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FAQ: Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity Call for Proposals 2019

LAST UPDATED 14 JUNE 2019.

What is the topic of the call?

There are two topics that falls under this call, which will be treated as one process:

- Seamless, integrated and people-centric mobility, or
- Sustainable, energy-efficient and decarbonized mobility.
 
Please refer to the call text for the two call for proposals for project outlines in 2018 regarding overall objectives:

Quality of Life Through Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity call text.

Clusters and Ecosystems As Drivers of Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity call text

What will be the budget and funding structure for the stage 2 call?

Total budget:
Nordic Innovation has allocated 16 MNOK to this call for proposals.

Total projects funded:
2-4 projects with up to 4 MNOK funding from Nordic Innovation.

Project duration:
Maximum 36 months.

Co-funding requirement:
Minimum 50% in the form of direct contribution and/or in kind contribution (Example: 3 MNOK from Nordic Innovation + 3 MNOK from project partners, totaling 6 MNOK for the whole project, equaling 2 MNOK per year.)

When will the call be published and when is the application deadline?

Preliminary timeline:


Call to be published: 
May 2019

Application portal to be opened:
June 2019

Application deadline:
28 June 2019

Funding decision:
1 September 2019

Who can apply?

Companies (SMEs and larger companies), public sector organizations (infrastructure owners, regulators, procurers, innovation ecosystems etc.), cluster organizations, business networks or research organizations may apply. Please note that the involvement of industry and direct benefit of the project for Nordic businesses will be one of the evaluation criteria.
 
As we emphasize the significance of active participation of problem and technology owners, consultancies should not take the role of project owner or project leader.
 
Applicants seeking to build a strong Nordic base/consortium for future EU projects on mobility and connectivity, are also invited to participate in this call.
 
This stage 2 call for proposals will be open also for applicants who did not apply or receive funding for stage 1 projects (call for project outlines, autumn 2018).

How will our application be evaluated?

All applications will be evaluated by 1) A Nordic Innovation team; and 2) An external evaluation panel (private and public sector). The final funding decision lies with Nordic Innovation.
 
All proposals will be evaluated according to the evaluation criteria described in the forthcoming call text. See below for further info.

What are eligible costs?

- Man hours.
- Travel costs.
- Meeting costs.
- Communication.
- External services.


Please refer to Nordic Innovation’s approved hourly rate.

What are ineligible costs?

- Basic research.
- Investments in individual companies.
- Independent freelance activities.
- Writing applications.
- Costs for procurement of equipment.
- Overtime costs.
- Salary increases.
- Indirect taxes and duties, including VAT.
- “Return on capital employed”, including dividends and other distributions of profits.
- Provisions for possible future losses and charges.
- Costs related to any interests.
- Provisions for doubtful debts.
- Unnecessary or ill-considered expenses.
- Marketing, sales and distribution costs for production and services.
- Leasing costs (or part thereof) where the leasing arrangement has the effect of unnecessarily increasing the charge made to the project (e.g. where the cost without interest of the leased equipment is higher than if purchased).

What are the general eligibility criteria?

- The project must include partners from minimum three Nordic countries. The balance between the countries should be reasonable. There may be several partners within each country.

- Nordic Innovation requires co-funding of minimum 50%. In-kind contributions (man hours) will be accepted. However, the total share of in-kind contributions must be reasonable and well-balanced. The total budget and cost structure must be reasonable, realistic and in line with the ambitions of the project. A high degree of own investment from applicants will be assessed positively as it demonstrates commitment to the project. Please note that the budget and ‘value for money’ will be part of the evaluation criteria.

- The project period cannot exceed 36 months.

- Only applications submitted through Nordic Innovation’s application portal will be accepted.

- Only applicants and partners based and operating in one or more of the Nordic countries will be eligible for funding.

What are the main evaluation criteria?

Impact
- Company level, incl. business opportunities, scale-up or export opportunities, involvement of Nordic businesses in general
- Nordic level, incl. Nordic added value
- Societal level, incl. SDGs
- Exit strategy (sustainability after the finalisation of the project)
 
Quality, incl. relevance, market needs and innovation (incl. new business models/new value chains/ cross-sectoral collaboration)
 
Competence and implementation, incl. the consortium and roles
 
Budget and value for money

What type of projects will be funded?

Projects need to be at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or higher. See also evaluation criteria.
 
TRL 1 – basic principles observed
TRL 2 – technology concept formulated
TRL 3 – experimental proof of concept
TRL 4 – technology validated in lab
TRL 5 – technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies
TRL 6 – technology demonstrated in relevant environment
TRL 7 – system prototype demonstration in operational environment
TRL 8 – system complete and qualified
TRL 9 – actual system proven in operational environment
 
Please note that projects that primarily only benefit one company or that focus on the development of one specific product, will not be considered as valid projects for this call. Please refer to the criteria ‘impact’ and ‘Nordic added value’ for more information.

What are the requirements regarding communication?

Funded projects should always acknowledge the support of Nordic Innovation in external communication (media, presentations, websites etc.). Furthermore, Nordic Innovation’s logo must be visible in all communication material related to the project.
 
Communication material should in as large extent as possible be based on the Nordic Council of Ministers' design manual unless something else is agreed upon in the final contract. When using social media Nordic Innovation (@nordicinno) should be tagged or mentioned.

