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Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector 2022

This call for proposals has an open-ended deadline. Grant applications that will be included in the second application processing of 2022, must be submitted by 14 September. The amount presumed available has been reduced following a decision by the Research Council's Executive Board.

We estimate that up to NOK 500 million will be available for the next allocation, but this limit may change. The specified sums in the thematic area texts are not aligned according to the new frame. If you have any questions about available funding per topic, please contact the contact persons listed in the thematic area texts.

Important dates

09 Mar 2022

Last submission deadline, first period (midnight)

JUNE 2022

Decision, first application period

01 Jul 2022

Earliest possible project start-up after the first application period

14 Sep 2022

Last submission deadline, second application period (midnight)

DECEMBER 2022

Decision, second application period

01 Jan 2023

Earliest possible project start-up after the second application period

Important dates

Purpose

Our call Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector is aimed at companies engaged in business-led innovation projects where research and development (R&D) is a critical part of the innovation process.

We seek to support projects with multiple partners working together to develop sustainable innovations, be it new or improved products, services or production processes.

The project partners should gain valuable new knowledge and insights from their R&D work, where the economic value to society from generating and disseminating this knowledge often exceeds the economic benefits enjoyed by the project partners.

About the call for proposals

We seek project proposals from companies engaged in research-based innovation with clear objectives of developing sustainable innovations that directly or indirectly support the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). You can read more about research-based innovation and sustainable innovations at our website Bærekraft og Innovasjonsprosjekt i næringslivet (English version will be published later).

The call encompasses a wide thematic scope and is relevant for many parts of the Norwegian business sector. Below, you will find more details about the call, its thematic areas and eligibility criteria for applying.

You may submit your grant application at any time, up to and including 14 September 2022, 23:59 CEST. We process applications twice a year. Read more under the section ‘Expected funding decision’ (under ‘Processing procedures’ towards the end of the call).

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’.

See also frequently asked questions about Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector.

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

Are you also planning to apply for funding for your project from the SkatteFunn tax credit scheme? Read more about this scheme and the conditions on the website: Incentive effect and combination of tools (in Norwegian only). (skattefunn.no - the page opens in a new window). 

Please note that you cannot apply for innovation funding for a project that has already started.

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 that carry out economic activity in Norway. The applicant must either be a private company or a public enterprise that carries out activities of an industrial or business nature. We will use the collective term ‘company’ in the rest of the call for proposals.

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 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 collaboration and roles in the project

  • The Project Owner must carry out the project together with at least one partner or one R&D provider. You must register these in the section ‘Project partners and R&D providers’ in the application form. Read more about project partners and R&D providers here.
  • Partners must also fulfil the criteria listed under the section ‘Who is eligible to apply?’ to be able to participate in the project and 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.
  • Norwegian and foreign research organisations or research infrastructure may participate in the project as R&D providers with responsibility for performing R&D work on assignment for the partner companies. Where a research organisation or research infrastructure is used to perform contract research or provide a research service to an undertaking, the undertaking typically specifies the terms and conditions of the contract, and owns the results of the research activities and carries the risk of failure. In that case research organisation or research infrastructure will typically receive payment of an adequate remuneration for its services at market price. Where the ownership of, or access rights to intellectual property rights ('IPR') remain with the research organisation or research infrastructure, their market value may be deducted from the price payable for the services concerned.
  • Where a PhD candidate contributes to the R&D provider’s work on the project, restrictions cannot be placed on the publication of the candidate’s doctoral work. An exception to this rule can be made if the parties agree up front on a delay of the publication.
  • Since the research organisations’ work in the innovation projects is procured through an assignment, such work, when assigned to universities and university colleges, will be classified as contract R&D. This means that they must ensure that all relevant costs, including those associated with doctoral work in the project, are reimbursed.
  • Other international and public sector bodies may participate in the project, but they must not be entered as partners in the application form. This type of collaboration can be described under ‘Other collaboration’ under section 3.3. of the project description.
  • 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 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 relevant partners and R&D providers at the time the application is submitted forms the basis for our assessment of the application, and their participation in the project is a stringent condition for funding. If you change the composition of the project before we enter into a contract with you, we may therefore withdraw our funding pledge.

Typical characteristics of a funded project

  • You want to initiate the project because you have a unique innovation idea that you wish to realise. The results of the project may be in the form of a new product, service or production process, or new means of delivering products and/or services. A result in this context can also mean significantly improving or adding new features to existing products, services or processes for the company.
  • You can demonstrate that the project will have a likely and significant positive impact for one or more sustainable development goals. We expect the project to have a positive impact without causing harm to other areas.
  • The project's partnership constellation forms the basis for long-term collaboration, development and dissemination of knowledge and effective mutual utilisation of the results. Partners and R&D providers that are going to participate in the project have clarified their interests and tasks in the project, and have described their role in the activities they are to participate in. The number and size of the partners in the project will not determine whether it is successful. A good project, on the other hand, is characterised by each partner having defined tasks and a clear role.
  • The companies collaborating in the project 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 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 Article 25: Important definitions).
  • The Project Owner and partners have access to the R&D expertise necessary to carry out the project.
  • The scope and risk profile of the project is such that the companies would not be able to carry out the project without Research Council funding. This means that funding from the Research Council is a critical incentive for implementing the R&D activities. Project funding from the Research Council 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.
  • You have incorporated clear objectives and a concrete plan for the project’s R&D activities and for utilising the results. Results and knowledge that are not bound by protection agreements related to the company’s planned commercial utilisation are disseminated via publications and other relevant dissemination channels.

What can you seek funding for?

Parts of the partner companies’ costs pertaining to R&D activities under the project qualify for funding. Article 25 of the state aid rules describes which activities qualify for funding and which costs associated with these activities can be fully or partially funded. The funding can cover 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 both costs associated with R&D activities performed by the project partners and for purchase of R&D services.

You can find detailed information about what types of costs qualify for funding here.

We will 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. 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. Such costs are therefore not to be included in the project budget.

Scope of funding

You can apply for funding to cover up to 50 per cent of the companies’ costs in the project. The scope of funding for the company’s project costs covered within the maximum 50 per cent limit depends on the size of the company and the type of R&D activities to be carried out.

See the table below and read more about state aid on our website under Article 25: Aid for research and development projects.

Type of company/type of activity

Industrial research

Experimental development

Small business

50%

45%

Medium-sized business

50%

35%

Large business

50%

25%

For applications awarded funding, we will assess to what extent the funding increases R&D investments from the Project Owner and project partners. The final amount of funding will be stipulated when we enter into a contract with you. You will receive an offer of funding on condition that a revised application is prepared in accordance with the conditional decision, cf. the points below.

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.

See the consolidated version of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid (page opens in a new window). This funding scheme must be practised in compliance with the EEA state aid rules. 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.

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 – 31 December 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 11/2022/R&D&I.

If your project is granted funding, you will have to revise the application. The revised application must incorporate updated and supplementary information about the project and participating partners, including documentation of implementation capacity and own funding. The participating companies must also submit a declaration confirming that they are qualified to receive state aid.

If your application is awarded funding, you should also note that:

  • The project must commence no later than four months after the awarded grant was announced. Projects approved for funding that have not started within this date may lose their grant.
  • You must submit accounting reports annually documenting incurred project costs and their financing.
  • 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.
  • If the Research Council allocates your project EUR 500,000 or **more, this will be listed in a public registry.
  • You must inform any partners listed on the stock exchange or that have applied to be admitted to trading as quickly as possible to give them an opportunity to assess whether the allocation of funding is sensitive inside information.
  • The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocations can be found in our General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects on the page What the contract involves.

Relevant thematic areas for this call

The topics listed below describe the objectives, emphases and priorities for the allocation of funds. See the respective portfolio plans and work programmes referred to under ‘Relevant plans’ for more information about the priorities pertaining to each topic.

We encourage applicants to review these plans to understand the basis for how we assess and prioritise between applications. The Research Council strives to achieve a balanced project portfolio of supported projects within the specified topics.

Please remember to select both thematic area and topic in the grant application form. The chosen thematic area and topic are merely for our guidance and will help us plan the application review process. You must describe the application’s relevance to the chosen thematic area(s) under section 4.2 in the project description. If we see that you have not chosen the correct thematic area/topic, we will move the application to where it is best suited to be assessed. As a rule, we do not notify you of that move.

Regarding the framework for funding, there is a minimum of NOK 2 million, while the maximum limit for funding varies between the different topics. This is stated in the text under each topic. The differences are due to the overall budget framework and specific character of the topics. The application must comply with the framework for funding of the topic in which the application is assessed, and the application may be rejected if the funding you apply for surpasses the specified limit.

If at a given time all funding available within the respective topics has been allocated, we will post a notification of this at the top of this call. Applications received for topics that do not have available funding will be rejected. These applications may be re-submitted if any new funding becomes available.

Please contact the advisers affiliated with the respective topics for more information about the topic.

Energy, transport and low emissions

Environment-friendly energy

Oceans

Maritime sectorMarine sectorFisheriesAquacultureCross-cutting Ocean Technology

Industry and services

Building, construction and miningFinance and bankingHealth industryICT industryProcessing industryTravel and tourismMedia and cultureRetail/wholesaleManufacturing industryOther services

Land-based food, the environment and bioresources

Enabling technologies

Nanotechnology/advanced materialsTechnological convergence

Petroleum

Practical information

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 therefore only be submitted once (whereas calls with a fixed deadline may be submitted and resubmitted multiple times up to the submission deadline). It is nonetheless possible to create a new application, e.g., by submitting a copy of the one you have already submitted and thus submit a new version by the deadline. You can then decide which version you would like us to assess. 

  • 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.
  • All project costs must be budgeted in accordance with the Research Council's guidelines.

Mandatory attachments 

  • Project description of up to 10 pages in length using the designated template.
  • Information about partners for the company submitting the grant application (Project Owner) and each of the participating companies (company partners) using the designated template.
  • CVs for the project manager and other key project participants (e.g. individuals responsible for the project’s work packages) using the designated template. A maximum of five CVs can be attached per application. 

Note that all the templates are new for 2022.

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

We assess applications in light of the objectives of the application type in question and 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 ambitious and essential for the success of the innovation?
• To what extent does the project give appropriate consideration to ethical issues and/or gender perspectives in the research?

Impact

To what extent does the project facilitate sustainable development and positive impacts for society and the project partners, and to what extent has this been adequately described and substantiated?

• To what extent does the project contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
• To what extent can the project have positive external impacts for trade and industry, the public sector and society at large?
• To what extent will the project have significant financial benefits for the Project Owner and the companies that are partners?
• To what extent is the plan for implementation of the R&D results and realisation of benefits relevant and appropriate?

Implementation

To what extent does the R&D project plan provide a good basis for implementing the activities?

• 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 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 manager have appropriate expertise and experience to lead the R&D project?
• To what extent does the project have an appropriate project organisation with a clearly defined and relevant distribution of the budget, roles and responsibilities?
• To what extent does the project reflect the strategic priorities of the Project Owner and the companies that are partners?
• To what extent is the budget and funding plan realistic and feasible?

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 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 does the project meet the topic’s guidelines and priorities?

Administrative procedures

The application and all 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 normally be assessed by a referee panel comprising three experts. The referee panel will submit a consensus-based assessment for each of the 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 also be assessed by the Research Council’s case officers on the basis of the criterion ‘Relevance to the call for proposals’. 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 their respective marks to the Research Council’s portfolio boards for the final funding decision. The portfolio boards will attach importance to achieving a balanced project portfolio in the areas under their purview and in relation to 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. An overview of all ongoing projects is available at prosjektbanken.no.

Each portfolio board will also act in accordance with the Research Council’s general policy for allocation of funding, including policy on:

  • prioritisation of projects based on the impact on sustainability and the environment, assuming all other quality-related factors are essentially equal;
  • prioritisation of projects led by women project managers, assuming all other quality-related factors are essentially equal;
  • research ethics perspectives.

Expected funding decision

Grant applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year. We will process applications twice in 2022:

  • Period 1: Applications submitted from 18 January and until midnight 9 March will receive an answer by the end of June.
  • Period 2: Applications submitted from 10 March and until midnight 14 September will receive an answer during December.

Some thematic areas may allocate all available funding by June 2022. In such case, we will post a notification of this at the top of the call for proposals.

Projects may not start until notification of funding has been given. This means that the earliest start-up date for projects submitted by 9 March is 1 July 2022, and the earliest start-up date for projects submitted by 14 September is 1 January 2023.

Re-submitting your application after a rejection

If you re-submit an application by 14 September 2022 that was initially rejected in June 2022, and no significant changes have been made to the project and application, it will be considered by the portfolio board on the basis of the original assessment.

If, however, you re-submit an application based on an unsuccessful application and significant changes have been made to the project and the application, the application will be re-assessed. The application will then be assessed by a referee panel comprising some or all of the experts who assessed the first version of your 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 3 of the project description.

Create application

Applications for Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector 2022 should be created on My RCN Web. Application templates should be filled and uploaded in the application.

Create application

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