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TOPIC : Fast Track to Innovation (FTI)

Topic identifier: EIC-FTI-2018-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: IA Innovation action
DeadlineModel:
Opening date:
multiple cut-off
07 November 2017
Cut-off dates: 21 February 2018 17:00:00
31 May 2018 17:00:00
23 October 2018 17:00:00
21 February 2019 17:00:00
23 May 2019 17:00:00
22 October 2019 17:00:00
19 February 2020 17:00:00
09 June 2020 17:00:00
27 October 2020 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Who should apply to FTI, the Fast Track to Innovation?

Are you looking for partners that can help you with a fast go-to-market of an industry-driven, innovative concept that has strong potential to make your company grow and scale-up?

Do you see co-creation or open innovation as ways to advance your innovation cycle and enter the market within three years?

Are you looking for substantial funding to test, demonstrate and validate your innovation with users before full commercial roll-out, potentially via a spin-off company or a joint venture?

Then FTI is the scheme for you.

Innovation is fostered when new ideas can emerge and easily translate into socio-economic value, shaping new markets and laying the foundations of a stronger, high-tech industrial base for Europe.

Working together, partners with complementary backgrounds, knowledge and skills, in both new and established value-chains, can turn ideas into world-beating products, processes and services that tackle societal challenges.

FTI accelerates the market uptake of ground-breaking innovations by providing funding in an open, accessible scheme that nurtures ideas from consortia of innovators of all types and sizes from across Europe.

Participation by industry — defined as private-for-profit organisations — is mandatory; industry is best-placed to ensure the due commercial exploitation of the innovation developed; in addition, company growth and development in order to strengthen Europe's industrial leadership are explicitly pursued with FTI support.

Scope:

Principles and funding of FTI

FTI supports actions undertaking innovation from the demonstration stage through to market uptake, including activities such as piloting, test-beds, systems validation in real-world working conditions, validation of business models, pre-normative research, and standard-setting.

The maximum EU contribution per action is €3 million (funding rate: 70% for for-profit entities; 100% for not-for-profit entities).

FTI targets relatively mature, ground-breaking new technologies, concepts, processes and business models that need final development to be able to shape a new market and achieve wider deployment.

If your proposal involves technological innovation, your consortium should declare that the technology or the technologies concerned are at least at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6. The intention will be to bring the TRL up to 8 for technological innovations and to an analogous level of maturity for non-technological innovations during the lifetime of the FTI action. TRLs are described in General Annex G of the work programme.

FTI actions are encouraged to be interdisciplinary, cutting across different sector and technologies. Actions supporting innovative concepts that have the potential to disrupt or to create new markets are particularly welcome.

In your proposal, you should:

  • Specify the intended outcome and describe key performance indicators and success criteria.
  • Make reference to and incorporate a business plan clearly describing the market potential, business opportunities for participants, measures to enhance the probability of eventual commercial take-up, and a credible commercialisation strategy that identifies next steps and specifies other actors to be involved.
  • Pay particular attention to IP protection and ownership and to the possibility of commercial exploitation (often known as 'freedom to operate').
  • Specify the expected impact in terms of competitiveness and growth of the business partners in the consortium, measured in terms of turnover and job creation.
  • Clearly describe the expected impact in both qualitative and quantitative terms, with factors such as time sensitivity and international competitiveness considered in the light of the technology field, innovation area and industry sectors concerned.

The time to initial market take-up should be no more than 3 years from the start of your FTI action.

In very well-justified cases linked to the specific characteristics of a particular innovation field or industry sector, the time to initial market take-up could be longer.

Possible impacts on sustainability or climate change, in particular, or on other cross-cutting objectives of Horizon 2020, must be highlighted.

Participation from industry in your consortium is mandatory. Universities and research and technology organisations can also participate. Actors with an important role in commercialisation are encouraged to take part, such as cluster organisations, end-users, industry associations, incubators, investors, and the public sector. Including start-ups with ground-breaking ideas that could create new markets is encouraged.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.

 

2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions:

Fast Track to Innovation (FTI): as described in the Work Programme part "European Innovation Council (EIC)".

  • Participation of three to no more than five different legal entities, independent of each other, in a consortium.
  • Allocation of at least 60% of the overall budget to consortium partner(s) from industry; or a minimum of 2 industry partners out of a consortium of 3 or 4; or a minimum of 3 industry partners out of a consortium of 5.
  • Requested EU contribution not more than €3 million.
  • All consortium members established in EU Member States or in countries associated to Horizon 2020.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.

 

3. Evaluation:

Evaluation scores are awarded for each criterion. Each criterion is scored from 0 to 5. Scores with a resolution of one decimal place may be awarded. The threshold for the criteria 'Impact' and 'Excellence' is 4. The threshold for the criterion 'Quality and efficiency of the implementation' is 3. The overall threshold, meaning the sum of the three individual scores, is 13.

The consensus score of a proposal at the level of the three evaluation criteria is the mean (average) of the separate scores given by each evaluator. The overall consensus score is the weighted sum of these separate scores.

