INTRODUCTION – Background
The relevant basic acts that give legal basis to the Call are:
Firstly, Regulation (EU) No 377/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the Copernicus Programme, OJ L 122, 24.4.2014
2018 Copernicus Annual Work Programme and Commission implementing Decision on the modification to the Annex of Commission Implementing Decision C (2018) 2 final concerning the Copernicus Work Programme 2018.
Secondly, to cover Galileo and the EGNOS programmes; Regulation (EU) No 1285/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the implementation and exploitation of European satellite navigation systems; repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 876/2002 and Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council; in accordance with the "2019 Work programme and the financing for the implementation and exploitation of the European satellite navigation programmes".
COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION C(2019)2527 of 08/04/2019 on the financing of the European satellite navigation programmes and the adoption of the work programme for 2019
The 2014 Copernicus Regulation states the objectives of the Copernicus programme:
- "Maximising socio-economic benefits, thereby supporting the Europe 2020 strategy and its objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by promoting the use of Earth observation in applications and services;
- Fostering the development of a competitive European space and services industry and maximising opportunities for European enterprises to develop and provide innovative Earth observation systems and services; (…)
- Supporting and contributing to European policies (…)."
The Space Strategy (COM (2016) 705 final) which was adopted in October 2016 confirmed the potential of Copernicus and EGNOS/Galileo for innovative services and thus stressed the need to foster the up-take of Copernicus data and EGNOS/Galileo services by the commercial sector, in particular by SMEs and start-ups.
The Commission is convinced that stronger implication of the commercial downstream sector to deliver tailor-made applications, reach out to new users, communities and sectors and sell products in international markets will contribute to the exploitation of Copernicus’ and EGNOS/Galileo innovative potential. The downstream companies are a fundamental link between the EU space programme and their end users
The Commission developed a "Copernicus start-up Programme", to support start-ups and young companies that develop applications based on Copernicus data and services. The programme consists of four elements:
- The Copernicus Prizes, organised in 2017 and 2018 in the context of the Copernicus Masters: https://www.copernicus-masters.com/
- The Copernicus Hackathon Programme: https://hackathons.copernicus.eu/
- The Copernicus Accelerator: https://accelerator.copernicus.eu/
- The Copernicus Incubation Programme: https://copernicus-incubation.eu/
This comprehensive programme accompanies start-ups from the generation of a business idea to its full commercialisation. The Copernicus Prizes and Hackathons represent the entry gates to the Copernicus start-up Programme by supporting the generation of new business ideas. The best participants from the Copernicus Prizes and Hackathons will receive a customized business development programme through the Copernicus Accelerator, to help them reach their next business target (e.g. developing a prototype, finding investors, getting a first client…). In a final stage, the Commission will support the incubation of the most promising start-ups through its dedicated Incubation Programme.
The Copernicus Accelerator was launched in June 2016. The first Copernicus Prizes were awarded in 2017; the Copernicus Hackathons and the first call for applications for the Incubation programme was launched in January2018.
The first competition for the Copernicus Prizes was organised in the context of the Copernicus Masters, on behalf of the Commission. After its big success in 2017, the Commission decided to launch a new call with an enlarged scope compared to the first call. The 2017 call was built around the organisation of six Commission prizes (also known as “Commission challenges”), comprising all related tasks such as communication, organisation of the evaluation and selection process, setting up of the expert panel (with two external and Commission experts) and the organisation of the award ceremony which took place back-to-back to the European Space week in Tallinn in December 2017 and the Galileo Masters competition.
The 1285/2013 GNSS (Galileo) Regulation recalls that:
"… a growing number of economic sectors, in particular transport, telecommunications, agriculture and energy, increasingly use satellite navigation systems. Public authorities can also benefit from these systems in various areas such as emergency services, police, crisis management or border management. Developing the use of satellite navigation brings enormous benefits to the economy, society and the environment. Such socio- economic benefits are broken down into three main categories: direct benefits resulting from the growth of the space market, direct benefits resulting from the growth of the downstream market for GNSS-based applications and services, and indirect benefits resulting from the emergence of new applications in, or technology transfer to, other sectors, leading to new market opportunities in other sectors, productivity gains across industry and public benefits generated by a reduction in pollution or by improved levels of safety and security…"
Therefore the Commission together with European GNSS Agency (GSA) has also developed since 2007, a "Galileo start-up Programme", to support start-ups and young companies in the GNSS downstream sector. The programme consists of four elements:
- The Galileo Prizes: https://www.galileo-masters.eu/
- The Galileo Special Prizes (managed by GSA)
- The Galileo Hackathons (managed by GSA)
- The Galileo Acceleration/Incubation: https://www.galileo-masters.eu/accelerator/
This comprehensive programme aims to accompany start-ups from the generation of a business idea to its full commercialisation.
