What is the SmartX Project
SmartX – European Smart Textiles Accelerator, is a 3-year programme with a budget of nearly € 5 million funded by the European Commission under the HORIZON 2020 Programme. The SmartX consortium consists of 13 European partners: European Textile Technology Platform (coordinator), Centexbel (Belgium), CITC (France), Citeve (Portugal), DITF (Germany) , DSP Valley (Belgium), Euramaterials (France), IFM (France), Po.In.Tex (Italy), Smart Textiles (Sweden), Sourcebook (Germany), Steinbeis (Germany) and Texfor (Spain). More information about the project at www.smartx-europe.eu
Who can benefit from SmartX Acceleration Funding and Coaching
During the project a total amount of 2.4 million euros will be available to directly fund innovation projects of SMEs (including start-ups)1 active in the smart textiles manufacturing value chain in Europe. The support consists of a maximum direct financial contribution (grant) of up to 60,000 € per SME and up to 200 hours free of charge coaching during the application, project implementation and post-project exploitation stages, provided by internal staff or externally contracted experts linked to any of the 13 SmartX consortium partners.
Applicant SME’s are expected to implement their project together with other SME partners, specialised technology or service providers or potential customers and preferably with partners from other EU or associated countries.
Innovation projects should tackle any of the following emerging end markets for smart textiles in Europe: health and well-being, protection and sports or industrial applications including transport, architecture or interior.
SmartX will specifically support projects with high potential to develop the manufacturing value chain for smart textiles in Europe to drive high value-added smart textile products and related services faster to market.
Other criteria used by the SmartX consortium and the Selection Committee to determine suitability of a project to be funded by SmartX
➢ The project clearly addresses smart textiles, defined as materials, components, products or services using a combination of textile fibres, yarns or fabrics with (micro)electronic components such as conductive wires, microsystems, sensors, actuators, energy capture or storage devices, heat, light or sound-emitting devices etc. to realise a smart function that adds value to the end user of the enables product or service.
1 See details at https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/sme-definition_en 1
➢ The technological maturity of the project at the time of application is at technology readiness level (TRL) 6-8
➢ The project, if successfully implemented can have a strong positive impact on manufacturing of the developed/enabled materials, components or products in Europe and/or closes an important gap in the current European smart textiles value chain
➢ The project develops materials, components, products or services clearly targeted at one or several of the following end markets (1) protection and sports, (2) health and well-being or (3) industrial applications in the manufacturing, transport, logistics, energy, agriculture, building or interior markets
How to apply for SmartX Acceleration Support?
The direct funding to SMEs will be allocated through an open call procedure. 3 open calls for applications are foreseen between late 2019 and end of 2020. The calls will be announced on the project webpage and the Commission’s dedicated webpage for calls for financial support to third parties. The full call text details will be published on the project's webpage www.smartx-europe.eu. The first call for applications is expected to be launched in November 2019 and will remain open for 3 months.
Approximately two months before the opening of a call for applications, SmartX will open a call for expression of interest. Through completion of a simple on-line form available on the SmartX website, SMEs can propose a brief description of their project idea. Each SME submitting an expression of interest will be promptly contacted by a SmartX partner for a first assessment of principle eligibility of their project idea and, in the positive case, will be assigned an application coach (SmartX partner) to support the SME free of charge during the application preparation and formal submission process.
Eligibility criteria and maximum funding levels
The following eligibility criteria must be met for a project to be included in the formal evaluation process:
➢ The Open Call is open to SMEs (fulfilling the EU SME definition22) legally based in EU member states3 or H2020 associated countries (Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia and Armenia).
➢ Beyond the minimum requirement to have a SME as project leader, this SME is encouraged to work with another SME preferably in another EU country, but can also work with a larger enterprise, research centre, university, end user in the spirit of establishing a longer term technology or business development partnership beyond the funding project duration. If needed, SMEs can also work with companies outside the EU member states or H2020 associated countries. It is however important to note that support (funding and coaching) can only be offered to SMEs in EU and H2020 associated countries. The SME must be the project leader and remain responsible for driving the project and reporting on progress/results.
➢ Applicant SME’s must have been an operational entity for at least 12 months (from date of legal establishment) and have a book value (all assets minus all liabilities) of at least 2 times the amount of funding requested.
➢ SME’s has possibility to build and to participate with a partnership creating cross-border and sectorial consortia. This might reflect a positive regard in the evaluation criteria 3.1.
➢ For project consortia with more than two participating SMEs, each SME partner can receive direct financial support of up to 60,000 € if the project application convincingly shows that such multiple SME support is warranted. For example, a consortium of 2 SME’s could receive up to 120,000 € of funding, but a consortium of 3 or more SME’s cannot receive funding of more than 150,000 € as this is the maximum amount allowed per project.
➢ SME’s can apply several times during the 3 open calls of SmartX and can be part of several consortia, however the total amount of cumulative funding received by one single SME cannot exceed 60,000 €.
