Here potential applicants will find FAQ in connection with the application process – the list of questions will be continuously updated until the call deadline.

Question 1:

Is the 8-25 MNOK excluding overhead/admin expenses and if so, how much overhead can a research partner included in the budget?

Answer 1:

The funded grant will include all costs in the budget as applied for, except the part claimed as covered by in-kind contributions. This means that the project’s total budget must be minimum 8,8 MNOK = 8 MNOK in granted funding and 0,8 MNOK partner contributed funding. There is no upper limit for the partner contributions.

Research performing partners are expected to apply for the actual budget they need for the tasks as outlined, and there is no set limit or percentage for overhead costs. A judgement of the budget is part of the expert evaluation. Business partners and non-research performing organizations will be able to receive funding under the de Minimis regulation.

Question 2:

Do the three partners in a project have to be formally based (employed) in three different countries?

Answers 2:

The organization is the formal partner of the consortium, and will represent the country that the organization is registered in. If a business has subsidiaries in other Nordic countries, they should choose the most relevant one for this partnership.

The nationality of a project participant is not relevant. The question is asked in the application portal for statistical purposes only.

Question 3:

What happens if I forget to upload information on one of the eligibility criteria? Can I send it by email?

Answer 3:

Most of the eligibility criteria are mandatory questions in the application portal, meaning that you cannot submit without answering the question. The quality of the answer is of course the responsibility of the applicant, so be careful with placeholder answers which you might miss to correct later.

We cannot accept information that is not submitted via the application portal.

Question 4:

The call design requires an implementation that needs to be agile. Would you explain further what you expect regarding the fast implementation?

Answer 4:

The requirement to be agile goes to the mindset behind the project design. The consortium needs to be prepared for a potential reshuffle of some planned tasks; such as redefining outreach activities if new stakeholders are identified, or if existing stakeholders prove to be difficult to engage in a positive or meaningful way; it could be that a technical ambition is suddenly challenged by an outside event, and needs to be adjusted up or down; or maybe a regulatory restraint is changed in a radical way which opens a new direction of development for the aim and scope of the project.

Question 5:

Will you apply the total funding of 75 MNOK in the first call?

Answer 5:

We plan to award the total sum in this call. However; applications will not be forwarded for funding if they fall below our evaluation criteria cut-off.

Question 6:

The call mentions five thematic angles: 1) Smart Energy Systems, 2) Sustainable Energy, 3) Green Transport, 4) Energy Markets, and 5) Energy & Society. Does this mean that the projects must cover all the five angles, or just one or some angles?

Answer 6:

A project is not expected to completely cover all five themes. We expect applicants to present the angles they choose as having primary relevance for their proposal, and then present eventual secondary angles of relevance. It is recommended to also describe the angles not covered by the proposal, whether the project will have a negative impact – or no impact at all – on those angles.

Question 7:

Will Finnish businesses be able to join a consortium, and receive funding?

Answer 7:

Yes. For this call the funds are a true common pot, and therefore the usual rules from Business Finland on funding of private companies do not apply. Note that the funding for private companies and other non-research organizations will be granted as de Minimis aid.

Question 8:

Is funding rate 100% (including 10% in-kind)?

Answer 8:

Yes, that is correct for research institutions. Other participants will be able to follow the de Minimis funding rule, and of course anybody can be self-financed.

The minimum 10% in-kind is a sum total for the partnership.

Question 9:

Can you have overheads and personnel side cost in the budget? Or does it affect the evaluation?

Answer 9:

Yes, research institutions can claim the true costs of participating in the project. The evaluation will look at the consortium’s ability to carry out the project, including a judgement on the appropriateness of the budget and the distribution of effort between the partners.

Question 10:

What type of technology is covered by the call?

Answer 10:

We are looking for grand solutions, so the core choices will be made by the proposal consortium team. Solutions can be new technologies, new services, or new approaches.

Question 11:

What is the difference between observers and partners?

Answer 11:

Partners are consortium members with direct influence on decisions and outcomes of the project. Observers are consortium members with a strong interest in the project, but their contributions are not critical for the outcome of the project. They might have an advisory role, or they might be an important stakeholder on the subject.

Question 12:

Is overhead an admissible budget cost?

Answer 12:

Yes, when the overhead is part of your normal budgetary praxis, you apply that. Other costs can be argued too, as this call expects some innovative project components, and these types of project costs can be difficult to estimate. When you provide a clear budgeting text for your costs, then the evaluation will take that into account for assessing the reasonableness of the costs.

Question 13:

We have an interest from a private company to join our consortium. They already received de Minimis aid for the relevant period, so how can they participate in this call?

Answer 13:

Nordic Energy Research is a Nordic institution representing the Nordic countries. The de Minimis aid is a state aid measure that allows for national funding for non-governmental organisations at a simpler level of administration. The maximum aid allowed is limited to 200 000€ per recipient per state within a 3-year period. As Nordic Energy Research represents several states, it is up to the recipient to determine reception of de Minimis funding. In this way, a recipient organization may receive up to five times de Minimis, and still be within the regulation.

Question 14:

What does it mean that the project leader must be an RPO?

Answer 14:

RPO means Research Performing Organization. This includes all universities, most technical service institutes, and even some private companies with a dedicated research department. If you are unsure if your organisation might be an RPO, please contact us directly. You can also follow this guide from the Norwegian Research Council for inspiration:

Question 15:

Does in-kind contribution from a non-Nordic partner or an observer count towards the 10%?

Answer 15:

Yes, all described in-kind contributions count. Each partner or observer must supply a Letter of Commitment for the application, and here they should write the intended contribution type, and the estimated value of this contribution.