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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.

General information about the STUD-ENT scheme
What are the overall objectives of the STUD-ENT scheme? 
What is a STUD-ENT project? 
Who can apply for funding?
Are there any special requirements relating to the business idea?
What does formal support of a Norwegian university or university college for a STUD-ENT project entail?
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?
Are there any thematic limitations to the STUD-ENT scheme?

 

The application
How do I create an application? 
Who can submit the application?

 

Support
How much funding can a STUD-ENT project receive?
What can the funding cover?  
Is it permitted to receive funding from both Innovation Norway and the STUD-ENT scheme?

 

Application assessment
What are the assessment criteria?
How are applications reviewed? 
Do applicants receive feedback on their applications? 

 

Project period
What happens after a project is awarded STUD-ENT funding?
How is the funding disbursed and what are the reporting requirements?

 

General information about the STUD-ENT scheme



What are the overall objectives of the STUD-ENT scheme?


The STUD-ENT funding scheme seeks to encourage entrepreneurship among students, promote a stronger entrepreneurship culture in the university and university college sector, and increase the number of knowledge-intensive jobs in Norway.

The STUD-ENT scheme is a national competitive arena in which students and recent Master’s degree graduates, in cooperation with a university or university college, may seek financial support for realising their knowledge- or research-based business ideas. In the application review process the Research Council uses only external referees with relevant experience in relation to the individual grant applications. These external referees have a background as an investor, business developer, technology developer, serial entrepreneur or the like, and provide critical and practical advice for all grant applications, regardless of whether applicants receive financial support. All projects that are assessed will receive written feedback from the referees. Thus, the STUD-ENT scheme also serves as a practical learning arena for students, universities and university colleges alike.

The scheme is designed to provide both the Research Council and the university and university college sector with new insight into how to create an effective, well-organised framework for promoting student entrepreneurship. Many universities and university colleges are already working actively to support students who have business ideas. The scheme makes it possible for the institutions to boost the most promising student business ideas, promote their realisation and subsequently use them as role models to foster an entrepreneurship culture.


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- or research-based business idea. The project must have the formal support of a Norwegian university or university college and 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 questions that a customer, industry partner, investor or other public/private funding source needs before deciding to invest in further development or procurement.


Who can apply for funding?


The STUD-ENT funding scheme is targeted towards students and recent Master’s degree graduates who have a knowledge- or research-based business idea and the formal support of a Norwegian university or university college.

Target group and requirements relating to the project team:

  • The project manager must have entrepreneurial skills, be the driving force behind the project, have a key role in the established/planned company, and:
    a) have planned to submit his/her Master’s thesis by at the latest six months after submission of the grant application, or
    b) have received his/her Master’s diploma not more than 12 months prior to submission of the grant application.
  • The core team is to consist of the project manager and students/recent Master’s degree graduates, and this team must be in charge of realising the business idea and have full or partial ownership of the established/planned company (minimum 80 per cent).
  • The students in the core team must be candidates at Bachelor’s or Master’s degree level and the recent Master’s degree graduates must have received their diploma no more than 12 months prior to submission of the grant application.
  • At least one academic mentor at the university/university college must be part of the project team and contribute relevant expertise.
  • At least one commercial mentor, preferably from the business sector, must be part of the project team and contribute relevant expertise.
  • The project team viewed as a whole must have the interdisciplinary and relevant expertise needed to perform the project.

For more information about how the project team’s implementation capacity will be assessed, see the  Assessment criteria PDF - 305 KB .


Are there any special requirements relating to the business idea?

  • The business idea must be related to knowledge the students/recent Master’s degree graduates have obtained through their studies. 
  • The business idea must have its basis in a competitive advantage that can be maintained over time.
  • In order to implement the project, the students/recent Master’s degree graduates must have obtained the rights to the concept/ technology/research on which the business idea is based.
  • The business idea does not have to be linked to a specific branch of industry, and STUD-ENT funding may be sought by students/recent Master’s degree graduates 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.

