RobotUnion logo

RobotUnion 1st Open Call
Deadline: 03 Jul 2018   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono RobotUnion

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Start Up
 Electronics and Microelectronics
 Mobile technology
 Internet of Things (IoT)

1. Introduction

RobotUnion is the pan-European Robotics Acceleration program implemented by RobotUnion Consortium (hereinafter RobotUnion), within Horizon2020 program, under Grant Agreement with EC number 779967 dated 22/11/2017.

RobotUnion will select 20 Scaleups that will participate in the Acceleration program and could be financed with up to €223,000 equity free in cash plus acceleration services. The 20 Scaleups selected will receive €3,800 in cash equity free and services in the first phase. The 10 best of these Scaleups will enter in the product acceleration program and will receive up to €120,000 in cash equity free. Finally the 4 best Scaleups will receive up to €100,000, so in total they can receive up to €223,000 equity free in cash plus services. Details of the program and rules for granting co-financing are described below. This is an acceleration program in a funnel approach, 20 Scaleups start the journey and just 4 finish it.

The four best Scaleups will also have the possibility to be privately funded with around €1M with the help of Blumorpho, Odense Seed and Venture and Chrysalix that are part of the RobotUnion consortium.


Selected companies would be able to participate in a 12 months online Premium Acceleration Service, led by top Research and Technology Organizations from all over Europe, key world class digital ecosystem professionals and entrepreneurs, which will include:

  1. State-of-the-art technical support and access to “premier-class” technology provided by top Research and Technology Organizations like VTT, DTI, TU Delft, TECNALIA and PIAP.

  2. World class Training and high level Mentoring by a pool of tier 1 mentors from Google, Airbnb, Ikea, Yahoo, Prisa, Microsoft, among others, provided by ISDI.

  3. Internationalization services. Presence in top EU Scaleups events such as 4YFN@Mobile World Congress, Slush, Web Summit and International PR exposure powered by Mobile World Capital.

  4. Fundraising services provided by Blumorpho (private funding) and FundingBox (public funding).

  5. Engagement with world top industry leaders such as MADE representing world

    Manufacturing leaders like Danfoss, Grundfos, Vestas or LEGO among others. ARLA in Agro Food; FENIN in Healthcare and FERROVIAL in Civil Infrastructure.

RobotUnion is looking for Scaleups in the robotics sector. We will prioritize the following verticals: Agrifood, Healthcare, Inspection and maintenance and Manufacturing, but we will accept any project in the robotics arena.

First open call opens on April 17th 2018 and closes on July 3rd 2018


2. RobotUnion Open Call

This document summarizes the main characteristics of the first Open Call under the RobotUnion project, that will be open from April 17th 2018 and with deadline on:

 July 3rd, 2018 at 13:00 CET.

Please refer to the RobotUnion website for more information about the program and to the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQs) for further information. If you have any doubt you can contact our helpdesk. You can apply here.


3. Eligibility Criteria

All applicants will have to abide to all the general requirements described in Sections from 3.1 to 3.8 below in order to be considered eligible for the RobotUnion acceleration programm.

3.1. Type of beneficiaries

The Open Call welcomes applications from: SMEs participating on their own, only one SME (see Section 3.1.1).

Definition of SME

A SME will be considered as such if it complies with the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC. As a summary, the criteria which define a SME are:

  • Headcount in Annual Work Unit (AWU) less than 250;

Annual turnover less or equal to €50 million OR annual balance sheet total less or equal to €43 million.

Note that the figures of partner and linked enterprises should also be considered as stated in the SME user guide. Scaleups are included in this category if they are incorporated.

The last criterion is reviewed once the company is selected to join the program, so, individuals can apply if they establish the company once they are selected to join the acceleration program (and before the acceleration program starts)

3.2. Eligible countries

Only SMEs legally established in any of the following countries (hereafter collectively identified as the ‘Eligible Countries’) will be eligible for the RobotUnion Acceleration Programme, more information of the eligible countries here:

− The Member States of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

− The Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) linked to the Member States (Entities from Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) are eligible for funding under the same conditions as entities from the Member States to which the OCT in question is linked): Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, French Polynesia, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn Islands, Saba, Saint Barthélémy, Saint Helena, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands, Wallis and Futuna.

− The Countries Associated to Horizon 2020 (signed an agreement with the Union as identified in Article 7 of the Horizon 2020 Regulation): the latest information on which countries are associated, or in the process of association to Horizon 2020 can be found in the online manual.


− The following countries, except where this is explicitly excluded in the call text: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Democratic People’s Republic), Congo (Republic), Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Buissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea (Democratic Republic), Kosovo*, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor- Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe. (* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence).