Admissibility criteria for proposals
Before applying formally to the calls, every SME must first fill in an Expression of Interest form (available at www.smartx-europe.eu/expression-of-interest-0/) to be admitted to the application coaching process. The expression of interest will be open at least 1 month before opening of the calls and will close 1 month before calls closure.
The application process involves the submission of (the compulsory documents are in bold):
• Application form (compulsory for admissibility): 10 pages max., max. 5 pages describing the innovation, business model, target market and motivation of the partnership to bring the innovation to market, max. 3 pages describing the partnerships technological, financial and human resource capacities and providing information about the requested financing amount and its intended us, max. 2 pages describing the European dimension of the project and the motivation and capacities of the partnership of exploiting the innovation at European/international level
• 5 slide pitch deck (compulsory for admissibility) : 1st slide to introduce the project title and applicant organisation(s), 2nd slide to describe the innovative solution, the problem(s) it solves and its superiority over competing solutions 3rd slide to describe the business model, market potential and exploitation strategy, 4th slide to describe the technical & operational excellence and the intended use of the requested funding , 5th slide for International dimension and European Smart Textiles Acceleration potential.
• A max 2 min video presenting the main promoter(s) of the project and their motivation to successfully develop and market the innovation (optional)
• Declaration of honour (compulsory for admissibility) – one signed form per applicant SME
• Declaration of conflict of interest with any organisation or individual involved in the project selection process (compulsory for admissibility)
Project applications must be written in English. Submissions done in any other languages will not be evaluated. Applications must include all mandatory parts described in the Guide for Applicants and must be submitted electronically via the SmartX call platform before the formal closure of the open call.
We recommend applicants to submit their expressions of interest and project applications well ahead of the deadlines. Expressions of interest must be submitted at least 4 weeks ahead of the project application deadline to allow sufficient time for project development and application writing supported by the SmartX application coach. The SmartX consortium declines any responsibility for technical issues experienced during application submission, but will venture to promptly resolve any problems of which it becomes aware.
Evaluation and Selection Process
The application will allow project promoters to thoroughly explain their project and demonstrate how they intend to implement it, to reach their target markets and to successfully compete with their innovative solutions. As such, the whole selection process will endeavour to assess the excellence of the proposed idea and implementation, the maturity and management capacity of the team to drive the project to the market, and the potential of the proposed solution to scale-up in the international market in Europe and beyond.
After the eligibility and admissibility check carried out by the application coach, supported in cases of doubt by the SmartX Eligibility Committee composed of Textile ETP, DSP Valley and Centexbel, the formal evaluation process will be carried out by 12 internationally recognized project consortium- independent experts from the SmartX Selection Committee (see their details here – link to SmartX website).
The Open Call evaluation process will unfold as follows:
1)The full application documents of each project will be remotely reviewed by at least 2 Selection Committee members.
2) All 12 Selection Committee members will come together for a 1-day Selection Committee meeting, chaired by Textile ETP, during which they will listen to the presentation of each project, provided by the applicant or the project’s application coach using the 5-slide pitch deck. After each presentation, the SC will have a short clarifying discussion, starting with comments of the 2 SC members having reviewed the full application. Then all 12 members of the Selection Committee will individually score each application according to the evaluation criteria and scoring system described below.
3) After collection of all scores, the Selection Management Committee, composed of Textile ETP, IFM and DSP Valley, will compile all scoring and establish a ranking list from highest to lowest scored proposal. In function of the previously agreed minimum threshold and the available funding for the call, the highest ranked proposals will be selected for funding.
4) After completed selection process, the selected applicants will be contacted directly within a few days. Selection results will be announced no later than 2 months after closing of the open call. Within 4 weeks after announcement of the selection results, the project contracts are expected to be signed and information about the successful applicants will be published on the SmartX website and social media.
Criteria Points Weight
Business innovation 0/1/2/3/4/5* max 25 potential
1.1 Compelling solution addressing a clear market need
1.2 Competitive advantage over existing solutions
1.3 Quality of the business model, scalability and growth potential
1.4 Quality of customer/user relationship and market research
1.5 Motivation of the partnership
Operational excellence 0/1/2/3/4/5* max 15
2.1 Technology and application readiness (incl. IP strength)
2.2 Soundness of the project plan and appropriateness of the budget
2.3 Operational capacity of the partnership and team(s)
European Smart 0/1/2/3/4/5* max 10 Textiles Market
3.1 European dimension of the partnership
3.2 Impact on critical gaps in the European smart textiles value chain
*0=none, 1=poor max 50 TOTAL 2=weak, 3=fair, 4=good,5=excellent
5) Non-selected projects will be promptly contacted and will receive information about the total evaluation score and brief comments about the main shortcoming(s) of their applications.
To what extent do you judge that:
1.1: the innovation is clearly described, will, when fully developed, represents a compelling solution and will meet a significant demand from the market?
1.2: the solution is significantly better (including aspects of function, cost and user-friendliness) than existing ones available on the market today?
1.3: the business model is clear, potentially profitable and can likely be successfully scaled internationally and/or in adjacent end markets?
1.4: the proposed innovation is based on a sound understanding of the value-chain and the needs and value drivers in the targeted end market?