For more information about how the business idea and quality of a STUD-ENT project will be assessed, see the  Assessment criteria PDF - 305 KB .
 

What does formal support of a Norwegian university or university college for a STUD-ENT project entail?


A division or department at a Norwegian university or university college 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 designated as the project administrator.

The project administrator is responsible for completing the mandatory attachment to the grant application  Project approval from the university/university college DOCX - 30 KB . This document formally confirms that the project has the support of the institution, that the students/recent Master’s degree graduates satisfy the requirements set out in the text of the call, i.e. they fall within the scheme’s target group, and that the project administrator has read and approved the application prior to submission.

In addition, the university/university college must provide the project with at least one academic mentor in a relevant subject field and sign an agreement with the students/recent Master’s degree graduates regarding the institution’s contributions to the project. The students, in consultation with the project administrator and academic mentor(s), must complete the table “Contributions from the university/university college” in the  Project description template DOCX - 49 KB . This table will form the basis for the agreement between the project and the institution.

For more information about the types of project contributions that the university/university college can provide, see the  Guidelines for how to complete the application PDF - 525 KB (section 5.3).


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.


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.

 

The application



How do I create an application?


A complete grant application for STUD-ENT funding consists of the eSøknad application form and up to six different attachments in PDF format. Please note that grant applications that do not include the mandatory attachments will be rejected.   

To create an application, do the following:

  1. Click here: Call for STUD-ENT funding and then click on “Choose” next to “STUD-ENT funding- 2018” (at the top of the page). 
  2. Please read the call for proposals and the requirements carefully to ensure that you are qualified to seek funding under this scheme.
  3. Click on “Choose” next to “Other support” (at the top of the page).
  4. Please read the special requirements and guidelines for this type of application carefully.
  5. Tick the box “I confirm that I have read and accept the conditions set out in this call for proposals.”
  6. Click on “Create new application”.
  7. Log in to “My RCN web” or register as a new user.

There is a limit to the total number of pages to be reviewed by the referees. Thus the complete grant application may not include other attachments than those listed below:

Mandatory attachments:

Optional attachments:

  • Letters/statements of intent from potential customers and partners.
    An individually devised template may be used.

For more information, see the Guidelines for how to complete the application.


Who can 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).

For more information, please see the question above, “What does formal support of a Norwegian university or university college for a STUD-ENT project entail?”

 

Support

 

How much funding can a STUD-ENT project receive?


Each project may be awarded up to NOK 1 million in funding. STUD-ENT funding may be used to cover 100 per cent of the project costs for up to 12 months. No own financing is required.

In addition to financial support, the STUD-ENT scheme also serves as a practical learning arena for students, universities and university colleges alike. The Research Council uses external referees with experience of specific relevance to each individual project when reviewing grant applications. These external referees have a background as an investor, business developer, technology developer or serial entrepreneur, and provide critical and practical advice for all grant applications, regardless of whether applicants receive financial support.

Funding for STUD-ENT projects is granted in compliance with Article 22 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid: Aid for start-ups. For more information about the state aid rules, see the information on the state aid rules on the Research Council website.


What can the funding cover? 


STUD-ENT funding is to be used to carry out activities that will provide the answers to questions that a customer, industry partner, investor or other funding source needs before deciding to invest in the further development or procurement of a product, service or process.

Funding may be used to, for example:

  • cover supervisory and advisory services; infrastructure; material, equipment and payroll costs; and technical and administrative assistance, but not to finance the establishment of a limited company;
  • confirm and verify that the business idea can be implemented;
  • develop prototypes and conduct proof-of-concept/technology;
  • further define the customer groups for the product or service and determine how the company will approach these customers;
  • draw up plans for realising the innovation beyond the project period, such as by identifying the technical challenges that must be solved, determining how to obtain necessary capital, determining how to set up production when this is relevant, etc.


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


In the STUD-ENT application, the students/recent Master’s degree graduates must refer to customer and market surveys that have already been conducted. Prior to submitting a grant application to the STUD-ENT scheme, applicants are encouraged to apply for premarket evaluation support from Innovation Norway and attend Innovation Norway’s seminar “From idea to market”. The customer and market insight generated by a premarket evaluation project can provide a good basis for an application for a STUD-ENT project.

Please note that projects that have received STUD-ENT funding will not be eligible to apply for premarket evaluation support or commercialisation support from Innovation Norway (this applies to these two support schemes only).

For more information about premarket evaluation support from Innovation Norway, see here.

 

Application assessment 

 

What are the assessment criteria?


For more information, see the Assessment criteria


How are applications reviewed?


The application review process consists of an internal preliminary review followed by a two-phase review by external referees.

In the preliminary review, the Research Council will check to see that the grant applications satisfy all formal requirements and will assign three external referees per application for the next step in the review process. The three referees are to have relevant expertise, extensive knowledge of the subject field and the industry, and experience with specific activities described in the individual applications. These external referees have a background as an investor, business developer, technology developer, serial entrepreneur or the like.

In the first phase of the review by external referees, each individual application is assessed based on the assessment criteria for STUD-ENT grant applications. The administration compiles the referee assessments and ranks the applications based on the marks. 

Only the highest-ranked grant applications advance to phase two of the review by external referees. The external referees are convened in panels which review the application documents and assess the project team’s presentation. The panel then sets a new, final mark for each assessment criterion for each project, ranks the applications and draws up a recommendation regarding which applications should be awarded funding and which should be rejected.

The panel’s recommendation is subsequently submitted to the programme board for the STUD-ENT scheme, which is responsible for final approval of grant allocations.

For more information, see Application review process and Assessment criteria.


Do applicants receive feedback on their applications?


Yes, feedback is relayed to the applicants regardless of whether a grant application receives financial support.

The Research Council uses external referees with experience of specific relevance to each individual project when reviewing grant applications. These external referees have a background as an investor, business developer, technology developer, serial entrepreneur or the like. In the application review process, each referee proposes a mark for each of the respective criteria and also provides detailed feedback, including asking critical questions and offering practical advice. This feedback is relayed to the applicants regardless of whether a grant application receives financial support. Thus, the STUD-ENT scheme also serves as a learning arena. The team working with this scheme has received feedback that this input is extremely valuable to the projects.
 

 

Project period



What happens after a project is awarded STUD-ENT funding?


Students/recent Master’s degree graduates are not required to have established a limited company at the time of submission of the grant application. However, if a project is awarded STUD-ENT funding, a limited company must be established. In addition, the project manager must have completed his or her Master’s degree before the project can be started. 

The limited company:

  • Companies that have already been established must not be more than five years old, have more than 10 employees or be part of a corporation or group of companies.
  • The main responsibility for the project must be transferred from the university/university college to the company, and the name of the “Project Owner” must be changed to the name of the company and the name of the “Project administrator” to one of the students/recent Master’s degree graduates employed by the company.
  • Funding from the Research Council will be disbursed to the company.

The university or university college:

  • The institution must provide the project with at least one academic mentor in a relevant subject field.
  • The institution must follow up the agreement signed with the students/recent Master’s degree graduates regarding its practical and scientifically relevant contributions to the project.
  • Upon project completion, the person who was designated as the project administrator in the original grant application must submit, in consultation with the academic mentor(s), a brief final report to the Research Council on the institution’s own contribution to the project.


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


Disbursements to the limited company from the Research Council will take place in instalments of 50-30-20 per cent of the allocated amount.

  • The first disbursement, which will be 50 per cent of the allocated amount, will be made once the revised grant application has been approved and the contract between the Research Council and the company has been signed.
  • The second disbursement, which will be 30 per cent of the allocated amount, will be made after the progress report has been approved. Please note that documentation confirming the completion of the project manager’s Master’s degree must be uploaded together with the progress report before the second disbursement will be made. 
  • The third disbursement, which will be 20 per cent of the allocated amount, will be made 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.
Published:
06.11.2017
Last updated:
06.11.2017