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Frequently asked questions

Here you will find answers to the questions most frequently asked by students and universities/university colleges concerning funding under the STUD-ENT scheme. If you are planning to apply, please read this information, the text of the call for proposals and all related call documents carefully.

The STUD-ENT scheme

General information about the STUD-ENT scheme

What is a STUD-ENT project?

Who is eligible to apply?

Will priority be given to participation of women?

When will the call for proposals for STUD-ENT funding be made active?

 

Requirements for applying

Are there any requirements relating to the business idea?

Are there any thematic limitations to the STUD-ENT scheme?

What can the funding cover?

What are the requirements relating to the project team?

What are the requirements relating to mentors?

What are the requirements relating to the university/university college?

Can the university/university college support multiple STUD-ENT projects?

Are the students required to have studied or completed a Master’s degree at the university or university college that has given its support to the project?

What are the requirements relating to limited companies?

What are the requirements relating to the project start date?

 

Requirements to the application

Is it possible to receive funding from both Innovation Norway and the STUD-ENT scheme?

How do I create an application?

Who is to submit the application?

 

Project period

How is the funding disbursed and what are the reporting requirements?

 

Application assesment

How are applications reviewed?

What type of feedback do applicants receive?

What can I do if I disagree with the mark assigned or feedback provided to my proposal?

When is feedback on applications provided?


General information about the STUD-ENT scheme

The STUD-ENT scheme is the Research Council’s national competitive arena in which students, in cooperation with higher education institutions, may seek financial support for realising their knowledge or research-based business ideas. Grant applications are reviewed by external referees with relevant business experience and projects receive written feedback based on the referee assessments. Thus, the STUD-ENT scheme also serves as a practical learning arena, both for students seeking to become entrepreneurs and for institutions of higher education working to provide a high-quality educational programme in entrepreneurship.

The STUD-ENT scheme is part of the Research Council’s programme Commercialising R&D Results (FORNY2020). One of the principal objectives of the programme is to create a more widespread culture for entrepreneurship and commercialisation among students, researchers and administrators at Norwegian universities, university colleges and research institutions.

 

What is a STUD-ENT project?

In a STUD-ENT project the students/recent Master’s degree graduates are in charge of realising a knowledge-based business idea. The project must have the formal support of a Norwegian university or university college and the collaboration must help to promote a stronger entrepreneurship culture at that institution. The project may address any subject field or branch of industry.

High market maturity is not required, but the project must be business-driven, not research-driven. This means that project activities must help to reduce the level of risk associated with the project/provide the answers to key questions that a customer, industry partner, investor or other public/private funding source wishes to resolve before deciding to invest in further development or procurement.

 

Who is eligible to apply?

Students pursuing a master’s or bachelor’s degree may apply. The project manager of a STUD-ENT project must be a recent master’s degree graduate, i.e. must:

  • have planned to submit his/her Master’s thesis by at the latest six months after the application submission deadline, or
  • have received his/her Master’s diploma no more than 12 months prior to submission of the grant application.

Project proposals must have the formal support of a Norwegian university or university college and the business idea must be related to knowledge the students have obtained through their studies.

The project manager is not required to have completed his or her Master’s degree at the time of submission of the grant application. However, his/her Master’s thesis must be submitted prior to the project start date.

 

Will priority be given to participation of women?

Assuming that all factors relating to scientific merit and relevance are essentially equal, priority will be given to projects led by women project managers.

The STUD-ENT scheme seeks to achieve full gender balance, with 50 per cent participation of women in projects, and 50 per cent women project managers

 

When will the call for proposals for STUD-ENT funding be made active?

In general, the STUD-ENT scheme announces funding each year in mid-February. The status of published calls for proposals is either Planned or Active. 

  • Planned: Calls for proposals may be published as Planned up to six months prior to the application submission deadline. Please note that the text of the calls and the associated templates may be subject to revision until six weeks prior to the deadline.
  • Active: Calls for proposals are made active six weeks prior to the application submission deadline. Once the call is active, it is possible to create and complete the eSøknad application form via “My RCN web”, upload attachments and submit the application.

