Pre-projects to mobilise trade and industry for research autumn 2023

In order to apply for this call you must comtact a competence broker

The template for the project description may only be obtained from the competence brokers. 

This call is valid for as long as there are funds available. Per October 16, 1,9 Mill NOK funding remains on this call. 

The last possible date to apply for this call is December 10. 2023.


The purpose of Innovasjonsdistrikter Oslo (Oslo Innovation Districts) is to strengthen research-based innovation in the region’s industry based in the innovation districts, Oslo Science City, Punkt Oslo and Hovinbyen circular Oslo.

Pre- projects to mobilise trade and industry for research, are smaller R&D projects in companies with little or no R&D experience. The company must collaborate with an R&D institution in the project. The company must have an ambition for the pre- project to lead to further research activity or cooperation with research institutions.

We wish to support pre- projects that can substantiate a potential for value creation and sustainable innovation in either new or improved products, services, or manufacturing processes.

About the call for proposals

The Oslo Innovation Districts scheme aims to strengthen research-based innovation in the region’s industry and commerce, based on the innovation districts Oslo Science city, Punkt Oslo, and Hovinbyen circular Oslo.

The company must have an ambition for the work to lead to further research or cooperation with research institutions. The pre- project should be a preparation for participation in other research funding schemes, such as Regional Research Funds, the Research Council of Norway’s innovation programmes, SkatteFUNN tax incentive scheme, or Horizon Europe.

Grants allocated are to be used for the procurement of R&D competence, and at least 80 percent of the grant amount must be used for the procurement of R&D.

How to apply?
Contact a competence broker in Oslo.

The competence broker can provide advice regarding the design of the project and assistance in finding the relevant research environment for the project. The competence broker can assist with clarifying the R&D content in the proposal and which support scheme may be best suited for your project. Their guidance is free of charge.

Following dialogue with the competence broker, you can set up your application for this call.

You can find an overview of competence brokers in Oslo here

Applications that are submitted when the applicant has not been in contact with a competence broker may be rejected.

You may submit your proposal at any time until December 10, 2023. We will process applications once a month. For more information, see heading “Administrative procedures” below. 

This call is available in both Norwegian and English. The original Norwegian call text is the legally binding version.

Who is eligible to apply?

Companies with a registered business address in Oslo municipality with a limited research experience and who are working on developing new products, processes or services can apply for funding under this call.

Companies which are, or have been, project owner for a main project funded by the Research Council of Norway, a Regional Research Fund (RFF) or the research programmes of the European Union in the past five years are considered experienced R&D companies in this context and cannot apply.

The company must have at least one salaried employee at the time of application and during the project period. 

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements for project owner
The company is the project owner. The project administrator is the person in the company who is authorised to represent and commit the organisation in relation to the City of Oslo.
The project administrator in the applicant company, shall be the project administrator in the application form and must approve submission of the application. If the application is a collaboration between multiple organisations, the organisation acting as project owner shall submit the application on behalf of all the partners.

Requirements for principal investigator
There are no formal qualification requirements for the principal investigator. The principal investigator’s professional competencies and suitability for implementation of the project will be assessed at the administrative level.
The principal investigator must be employed by the project owner, the R&D provider or with one of the collaboration partners in the project.

Requirements for R&D providers
The research organisation shall be registered as an R&D provider on the application form. We use the Research Council of Norway’s list of approved R&D providers. Only R&D providers shown on this list can be R&D providers under this call.

The R&D provider has an executive role in the project and cannot contribute to funding the project.

Foreign public universities and institutions can also be R&D providers. It must be documented and described in the project application that the foreign R&D provider has academic competence in the field.

What can you seek funding for?

You can apply for funding to cover the actual costs necessary to implement the project.
The project shall be comprised of activities that fall within the categories of industrial research or experimental development. You will find a more detailed description of what this entails in Article 25 of the Commission (EC) General block exemption Regulation

The following costs may be included in the project:
•    Payroll and indirect expenses incurred by the company;
•    Procurement of R&D services from approved research organisations or foreign R&D providers
•    Other operating expenses

Detailed and important information about what the budget should include can be found on this webpage

Calculation of support

The company can apply for up to NOK 300,000 and up to 50 per cent of the budgeted project costs. The minimum amount that can be applied for is NOK 100,000.

At least 80 percent of the support amount must be used for the procurement of R&D. For example, if the support amount is NOK 300,000, this means that NOK 240,000 must be used for the procurement of R&D.

The extent of support for the company’s project costs depends on the project’s content and type of R&D activities as these are defined in the rules for state aid, including the size of the company, the project’s research activities and collaborative constellations.

The extent of support may thus vary from 25 to 50 per cent for approved applications. See table below for calculation of support from this call: 

Type of business/type of activity Industrial Research Experimental Development
Small businesses     50% 45%
Medium-size businesses   50% 35%
Large businesses   50% 25%

The final amount of support for approved applications will be specified in the letter of grant commitment.

Conditions for funding

Support to “undertakings” consists of state aid. In this connection undertaking means any actor that operates economic activity by offering goods and/or services in a market. When an undertaking is to receive coverage for parts of its project costs, either as project owner or as a partner in the project, this must take place in accordance with the General Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014).