Objective(s) – Theme(s) – Priorities
To sign one Action grant agreements to partially reimburse a mono/multi-beneficiary following title IX “Prizes” of the Financial Regulation and, particularly article 206.4 that says:
“Where implementation of and action…requires prizes to be awarded to third parties by a beneficiary, that beneficiary may award such prizes provided that the eligibility and award criteria, the amount of the prizes and the payment arrangements are defined in the grant agreement between the beneficiary and the Commission, with no margin for discretion.”
The beneficiary/ies will create and co-finance a prize awarding mechanism/scheme by public or private organizations that reward the development of innovative applications developed by entrepreneurs and based on Copernicus, on the EU Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) technologies (EGNOS/GALILEO) or a combination of both technologies as building components.
From experience on other innovative technologies, the prize-winning concept is an effective tool to prompt generation of new ideas ready to spin-off and/or to go into market introduction, as well as to provide visibility and crucial seed financing to prize winners, EU funding may also play a key 'signalling' role in attracting further private financing to the innovative ventures.
This prize-awarding mechanism aims to promote the industrial innovation and the uptake of Earth Observation and GNSS technologies downstream across Europe and beyond.
The underlying drivers of this general objective are to:
The specific objectives of the Copernicus and Galileo Prizes are:
I. To support Copernicus-based start-ups in 2020 and, possibly, 2021, through the award of a 10,000 euro prize for innovative ideas and the visibility offered by the prize and award ceremony. To further support the development of the successful applications, each winner will be offered a ticket to the Copernicus Accelerator (which is entirely covered by a different contract). The schedule for the number of prizes to award is the following:
2020: 15 prizes, including 2 prizes exclusively branded as European Commission prizes (henceforth the "European Commission challenges")
2021: 30 prizes, including 2 European Commission challenges
II. To support each year 30 EGNOS/Galileo-based start-ups in 2020 and 2021, through the award of 10,000 euro prizes for innovative ideas and the visibility offered by the prize and award ceremony. To further support the development of the successful applications, EGNOS/Galileo, additional 6 Galileo Incubation awards of 43.000 euro prize will be awarded each year in 2020 and 2021.
III. To implement a specific Galileo Masters prizes challenge dedicated to three GSA topic of choice and to perform the related marketing activities and to implement other prizes requested by GSA.
IV. To foster the emergence of a vibrant Copernicus ecosystem and Galileo start-ups in Europe, gathering all relevant stakeholders (research centres, universities, small and large companies…), notably through the organisation of a prestigious award ceremony.
Date and time or
(a) Publication of the call
(b) Deadline for submitting applications
(c) Evaluation period
(d) Information to applicants
(e) Signature of grant agreement(s)
(f) Duration of the action
Maximum 36 months
(g) Duration of the Grant agreement 24 months with possibility of 12 month extension by amendment
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under this call for proposals is estimated at EUR 2.306.000. This amount is subject to the availability of the appropriations provided for in the draft budget for 2021 after the adoption of the budget for 2020 by the budgetary authority or provided for in the provisional twelfths.
Breakdown by individual tasks:
iii) 45 Copernicus Prizes: 450.000€ (13 prizes in 2020 and 28 prizes in 2021, max EU contribution per prize 10.000 euros; on top of this EU funding, the beneficiary will have to mobilise 40% co-funding from third parties as explained below and in the section 6.2, paragraph on ‘Mobilizing and co-financing of prizes’. The value of the prizes to the applicants will therefore be worth 16.667€. In addition, 2 Copernicus prizes - special EU challenges in 2020 and 2 in 2021 are foreseen with a funding rate up to 100%).