The consensus report comprises the individual reports or key extracts from them, and will provide a summary of the main weaknesses of your proposal.

The aspects to be considered for each evaluation criterion are set out below:

IMPACT

50% WEIGHTING

  • The objectives of the submitted proposal are in line with the expected impacts of the FTI, notably fast development, commercial take-up and/or wide deployment of innovative solutions, time to initial market take-up, leveraging of private investment in research and/or innovation. In addition, in line with the objectives of the European Innovation Council Pilot, proposals that can create a new market are particularly sought after.
  • The proposed innovation will lead to enhanced innovation capacity of the consortium partners, and in particular of the industry partners.
  • The proposed innovation/solution has a clear European or global dimension, in the sense that it is set to create substantial demand from European and global markets and/or can create a new market or disrupt an existing one at European or global level, which is well documented and supported with evidence on customer/user/market needs that can be translated into sales. The proposal provides a realistic and convincing analysis of the targeted market(s) and client/user base and how the innovation will meet their needs.
  • The way the project will strengthen the growth/ scale-up and competitiveness of the industry partners involved is well documented.
  • Framework conditions such as regulation and standards, market size, prospects for growth, competitive edge and intended positioning of the innovation towards possible others (competitor analysis) are documented, and the outlook can be described as positive for market launch within 3 years.
  • The commercialisation plan is realistic and convincing – containing a clear description of the new business opportunity and the way to capitalise on it. The plan includes effective measures to exploit and disseminate the action's results (including with respect to IPR management). There is a broader strategy for knowledge management and protection with regards to the proposed innovation/solution, ensuring "freedom to operate". Key stakeholders that can help with market introduction are identified, and a convincing strategy to get them on board exists. Communication, marketing and sales efforts are planned in a coordinated way, on the basis of a realistic timetable, and fit into a solid commercial strategy.
  • Based on the provided market analysis and the projected commercialisation strategy, the likely return on investment of the proposed innovation (for instance in the form of projected rapid scale-up leading to job creation and/or company growth) is sufficiently attractive to justify EU funding under FTI.
  • The proposed innovation is expected to generate a positive impact at the European level other than economic (societal, environmental, scientific, etc). Wherever appropriate, the minimisation of impacts on climate and the environment is taken into account.
  • The proposed financing plan for further roll-out of the innovation/solution is realistic and convincing and offers a sufficient guarantee and coverage to allow for further scale-up of the project and companies involved.

EXCELLENCE

25% WEIGHTING

  • The objectives of the proposal are defined in a clear and pertinent way, support Horizon 2020 objectives, and directed towards fast, wide market uptake.
  • The proposed activities to be executed will contribute to a credible, realistic and optimal development of the innovation to the level of market uptake.
  • The underlying, jointly developed business innovation concept of the proposed innovation is sound, and has already been tested in an operational/production environment. It has a potential to bring important progress to or revolutionise an existing industrial sector, business practice and/or societal challenge.
  • The proposed innovation is ambitious and is set to add substantial value to Europe (e.g. considerably contribute to Europe's industrial leadership or the solution of Horizon 2020 societal challenges), and this is well identified and elaborated in the proposal. Game-changing ideas or breakthrough innovations are particularly sought after. A high degree of novelty comes with a high chance of either success or failure.
  • The proposed innovation has successfully been tested in an operational or production environment (stage of development at TRL 6 or similar for non-technological innovations) and can move to market take-up (B2B or B2C) within maximum 36 months.
  • The proposal demonstrates that the intrinsic quality of the innovation will be significantly higher than current state-of-the-art solutions, in terms of value for money, problems solved, new applications, sustainability, etc.

QUALITY AND EFFICIENCY OF IMPLEMENTATION

25% WEIGHTING

  • The work plan is coherent and effective. It takes into account the project's ambition and objectives, includes a realistic and relevant time-frame, and refers to a sound and comprehensive implementation plan, in particular in relation to major deliverables. Tasks and resources are allocated in an appropriate and cost-effective way.
  • The proposal demonstrates that the partners of the consortium are complementary, and together have what it takes (personnel, facilities, skills, networks, access to markets…) to deliver on groundbreaking innovation and fast, wide market uptake. Implementation risks and threats are well identified; the proposal contains a risk mitigation plan, with detailed actions.
  • Both the organisational framework/governance structure underpinning the action and the decision-making processes are established in a clear and efficient way.

The full evaluation procedure is described in the relevant guide published on the Participant Portal.

Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement signature

  • Information about the outcome of the evaluation: maximum 3 months after the corresponding cut-off date set out above.

  • Indicative date for the signing of grant agreements: maximum 6 months from the final date for submission.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

FTI multiple cut-off  

Information on the outcome: maximum 3 months after the corresponding cut-off date.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 6 months after the corresponding cut-off date.
 

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
FTI proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement
FTI Self Evaluation form

 

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

 

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-2020

2. European Innovation Council (EIC) WP 2018-20

3. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


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Type of Action Innovation action [IA]
Topic Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) - EIC-FTI-2018-2020
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