FAQs

What are the open call dates?

  • The 1st call will open on March 17th, 2020 and will close on June 9th, 2020 at 5 pm – Brussels time.
  • The 2nd call will open in September 2020 and close in December 2020.
  • A 3rd and final call will open in March 2021 and will close in June 2021

How long will the call be open?

The 1st call is will be open for 12 weeks and thus will close on June 09, 2020. Submission of proposals is only possible in the time that the call is open.

Where is the link for registration ?

Please go at DigiFed Explore / Register and upload : here

How to submit a project?

All the open call documents are available online on the website once the open call is launched (see open calls). Applicants are strongly encouraged and should make contact with a DigiFed partner in order to get more information on DigiFed offer, both technical and services offer, through DigiFed members and regional DIHs with regards to:

  • Information about DigiFed offer, how to create an eligible proposal prior to submission, to get advice and recommendation provided through webinars (next webinars: 10/03/2020, 17/03/2020, 24/03/2020), and video available online at https://digifed.org/explore/webinars/), bootcamps organized by the DigiFed regional DiHs (Minalogic in Grenoble, Ikerlan in Bilbao, ULJ in Ljubljana, Digital Catapult in London and BME in Budapest). More details on DigiFed website.
  • Online bootcamps are set-up, more information and registration at Online Bootcamps.
  • DigiFed partners support applicants and can serve as the point of contact for the applicants during the creation of the proposal until the closure of the call.
  • DigFed can also be contacted through its helpdesk info@digifed.org that will ensure that the applicant is put in relation with the right partner and gets answers to its demand.

Where can I submit my proposal?

For DigiFed, proposals are submitted through our dedicated submission portal (here).

A proposal includes two documents: a pdf file describing the proposal and a recorded pitch for the business description (click here to see the file format requirements).

I discovered an error in my proposal – can I submit it again?

Yes. If you discover an error in your proposal you can at any time – provided the call deadline has not expired – submit a new version of your proposal in our portal. Only the last version received before the call deadline will be considered in the evaluation.

To whom should the innovative company turn with a project idea?

The innovative companies (applicant) should contact a DigiFed partner, either on a geographical basis or according to the specific expertise. Be aware that DigiFed is implemented in regional DIH (https://digifed.org/home/team/) where you can find specific information and where bootcamps are organized.

Online Bootcamps program and registration information are OnLine Bootcamps.

You can find information about the DigiFed offer (both technical and services), contact point to the DigiFed associated DIHs on the project website.

DigiFed regional DIHs are represented by Minalogic in Grenoble – France (MinaSmart, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region), Digital Catapult in London – the UK, Ikerlan in Bilbao – Spain (The basque country), University of Ljubljana in Ljubljana – Slovenia and BME in Budapest – Hungary.

You are targeting European companies! What does this mean exactly?

Legal entities established in the following countries are eligible to receive funding through this Open Call:

  • Member States (MS) of the European Union (EU), including their overseas departments
  • The EU Associated Countries
  • UK companies remain eligible for grants and procurement procedures as if the UK was a member state for the entirety of the Horizon 2020 framework programme and previous framework programmes. This also applies for to financial support to third parties according to Article 204 FR (cascading grants) and applies for the duration of H2020 projects.

The EU Associated Countries participate in Horizon 2020 under the same conditions as EU Member States. A list with all eligible Associated Countries can be found here:

https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/grants_manual/hi/3cpart/h2020-hi-list-ac_en.pdf

Legal entities established in any other country or region cannot receive funding in this open call.

Can a UK based company submit a proposal and receive cascade funding?

Yes, a company based in the UK can submit a proposal and receive cascade funding.

To that question, the European Commission specifically answers “UK companies remain eligible forgrants and procurement procedures as if the UK was a member state for the entirety of the Horizon 2020 framework programme and previous framework programmes. This also applies for to financial support to third parties according to Article 204 FR (cascading grants), and applies for the duration of H2020 projects.”

We are a small company. Can we apply to DigiFed?

Yes. DigiFed is targeting various types of companies from Europe:

All participating companies must be able to comply with the specifications and requirements set by the standard AE agreement (available online https://digifed.org/explore/open-calls/) to be eligible. If you are unsure, please contact our helpdesk (info@digifed.org) for more details.

I work for one of the DigiFed partners. Can I apply to the open calls?

No. To avoid conflicts of interest, applications will not be accepted from persons or organizations who are partners in the DigiFed consortium or who are formally linked to partners of the consortium.

What are the conditions to apply to DigiFed open call?

