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23rd CORNET Call for Proposals OPEN
Deadline: 29 Mar 2017   CALL EXPIRED

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This document describes the rules for submitting proposals for international Collective Research in the framework of the 23rd CORNET Call for Proposals. 

This call is a joint initiative of funding organisations. These organisations (ministries or agencies) will be commonly referred to as ‘funding organisations’ in this text. The basic principle in the 23rd CORNET Call is that rules, templates and funding conditions of the involved funding organisations remain applicable. 

Applicants are strongly advised to contact their national or regional funding organisation well before and during the preparation of project proposals. 

The participating funding organisations, the CORNET contact persons in the national/regional funding organisations and the most recent information on the call will be available on the CORNET website: www.cornet.online/calls-for-proposals/ 

The full project application has to be submitted via the CORNET submission tool before the call deadline (eight files: the proposal application form plus one PDF-file for each annex. After deadline, no changes or supplements can be added, and your account will be automatically closed down. Please note that only complete proposals containing all annexes that were submitted by the stated deadline via the CORNET submission tool will be considered for funding. You will receive an acknowledgement by e-mail from the CORNET coordination office confirming receipt of the complete application. If you have not received confirmation within 72 hours after deadline, please contact the CORNET coordination office (cornet@aif.de). 

To register to the CORNET submission tool visit www.cornet.online/calls-for-proposals/submission-tool/. 

 

1. INTRODUCTION 

1.1 Context of the Call 

This call is organised by CORNET (COllective Research NETworking). The partners in CORNET are national or regional ministries and funding organisations from various countries, facilitating international cooperation on the basis of their respective national and regional funding schemes. 

CORNET is a self-sustained network, coordinated by the German AiF FTK GmbH receiving financial means from the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). 

For more information on CORNET please visit: www.cornet.online/about/ 

1.2 Basic concepts of the CORNET Calls and collaboration between programmes 

This 23rd CORNET Call for Proposals is based on existing funding programmes for (collective) research in the participating countries/regions. As for the previous CORNET Calls, the added value is to make international collaboration possible for these national/regional programmes, whereby every project participant will be funded by the funding organisation of their own country or region. 

This implies that rules for participation and funding in CORNET are basically the same as the ones currently applicable in the national/regional programmes of the various participating countries/regions. Therefore, different rules may apply to participants within one project consortium. 

An overview of the national/regional programmes and their eligibility criteria can be found on the CORNET website www.cornet.online/calls-for-proposals/participating-funding-agencies/ 

GUIDELINES 23rd Call 

7/22 

2. COLLECTIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS 

The main eligibility criterion concerning submitted proposals is that they address Collective Research. The defining characteristics of Collective Research are: 

– It serves the need of a wide grouping of companies, mostly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This grouping is represented by a body such as an association, federation, a sectoral institute, an ad-hoc SME-grouping etc. (herein commonly referred to as ‘association’), which takes a key role in planning and organising the Collective Research work. 

– Knowledge transfer (dissemination) is an integral part of Collective Research. It has to be ensured that the results of research are spread throughout the target grouping of companies by suitable measures (e. g. presentations, conferences, training etc.), and that there is a technical and legal path for technology transfer to all interested SMEs of the concerned sector, without discrimination. 

– Finally, Collective Research is pre-competitive meaning research and development in which there is collaboration but no competition. 

 

Collective Research is distinct from other forms of enterprise R&D, which may generally be classified as: 

– ‘corporate’: R&D performed by a company for its own benefit; 

– ‘collaborative’ or ‘cooperative’: R&D performed by several companies on a shared-cost basis for their own individual benefit; 

– ‘contract’: R&D contracted by one or several companies from one or several third-party research performers, again to the individual benefit of the contracting company or companies. 

 

--- Such projects are not eligible for funding in the CORNET Call. --- 

A second essential criterion is to demonstrate clearly the significant added value, when performing the research on an international scale (more than just having a larger forum for the dissemination of individual results!). 

The project should be set up such that the specific competencies of the various countries or regions are combined to build up a level of knowledge and know-how, which could not be obtained by one single participant or by a set of individual participants working in parallel. 

There is no thematic focus in the CORNET Calls for Proposals. Consortia from all industrial sectors are invited to submit proposals, dealing with any technology. However, some participating funding organisations might be interested to specifically support projects building in selected technical areas. 

