ACTTiVAte (Horizon 2020) logo

Deadline: Sep 5, 2017  

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Health Care
 Aerospace Technology
 IT Applications
 Business Development


This Call for Proposal is supported by the ACTTiVAte project consortium and is financed by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Program under Grant Agreement 691473. The call is addressed to innovative SMEs and aims to enable the emergence of new cross-border and cross-sectoral value chains through fostering technology transfer within four sectors with strong synergies: Aerospace, Agro-food, Health and ICT.

After the call, the selected SMEs will receive direct funding of up to EUR 46.000 for their innovative projects and will also benefit from additional business support services such as training workshops, mentoring, brokerage events, mobility exchange programs and investment forums to ensure the innovative projects develop a marketable product.


The PAn-European Clusters for Technology Transfer and new VAlue chains, ACTTiVAte (INNOSUP-1-2015) envisages the support of innovation in SMEs and fostering the smart reindustrialization of Europe by enabling the emergence of new cross-border and cross-sectoral value chains, resulting from the translation of advanced technologies among selected sectors with strong synergies. Those sectors are: Aerospace, Agro-food, Health and ICT.

The development of new value chains will be facilitated setting up geographical poles of activity in different regions across Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Ireland and Poland comprising:

  •   Clusters to enable the creation of an appropriate innovation ecosystem. The clusters involved in ACTTiVAte include Madrid Aerospace Cluster (Spain), Fundación Parque Tecnológico de la Salud (Spain), Fundación Tecnova (Spain), OostNV (Netherlands), Agrifood Capital (Netherlands), Aeroplan Cluster (Poland).

  •   RTD Centres capable of assessing technical feasibility, providing technical advisory and assessing the future potential of proposed innovative services and products. The RTDs involved in ACTTiVAte include: INEGI (Portugal), Wageningen University & Research (Netherlands), Technology Partners (Poland), Dublin City University (Ireland).

  •   Innovation Facilitators that will operate at a cross-cluster level providing business support services, helping to establish networks for collaboration. The innovation facilitators involved in ACTTiVAte include IESE Business School (Spain), EBN Innovation Network (Belgium), AFI Analistas Financieros Internacionales (Spain).

ACTTiVAte will undertake two types of activities to provide services to innovative SMEs.

1. Business Support Services: ACTTiVAte will provide a wide range of business support services to the selected SMEs including a technology commercialization training program, brokerage events, investment rounds to raise venture capital, mentoring, coaching and mobility and exchange programs amongst other initiatives.


2. Direct Funding of Innovative SME projects: ACTTiVAte will launch a competitive call for proposals in June 2017. Proposals will be selected by evaluating: (i) the technical excellence, feasibility and viability of the project; (ii) the potential to create new value chains; and (iii) the regional socioeconomic impact of the proposed solution. The selected projects will receive an amount of up to EUR 46.000 each to accomplish the following objectives: (1) to develop a technology commercialization strategic plan (EUR 6.000) and (2) to develop a proof of concept (up to EUR 40.000).


The target audience of ACTTiVAte Call for Proposal are SMEs that are legally established in one of the ACTTiVAte target countries (Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Ireland and Poland) and belong to the value chain of the Aerospace, Agro-food, Health or ICT sectors.

In general, ACTTiVAte is looking for highly innovative enterprises, oriented to the global market, with a skilled staff, very dynamic in terms of job creation and with visible results in the long term.

For more detailed information on the Eligibility Criteria and the evaluation of the technical and financial capacity of the SMEs prior to receiving funding please refer to APPENDIX IV “Legal and Financial Conditions” document in the ACTTiVAte Applicant Reference Documents.


ACTTiVAte ́s goal is to develop a clear strategy for providing coherent support to SMEs by fostering cross-sectoral and cross-border innovation to strengthen existing and emerging industries and improving the position of SMEs in global value chains through regional and industrial support. This implies the need to look at systemic obstacles and barriers that may prevent regions from fully exploiting innovation-driven entrepreneurial opportunities. SMEs should be the main beneficiaries of the innovation ecosystem fostered by clusters while clusters will play a central role being connected to all the stakeholders and providing input on sectors and regions where SMEs can innovate.