  • The targeted products shall be in line with Digifed digital scope, addressing any smart application domain – please consult the Guide for Applicants for a more thorough explanation
  • The targeted projects shall be CPS Software-intensive project or System integration project or Embedded systems.
  • Proposals shall be pan-European (EU member states or H2020 associated countries), encouraging cross-border collaboration:
    • With partners/technologies facilitated by the DigiFed team
    • With a techno supplier or a customer (SME/RTO/Midcap/LE in Europe) of your choice.
  • The expected duration of the Application Experiment is 9 to maximum 12 months. Regardless of its duration, all Application Experiments must be completed by the end of DigiFed – 31.12.2022!

For more information, please consult the Guide for Applicants available on our Website, contact your closed DIH partner or contact our helpdesk.

What is the success rate of DigiFed open call?

As this is the first DigiFed call, it is not possibly to predict with confidence either the number of submitted proposals or their quality. Hence, we cannot provide that information, but we can offer to guide any company to submission of a good quality proposal, that will increase the chance of success.

How will an innovative Company know which is the most appropriate technology platform for the proposed product demonstrator?

The innovative company is advised to contact the helpdesk or a DigiFed partner. Information about the helpdesk (info@digifed.org), DigiFed partners on DigiFed website.

Do you have advice on how we can maximize the chances of our proposal to be successful?

Yes. Please consider the checklist below as a helpful tool to maximize the chances of your proposal to be successful:

  1. Does your planned work fit with the call for proposals? Check that your proposal does indeed address the topic in this open call.
  2. Have you contacted the helpdesk, or a DigiFed Partner for support? Past experience indicates that proposals with engagement before submission are more likely to succeed. Each applicant should contact DigiFed as soon as possible for guidance.
  3. Have you attended the one line webinars? Three webinars are proposed: 1) to propose a general overview of the project and discuss guidelines, 2) to describe the technical bricks and platforms proposed by DigiFed partners. If you missed the webinars, the recorded versions are/will be available on line at https://digifed.org/explore/webinars/.
  4. Are you aware that bootcamps are organized locally by DigiFed regional Digital Innovation Hubs for every open call phase? Please have a look at the program on DigiFed website. If you missed them, please contact DigiFed partner or Digifed helpdesk for tailored support and advice.
    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bootcamps are cancelled. Register to our online bootcamps at OnLine Bootcamps.
  5. Does your proposal address the DigiFed technical and services offer? Check that your proposed work does indeed comply with the requirements on the usage of DigiFed offer.
  6. Is your proposal eligible? The eligibility criteria are given in chapter 3 of the Guide for Applicants. Make sure that you satisfy the formal participation requirements (eligible country, written in English, compliance of requested funding with national and EU regulations, no multiple funding possible, etc.).
  7. Readability: Check that your proposal printable and all information (especially in charts, figures etc.) is readable.
  8. Budgetary limits: Check that you comply with the budgetary limits.
  9. Did you use the current template? All proposals have to be based on the current proposal template available on the website.
  10. Is your proposal complete? Have you completed all mandatory questions?
  11. Does your proposal answer all requests/comments? Proposals should be precise, concise and should answer to requested questions. Omitting requested information will almost certainly lead to lower scores in the evaluation.
  12. Did you maximize your chances? The DigiFed partners can give valuable feedback during the creation of your proposal that can significantly increase the quality of a proposal.
  13. Have you submitted your proposal before the deadline? It is strongly recommended not to wait until the last minute to submit the proposal.

How can I get support for the recorded pitch? Which support will be available?

About the pitch training, DigiFed will set-up a webinar where the guidelines for a business case and how to pitch are explained. The webinar will be recorded and made available on the website.

In the frame of the bootcamps, the pitch training will be organized online (see Online Bootcamps)

  • Training session on May 18, 2020
  • Recording session on May 20, 2020
  • Video “How To Prepare your pitch for DigiFed application?”

Yes, the guidelines explained during the webinar will be made available as well.

How will a DigiFed partner providing technical offer support me?

This will be discussed between the innovative company and the associated DigiFed partner and then reflected in the annex of the Standard agreement (Specific application experiment agreement).

Who will decide which advanced technology will an innovative company work with?

The definition of this collaboration is part of the submitted proposal. In order to define the most adequate solution for the proposal, the innovative company can rely on DigiFed partner for advice and help to build the proposal. Please contact DigiFed consortium through the helpdesk or the DigiFed partners.

Does the proposed idea have to interact with the physical world, or could it be all ICT (all online)?

DigiFed is promoting Cyber-Physical Systems. Consequently, it is desirable to engage with the proposals that offer interactions with the physical world.

Simultaneously, DigiFed is open to proposals from a range of fields (as specified in the call). Thus, proposals that do not have direct interaction with the physical world are also eligible if they are developing solutions that are to be applied in the CPS world.

The proposers should anyhow consider early interactions with the DigiFed partners to tailor their solutions for the market needs and to jointly analyse the technology and business impact.

In case of a twin AE, how can I get help to find the matching partner?