1.5: the project partnership shows a convincing motivation and the individuals involved have the right incentives to implement it?
2.1: the proposed innovation is technologically well described and can be implemented by the partnership based on their technical capacities and ownership or safe access to intellectual property?
2.2: the development steps and milestones, as well as the expense/investment plan (within the project duration) that should lead to the expected outcome are fully described, accurate and realistic incl. contingencies in case of unexpected risks/difficulties?
2.3: the project partnership and team(s) involved will be able to dedicate sufficient time, energy and other resources to carry the project to its successful end?
3.1: the partnership demonstrates a European dimension in terms of access to best available technology and willingness/capacity to market the resulting innovation at European/international level?
3.2: the innovation targeted will fill current gaps in the smart textiles value chain in Europe and can strengthen the European manufacturing capacity for smart textiles materials/components/products?
SME Application – step by step
1. Interested SMEs first need to register on the SmartX website - community (www.smartxeurope.eu). In this step, SME’s provide basic information about the company, its activities and contact details. After completed registration, the SME receives a login and password to connect to the SmartX collaboration platform for further application steps.
2. Registered SMEs with a project idea for which they would like to explore SmartX support possibilities need to fill an on-line Expression of Interest form, providing some basic details about their project idea. Promptly after submission, a member of the SmartX team will contact the SME to assess the principle eligibility of the project idea and to assign a SmartX coach to guide the SME through the application process.
3. With the help of the SmartX application coach, the SME will develop the project concept in more detail, assess the need for partners or external technology/service providers needed to realise the project, establish a project implementation and financing plan and finally complete the application documents and submit the application on-line on the SmartX project submission facility before the end of application deadline.
After signature of their contract, supported project holders will have to commit themselves to some key actions and attitudes. These include:
- Rapid and continuous engagement with the assigned process coach;
- Participation in the project induction workshop;
- Delivery of public promotion material to announce the project on the SmartX platform;
- Establishment of a successful milestone for Month 3, together with the process coach as basis to trigger the 2nd advance payment;
- Prompt and transparent communication with the process coach in cases of unexpected difficulties or delays in the project implementation and available to rapidly find contingency solutions;
- Participation in at least 1 value-chain cross-fertilisation or project results dissemination workshop in the mid-to-late stages of the project;
- Establishment of the final project report with the process coach as a basis to release the final project payment.
M 1 Initial pre-financing payment of 10,000 € (or 30% of the total funding amount for participants requesting less than 30,000 € of funding) within 30 days after contract signature.
M 3 Second payment 50% of remaining funding amount, after successful reach of a pre-defined 3- month milestone. Within 30 days after 1st milestone report submission by the project coach.
M 12 Final payment of remaining funding amount, after successful completion of the project and submission of the final project report approved by the process coach. The final payment will be made with 45 days from final project report submission.
Example for a 60,000 € grant:
M1 10,000 €, M3 25,000 €, M12 25,000 €
All SmartX consortium members (see here), Selection External Committee members (see here) and web agency staff members (see here) have signed non-disclosure agreements (see here). No other business nor individual will be granted access to your project data.
Data and information provided in the Expression of Interest will be available to all SmartX consortium partners to make sure the most relevant coaching service is provided to help you deliver your formal Application.
Full access to the data and information provided in the Application will be granted to Textile ETP, and to the application coach. They may also be accessible to Centexbel and DSP Valley, upon request by the application coach in case of doubt of the project’s technology readiness level. They can be accessible to any Selection Committee member.
You may choose to give a restricted access to parts of your Application to individual SmartX project partners, except the project coordinator Textile ETP, or to individual Selection Committee members, by completing the “Restricted Information” section in the application form. In such cases, the full 10- page application form will not be disclosed to the parties for which access has been restricted. Access to the 5-slide pitch deck and the 2-min video cannot be restricted.
SmartX partners are committed to protect and respect applicants' privacy. The personal data collected in the context of the present Open Call will be processed in accordance with The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679. Applicants files will be retained in SmartX archives until the end of the project. It is possible to exercise your access, rectify, cancel or opposition rights by contacting SmartX data controller by sending an email to email@example.com
An applicant that receives information about non-eligibility of the submitted application may submit a request for redress if he/she considers that there has been a shortcoming in the way the eligibility criteria have been evaluated. For this purpose, the applicant needs to complete the redress form and submit it within 7 days by email, replying to the message informing about non-eligibility. The redress request will be evaluated by 2 members of the SmartX consortium, other than the SmartX Coordinator. Based on this second eligibility check the applicant will be promptly informed about the outcome, which in the affirmative case will lead to the inclusion of the application into the ongoing formal evaluation process carried out by the Selection Committee.
An applicant that disagrees with the qualitative evaluation of the project proposal by the Selection Committee can send a request for re-evaluation within 3 working days to the SmartX coordinator. This request must provide clear evidence of a shortcoming of the assessment of the evaluation criteria that led to the non-funding decision of the application. Based on the presented evidence, which cannot be based on new information that was not included in the original application, a final evaluation result will be determined that must be considered as definitive.