The overall challenges that ACTTiVAte aims to address are:

  •   To develop new cross-sectoral industrial value chains across the EU, by building upon the innovation potential of SMEs, in a context of collaboration and integration of different innovation actors and with the focus on reindustrialization for growth and job creation, developing a long-term internationally competitive supply (goods and services) based on innovative solutions.

  •   To help SMEs generate, take up and better capitalize on all forms of knowledge, creativity, craftsmanship and innovation.

  •   To promote the role of clusters, as favourable ecosystems for innovation.


Among others, the expected impacts of ACTTiVAte are:

  •   To strengthen industrial leadership by reinforcing value chains that integrate innovative solutions in SMEs

  •   To further leverage and complement support for innovation in SMEs and other public and/or private funding

  •   To provide a clear and measurable contribution to the innovation performance of the supported SMEs in the short-term, and to its impact on resource efficiency and/or turnover. A wider impact is also expected in the medium-term.

  •   To improve the business environment of the supported SMEs through open collaboration spaces that can involve innovation actors from different sectors and countries, in order to create new ideas for innovation and new collaboration partnerships (potential business turnover impact)


Successful applicants to ACTTiVAte Call for Proposal will ideally present proposals focused on technology transfer among two or more of the following sectors: Aerospace, Agro-food, Health and ICT. The intention of this technology transfer is to create new services or products and therefore the generation of new value chains and emerging industries across Europe.

The initiatives will ideally include collaboration between a technology provider, an application developer and a business user.

The figure below illustrates the different technology transfer approaches within sectors and the type of actors that should be involved.




The applicants should present proposals in which they take the role of application developers. The application developer either:

  •   Case 1: Has developed a technology solution internally

  •   Case 2: Aims to acquire a technology through a specific technology transfer method from a technology provider (licensing, subcontracting, direct acquisition, strategic alliance, etc)

In both cases the application developer will apply technologies being used in one sector for a novel application that will be used by a final business user in another sector.

Applicants are expected to describe this process clearly in their proposal, having identified their technology providers in case 2 and the type of relationship or technology transfer methodology.

To support this technology transfer process the ACTTiVAte project has developed a Cluster Collaboration Tool. In this tool companies can register their technology offer or technology request that can be transferred from a source sector to a target sector. Partners from the ACTTiVAte consortium will support matching technology offers and technology requests. All applicants are invited to register to this tool and upload technology requests and offers.

In addition, successful candidates are expected to submit proposals that:

  •   Provide solutions aligned with the identified technologies and topics described in detail in APPENDIX I “Innovation Action Lines”

  •   Provide solutions to address the regional specific challenges described in APPENDIX II "Regional Challenges". Demonstrating how they will leverage regional strengths, capabilities, and competitive advantages and significantly enhance in their regions a culture of innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship.

  •   ACTTiVAte will prioritize proposals that not only demonstrate cross-sectoral innovation but also cross-border potential involving actors from different European regions.


ACTTiVAte will launch a competitive call for proposals in June 2017. In total 50 projects will be selected, of which the 30 top-ranked proposals will receive up to EUR 46,000 in funding, plus a full package of Business Support Services. The runner-up 20 projects will receive up to EUR 6,000 and a limited pool of Business Support Services.

Payments to SMEs will be made after the fulfilment of the established milestones and deliverables. The types of activities to be funded correspond to the fulfilment of the requirements defined for the following two phases:


 Phase 1: Technology Commercialization Strategic Plan Development

All 50 selected proposals will enter Phase 1. This phase runs during the first three months after the selection of proposals. Projects will be requested to attend the Technology Commercialization Academy provided by IESE (refer to section 3 for further information on the Tech. Comm. Academy). In this training, SMEs will be guided to carry out a deep viability assessment of their project idea, which should respond to an integrated approach considering the technical feasibility, the economic, social and environmental sustainability and their chances to create new cross-sectoral value chains.