Bootcamps are the perfect place to present your idea and be in contact with DigiFed partners to support you in finding the matching company.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bootcamps are cancelled and DigiFed will do its best to propose alternative solutions. News to come on DigiFed website.

Do not hesitate to contact DigiFed partners, regional Digital Innovation Hub closest to you or our helpdesk (info@digifed.org) exposing your idea and what you are looking for. We will support you during the matching phase.

We are a SME company and we are interested in submitting a TWIN proposal. In a Twin AE, can the second entity in the 2-member consortium be a techno supplier or a customer (SME/RTO/Midcap/LE in Europe) of our choice (based in another eligible country) or does it have to be a start-up/SME/Mid-cap only ?

TWIN AE is addressing cross-border partnership between start-up/SME/mid-cap and  start-up/SME/mid-cap/LE/RTO/University:

  • the TWIN proposal must be at least supported by one Start-up/SME/Mid-cap
  • it can include a University/RTO/LE as a second partner (LE=Large Enterprise)
  • only start-up/SME/mid-cap can receive cascade funding.

Therefore, if two SMEs are involved in the TWIN AE, each of the SMEs will received cascade funding (70% funding rate, 55 k€ max) if the proposal is selected.

In case of a TWIN AE involving one SME and one University, only the SME will receive cascade funding.

We are two companies wanting to submit a proposal together and very interested in one of DigiFed technology services. Is it possible? How? Which AE?

You can target a SINGLE AE with two companies and a DigiFed technology support. The rules to follow to ensure enligibility are:

  • The total Cascade funding for this AE will be limited to 55 k€ (SINGLE AE model) and split between the 2 companies
  • The cross-border rule must be applied as: the main company (leading the AE) has to be cross-border with the DigiFed Technology Partner.

We are a SME company interested in submitting a SINGLE proposal. But we would like to make a partnership with two DigiFed technology services (partners). Is it possible? How?

You can target a SINGLE AE with two DigiFed technology partners. The rules to follow to ensure eligibility are:

  • As SINGLE AE, the cascade funding you can receive is limited to 55 k€.
  • The cross-border rule must be applied as: your SME should be cross-border with a least one of the DigiFed partners and this cross-border partner will be tour monitoring partner.
  • Partnerships between more than 2 SMEs will not be accepted for a SINGLE AE.

We are three companies wanting to submit a proposal together. It is possible? What are the conditions?

For twin application experiment, there is the possibility to include a third party as subcontractor up to 15% of the proposed cascade funding (most viable option).

Another option, which has to be duly justified and explained, is to include three companies in the TWIN application experiment. Yet, the cross-border rule (at least 2 different countries) must apply and the total cascade funding remains the same (up to 110k €) and shared between the 3 companies (repartition has to be detailed and explained).

Partnerships between more than 3 companies will not be accepted for a TWIN AE.

How much money can an innovative company ask to support the proposed project? What types of costs are eligible?

For each proposed project, an innovative company can ask for a funding corresponding to 70% of the total budget. The maximum funding for one project is 55 k€. The maximum funding for all experiments that the innovative company is involved in over the DigiFed project duration (and for at least two granted projects) is 100 k€. In an Application Experiment, the following costs are eligible:

  • Direct personnel Costs
  • Other direct costs (for example materials, travel costs -technical meetings, dissemination activities etc. – but only inside Europe)
  • Indirect costs – up to 25% of all direct costs
  • Subcontracting – up to 15% of the proposed cascade funding

Please keep in mind that all budgeted costs must comply with the applicable national law on taxes, labor and social security.

The maximum total funding that may be allocated to any individual legal entity via open calls from any H2020 I4MS (ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs) or SAE (Smart Anything Everywhere) cannot exceed 100 k€ (including any potential DigiFed funding).

What are the financial support conditions?

The financial support to Applicants covers the R&D work. This comes in addition to the collaboration, support and assistance provided by the DigiFed partners.

Cascade funding: who is invoiced by the granted company?

The DigiFed monitoring Partners will support and will serve as a “single” point of contact for the third parties during the execution of the selected Application Experiments.

  • In the single AE, the monitoring partner will be the competence one bringing the technical expertise.
  • In the Twin AE, the monitoring partner will be part of DifiFed consortium and will make sure that the workplan is followed and that the milestones are reached, and the deliverables validated and submitted.

The monitoring partner will then refer to CEA, DigiFed cascade funding partner and thus the one in charge of transferring the cascade funding budget, in agreement with the standard AE agreement.

How many projects can an innovative company submit?

An innovative company can submit as many projects as it wishes (no limitation in project number) as long as the restrictions on the requested budget are met: max of 55 k€ cascade funding per project and max of 100 k€ cascade funding per company if two or more projects are submitted.

What are the schedule and the size of the cascade funding payments for the third party?