3.3. Type of Activity

Robotics companies willing to develop novel and challenging technology and systems applicable to the following markets:

  •   Manufacturing,

  •   Health,

  •   Civil Infrastructure

  •   Agrifood

  •   Open Disruptive Innovation - the companies that don’t fit in any of the other verticals can apply to this one.

    Proposals should address one of the core technology areas highlighted in section 5 of the “Robotics 2020 Multi-Annual Roadmap” document:

  •   Systems Development

  •   Human Robot Interaction

  •   Mechatronics

  •   Perception

  •   Navigation

  •   Cognition

  •   Artificial Intelligence

3.4. English Language

English is the official language for RobotUnion open calls. The proposal must be in English in all its mandatory parts in order to be eligible. For videos, English should be used as spoken language, or at least the video must be properly subtitled in English. If the mandatory parts of the proposal are in any other language, the entire proposal will not be eligible. If only non-mandatory parts of a proposal are submitted in a language different from English, those parts will not be evaluated but the proposal is still eligible.


English is also the only official language during the whole length of the acceleration process. This means that any requested deliverables will be admitted only if submitted in English.

3.5. Multiple submissions are forbidden

Only one proposal per applicant can be submitted to RobotUnion in this open call. Applicants will be asked to confirm that ’they are not submitting any other proposal to this same Open Call in the Honour Declaration to be accepted before submitting the Application Form. If more than one proposal per applicant is identified by the RobotUnion team, only the first proposal which has been submitted in order of time, will be evaluated.

3.6. Submission system

Only proposals submitted through the Open Call management tool [] within the Call duration will be accepted. Proposals submitted by any other means, will not be evaluated.
Only the documentation included in the application form (and in the attachments) will be considered by the Evaluators. It is Applicant’s responsibility to include all the necessary information in the form. Data provided should be actual, true and complete and should allow assessment of the proposal.

3.7. Deadline

Only proposals submitted before the deadline will be accepted. After the call closure no additions or changes to received proposals will be taken into account.

3.8. Absence of conflict of interest

Applicants shall not have any actual or/and potential conflict of interest with the RobotUnion selection process and during the whole acceleration program. All cases of conflict of interest will be assessed case by case.

3.9. Other

Applicant is not under liquidation or is not an enterprise under difficulty Accordingly to the Commission Regulation No 651/2014, art. 2.18,

Applicant’s Project is based on their original works and going forward any foreseen developments are free from third party rights, or they are clearly stated

Applicant is not excluded from the possibility of obtaining EU funding under the provisions of both national and EU law, or by a decision of both national or EU authority

Applicant confirmed all statements embodied in the Declaration of honour and also the Information and Consent Sheets, included as annexes, considering the ethical issues that might arise concerning the gathering of personal data, during the application process


4. RobotUnion project types

Whilst Section 3 lists the minimum criteria that a project must abide to in order to be eligible, RobotUnion partners will aim to select the most ambitious projects that show the highest potential as global businesses.


The ideal type of project RobotUnion Consortium is looking for is disruptive and innovative, beyond the state of the art and with a degree of differentiation with its competition. The ideal target projects are looking for additional investment for scaling their business globally. Projects must be led by a balanced and cross-functional team fully dedicated to the project with experience in the target market and skills to make it happen.

All these elements are recommended, they are not mandatory. The more closely the projects match these criteria, the more likely they will be selected. What is mandatory is fulfilling all the eligibility criteria in section 3.

5. Preparation and submission of the proposals

The submission of proposals will be effected online through the FundingBox Platform []

Proposals will be submitted in a one step process via the online application which will include:

1. Project proposal: divided in 5 main sections:

  • Contact and legal info.
  • Project.
  • Excellence.
  • Impact.
  • Implementation.

2. Question for statistical pourposes: addictional multi choice questions requested by the European Commission for statistical purposes. This section will not be evaluated.

3. Honour declaration on exclusion criteria and absence of conflict of interest: accepted by the SME or by the individuals being part of the project team.

Evaluators will be instructed not to consider additional material which hasn’t been included and specifically requested in the online evaluation form. Data not included in the proposał will not be taken into account.. RobotUnion makes it best effort to keep all provided data confidential, however, for the avoidance of doubt, the applicant is solely responsible to indicate its confidential information as such.

Applicants are strongly recommended not to wait until the last minute to submit the proposal. Failure of the proposal to arrive in time for any reason, including extenuating circumstances, will result in rejection of the proposal.
Applicants are solely responsible for verification of the completeness of the form. Data not included in the form will not be taken into account during assessment regardless of the reason for not being included.