Links to calls for proposals (active or planned) as well as previous calls are available on the STUD-ENT webpage (Norwegian only).

 

Are there any requirements relating to the business idea?

  • The business idea must be related to knowledge the students have obtained through their studies.
  • The students/recent Master’s degree graduates must have obtained the rights to the concept, technology or research on which the business idea is based that will be needed to implement the project.
  • The business idea does not have to be linked to a specific branch of industry, and STUD-ENT funding may be sought by students from all subject fields.
  • There are no requirements relating to market maturity, so the STUD-ENT scheme is just as relevant for, e.g., medical technology projects, which often have a longer path to market, as for ICT projects, which in certain cases have a shorter path to market.
  • Project proposals must demonstrate that the business idea has been adequately developed and that preliminary market surveys indicate support for the business idea.

Are there any thematic limitations to the STUD-ENT scheme?

No. All subject areas are given equal priority and STUD-ENT funding may be sought by students/recent Master’s degree graduates from all subject fields.

What can the funding cover?

STUD-ENT funding is to be used to clarify uncertainties related to the commercial utilisation of research, i.e. questions that will prevent the project from moving forward in the commercialisation process if they remain unanswered.

Activities for which this funding may be used include:

  • Business development;
  • Premarket evaluations;
  • Prototype development;
  • Technical proof-of-concept activities;
  • Technical equipment;
  • Advisory services and technical assistance;
  • Payroll costs.

Up to NOK 1 million may be sought in funding for a STUD-ENT project. STUD-ENT funding may be used to cover 100 per cent of the project costs for up to 12 months, i.e. no own financing is required.

STUD-ENT funding is not intended to be an alternative to private funding. Projects that already have other funding or are found to be in a position to obtain other funding may fall outside the intended target group.

What are the requirements relating to the project team?

  • The project manager must fulfil the requirements set out in “Who is eligible to apply?” above.
  • The core team is to consist of students, i.e. the project manager and other students at Bachelor’s or Master’s degree levels and/or recent Master’s degree graduates who have received their Master’s diplomas no more than 12 months prior to the grant application submission deadline.
  • The core team must together own a minimum 80 per cent of the shares in the established/planned company, and the distribution/planned distribution of shares must reflect each partner’s participation in the project, thereby ensuring that all team members have maximum incentive to succeed.

What are the requirements relating to mentors?

  • The project must include at least one academic mentor who provides relevant expertise, for example within a certain subject or technological area. The project may benefit from including academic mentors from a variety of universities/university colleges.
  • The project must include at least one commercial mentor from the business sector who provides relevant experience from the sector or market or offers input on crucial project tasks.
  • The core team as a whole with its mentor support must have the interdisciplinary and relevant expertise needed to perform the project.

What are the requirements relating to the university/university college?

  • A division or department must be listed as the “Project Owner” in the grant application, and an individual who is authorised to approve the project at the departmental level must be listed as the “Project administrator”.
  • The university/university college must provide the project with at least one academic mentor and sign an agreement regarding the institution’s contributions to the project.
  • Students are not required to have studied or completed a degree at the university or university college that has given its support to the project.

Can the university/university college support multiple STUD-ENT projects?

Yes. Both the entity at the institution that is listed as the Project Owner and the individual who is designated the project administrator may have these roles in multiple projects.

Are the students required to have studied or completed a Master’s degree at the university or university college that has given its support to the project?

No. Students/recent Master’s degree graduates are not required to have studied or completed a Master’s degree at the university or university college that has given its support to the project. The applicant institution, on the other hand, must provide scientifically relevant contributions that are critical to the project.

What are the requirements relating to limited companies?

  • Applicants are not required to have established the limited company at the time of submission of the grant application. However, the company that will be the contractual partner must be established before the pledged funding may be received. All funding allocated will be disbursed to the company.
  • Limited companies established prior to application submission must not be more than five years old, must not have more than 10 employees, must not have exceeded NOK 1 million in revenues in the past five years, must not be part of a corporation or group of companies and must not hold an ownership stake in another company.

What are the requirements relating to the project start date?

