2020 and proof-of-concept grants

Innovations projects and companies from the research institutions associated with Validé can apply for proof-of-concept grants. These are grants of one to eight million NOK, can be used for verifying the business concept and technology aspects.

What is a proof-of-concept project?

The proof-of-concept funding under the FORNY2020 programme is expected to clarify questions relating to commercial, business-related, conceptual and technological challenges. The aim of proof-of-concept activities is to reduce the risks associated with the project to the extent that industry, customers and investors are willing to invest and take part in further commercialisation and industrialisation once the project period has been concluded. Proof-of-concept funding is to be awarded to projects which are business-driven and not research-driven. Projects must be classified as minimum TRL 4 on the EU’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale

Who can apply for funding?

Proof-of-concept funding may be sought by Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) representing publicly funded Norwegian research institutions and newly established companies. Projects must be based on results from research conducted at a publicly funded research institution.

Support may only be awarded to TTOs for projects involving activities of a non-economic nature. This applies to the Project Owner and partners as well, cf. item 19(b) of the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s guidelines on state aid for research and development and innovation.

In accordance with Article 22 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid: Aid for start-ups, support cannot be awarded to enterprises that:

  • are more than five years old,
  • have more than 10 employees,
  • are part of a group of companies.

In addition, the maximum support that may be awarded to such enterprises is EUR 0.8 million.

Read more about The state aid rules.

What can the funding cover?

Proof-of-concept funding is to be used to carry out activities that will provide the answers to questions that a customer, industry partner, investor or other relevant partner needs answered before deciding to invest in the development or procurement of a product, process or service.

See Template for project description – Proof-of-funding FORNY2020 ODT – 33 KB

Project organisation

Projects must be managed correctly from the outset, we therefore encourage the following:

  • assign the Project Owner (contractual partner) the responsibility for deciding how the project team will be organised;
  • the project team is interdisciplinary and includes competence within business development, finance and economics, commercial competence, expertise in the relevant technologies/disciplines and other relevant expertise, depending on the nature and maturity of the project;
  • the applicant must consider the project from a user and customer perspective from the outset;
  • the project manager has experience with business development as well as leadership experience from the relevant industrial sector, and should in most projects allocate a significant portion of his or her time to keeping the project moving forward;
  • ensure that the project has a steering group in which all of the partners are represented and which includes external competence who has extensive knowledge about the business area.

There may be set additional requirements to the projects based upon information that emerges in the application review process.

Prerequisites for funding

Grant proposals must satisfy the following criteria in order to be eligible for proof-of-concept funding under the FORNY2020 programme:

  • The project must be able to show great commercial benefit or great benefit to society.
  • The partners must have a clearly defined role in the project.
  • All financial and other contributions to the project must be clarified.
  • The project must possess the rights to further develop the technology.
  • The project must not have passed the proof-of-concept phase; i.e. industry, investors or other public sector actors must not have already taken on the responsibility for further commercialisation and industrialisation.

Projects will be followed up closely throughout the project period. Allocated funding may be reduced or terminated if the prerequisites for funding are no longer satisfied.


Assuming that all factors relating to scientific merit and relevance are essentially equal, priority will be given to projects led by female project managers.

Project assessment criteria

Grant proposals will be assessed on the basis of the  Assessment criteria – Proof-of-funding FORNY2020 ODT – 21 KB .