5.1. Deadline for submission of proposals

 July 3rd, 2018 at 13:00 CET.


6. Selection Process

The evaluation flow is as follows:




Here you have available a video with some tips to be successful in the application process.

6.1. Phase 1: Eligibility Check

In order to be eligible for evaluation, applications will be checked for compliance with the following:  Comply with all the ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA listed in Section 3.

Communication to participants: Specific communication will be sent to the applicants eliminated from the process after the eligibility check. An individual communication will be sent to all participants passing the eligibility check.

6.2. Phase 2: Pre-scoring

Eligible proposals will then be automatically scored by the FundingBox System according to the following criteria:

  •   Team skills.

  •   Founders dedication to the project.

  •   Traction in terms of users, profit and sales.

  •   Scalability. Growth potential and knowledge of potential market.

  •   TRL (Technology Readiness Level)

  •   Investment. Amount of investment received, founders own equity and sources of money.

  •   On round: looking for money and investment for scaling the business.

  •   Partnership, having or in advanced stage of commitment with a corporate or any equivalent strategic partner.

For each item different levels will be defined (See detail in the Application Form). Each applicant will select the option that best describes the characteristics of its project in relation to each criterion. In total you can get up to 100 points.

At least 150 of the top ranked applications will form the “Filtered List of Applicants” proposed for expertsl evaluation. Each of the RobotUnion Selection Committee member (description in section 15) has the right to sponsor up to 3 applicants into the Filtered List of Applicants, independently of their pre-scoring (subject to having passed the eligibility check), where there is a clear strategic fit with the Partner and the mentors network of RobotUnion. The partners cannot support applicants if there is any conflict of interest. The names of sponsored projects will not be disclosed, either to applicants or to external reviewers (see next phase). A maximum of 12 projects will be supported following this procedure.

Output: Filtered List of Applicants.


Communication to participants: Specific communication will be sent to the applicants eliminated from the process after the pre-scoring. An individual communication will be sent to all participants passing the pre-scoring with specifics on pre-scoring results.

6.3. Phase 3: Experts Evaluation

Proposals will be evaluated by 3 experts and confidential evaluators with wide expertise in Robotics. The experts will be selected from the ‘Experts Panel Committee’, accordingly with the specific characteristics of the project. The proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  •   Excellence.

  •   Impact.

  •   Implementation.

More specifically:
(1) EXCELLENCE will evaluate:

  •   Ambition. The applicants have to demonstrate to what extent that proposed product is beyond the State Of the Art and describe the innovative approach behind it (e.g. ground - breaking objectives, novel concepts and approaches, new products, services or business and organisational models).

  •   Innovation: applicants should provide information about the level of innovation within their market and about the degree of differentiation that this experiment will bring.

(2) IMPACT will analyse:

  •   Market opportunity: The applicants have to demonstrate a clear idea of what they want to do and whether the new/improved product has market potential, e.g. because it solves a problem for a specific target customer.

  •   Competition: The applicants have to provide information about the degree of competition for their particular product/service and if the idea is disruptive and breaks the market. i.e. the products/services to be brought to market can be clearly differentiated from the competition.

  •   Commercial Strategy and Scalability: The applicants have to demonstrate the level of scalability of the new/improved product meaning by that not address to solve a specific problem, but able to be commercialised to solve a structural problem in a specific sector/process/etc.

And in general it has to contribute to revitalise Europe's robot-making capacity.

(3). IMPLEMENTATION will consider:

  •   Team: The promoters have to demonstrate their management and leadership qualities, their ability to take a concept from ideas to market, their capacity to carry through their ideas and understand the dynamics of the market they are trying to tap into. The team should be balanced, a cross-functional team, fully dedicated to the project and with a strong background and skill base.

  •   Resources. Demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of the resources assigned in order to get the objectives/deliverables proposed. One important aspect is that applicants make clear in the proposal that what they propose can be developed using the RobotUnion partners’ technical and business solutions.

Transversal criteria such as ‘Environment and low carbon economy contribution’, ‘Equal Opportunities’ and ‘Social Impact’ will be also considered by evaluators when scoring the proposals.



Each evaluator will rank the application assigning a score from 0 to 5 for each criterion and produce an Individual Evaluation Report. The final score will be calculated as the sum of the individual assessments provided by the Evaluators after normalising in order to compensate for scoring bias.

The default threshold for individual criteria is 3. The default overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, is 10. And, the criterion Impact is given a weight of 1.5 to determine the final ranking.