As a general rule, the planned project start-up date is to be 1 June and the project to have a duration of one year. If this is not possible, the grant application must clearly explain why.

Is it possible to receive funding from both Innovation Norway and the STUD-ENT scheme?
Student projects that have previously received funding for premarket evaluation support or commercialisation support from Innovation Norway are eligible to apply for STUD-ENT funding. However, Innovation Norway now stipulates that projects that have received STUD-ENT funding are not eligible to apply for premarket evaluation support or commercialisation support from Innovation Norway.

How do I create an application?

It is possible to apply for funding under the STUD-ENT scheme as soon as the call has been made active, i.e. six weeks prior to the application deadline. An application for STUD-ENT funding consists of the following:

  • An electronic application form, created via “My RCN web”. It is not possible to create an application until the call has been made active six weeks prior to the application deadline.
  • A project description using the designated template for project descriptions found in the call for proposals.
  • Mandatory attachments as specified in the call. Please note that grant applications that do not include the mandatory attachments will be rejected.    

Who is to submit the application?

The project manager is to submit the grant application via “My RCN web”. Please note that the application can only be submitted after it has been approved by the Project Owner (department/institute at the university or university college).

How is the funding disbursed and what are the reporting requirements?

  • The first instalment, which will be 50 per cent of the allocated amount, will be disbursed once the revised grant application has been approved and the contract between the Research Council and the company has been signed.
  • The second instalment, which will be 30 per cent of the allocated amount, will be disbursed after the progress report has been approved. Please note that documentation confirming the formal approval of the project manager’s Master’s degree must be uploaded together with the progress report before the second instalment will be disbursed.
  • The third instalment, which will be 20 per cent of the allocated amount, will be disbursed after the final report and project account report have been submitted and approved. Please note that the project account report must be endorsed by a chartered accountant before it can be approved by the Research Council.

How are applications reviewed?

The Research Council uses only external referees with relevant experience to assess the individual grant applications. These external referees typically have a background as an investor, business developer, technology developer, serial entrepreneur or the like.

The referees assess the applications based on the assessment criteria set out in the call.

Application assessment is carried out in three phases:

  • Pre-assessment: The Research Council administration will conduct a preliminary administrative review of grant proposals to ensure that the formal application requirements have been met. Applications that do not fulfil the formal requirements or that fall outside the target group outlined in the call will be rejected.
  • Remote assessment: Grant applications that pass the preliminary administrative review will be reviewed individually by 2–4 external experts in a remote assessment process. Subsequently, the individual applications will be compared and ranked on the basis of the remote assessment.
  • Panel assessment: Projects that pass the remote assessment phase will be invited to give a 15-minute presentation of their project to a referee panel, followed by a round of questions and answers. Subsequently, the applications will be compared and ranked on the basis of the assessments carried out by the referee panel.

The FORNY programme board is responsible for taking the final decision regarding funding awards. A total of 10–20 project proposals are normally awarded funding each year.

What type of feedback do applicants receive?

All projects that are assessed will receive written feedback based on the referee assessments. Thus, the STUD-ENT scheme also serves as a practical learning arena in which the application process and feedback from the referee panels are valuable in and of themselves.

What can I do if I disagree with the mark assigned or feedback provided to my proposal?

Application assessment is not an exact science leading to a final answer. Referee assessments show how the referees have understood the project. Feedback on grant proposals can be roughly divided into two categories:

  • Feedback the applicant agrees with: This type of feedback is straightforward, as it is easy for the applicant to discern what changes and improvements to the project are required.
  • Feedback the applicant does not agree with: This type of feedback may be somewhat more difficult to resolve, but it often indicates that the project has not succeeded in communicating its intentions clearly enough. In these cases, the applicants should take steps to revise the presentation and communication of those aspects of the project they believe the referees have misunderstood. 

In cases when referees have assigned widely differing marks for the same assessment criterion, it is often a sign that the proposal is unclear on this point, and has given the referees a somewhat inadequate foundation for their assessment. 

When is feedback on applications provided?

Applicants are normally notified of the outcome of the application assessment process within eight weeks following the application deadline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published:
06.11.2017
Last updated:
09.10.2018