The main outcome of this training is the development of a Technology Commercialization Strategic Plan (D1), a written document that describes in detail how the technology will be materialized into a new and successful solution of marketable quality.

This plan must be delivered within 3 months from the formal start of the project. Upon completion and approval of the Technology Commercialization Strategic Plan (D1) all 50 selected projects will receive EUR 6.000 lump sum in funding.

The 20 runner-up SMEs will stop receiving further funding, but will be entitled to receive an additional limited pool of business support services.

 Phase 2: Proof of Concept Development

In ACTTiVAte, a proof of concept is understood as a minimum viable product which serves to (i) verify some key functional aspects of the intended solution, (ii) demonstrate the technical feasibility of the proposed solution under a representative operational environment, (iii) provides technical solutions for all critical functionalities, but usually does not have all the functionalities of a final product.

The main expected outcome of this second phase is the development of the aforementioned proof of concept. The duration of this phase is 8 months after the completion of phase 1, being one of the requirements to prepare a Proof of Concept Design and Implementation Plan (D2) during the first two months of this second phase. This plan should provide a detailed description of the design characteristics and the scope of the prototype and the required steps to implement it within the project.

After the presentation and approval of the Proof of Concept Design and Implementation Plan, the SMEs will receive a EUR 15,000 lump sum payment.

Finally, at the end of the proof of concept development, the SMEs will be required to prepare a Final Report (D3) based on the work performed. The SMEs will have to present the developed proof of concept to ACTTiVAte consortium. Upon approval of the Final Report and presentation of the proof of concept, the SMEs will receive a final payment of EUR 25,000.

During this whole phase the Top ranked 30 selected SMEs will continue receiving the full package of Business Support Services aimed at increasing visibility of the projects and providing access to external financing. Furthermore technical support and assistance to the SMEs projects will be given through specific activities such as intermediate revisions to ensure the accomplishment of project objectives.

The figure below summarizes the process:




The total budget available for funding projects is EUR 1.500.000,00 that will be distributed between 50 SMEs through the following clusters that participate in ACTTiVAte project. Projects will be assigned to each cluster based on the technological nature and the planned region of impact of each project:



Madrid AerospaceCluster (MAC) Fundación Parque Tecnológico de la Salud (PTS) FundaciónTecnova (FT)

Aerospace Health Agrofood



Wageningen University & Research (WUR)*




Technology Partners (TP)




ACTTiVAte will be providing the following business support services to the selected projects in order to contribute to enhance their innovation capabilities, enable their technology transfer developmental paths and access to markets and further external resources and financing:

  • -  Focused training workshops

  • -  Coaching and mentoring schemes

  • -  Matchmaking events with ecosystem players

  • -  Mobility and exchange programs

  • -  Follow-up scheme and help desk facility

To be entitled to participate in the described funding scheme, all the ACTTiVAte selected projects (50 top-ranked) will have to go through the ACTTiVAte business support services scheme and comply with the linked specific requirements. The business support services scheme will provide for a tailored approach in line with the stage of development and needs of the selected projects.

A brief description of the services involved and the schedule of the business support services package over the ACTTiVAte project is provided below. For more detailed information please refer to APPENDIX III “Business Support Services”


All ACTTiVAte selected projects will be attending a specific training focused on the technology transfer/commercialization process of their innovative developments.

The specific training program will comprise the development of 1,5-days training workshops (Tech Comm Academies) to be held in the four defined geographical poles. (Spain and Portugal, Poland, Ireland, Netherlands)

The workshops will include training and feedback activities, group and individual coaching/assistance, peer-sharing, feedback sessions and remote coaching to be delivered by local and international expert coaches.

All selected projects participating in the Tech Comm Academy program will have to prepare and deliver a Technology Commercialization Strategic Plan (D.1) as part of Phase 1 of the project (Technology Commercialization Strategic Plan Development).

All the participant selected SMEs will have the opportunity to review and check their work with the expert coaches assigned to identify additional factors (and/or strengths and weaknesses) that would not be obvious to emerging entrepreneurs.