 

 

 

3. FUNDING 

3.1 General 

Essential feature of CORNET is that funding is allocated according to the rules of the involved national/regional programmes. 

Each CORNET partner (i. e. funding organisation) provides funds to accepted projects on national/regional level. In general, the respective applicant (association) will be funded by the corresponding national/regional agency; no money crosses borders. 

Due to the differences between the national/regional funding programmes, there will be (possibly significant) differences in the funding rules and eligible costs for each project participant. It is important that the consortium adopts a clear and open internal communication policy on this, so that participants do not feel disadvantaged during the course of the project. If significant differences exist within the consortium, it is advisable to address this fact in the Consortium Agreement. See IV. Cooperation Framework 

3.2 Amount and Terms of Funding 

Projects are funded by a grant to the project budget. They should have a maximum duration of 24 months. 

Detailed information about pre-set budgets or restrictions of the participating funding organisations in the 23rd CORNET Call can be found on the CORNET Website, section ‘Calls for Proposals’. (www.cornet.online/calls-for-proposals/participating-funding-agencies/). 

An important criterion is that the budget is well balanced in all respects. In principle, no association should have a disproportionately large share, nor should any association have an insignificant contribution. The size of the target group in each of the participating countries or regions can be taken as a parameter to establish a fair balance. Every imbalance has to be explained and reasoned for in the project proposal. For example on the one hand it can be reasonable that a country with a larger market brings in a proportionally larger contribution. On the other hand, there is no reason to artificially correct an apparent imbalance, e. g. if specific technical competence is required for the project which is available in a smaller country, the proportionally larger contribution from this country can be justified. 

 

3.3 Type of activities that can be funded 

The main types of targeted activities are: 

– industrial research and development; 

– applied research and development; 

 

In some countries/regions, the following activities can also be funded: 

– demonstrations; 

– technology/knowledge transfer; 

– dissemination workshops and training. 

 

An overview of the national funding programmes of all participating CORNET partners can be found on the CORNET website: www.cornet.online/calls-for-proposals/participating-funding-agencies/). For more details please contact the respective national/regional funding organisation. 

3.4 Eligible Costs / Expenditures 

Here, too, national/regional rules apply. There are no additional CORNET rules. 

Depending on the national/regional rules, funding is based either on costs or expenditures. For detailed information, please contact your national/regional funding organisation. 

Typical cost/expenditure categories are: 

– personnel; 

– overhead; 

– travel & subsistence; 

– equipment, material, consumables and, if national/regional funding is on cost basis, also equipment depreciation; 

– subcontracting costs / expenditures that are not part of R&D. 

 

In-kind contributions, such as use of plant and buildings, tools, materials, testing, consultancy services, researchers or PhD students etc. are accepted in some countries/regions to a limited extent. In other countries/regions in-kind contributions can be mandatory. 

Please check with your funding organisation which costs/expenditures are eligible, and what the funding rates and conditions are. 

 

 

Generally not allowed are 

– market-related costs/expenditures; 

– costs/expenditures which are not directly associated with the project; 

– costs/expenditures of the project application; 

– eligible costs/expenditures which cannot be presented in a traceable/auditable form. 

 

3.5 Timing of Payments 

The timing of payments will also be according to national/regional rules. Therefore, participants will not necessarily receive (pre-)payments at the same time. 

If some of the participants have approved funding for a period shorter than the full duration of the project (e. g. only one year), and conditional funding afterwards, this should be described in the consortium agreement. 

 

PROJECT CONSORTIUM 

3.6 Preamble 

National/regional rules apply also for the composition of consortia. In addition, some further conditions may apply due to the international character of the consortia. These additional rules are not in contradiction to the local rules, but they might in some cases be more restrictive. 

This chapter describes a number of distinct roles that need to be identified and defined in Collective Research projects in general. Secondly, the rules for participation in a CORNET project are given for each of these roles. 

3.7 Definition of Roles 

3.7.1 Associations 

The descriptions of associations are defined according to the national/regional programme rules. 