iv) Galileo Masters Prizes: 600.000€ (30 prizes per year, for 2020 and 2021, max EU contribution per prize 10.000 euros ; on top of this EU funding, the beneficiary will have to mobilise 40% co-funding from third parties as explained below and in the section 6.2, paragraph on ‘Mobilizing and co-financing of prizes’. The value of the prizes to the applicants will therefore be worth 16.667€)
v) Galileo Incubation support: 516.000€ (6 incubation supports per year, for 2020 and 2021, 43.000 euros per incubation support; on top of this EU funding, the beneficiary will have to mobilise 30% co-funding from third parties as explained below and in the section 6.2, paragraph on ‘Mobilizing and co-financing of prizes’. The value of each incubation support to the applicants will therefore be worth 61.429€)
vi) GSA special prizes: 135.000€ (Galileo Masters, 3 editions in 2019, 2020 and 2021) and other GSA ad hoc prizes up to 100.000€ with a funding rate up to 100%.
Maximum EU financing rate of eligible costs:
-70% for management costs with an overall total ceiling of €400.000
-60% for Copernicus and Galileo prize costs with a ceiling of €10 000 per prize (with the exception of the 2 European Commission challenges every year, which can be financed up to 100% by the EU, with a ceiling of €10 000 per prize).
-70% for Galileo incubation support costs with a ceiling of €43 000 per incubation;
- 100% for the GSA special and ad hoc prizes and communication.
For costs related to prizes and incubation support the financing rate shall apply only at the level of the entity awarding such prize or providing such support.
The applicant shall demonstrate its ability to finance at least the remaining of eligible costs.
The indicative schedule for the Copernicus prizes is the following:
•2020: 15 prizes, including 2 European Commission challenges.
•2021: 30 prizes, including 2 European Commission challenges.
Slightly different allocation per single year may be accepted.
Indicatively, 30 Galileo prizes and 6 Galileo ideas incubated should be co-funded per year; slightly different allocation per single year may be accepted for the sake of flexibility, if requested and under agreement with the Commission with no margin for the discretion of the beneficiary. Three GSA special prizes on topics of choice per year will be awarded and additional ad hoc prizes; the topics of such special and ad hoc prizes will be announced every year by GSA, according to its assessment of market and technology trends, in order to maximise impact on emerging of innovation based on EGNSS.
The budget may also be transferred between the above activities (iii), (iv) and (v), if required and under agreement with the Commission, to ensure maximum use of the available budget (e.g. if not enough Galileo ideas are found to be incubated/accelerated).
For the years for which the budget has not been adopted, this amount is subject to the availability of the appropriations provided for in the draft budget for 2021 after the adoption of the budget for 2020 by the budgetary authority or provided for in the provisional twelfths.
The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.
The grant agreement will be signed for two budgetary years, for the third and last year (2021) the grant agreement will be subject to an extension by amendment, as soon as 2021’s budget will be approved.
(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE
Proposals requesting an EU contribution higher than € 2.306 000 or an EU co-financing rate higher than what indicated in this document will not be eligible.
The Commission reserves the right to award a grant of less than the amount requested by the applicant. In such a case, applicants will be asked either to increase their co-financing, propose other co-financing means or to decrease the total costs without altering the substance of the proposal. Grants will not be awarded for more than the amount requested.
Publication of the call (on the Commission Internet site and/or in the Official Journal) does not guarantee the availability of funds for the above action.
In order to be admissible, applications must be:
Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to rejection of the application.
Proposals may be submitted by any of the following applicants:
Natural persons are not eligible except self-employed persons or equivalent (i.e. sole traders) where the company does not possess legal personality separate from that of the natural person.
Country of establishment
Only applications from legal entities established in the following countries are eligible:
Proposals from applicants in candidate or associated countries may be selected provided that, on the date of award, agreements have entered into force setting out the arrangements for the participation of those countries in the programme.
For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.17.3.1 of the grant agreement
For the purpose of declaring eligible costs as specified under section 11.3, the entities composing the applicant shall be treated as affiliated entities in accordance with Article 187 of the Financial Regulation.
In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested:
The following types of activities are eligible under this call for proposals:
Applications for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this call for proposals will not be accepted.
The authorising officer shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:
If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.4), it must indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to correct the conduct and prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines or of any taxes or social security contributions. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 7.1.
Rejection from the call for proposals
The authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who:
The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.
Administrative sanctions (exclusion) may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.
Applicants and affiliated entities must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141 FR, by filling in the relevant form to find through the ‘Guide for applicants’(form B4)
This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways please see ‘Guide for applicants’ for specific instructions):
Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application: