1. Who can apply for this Collaborative Grant Scheme Program?
Eligible applicants for the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program are consortia consisting of at least two mandatory entities:
- one private sector micro, small or medium company founded in Serbia in accordance with the Serbian Company Law as the consortium’s Lead Applicant
- one public sector scientific research and development organization, registered in accordance with the Law on scientific research activity of the Republic of Serbia as the Lead Co-Applicant
The private sector company is the Lead Applicant and is legally responsible to the Innovation Fund for implementing the project.
Applicant Consortia can have no more than five (5) members.
Please see section 1.5 Applicant Eligibility Criteria of the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program Manual for details.
2. Can the public scientific research and development organization act as the Lead Applicant?
No, this is not possible. The role of the Lead Applicant is reserved solely for private sector micro, small or medium companies.
3. Can I submit more than one project proposal when acting as the Lead Applicant?
No. Each enterprise is limited to submitting only one (1) project proposal per public call when acting as the Lead Applicant. One company or scientific research organization can, however, act as a consortium partner/member (co-Applicant) on more than one project proposal, but this engagement needs to be adequately described and correlated with the entity’s own resources and capabilities (e.g. only a portion of a division/laboratory/section from an institute will be working on a specific project proposal).
4. Can other consortia members be subsequently added if a project is approved for financing?
No, it is not possible to subsequently add additional consortia members. All members need to be fully described and represented from the beginning of the application process.
5. Since these funds are classified as grants, does this mean that we don’t have to pay any of it back?
As long as the funds are used in accordance with the rules stipulated in the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program Grant Manual, no funds will have to be paid back to the Innovation Fund. However, if there are any ineligible expenses made by the consortium, the Innovation Fund will reduce its subsequent disbursement for the IF’s proportional share of those expenses. In extreme situations (e.g. breach of the Financing Agreement or the rules set forth in the Grant Manual, misuse of funds, etc.), the Awardee may be required to return a portion or all of the financing received from the IF.
6. What happens if our consortium does not achieve its desired/planned results at the end of the project’s implementation period?
There are no penalties if the development process ultimately does not yield the desired outcome, if the project was implemented in accordance with the Program’s procedural requirements. The risk is borne by the IF and the consortium to the extent of their respective co-financing contribution to the project.
7. Does the project proposal need to focus on creating a product or service instantly ready for the market? What are the requirements regarding the technological and commercial maturity of the project?
The project proposal can be built around innovations which are close to the market, but also commercially applicable research with a longer market maturity period (e.g. a technological platform which will be used to create new products in a period of 3-5 years). New technologies and innovations in all stages of development will be considered for financing.
8. Can we apply for support for conducting basic/fundamental research?
No, the Collaborative Grant Scheme does not support basic/fundamental research. The proposed project needs be structured around applied research, i.e. an innovation that can be commercially applicable on the market.
9. Who owns the intellectual property created as the result of the project?
Ownership of the intellectual property created during the project implementation needs to be agreed on among the consortia members. The Fund will not have any influence on how the final ownership will be resolved, nor will it get involved in this aspect of the Project. However, the requirements of the Program stipulate that all consortium members which have participated in the project must have the right to use the new IP created during the Project free of charge or restraint for their own respective fields of use (business). Any disputes regarding the intellectual property ownership and fields of use among the consortia members need to be resolved prior to the signing of the Financing Agreement, and the general agreement will be submitted to the Fund in a form of a legally bonding document.
10. Is there higher priority for innovations coming from a certain area of technology?
No, there are no priority areas. The Program is equally open for all projects, regardless of the area of science and technology they compete in.
11. Do I need to have all the co-financing funds in my account at the time of the application?
No, this is not necessary. Applicants need to submit proof of co-financing which will cover the needs of the entire project and all the budgetary requirements, but having all the proposed resources available at the time of application is not mandatory. Financing for the project coming from both the Awardee and the IF is done on a quarterly basis, so the Awardee needs to secure the necessary quarterly co-financing at the beginning of each new quarter.
12. Are there any specific regulations which govern the use of these funds that I should be made aware of?
Allocation of the funds through the Collaborative Grant Scheme is conducted in accordance with relevant state aid rules for the purpose of aiding industrial research and development. Applicants are obliged to keep record and inform competent institutions of all instances in which they received state aid for the respective period, in accordance with relevant regulation (Regulation on rules for state aid granting and other applicable rules).
The state aid stipulates that if the Lead Applicant is a medium company, the Innovation Fund may provide financing of up to a maximum of 60% of the Approved Project Budget. In cases the Lead Applicant is a micro or small company, the Innovation Fund may provide financing of up to a maximum of 70% of the Approved Project Budget.
13. Can the EUR 200,000 revenue requirement for the Lead Applicant be bypassed if the proposed Lead Applicant doesn’t have the stated revenue, but is owned by another entity which meets this criterion?
No, this is not possible. The private sector micro, small or medium company incorporated in Serbia acting as the Lead Applicant must fulfill all the necessary eligibility criteria as stated in the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program Grant Manual, including to have average operating annual revenue of at least EUR 200,000 (for the last 3 years or for the number of years operational if younger) and to be profitable.
14. Can a foreign partner participate as part of the consortium?
A foreign partner can be a part of the consortium, however it cannot be in the mandatory role of the Lead Applicant and Lead Co-Applicant, but instead occupy one of the three optional consortium member roles. Additionally, the project proposal needs to clearly illustrate the benefits that the foreign partner brings to the project, as well as to justify any proposed transfer of funds to the foreign partner within the project.
15. How does the IF protect the confidentiality of my project proposal material, since it contains sensitive details about my innovation?
The Innovation Fund has a comprehensive Confidentiality Policy and Prevention of Conflict of Interest Policy in place, which is used to protect all the Applicants and to ensure maximum confidentiality of the information they submit to the IF. All IF staff and external experts that might have insight into any project proposal are legally bound under strict obligation to maintain the highest ethical and confidentiality standards regarding any sensitive information they are privy to.
16. What happens to my project documentation if I submit a project proposal and don’t get approved for financing?
The Innovation Fund archives all submitted documentation regardless of the outcome of a project’s evaluation. This archive is kept for the purpose of control and audit requirements of the Innovation Fund’s operations and the information within the archive is treated as confidential.
17. Can a registered scientific research organization act as the Lead Co-Applicant for the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program? Additionally, what exactly is a „public“ scientific research organization in the context of the Program Grant Manual?
Registered scientific research organizations cannot act as the Lead Co-Applicant due to the eligibility requirements of the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program, but they can participate in the consortium as one of the other Co-Applicants. A „public“ scientific research organization means that the entity is in majority public, i.e. state ownership.