For the present purpose of Collective Research, associations are defined as organisations that have been set up (in case of ad-hoc groupings temporarily) to represent the interests of SMEs in a particular industrial sector. An essential characteristic of an association is that it has a well-defined list of members (SMEs) and well-defined membership criteria and rules. Furthermore, the membership of the association has to include a significant number of SMEs in the related sector. 

While associations may have a wide range of activities, the main tasks concerning research will typically include: 

– identifying the research needs of the members; 

– organising Collective Research based on the identified needs of the members and carried out by a research performer; 

– facilitating technology transfer and a wide distribution of the research results. 

 

Examples of associations according to these terms are professional federations and trade associations. In some countries, an ad-hoc grouping of SMEs is considered an association as long as they have a clear membership, are open to other SMEs in the sector to join the group, and strive to represent a significant part of the SME community in their sector. 

In some countries, organisations have been set up to focus mainly or solely on the research needs of SMEs in a particular sector, and also to perform the research in-house. Such organisations have a well-defined and representative membership of SMEs in the concerned sector, and therefore they comply with the definition of association. They play a double role, as association and research performer (see below). Examples are the Collective Research Centres in Belgium or some Industrial Research Associations in Germany. 

 

3.7.2 Research Performers (RTO) 

The research performer (or research and technology organisation; RTO) is the organisation that carries out the research defined and requested by the association. In general, the research is based on a quotation, which the RTO submits to the association. RTOs usually are university laboratories, other publicly funded institutes or private non-profit research institutes. 

As mentioned above, some Collective Research centres combine this role with the role of an association. 

3.7.3 SME User Committee (SME UC) 

An SME user committee (SME UC) is a small group of companies, having a particular common interest in the R&D results of the project. They commit themselves to be available (e. g. twice a year) for active participation in SME UC meetings, organised by the project coordinator for the purpose of monitoring project progress. Within a project it is desirable to organise international meetings. For practical reasons, a share of SME UC meetings can be organised per involved country/region. In this latter case, a coordinator is appointed by the association that is the participant for the country/region. 

The role of the SME UC is to advise the project consortium on the relevance of the R&D results and to give direction on how to proceed. Whenever it is planned to test R&D results in a real environment, the SMEs involved in testing have to be members of the SME UC. The SME UC is set up at the beginning of the project and supervises/advises it until the end. 

3.8 Rules for Participation in CORNET Projects 

3.8.1 Associations 

Only associations, as defined above, are eligible to submit a proposal for funding. In case of doubt, please ask your respective funding organisation. 

3.8.2 Research Performers 

Usually, research performers execute the research work as subcontractors to the associations. They are also formally participants of the project and of the consortium. In case of acceptance of the project, they are required to sign the consortium agreement, since they are the main producers of intellectual property (IP) and potential performers of  dissemination activities. These two issues (IP, dissemination) form the main part of the consortium agreement. 

If needed, other (commercial) contributors can be included as minor subcontractors to one of the participants. In some countries/regions limitations apply for the funding of subcontractors and often quotations have to be requested from more than one potential subcontractor. It is advisable to check funding conditions with the concerned funding organisations, whenever subcontractor work is required. 

3.8.3 SME User Committee 

An SME user committee (SME UC) is mandatory for CORNET projects, even if the national/regional rules do not prescribe this. Each participating country or region must have at least 5 SMEs in the SME UC. 

Members of the SME UC are not participating in the project work, and they are not required to sign the consortium agreement. 

Consortia will be required to organise regular SME UC meetings, to take minutes of the meetings, to take the advice on board, and to show at subsequent SME UC meetings how the feedback was integrated in the project plan. 

In case national/regional rules exist for (the equivalent of) SME UCs, these rules also need to be respected by the concerned participant(s). In general, travel costs of SMEs in the SME UCs are not funded. 

The consortia are free to decide how the SME UC meetings will be organised (per year e. g. either one international meeting for all involved or a series of national/regional meetings), provided that a significant number of SME UC members are regularly involved. 

Letters of Intent (LoI) to join the SME UC, signed by a legal representative of the corresponding SME, must be provided with the proposal. The presence of a representative and motivated SME UC will be an important eligibility criterion for CORNET projects. 

3.8.4 Project Coordinator 

Each consortium nominates one association as project coordinator. During the proposal preparation phase, one of the responsibilities of the project coordinator is to ensure that every association is in contact with its national/regional funding organisation, in order to ensure compliance with national/regional rules. The funding organisation of the project coordinator will provide specific support to comply with the CORNET rules. 

Any association as defined in this section can take the role of project coordinator, except for the mentioned ad-hoc grouping of enterprises, since it is expected that such an organisation will not be sufficiently established to take that responsibility. 

 

 

3.8.5 CORNET Project Consortium 

In CORNET at least two COUNTRIES/REGIONSA (not only two regions of the same country), that have a funding organisation participating in the CORNET call, need to submit a joint proposal requiring three entities per applicant: An SME ASSOCIATION, ORGANISATION or GROUPB that submits and coordinates the project, a RESEARCH ORGANISATION (RTOC) that is (sub-)contracted to perform the research activities, and an SME USER COMMITTEE (SME UCD) consisting of at least 5 SMEs per country, which guides the research, ensures the pre-competitive character and benefits from the results. However, the structure per country/region can vary according to national/regional rules. FUNDINGE is provided country-by-country, combining resources into one project budget. 

The consortium has to be well-balanced (see also section ‘FUNDING’). This will be an important evaluation criterion. 

 

 

4. APPLICATION PROCESS 

4.1 Timing 

Although in many countries/regions projects can be submitted continuously, in CORNET project proposals will be submitted according to a deadline. 

The deadline for the 23rd CORNET Call is 29th of March 2017, 12 pm (CET). 

The Submission Tool will close down according to deadline and submission will not be possible anymore. 

4.2 Advice and Assistance 

It is highly recommended to discuss the proposal concept, innovation potential, target group, project construction, financial planning etc. with an advisor from your funding organisation before detailed preparation of the proposal, and to interact further during development of the consortium and writing of the proposal. 

4.3 Submission of Full Proposal 

4.3.1 Submission on CORNET level 

Starting with the 23rd call, it is mandatory to use the CORNET submission tool to submit proposals. The coordinating association of every project consortium has to register to the CORNET submission tool in order to upload the full CORNET project proposal including all annexes by the stated deadline. Please make sure that every project proposal is uploaded only once. The application templates are ready to download on the CORNET website (http://www.cornet.online/calls-for-proposals/guidelines-and-templates/) and have to be filled offline. The number of pages of part 4 ‘Description of the Project’ of the completed Proposal Application Form must not exceed a limit of 30 pages. Exceptions can be made only in case of particularly large consortia, and only in accordance with the CORNET coordination office (please contact Mr Felix Rotter, felix.rotter@aif.de). In addition to the innovation purpose and the technical project description, the proposal should explicitly address all of the eligibility criteria mentioned in these guidelines, and convincingly explain how they are fulfilled. Also a complete and detailed financial plan must be given. 

The filled proposal documents have to be uploaded in Portable Document Format (PDF) to the secured uploading area. The size of each of the documents must not exceed 10 MB. While the call is open the proposal can still be changed or added. Once the proposal is completed the ‘submit button’ has to be pressed in order to submit. After submission, no changes or supplements can be added. Please note that only complete proposals containing all annexes that were submitted by the stated deadline via the CORNET submission tool will be considered for evaluation. After deadline all accounts will be automatically closed down. For the next available CORNET Call for Proposals a new registration is required. 

To register to the CORNET submission tool for the 23rd CORNET Call for Proposals, please visit http://www.cornet.online/calls-for-proposals/submission-tool/. 

4.3.2 Submission on national/regional level 

In parallel, all partners have to send a national/regional application form to their own national/regional funding organisation, using the local template and referring to the CORNET project proposal. Generally, the same deadline applies for the national/regional submission. Please confer with your national/regional funding organisation. Programme and contact details of all CORNET partners can be found on www.cornet.online/calls-for-proposals/participating-funding-agencies/. 

Additional information that may be required by the national/regional funding organisations, but that is not relevant for other agencies or external experts can be mentioned in the local project proposal. 

For the national/regional submission the national/regional rules apply. 

4.4 Language 

The CORNET proposal has to be entirely in English, including all annexes. Exceptions of this rule have to be agreed with all national/regional funding organisations involved in a project proposal. 

The national/regional application form will generally be in the national language, unless agreed otherwise with the concerned funding organisation. 

 

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