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Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector 2023

Important dates

07 Jun 2023

Last deadline for submitting an application (midnight)

01 Jan 2024

Earliest permitted project start

01 Apr 2024

Latest permitted project start

31 Mar 2028

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates

Last updates

27 Apr 2023

The template information about applicant and partner companies has been updated. If you have downloaded this template before 27 April, you will need to download it again.


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 (in Norwegian, link opens in new window, the 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 7 June 2023, 23:59 CEST. 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 R&D tax incentive scheme? Read more about this scheme and the conditions on the website: Incentive effect and combination of tools (in Norwegian only on - the page opens in a new window). 

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

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. Results in this context can also mean significantly improving or adding new features to existing products, services, or processes for the company.

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 project's partnership constellation forms the basis for long-term collaboration, development and dissemination of knowledge and effective mutual utilisation of the results.

The 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. Rather, a good project is characterised by each partner having defined tasks and a clear role.

The scope and risk profile of the project are 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 can demonstrate that the project is likely to have a 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.

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.

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 Project Owner 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’ throughout 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 collaboration agreements, project partners and R&D providers.
  • 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.
  • 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 the partners must also be independent from each other. This means that one party cannot control the other in any way. Not only does this rule apply to the relationships between the Project Owner and the partners, but also to the relationships between the partners. Read more about partners and suppliers in innovation projects.
  • 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, the research organisation or research infrastructure will typically receive payment for its services at market value. 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 in question.
  • 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 commissioned R&D. This means that work performed by PhD candidates may also be invoiced in accordance with market price and that the purchase of such work is not tied to the Research Council's lump sum for research fellows. It is important to note that research fellows who carry out work at market price in innovation projects for the industrial sector do not have the same rights vis-à-vis the Research Council as research fellows wholly or partly funded by us through lump sum allocations.
  • 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 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 withdraw our funding pledge.

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 do we provide funding 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 a 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: Article 25: Aid for research and development projects.

Type of company/type of activity

Maximum support to industrial research in accordance with the state aid rules

Maximum support to experimental development in accordance with the state aid rules

Maximum support to each company under this call

Small businesses

70 %

45 %

50 %

Medium-sized businesses

60 %

35 %

50 %

Large businesses

50 %

25 %

50 %

Please note that we do not support companies to the full extent of what is possible within the framework of the state aid rules. In not doing so, we are able to fund more projects. The state aid rules allow small businesses to have up to 70 per cent of their costs for industrial research covered. For medium-sized companies, the state aid rules allow for coverage of up to 60 per cent for the same costs. Under this call we do not, however, allow for more than 50 per cent of such costs to be covered for either type of company, even if all activities are defined as industrial research.  

  • Example 1: for a small company with all costs in the industrial research category, the state aid rules allow for coverage of up to 70 per cent of the costs, but we will only cover up to 50 per cent of the costs.
  • Example 2: for a medium-sized company with all costs in the experimental development category, the state aid rules allow for coverage of up to 35 per cent of the costs, and that is what the company can get from us.
  • Example 3: for a small company with half of the costs in the industrial research category and half in experimental development, the state aid rules allow for coverage of up to 57.5 per cent of the total costs, but we only cover up to 50 per cent of the costs.
  • Example 4: for a medium-sized company with half of the costs in the industrial research category and half in experimental development, the state aid rules allow for coverage of up to 47.5 per cent of the costs, and that is what the company can get from us.

The fact that we only cover up to 50 per cent even if you could have received, for example, 70 per cent, means that you can also receive support for the project from other public schemes, such as Innovation Norway and SkatteFUNN.

When applications are awarded funding, we will assess the extent to which funding will trigger increased R&D efforts by the Project Owner and the project partners. The final amount of support will be determined when we enter into a contract with you.

Conditions for funding

This call for proposals constitutes a funding scheme that is notified to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) with the reference GBER XX/2023/R&D&I (the correct reference to come).

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.

