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EIC Horizon Prize for 'Blockchains for Social Good' - Blockchain-EICPrize-2019
Deadline: 02 Apr 2019   - 137 days

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 Digital Economy
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 IT Applications
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 Social and Welfare
 Blockchain

1. THEME: 'BLOCKCHAINS FOR SOCIAL GOOD

1.1 Objectives pursued

The objective of the prize is to develop scalable, efficient and high-impact decentralized solutions to social innovation challenges leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology (DLTs), such as the one used in blockchains.

DLT in its public, open and permissionless forms is widely considered as a ground-breaking digital technology supporting decentralized methods for consensus reaching as well as sharing, storing and securing transactions and other data with fewer to no central intermediaries.

In the wake of the widespread public attention for Bitcoin, several financial applications based on DLTs are already under development. However, the potential of DLTs to generate positive social change by decentralising and disintermediating processes related to local or global sustainability challenges is still largely untapped.

Application areas of social innovations in which decentralized solutions based on DLTs have shown clear benefits over conventional centralised platform solutions:

  1. a)  demonstrating the origin of raw materials or products and supporting fair trade and the fair monetization of labour;

  2. b)  allowing for a greater visibility of public spending and a greater transparency of administrative and production processes;

  3. c)  participation in democratic decision-making by enabling accountability, rewarding of participation and/or anonymity;

  4. d)  enabling the development of decentralized social networks or clouds, or of decentralized platforms for the collaborative economy;

  5. e)  managing property, land registry or other public records;

  6. f)  contributing to financial inclusion;

  7. g)  any other area not listed above.

1.2 Expected results

Applicants are expected to put in place software platforms or services, accessible online on the web or through mobile apps, in the form which is most convenient for the intended purpose, in line with the objectives stated above.

As a whole, it is expected that launching a prize for the development of such novel solutions for decentralizing and disintermediating processes will:

  •   Pioneer decentralized models addressing global and/or local sustainability challenges;

  •   Generate positive social change;

  •   Demonstrate the viability of solutions enabling a more even distribution and sharing of information and resources which respects privacy while providing levels of transparency;

  •   Stimulate the emerging community of developers and practitioners of "blockchains for social good" applications.

 

 

2. PRIZE AMOUNT(S) 1:
€5 million, to be allocated in five awards of €1 million each.

 

 

3. DEADLINES & ADMISSIBILITY

Opening of the submission:
16 May 2018

Deadline for registration of interest (non compulsory):
2 April 2019

Closing date for submission:
3 September 2019 at 17:00:00 CET2

 

Joint applications by a group of participants are admitted. In this case, the participants must appoint a 'lead participant' to represent them towards the Commission. The participants will be jointly responsible and must all fulfil and respect the conditions set out in these Rules of Contest.

Applications must be submitted by the (lead) participant via the Participant Portal Submission Service.

Applications must be readable, accessible and printable.

Applications must include the links to the website or access details of the mobile app of the proposed solution. Incomplete applications may be considered inadmissible if essential elements are missing (see General Annex B to the Main Work Programme).

The page-limit for your prize application (Part B) is: 30 pages.

Participants are invited to declare their intention to participate by registering their interest via the ec-bc4good- prize@ec.europa.eu mailbox, by the above-mentioned deadline, indicating the title of their application and a short abstract (max. 200 words). Failing to declare this intention is, however, not a condition for exclusion.

Participants must clearly indicate in their application which of the areas indicated in Section 1 is their main focus.
Sample application forms will be available on the Participant Portal Reference documents page.

 

 

4. ELIGIBILITY
4.1 Eligibility criteria

The contest is open to all legal entites (i.e. natural or legal persons, including international organisations) or groups of legal entities.

The participants are required to release their source codes under an Open Source Licence.
Please note however that special rules may apply for entities from certain countries (see General Annex C to the Main Work Programme).
Please also be aware that participants that have already received an EU or Euratom prize cannot receive a second prize for the same activities.

4.2 Exclusion criteria

Participants will be excluded if they (or one of them):

  •   are subject to an administrative sanction (i.e. exclusion)4

  •   are in one of the following situations5:

    •   bankrupt, being wound up, having their affairs administered by the courts, entered into an arrangement with creditors, suspended business activities or subject to any other similar proceedings or procedures under national law (including persons with unlimited liability for the participant's debts)

    •   declared in breach of social security or tax obligations by a final judgment or decision (including persons with unlimited liability for the participant's debts)

    •   found guilty of grave professional misconduct6 by a final judgment or decision (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control)

    •   convicted of fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering, terrorism-related crimes (including terrorism financing), child labour or human trafficking (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control)

    •   shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations under a procurement contract, grant agreement or grant decision financed by the EU or Euratom budget (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control)

    •   found guilty of irregularities within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Regulation No 2988/95 (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control)

  •  have misrepresented information required for participating in the contest or fail to submit such information.

    •  were involved in the preparation of the prize documents and this entails a distortion of competition.

       

 

 

5. AWARD CRITERIA
The prize will be awarded to the entry that best addresses the following cumulative criteria.:

  1. Positive social impact: both potential and already achieved by the implementation of the solution (which is expected at least at a TRL77) at the closing of the submission. This can be demonstrated and quantified in different manners, depending on the specific topic addressed; one of such measures is the size of the community of users actively engaged by the actual implementation.

  2. Decentralisation and governance: improvements in transparency and accountability (while respecting privacy and/or anonymity) in comparison to existing centralised solutions, based on multidisciplinary considerations spanning technological (i.e. computing, programming, etc.), social (i.e. sociology, psychology, art, etc.) and economic (i.e. innovation, new economic models, etc.) sciences.

  3. Usability and inclusiveness; i.e. whether the proposed solution is easy to use and affordable and can engage the largest part of EU citizens, irrespective of their gender, background, financial capabilities or computer skills. This will include an assessment of both the user interfaces and the underlying principles.

  4. Viability at large scale: cost-efficiency (including detailed considerations and metrics on energy consumption and environmental impact), scalability, security, and sustainability models.

  5. European added value: clear added value of the demonstrated implementation for European citizens, in terms of novelty, effectiveness in comparison to existing centralised solutions, and other societal, economic or environmental aspects.

 

 

6. DOCUMENTS
The mandatory supporting documents are set out in the application form.

Participants may be asked at a later stage for further documents (for legal entity validation, bank account validation, ethics review, declaration of honour on exclusion grounds, etc).

 

 

7. PROCEDURE
In each application area, if there are more than 5 applications, there will be a pre-selection phase to select the

best 5 applications to pass to jury review. Otherwise, all applications will pass directly to jury review.

The pre-selection panel and jury usually have a different composition, but jury members may participate in the pre-selection panel. Both the pre-selection panel and the jury will have a multidisciplinary composition, including technological, social and economic competences.

The selection process is planned to take place between September 2019 and February 2020.

The pre-selection panel/jury will evaluate each application against the 5 award criteria and score them as follows (half marks are possible, decimals are not):

Criterion

1. Positive social impact
Threshold 3
Maximum points 6

2. Decentralisation and governance
Threshold 4
Maximum points 6

3. Usability and inclusiveness
Threshold 3
Maximum points 6

4. Viability at large scale
Threshold 3
Maximum points 6

5. European added value
Threshold 4
Maximum points 6

Overall Score
Threshold 18 (overall threshold)
Maximum points 30

 

For applications with the same overall score, the pre-selection panel/jury will determine a priority order according to the following approach: the score for the criterion No 1 will be given a weight of 5, the score for criterion No 2 will be given a weight of 4, the score for criterion No 3 will be given a weight of 3, and the score for criterion No 4 will be given a weight of 2.

The best 5 applications in each application area will be invited as finalists to demonstrate and discuss their solution during a hearing with the jury, which will take place either remotely or in Brussels.

On the basis of the evaluation by the jury, the Commission will decide on the award of the prizes. The prizes will be awarded to the best 5 solutions which address different application areas (each prize in a different area). If two or more applications tie for the first rank in a given category, the prize will be equally divided and awarded to all.
All participants will be informed by the end of March 2020 on the outcome of their application.

 

 

8. OTHER CONDITIONS
8.1 Payment arrangements

The prize money (EUR 1,000,000) will be paid to each of the (lead) participants in one instalment after the award ceremony by bank transfer, provided all the requested documents have been submitted.

8.2 Publicity — Promoting the prize — Visibility of EU funding

8.2.1 Publicity by the winner(s)

Both finalist(s) and the winner(s) must promote the prize and its results, by providing targeted information to multiple audiences (including the media and the public) in a strategic and effective manner.

Unless the Commission requests or agrees otherwise or unless it is impossible, any communication activity related to the action (including in electronic form, via social media, etc.) must:

  1. (a)  display the EU emblem and the specific Prize logo, and

  2. (b)  include the following text:

    “This action/activity/person was finalist for/winner of the Blockchains for Social Good Prize from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme”.

The finalists should be available to demonstrate and discuss their applications during a public event expected to take place in the last quarter of 2019 in Brussels.

When displayed together with another logo, the EU emblem must have appropriate prominence.

For the purposes of their obligations, the finalist(s) and winner(s) may use the EU emblem and the specific Prize logo without first obtaining approval from the Commission.

This does not, however, give it the right to exclusive use.

Moreover, they may not appropriate the EU emblem or any similar trademark or logo, either by registration or by any other means.

8.2.2 Publicity by the Commission

The Commission may use, for its communication and publicising activities, information relating to the action, documents (notably summaries for publication) and any other material (such as pictures or audio-visual material) that it receives from the participants (including in electronic form).

The Commission will publish the name of the finalist(s) and the winner(s), their origin, the amount of the prize and its nature and purpose, unless they have requested and justified the waiver of this publication because disclosure risks threatening their security and safety or harming their commercial interest.

Photos and videos taken by the Commission either in preparation of the award ceremony or during the award ceremony or during any other related event organised by the Commission are the sole property of the Commission.

8.3 Dissemination and exploitation of results

The winner(s) must comply with the obligations set out in Title III of the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation Regulation No 1290/20138

For more information and best practice, see Articles 23a-31 of the H2020 AGA — Annotated grant agreement.]

8.4 Processing of personal data
8.4.1 Processing of personal data by the Commission

Any personal data will be processed by the Commission under Regulation No 45/20019 and in accordance with the Participant Portal privacy notice(s).

All finalist(s) and winner(s) consent that the Commission publishes the following information:  name

  •   Member State of origin (address or NUTS 2 region)

  •   their activities in relation to the award of the prize (via the summary for publication they provided)

  •   prize amount

in whatever form and medium.

8.4.2. Processing of personal data by the participants

The participants must process personal data in compliance with applicable EU and national law on data protection (including authorisations or notification requirements, if any).

8.5 Ethics

The activities must be carried out in compliance with:

  1. (a)  ethical principles (including the highest standards of research integrity) and

  2. (b)  applicable international, EU and national law.

No prize will be awarded for activities carried out outside the EU, if they are prohibited in all Member States. The participants must ensure that the activities have an exclusive focus on civil applications.
The participants must ensure that the activities do not:

  1. (a)  aim at human cloning for reproductive purposes

  2. (b)  intend to modify the genetic heritage of human beings which could make such changes heritable (with the exception of research relating to cancer treatment of the gonads) or

  3. (c)  intend to create human embryos solely for the purpose of research or for the purpose of stem cell procurement, including by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Research activities involving human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are moreover subject to the conditions set out in the Statement of the Commission related to research activities involving human embryonic stem cells.

The participants must respect the highest standards of research integrity — as set out, for instance, in the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity10.

For more information and best practice, see the Participant Portal Online Manual, the Guidance — How to complete your ethics self assessment and the Guidance note — Research focusing exclusively on civil applications.

8.6 Security

The activities must be carried out in compliance with Commission Decision 2015/444, i.e. security-sensitive information must be EU-classified, if its unauthorised disclosure could adversely impact the interests of the EU or of one (or more) of its Member States. Applications that are too security-sensitive cannot be awarded a prize.

For more information and best practice, see the Guidance — Guidelines for the classification of information in research projects, the Guidance — Guidelines for the handling of classified information in EU research projects, the Guidance note — Potential misuse of research results and the Guidance note — Research involving dual use items.

8.7 Conflict of interests

The participants must take all measures to prevent any situation where the impartial and objective award of the prize is compromised for reasons involving economic interest, political or national affinity, family or emotional ties or any other shared interest (‘conflict of interests’).

They must inform the Commission without delay of any situation constituting or likely to lead to a conflict of interests and immediately take all the necessary steps to rectify this situation.

 

European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity of ALLEA (All European Academies) and ESF (European Science Foundation) of March

The Commission may verify that the measures taken are appropriate and may require additional measures to be taken by a specified deadline.

8.8 Liability for damages

The Commission cannot be held liable for any damage caused to the participants or to third parties as a consequence of the prize, including for gross negligence.

The Commission cannot be held liable for any damage caused by any of the participants in the context of the prize.

8.9 Checks, audits and investigations

The Commission, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the European Court of Auditors may carry out checks, audits and investigations in relation to the prize.

8.10 Withdrawal of the prize — Recovery of undue amounts

The Commission may withdraw the prize after its award and recover all payments made, if it finds out that:

  1. (a)  false information, fraud or corruption was used to obtain it

  2. (b)  a winner was not eligible or should have been excluded

  3. (c)  a winner is in serious breach of its obligations under these Rules of Contest.

8.11 Administrative sanctions

If a participant has committed irregularities or fraud or has made false declarations, the Commission may also:

  1. (a)  exclude the participant from all future contracts, grants and contests financed from the EU or Euratom budget for a maximum of five years (or 10 years in case of repetition) and/or

  2. (b)  impose a financial penalty between 2% and 10% of the value of the prize (or between 4% and 20% in case of repetition).

8.12 Cancellation of the contest

The Commission may cancel the contest or decide not to award the prize(s) — without any obligation to compensate participants —, if:

  1. (a)  no applications are received

  2. (b)  the jury does not find any winners

  3. (c)  the winners are not eligible or must be excluded

    or

  4. (d) the objective of the contest has already been achieved.

8.13 Complaints

Complaints against decisions negatively affecting the rights of a participant or winner can be brought before the General Court — or, on appeal, the Court of Justice of the European Union — under Article 263 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).

 

 

9. CONTACT
For more information, please see https://ec.europa.eu/research/eic/index.cfm?pg=prizes_blockchains . In case of questions, please contact ec-bc4good-prize@ec.europa.eu



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