At least 50 of the top ranking proposals will be included in the “List of Pre-Selected Applicants” and passed to the next phase. Ties will be solved using the following criteria, in order:

  •   Impact score,

  •   Team score,

  •   Date of submission: earlier submitted proposals go first.

Output: List of Pre-Selected Applicants.

Communication to participants: Individual online communication will be sent to all eliminated proposals with information about their final score.

6.4. Phase 4: Consensus Meeting

The Short List of Pre-Selected Applicants proposals will pass to the Consensus Meeting. The Evaluation Committee composed by the Steering Committee and at least 3 experts from the Experts panel will decide the best proposals to be invited to the Jury Day Consensus meeting will be attended by Internal Committee composed at least by the ‘Acceleration Manager’ of the CORE partners.

During the Consensus Meeting the ‘Internal Committee’ will decide the best proposals per vertical based on the external evaluation results and taking into account the selection criteria specified below:

  •   Excellence.

  •   Impact.

  •   Implementation.

Transversal criteria: ‘Environment and low carbon economy contribution’, ‘Equal Opportunities’ and ‘Social Impact’ will be considered in the final decision for instance: in case of a tie, projects with a female in the position of CEO, CFO or CTO will be prioritised to those without women or having women but not in management positions.

During the Consensus Meeting the RobotUnion Evaluation Committee, by consensus, will have the faculty to add up to 1 point (per proposal) to the average score of those proposals that show a significant strategic fit with projects goals, and where RobotUnion partners believe they can add the most value during the acceleration process. No more than a total of 10 points can be distributed in this way, among all proposals. (Some applicants may be invited to an interview during the Consensus Meeting (by default it will be a web interview) when necessary to acquire essential information to take an informed decision. The partners cannot support applicants if there is any conflict of interest. After this step the final ranking will be computed.

A list of at least 30 finalists (hereafter, the “Finalists”) will be invited to the final stage. The exact number will be decided by consensus during the meeting.

Output: List of Finalists.


Communication to participants: Individual online communication will be sent to all evaluated proposals. Additional information about next steps will be also sent to the List of Finalists which will be asked to send further information about their projects.

6.5. Phase 5: Jury Day

The Selection Committee, composed of members of the Steering Committee, the Investment Advisory Board and the Industrial Advisory Board will undertake the final evaluation of the List of Finalists during a Jury Day.

Finalists will have to travel to Spain or Poland to pitch face to face in front of the Jury.

The Selection Committee by consensus will select the “Provisional List of Beneficiaries” (up to distributing all available grants). A “Reserve List” will be built out of the excluded applications. Formal assignment of the grant is subject to the final formal verification and undersigning the Funding and Acceleration Services Agreement (SGA). Beneficiaries who refuse to undersign the SGA or will not fulfil formal requirements prior signing the SGA will be excluded, and substituted by the next in rank in the Reserve List.

The applicants who undersign the SGA will be declared Beneficiaries of the 1st RobotUnion Open Call.

Output: Provisional List of Beneficiaries, and Reserve List.

Communication to participants: Individual online communication, a formal communication letter will be sent to all proposals participating in this final step, with information on their inclusion in the Provisional List of Beneficiaries or in the Reserve List.


7. Applicants Communication

The applicants will receive the communications after each step of the evaluation process indicating if they passed the phase or not. A communication will be sent to applicants eliminated including the reasons for the exclusion.

7.1. Appeal Procedure

If, at any stage of the evaluation process, an applicant considers that a mistake has been made or that the Evaluators have acted unfairly or have failed to comply with the rules of RobotUnion Open Call, and that her/his interests have been prejudiced as a result, the following appeal procedures are available.

A complaint should be drawn up in English and submitted by email to: Any complaint made should include:

  •   Contact details (including postal and e-mail address).

  •   The subject of the complaint.

  •   Information and evidence regarding the alleged breach.

Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

Complaints should also be made within three (calendar) days of you becoming aware of the grounds for a complaint.

As a general rule, the RobotUnion Team will investigate complaints with a view to arriving at a decision to issue a formal notice or to close the case within not more than seven days from the date of reception of the complaint, provided that all required information has been submitted by the complainant.

Where this time limit is exceeded, the RobotUnion Team will inform the complainant by email.


8. Funding and Acceleration Services Agreement Setup Process

The objective of this phase is to fulfil the legal requirements between the RobotUnion consortium members and every beneficiary of the call. The SMEs included in the Provisional List of Beneficiaries will have to provide all documentation required to prove their compliance with the Eligibility Criteria described in Section 3 and with Horizon2020 rules.. More specifically, the following documentation will have to be provided:



(TRUNCATED plaese visit the public link for the full proposal)

Public link:   Only for registered users

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