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 collaborating 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 annual accounting reports 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 EUR 500,000 or more to your project, this will be listed in the State Aid Register (ROFS) (link opens in new window).
  • You must inform any partners listed on the stock exchange or that have applied to be admitted to trading as soon as possible to give them an opportunity to assess whether the allocation of funding is stock market sensitive 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.
  • The Research Council requires full and immediate open access to scientific publications; see Plan S – open access to publications.
  • For all projects that manage research data, the Project Owner must ensure that a data management plan is drawn up and uploaded when the grant application is being revised. You will find more information about what the data management plan must contain here.
  • For medical and health-related studies involving human participants, the Research Council stipulates special requirements and guidelines for registration and disclosure of medical and health-related studies involving human participants.

Reporting and disbursement of funds

We disburse the funds in arrears. You will receive more information about this if the project is allocated funding.

All reporting must be done electronically.

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 other documents 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 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 for which the application is assessed. Note that the application may be rejected if the funding you apply for surpasses the specified limit and if you have not indicated a source to cover the costs exceeding the limit set by the thematic area in question in the Financing plan. Nevertheless, if we do assess the application, you must find ways to cover the excess costs in the event that the project receives funding from us.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us. For questions regarding requirements relating to innovation projects, the grant application form, attachments and other questions about general matters, please email us at For specific questions pertaining to the different topics, please contact the advisers affiliated with the respective topics for more information.

Cross-cutting topics

Sustainable feed for livestock and fish

Energy, transport and low emissions

Environment-friendly energy


AquacultureMarine sectorMaritime sector

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

Agriculture and the food industry (Agriculture and Food Industry Research Funds)


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. 

The deadline for this call for proposals is 7 June, at 23:59. Please note that you can only submit an application once. If you submit the application before the deadline and afterwards see that it still needs to be changed, you can create a new application – e.g., as a copy of the one you have already submitted – and thus submit a new version before the deadline expires.

  • 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 you have submitted grant proposals to cover the same project costs to other Research Council calls for proposals or to other funding agencies, you must declare this in the grant application.
  • All project costs must be budgeted in accordance with our guidelines to what to enter in the project budget.

Mandatory attachments 

  • Project description of up to 10 pages in length using the designated template.
  • Attachment with company information about the Project Owner and each of the participating companies (collaborating 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. Each CV cannot exceed four pages.

Note that the template for the project description is new for 2023.

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. 

All attachments to grant applications must be submitted together with the application form. We do not accept attachments submitted after the application submission deadline unless we have requested additional documentation.

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 call for proposals and on the basis of the following criteria:


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?


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?


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, including all mandatory attachments, will be made available in a digital portal for referees who will give individual assessments of the criteria ‘Excellence’, ‘Impact’ and ‘Implementation’.

Only applications where the average score after the individual assessments is 4.5 or higher on a scale where 7 is the highest score, will be further assessed in panel meetings. Applications with an average score between 4 and 4.5 will also be assessed in these meetings, provided that at least one of the referees has given the application a mark of 6 or higher. The referee panel will then submit a consensus-based assessment for each of the three criteria.

If the mark awarded by the referee panel for each criterion is 4 or higher, 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. Please note that one of the thematic areas - Industry and services – will not score its applications on relevance. 

The Research Council administration will then present the applications 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 (link opens in new window).

Each portfolio board will also act in accordance with the Research Council’s general policy for allocation of funding, including our policies 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 notification of the application results

The various portfolio boards have allocation meetings in December. We expect to publish which applications receive funding on a continuous basis after the board meetings.

The first possible project start is 1 January 2024.

See also: How we process applications.

Create application

Applications for Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector 2023 should be created on My RCN Web. Application templates should be filled and uploaded in the application.

Create application

Messages at time of print 2 June 2023, 20:52 CEST

IT glitch SkatteFUNN

Have you received an email stating that your project for SkatteFUNN has been withdrawn? This is due to an IT glitch. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to correct the error.