De minimis regulation – when, who and how? 

Applicants who have received de minimis aid over the current year and the previous two fiscal years, must pay special attention to the rules. To confirm that you may to receive more funding, in accordance with the rules, you must declare the full amount of de minimis aid you have already received. A De Minimis Aid Declaration will be provided by Nordic Innovation to successful applicants.  
 
All applicants are responsible for keeping track of de minimis aid received.  
 
The following is not a comprehensive list of the possible forms of aid. However, it should give an indication of the most common forms of aid, which you may have been given over the relevant period.  Potentially any assistance from a public body might be an aid in the sense of the EEA Agreement (and EU Treaty).
   
- Grants from public bodies.  
- Loans from public bodies at favourable rates. 
- Loan guarantees from public bodies. 
- Differential tax benefits. 
- Monopoly licences or guarantees of market share. 
- Consultancy advice provided either free or at a reduced rate. 
- Training provided either free or at a reduced rate. 
- Purchase of public land or property at a less than market rate. 

These types of aid may have been provided under de minimis (as de minimis aid) or under another Aid regulation. If you are in any doubt whether aid received was de minimis aid or about its value, please check with the organisation, which granted it. 

May a project be co-funded by someone who is not a partner in the project?

This must be assessed on a case-to-case basis. In general, it will be necessary to explain why the funding partner is not part of the consortium/a formal partner in the project. It is also necessary to prove that the co-funding has not already been allocated to some other project or purpose, but is allocated fully to this particular project.  

Do we need to attach letters of intent from companies that want to participate, or can we list companies in the application?

It is not necessary to include a letter of intent. However, each of the partners will have to provide an individual budget (template will be provided in the application portal). Please also note that the partners of projects selected for funding will have to set up a collaboration agreement.

Is it possible to apply for funding without one specific private  sector company project partner from the beginning of the project?

Yes, if no other option is available. It is, however, necessary to explain why this is the case and to describe what steps will be taken to get Nordic companies on board in the project phase. Alternatively, please explain how Nordic companies will benefit from the project. The budget must include allocations for future industry partners. It is advisable to have all partners on board from the outset.

Are we free to structure some of the texts in a project description that we can attach to the application?

No. The application must be submitted through the portal, which is to be opened by 1 June. No attachments are allowed apart from CVs of ½ page each, the budget and the plan of action.

Should we write a text that explains how our project will meet each of the evaluation criteria that are listed?

The application portal will guide you. It is important, though, that all applicants bear in mind the evaluation criteria.

Does my project fit?

If your core business/the core of the project is mobility, and if the purpose of your project matches one of the two topics of the call, you are good to go, provided that you meet the other criteria listed in the call for proposals. Within the framework we have provided, you will have the freedom to describe, explain, prioritise and build the project the way you find is the best to ensure the success of the project.

Do you want individual or organizational cvs and from whom?

Our request for CVs for project participants refers to individuals intended to be actively working in the proposed project. The background to our request is for us to get a better picture of the prerequisites for success in the proposed project.

Please explain how you calculate the hourly rate

Please read the document on Nordic Innovation’s approved hourly rate thoroughly. Hourly rate = gross salary (as stated on the pay slip) X 0,12. The outcome of the hourly rate in the for mentioned example, will be the equivalent of the real hourly cost and overhead. The approved hourly rate (including overhead) is limited upwards to a maximum of NOK 1.100. A project participant cannot exceed 1.850 working hours per year.

What do you mean by total project costs?

The total costs of the project = Nordic Innovation funding + own funding

What is the difference between Project Owner and Project Leader?

The Project Owner is the legal entity (e.g., university, university college, research center, private enterprise) having the rights and obligations defined by the Contract towards Nordic Innovation. cf. Standard Terms and Conditions of Contract.

The Project leader is the person who, on behalf of the Project Owner, is responsible for the professional implementation, progress, and completion of the Project in accordance with the Standard Terms and Conditions of Contract. The project leader will, in other words, be responsible for the day-to-day follow-up of and implementation of the project and will normally report to the project owner.

It is up to the consortium to decide on the division of roles. In some cases project owner and project leader may represent the same organization.

How secure does the co-financing need to be in the application stage?

The evaluators will be looking for strong implementation capacity and a realistic budget and cost structure – which will of course also include co-financing. If the co-financing is not secure, for some reason, it is important to explain why and to include mitigation measures.

Contacts

Portrait Nina Egeli

Nina Egeli

Senior Innovation Adviser
Internationalization, innovation and business development support, in combination with a strong background in strategy and policy development are main pillars in Nina’s professional life. Through project design and management, she aims to fit market needs with relevant services and opportunities that allows new business partnerships and business projects to prosper.

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Portrait Ivar Josefsson

Ivar Josefsson

Innovation Adviser
Ivar combines his international experience with an environmental background to identify the most promising Nordic projects for achieving sustainable growth. His main strengths lie within the fields of international relations and environment, and he worked briefly in the international development sector prior to joining Nordic Innovation in 2018.

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Portrait Mikael von Dorrien

Mikael von Dorrien

Senior Innovation Adviser
Mikael has long experience working within the field of hightech startups. With a background from Swedish Almi Invest, he has in depth knowledge of the startup investor market. Since 2014 Mikael has worked at Nordic Innovation with entrepreneurship, Nordic Innovation Houses and now the Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity program.

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