Read more about the conditions for awarding of state aid.

Own funding

The company itself must provide at least 50 per cent of the project cost as own funding. Own-funding in projects can be in the form of cash and/or in-kind contribution such as personnel expenses and indirect costs. Personnel expenses and indirect costs must be calculated based on actual costs. You can find a guide on how to calculate personnel expenses and indirect costs for industry and commerce here.

Unpaid in-kind contributions cannot be considered as co-financing. Only wages paid by the project owner may be included in personnel expenses. The project owner and any other partners that make their contribution in the form of own input must be up to date with payment of employers’ contributions and tax deductions. 

The grant cannot be used for

•    Writing of applications to national and regional programmes
•    Establishment of networks, clusters, or consortiums
•    Purchase of equipment
•    Market research and marketing 
•    Survey of research literature

Reporting and disbursement of grant

We disburse 75 per cent of the grant at the start of the project.

The remainder is paid out at the end of the project, on the condition that the final report and the project accounts are approved. The actual grant is based on expenses in the project accounts that are entered in the project owner’s or project partners’ accounts.

Available tools and tips for your application
You may use project development tools developed by the Research council of Norway.

Relevant thematic areas for this call

Projects that receive grants must show that they support the priority areas of Oslo’s Innovation Districts: 
•    Solutions for the green transformation
o       Climate, energy, environment
o       Circular economy
•    Health and life science
•    Digitalisation and digital transformation

Grants may also be awarded to projects that deal with innovation in the public sector, the public sector at a test arena.

In many projects it will be an advantage to be cross disciplinary.

Regional development

Manufacturing industryThe environment, climate and renewable energyHealth and welfareEducationTravel and tourism/experiential tourism/cultureRetail/wholesale and the service sector

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

 This is an open-ended call and your application may only be submitted once (as opposed to calls with fixed deadlines where applications may be revised and submitted several times until the deadline).

It is still posible to create a new application- for example as a copy of one you have already submitted if you need to change your apllication after it has been submitted. Please let us know immediately if an application shall be retracted. 

Mandatory attachments

  • Project description of max. 5 pages. Use the standard template provided by your competence broker. We only assess project  descriptions written in this template.
  • CV for the principal investigator in the applicant company.
  • CV for research partner.
  • Form for partner information. This shall also be completed for the company that is applying. Use the standard template that can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
  • Self-declaration for private companies. Use the standard template that can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Applications that do not fill the requirements listed above will be rejected.

Optional attachments 

  • CVs of key participants in the project 

Other conditions
We will not assess documents and websites linked to the application, or any other appendices that are not specified above.

The application and all appendices must be written in Norwegian or English. 

  • All appendices must be in PDF format. Be careful when uploading the correct category of appendix, as there are no technical limits on file formats it is possible to upload to the application form.
  • Appendices are uploaded as attachments to the application form.
  • You must provide information in the application as to whether you have applied for support for the same or a similar project from other public aid schemes.
  • All project costs must be budgeted according to the guidelines provided by the Research council of Norway.
  • We allocate funds in accordance with the EEA rules on state aid to companies that participate in projects. The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research has reported the Regional Research Fund scheme to the ESA pursuant to the regulation on exemption from reporting obligation for state aid Section 1, cf. EEA Agreement Appendix XV no. 1j (regulation (EU) no. 651/2014).
  • The grant is awarded uo to a maximum amount, which is listed in the grant offer letter.
  • Requirements for co- funding and liquidity must be satisfied before grants can be disbursed. See the praragraph on own-funding and mandatory attachment of self-declaration from private undertakings.
  • The applicant firm (undertaking) and any private enterprise partners must have paid employees whose wages are reports to the authorities (paid, including taxes, social and public fees)
  • Accounts and reporting is required from projects that are awarded grants of support.
  • If projects that have received a grant are not completed, or in the event of inadequate reporting, the City of Oslo can demand repayment of the grant.

Research and innovation | FORREGION

Degree of Innovation:
To what extent does the innovation idea of the project satisfy an unmet need?
• How original and innovative is the project idea?
• To what extent does the project have a potential to bring forth new knowledge?

Impact and effects

• To what extent is there a potential that the results of the preproject will contribute to
- value creation in Norwegian industry and/or the public sector?
- to solve significant present and future societal challenges, also with regard to UN sustainable development goals?

Implementation | FORREGION

How good are the:
• Quality of the project plan with goals, work packages, milestones, allocation of resources and relevant risk assessments?
• Quality/competence of the principal investigator and possible project group?
• Project organisation, with roles and division of responsibilities, management and strategic base
• budget and financing

Relevance of project idea |FORREGION

How well will the project contribute to the enterprise acquiring experience with using research in its'work with innovation?

How well is the preproject aligned with the regional priorities?

Samlet vurdering | FORREGION

Administrative procedures

When to expect a reply to your application
This is an open-ended call, and applications are assessed approximately once a month.

Applications are evaluated administratively by at least two persons.  The administration, by the Section for Business Development writes the recommendation for decision for the Vice Mayor for Business Development and Public Ownership. The Vice mayor makes the final decision of approval or  rejection of proposals.

The administration is authorized to reject applications that do not meet the requirements in the call.

The final date for submitting an application to this call is December 10.2023. 

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