The 30 top ranked selected projects will be entitled to receive a customized business support package in the form of a mentoring and coaching program. Ten Business and Innovation Centres (BICs) will be selected from the EBN community to deliver around 3-days coaching and/or mentoring scheme over a 3-months period.

The one-to-one customized support from these European experts will help bring ACTTiVAte SMEs’ innovation to commercial exploitation and societal impact. The type of the support available in the network will be tailored on the basis of the project needs and maturity.


Special B2B events are to be held in the ACTTiVAte’s defined geographical poles for all selected projects/SMEs (50 top-ranked projects) to have the opportunity to exchange and interact with established companies and industry leaders operating within the cluster/regional ecosystems involved.

The events will enable the selected projects/SMEs to contact potential customers and/or partners for the proposed cross-sectoral innovations.


All ACTTiVAte selected projects (50 top-ranked projects) will receive focused training workshops aiming at preparing their innovative projects to raise additional external finance beyond ACTTiVAte.

One-day training workshops will be provided in the four geographical poles concerned to assist the selected projects to increase their understanding and communication skills concerning the process of raising external financing from private investors and early stage VC/corporate funds.


Investment Forums (IF) or Demo Days, , will be organized in the ACTTiVAte’s four defined geographical poles to contribute to reinforce the access of all ACTTiVAte selected projects/SMEs to additional external finance, in particular early stage venture capital funds, business angels and corporate investors.

The selected projects/SMEs will have the opportunity of real interface with potential finance providers. The IF events will include pitching, showcasing, and networking activities allowing the grant recipients to pitch and communicate their developments to an audience of finance providers.



Among the top-ranked 30 funded projects/SMEs, one in each of the ACTTiVAte targeted sectors (5 projects/SMEs in total) will be awarded with a Mobility and Exchange Program (MEP), allowing them with an additional grant of EUR 10.000 to cover costs related to MEP such as travel and accommodation costs.

The employee/s of the selected SMEs will stay during a period of 2 weeks to 1 month in a company that belongs to another region of ACTTiVAte consortium.

In order to select the 5 top-ranked beneficiaries for the MEP program, the consortium will closely look at the performance and progress of their development programs over the ACTTiVAte project.


Follow-up actions will be set up in order to facilitate successful outcome of the transnational deployment process and cross-sectoral adaptation of technologies.

The selected SMEs will be provided with a wide range of information about crucial national and international cross-sectoral activities and events organized by partners within other relevant projects.

A further support and assistance through regular contacts and online interactions with the ACTTiVAte team will be ensured to all grant recipients over the ACTTiVAte project and beyond.

In order to further assist the grant recipients in solving business development problems and enquires concerning the business support service, ACTTiVAte will provide helpdesk facilities via email and online tools.


The diagram below shows the timeline of all the aforementioned business support activities.





Participant SMEs must verify the following requirements to be eligible to receive funding:

  •   Submitted proposals will only be considered as eligible, if the proposing organisation qualifies as an SME, following the definition in the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC.

  •   Submission retained for funding must come from SMEs that are legally established in one of the ACTTiVAte countries (Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Ireland and Poland).

  •   Proposals must address the call for proposal topics described in detail in APPENDIX I: Innovation Action Lines. Proposals must be therefore focused on technology transfer among two or more of the following sectors: Aerospace, Agro-food, Health and ICT

For more detailed information on the Eligibility Criteria and the evaluation of the technical and financial capacity of the SMEs prior to receiving funding please refer to APPENDIX IV “Legal and Financial Conditions” document in the ACTTiVAte Applicant Reference Documents.



The ACTTiVAte work programme identifies four different Topics or Innovation Action Lines:

  •   Topic 1: Fostering Cross-Sectoral innovation in Agrofood (ACTTiVAte-AGF)

  •   Topic 2: Fostering Cross-Sectoral innovation in Aerospace (ACTTiVAte-ASP)

  •   Topic 3: Fostering Cross-Sectoral innovation in Health (ACTTiVAte-HEA)

  •   Topic 4: Fostering Cross-Sectoral innovation in ICT (ACTTiVAte-ICT)

Please refer to APPENDIX I “Innovation Action Lines” that can be found in ACTTiVAte

Applicant Reference Documents for a detailed description of each topic.