When the standard agreement is signed and the project starts (kick-off meeting), the third party (i.e. open calls’ selected applicant) receives a prepayment of 50% of the cascade funding. The second half of the cascade funding will be paid after the final review of the project, as detailed in the periodic report.

How is the IP working? Is there any NDA to be signed?

All partners involved in a funded and implemented Application Experiment will sign a Standard Agreement before the Application Experiment starts. All information of whatever nature and in whatever form or mode of communication, which is disclosed by a Party to any other during the implementation of the Application Experiment and which has been explicitly marked as “confidential” at the time of disclosure, or when disclosed orally, has been identified as confidential at the time of disclosure and has been confirmed and designated in writing within fifteen (15) calendar days from oral disclosure, is “Confidential Information” and shall not be disclosed to any other third party.

For more details please refer to the standard agreement that is now available online here.

Do the consortium partners take ownership of some of the development?

Each partner of the standard agreement keeps its own IP; the DigiFed partner and the applicant company respectively.

In case there is a need for IP transfer after the project, a bilateral contract between the involved parties will be signed to define the exploitation rules after the application experiment.

More details in the standard agreement on line here.

Are there any DigiFed events or meetings that the third party (i.e. open calls’ selected applicants) needs to attend? If so, is the cost included in the cascade funding?

Yes, the third party (i.e. open calls’ selected applicants) may need to attend some DigiFed events for dissemination. To include the cost in the cascade funding, such budget needs to be discussed project to project as (and when) the expenses have not always been included in the proposal budget.

How does invoicing work for the sub-contractor(s) hired by the third party (i.e. open calls’ selected applicants) to conduct the agreed work?

The third party (i.e. open calls’ selected applicants) pays for it. Every sub-contract must already be included in the budget in the proposal. Sub-contracting must be limited to up to 15% of the proposed cascade funding to be eligible.

Is a proposal project subject to redefinition afterwards?

No. The projects are accepted as they are described in the submitted proposal. There is no a posteriori negotiation.

Is it possible to use the cascade funding for retroactive payments?

No. The funding cannot be used for retroactive payments. It must correspond to work done during the timeline of the application experiment (as submitted).

Regarding the funding conditions for an innovative company, how are eligible direct salary costs calculated and what indirect costs may be covered?

The standard H2020 rules are applied (e.g. 25% for indirect costs).

What is the expected timeline of an innovative company project proposal selection?

The evaluation process is meant to last 6 weeks. Then the evaluation report is submitted to the EC for review of the selected projects by the European Commission for 1 week. Therefore DigiFed will communicate the result of each proposal back to the innovative company 7 weeks after the end of the call. The exact date can be found on the dedicated open call website.

Who will decide if a proposed project will be supported or not?

All proposals submitted on time will be evaluated throughout an evaluation procedure described in the Guide for Applicants (external experts, business case evaluation and internal evaluation committee). It will result in the selection of the proposals that will be supported and therefore funded on the base of DigiFed cascade funding process.

If a proposal is rejected, can the project be resubmitted?

Yes, if a project proposal is not accepted at one open call, the innovative company can resubmit an improved version of the proposal at one of the following open calls, if any.

There was a webinar explaining the process for the 1st open call. Will there be more webinars in the future?

Yes. There will be dedicated webinars for the open calls in the future. Check our website regularly to keep up to date. In the meantime, a video of the webinar for the first call was recorded. You can watch it anytime on our webinar section of the website (https://digifed.org/explore/webinars/). The slides from our presentation can be downloaded there too.

First open call on line bootcamps program is available at Online Bootcamps.

Bootcamps are explaining the process for the 1st open call. Will there be more bootcamps in the future?

Yes. There will be more bootcamps for the following open calls in the future.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bootcamps are currently cancelled and DigiFed has set up on line bootcamps. Program and registration information are available at Online Bootcamps.

Bootcamp topicWhen
OT bootcamp session05/05/2020 from 10 am to 12
AI – Software bootcamp session07/05/2020 from 10 am to 12
Lighting, Reliability & Autonomous Vehicle bootcamp session11/05/2020 from 10am to 12
Cybersecurity bootcamp session13/05/2020 from 10am to 12
Pitch training One to one coaching session Recording session18/05/2020 20/05/2020

Is it mandatory to attend the bootcamps to participate in the open calls?

No, this is not mandatory. It is strongly recommended to attend a bootcamp, especially if there is one organized close to you. The information given during a bootcamp will be available on the website through the open call related documents (https://digifed.org/explore/open-calls/) and the webinars available online (https://digifed.org/explore/webinars/).

In any case do not hesitate to contact DigiFed consortium through the helpdesk (info@digifed.org), direct contact with the partners, attending bootcamps, contacting DigiFed regional DIHs for further discussion.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bootcamps are cancelled and DigiFed has set-up on line Bootcamps, all information available at Online Bootcamps.