), and the table above. 

Conditions for funding

The project must start between 1 January 2022 and 1 June 2022. The latest permitted completion date for the project is 31 May 2025.

Funding awarded to an ‘undertaking’ constitutes state aid. In this context, an ‘undertaking’ is defined as any actor that carries out an economic activity consisting of offering products and/or services on a given market. When an undertaking receives support to cover a portion of its project costs as a Project Owner or partner in the project, this support must be awarded in accordance with Article 25 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid (Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014).

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.

Where to apply from?

The Research Council of Norway

The Research Council provides support for projects where new knowledge and testing/piloting are needed to implement new technology and new business models, also if the final solution and/or product has a long time-to-market. Pilot-T projects funded by the Research Council must include procurement of research and development services from an approved R&D organisation.

Innovation Norway

Innovation Norway provides support for market-based innovation projects that generate value creation in Norway This may involve new use of existing knowledge as well as projects that comprise development, demonstration and/or testing solutions on the market. The innovation must have a high level of novelty. Innovation Norway’s call: Pilot-T: New Mobility Solutions (innovasjonnorge.no) is available here.

If you are not sure where you should direct your application, contact us for information and guidance

Contact persons (The Research Council of Norway)

Contact persons (Innovation Norway)

Please note that the Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway will process the applications they receive, respectively, but that applications may be made available to case officers in both organisations when this is appropriate and in consultation with the applicant. If a company submits an application in response to both calls, the applications will be checked to determine whether they are identical.

Relevant thematic areas for this call

Energy, transport and low emissions

Transport and mobility

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

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.
  • All attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.
  • The earliest permitted start date for the project is 1 January 2022.
  • The latest permitted completion date for the project is 1 June 2022.
  • At least one R&D provider that is on the list of approved R&D organisations must be included the grant application form.
  • Any other partners or R&D providers must also be registered in the grant application form.

Mandatory attachments

  • Project description of up to 10 pages in length using the template available for download at the end of the call.
  • Information about partners for the applicant company and each of the participating companies, using the template available for download at the end of the call.
  • The CV of the project manager using the template available for download at the end of the call.
  • The CVs of key project participants who will perform important R&D activities for the project using the template available for download at the end of the call.

Applications that do not meet the requirements listed above will be rejected.

Optional attachment

  • Proposals for up to three referees who are considered qualified to assess the application

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 the attachments you upload, so please make sure 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 company 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 company partners, and lay a foundation for other positive impacts for society?

The potential for value creation for company partners is an indication of the anticipated financial benefits for company partners after the industrialisation and commercialisation processes have been carried out. This potential is to be assessed relative to the overall costs for the entire period (i.e. beyond the R&D project period and costs as well). The underlying presumption is that the realisation will be successful.
The potential for value creation can be the result of
- new sales revenues,
- reduced costs,
- ability to maintain competitiveness.

Socio-economic benefit is an indication of the impact of the project for society beyond the benefits/potential gains for the project partners. Applicants should seek to quantify this potential to the greatest extent possible. The underlying presumption is that the project and its realisation will be successful.
External impacts may include:
- impacts on employment,
- benefits for the public sector,
- benefits for civil society,
- ability of the innovation to help to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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?

Implementation of the R&D project:
• 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 company 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?

Realisation of the innovation:
To what extent is the plan for implementation of R&D results and realisation of benefits relevant and appropriate, for instance with regard to:
- risk management plans,
- 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
- IPR issues.

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 does the project support the objectives of the Pilot-T scheme?
• To what extent does the project satisfy the requirements and guidelines set out under the point “To be eligible for funding, a Pilot-T project must:” in the call for proposals?

The Research Council will prioritise projects that

  • have a high degree of innovation
  • have a female project manager (when the applications are otherwise considered to be on a par)

Administrative procedures

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’. The referees will convene in a panel meeting to reach a consensus-based assessment of the grant application for each of these three criteria.

If the mark awarded by the referee panel for all of the criteria is 4 or higher on a scale where 7 is the highest mark, the application will be assessed by the Research Council’s case officers also on the basis of the criterion ‘Relevance to the call for proposals’. The assessment of the relevance criterion will attach importance to the project’s contribution to the creation of an efficient, safe and environmentally-friendly transport system for the future, through the accelerated application of effective solutions.

The assessment and marks for all four criteria will be consolidated into a single, overall mark that indicates the merit of the application.

We will draw up a recommendation on which applications to fund based on an overall assessment of the project portfolio, which will then form the basis for the portfolio board's funding decisions. The Portfolio board will emphasise achieving a balanced portfolio of projects within their area of responsibility, including in relation to ongoing projects.

See also: Processing applications.

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.

When a project is recommended for funding, we will require more information about the project and the project partners.