The definition of the specific challenges to be addressed and the RIS3 priorities that have been identified through the activities proposed in ACTTiVAte are summarized in APPENDIX II "Regional challenges" that can be found in ACTTiVAte Applicant Reference Documents.




  •   ACTTiVAte call for proposal will open on June 1st 2017

  •   The deadline for proposal submission is September 5th 2017 at 17:00 (CET)

  •   The selected proposals will be notified within 2 months after the closure of the call for proposal

  •   50 Projects are expected to start in December 2017


  •   All proposals must be submitted via the ACTTiVAte Proposal Management Platform

  •   All proposals must be submitted in English

  •   Only one proposal per SME can be selected for funding

  •   Applicants must:

    1. a)  Register to the system, completing an online administrative form and a self- assessment questionnaire.

    2. b)  After completing these forms, applicants will receive access details to the proposal management platform via email.

    3. c)  Log in to the Proposal Management Platform and complete the Project Administrative Details Form.

    4. d)  UploadproposalsinPDFformat.AProposalTemplatecanbefoundinAPPENDIX V “Proposal Template” in the ACTTiVAte Applicant Reference Documents. Please follow the instructions stated in the proposal template.

  •   Proposals applications may be saved and accessed at any time before the call closes, revised versions of the same proposal may also be submitted before the call closes. Once a proposal is submitted a feedback tab is made available in the system to review its status.

  •   In addition to the Proposal Management Platform, applicants are strongly encouraged to register to the Cluster Collaboration Tool. This additional tool will support technology transfers and enables ACTTiVAte consortium partners to support the matchmaking process between companies that have a technology request and a technology offer.

  •  For further information regarding the submission of proposals, the proposal management platform or the cluster collaboration tool please follow this link to find the contact details of the points of contact in your region.




The eligible projects will be evaluated and ranked according to the following 4 evaluation subjects:

  1. Their innovation potential to create new value chains

  2. Their technical excellence, feasibility and viability

  3. Their business potential

  4. Their regional and socioeconomic impact in the ACTTiVAte regions

The following table explains the different aspects which will be considered for each evaluation criteria.

Evaluation Criteria

1. Innovation Potential

 Cross-sectoral and cross-border innovativeness

 Innovativeness of the envisaged solution in the target sector

 Innovativeness from a value chain perspective


2. Technical Excellence

 Technology readiness levels in both origin and destination sectors

 Quality of the proposed solution

 Clarity and credibility of the methodology to be followed during the project


3. Business Potential

 Level of quality of the analysis of markets and user ́s needs

 Level of quality of the analysis of the sector and industry and credibility toovercome the potential barriers

 Capacity of the company and team to carry out the project activities


4. Expected Impacts

 Regional engagement of the targeted ACTTiVAte regions in the project

 Alignment with RIS3 of the targeted regions

 Impact in terms of socioeconomic growth



Evaluation scores will be awarded based on the criteria mentioned in the section above. Each criterion will be scored out of 25. The threshold for individual criteria will be 15. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the four individual scores, will be 60.

In case of proposals with the same score, the priority in the ranking list will be given to the eligible proposal in sector of application and/ or regions that have received the lowest number of projects.


The evaluation of proposals will be carried out by ACTTiVAte consortium partners:


  • Innovation potential to create new value chains in the agrofood, health, aerospace and ICT sectors will be evaluated by ACTTiVAte Clusters and RTDs
  • Technical excellence, feasibility and viability will be evaluated by the ACTTiVAte RTDs
  • Regional socioeconomic impact will be evaluated by ACTTiVAte Clusters
  • Business Potential will be evaluated by ACTTiVAte innovation facilitators

At the end of the evaluation procedure a public summary report of the evaluation results will be published. All applicants will receive individual feedback in the form of an evaluation form that will state whether the proposal is successful or not.





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