Frequently Asked Questions – High impact action call 2019

Does the pilot need co-funding from the enterprise? If so, which kinds of funding that could be?

Each voucher covers up to 80% of the total costs. Private co-investment of 20% is needed. It can be in-kind. In-kind salaries would be eligible but no other in-kind funding.

Can the lead partner be a developing organisation? Or should the main applicant be a firm?
This is up to the consortium to decide.

Can the participating firm get some budget to them as well, or is it only directed to the developing organisations and consultants?
This is up to the consortium to decide.

Is it possible to also develop service innovations?
At the moment the focus is on product innovations.

Very often digitalization (digital solutions) is about services (SAAS) or other similar solutions like described in ENF HIA Guideline p. 6 (please, see below)

“New smart, digital solutions (new sensors, real-time monitoring of forestry biomass, digital platform for storing, sharing and bundling of side-streams, Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied to harvesting and logging, etc.)“

Will the voucher be de minimis support?

Who will own the Intellectual Property Rights of the innovations after the HIA?
This is up to the consortium to decide. The call funding authority, Regional Council of Lapland is not responsible of IPR issues for this HIA call applicants.

To be an eligible applicant for the voucher, it is required to have organisations at least from two ENF regions. However, does this refer that at least one of the organisations should be Finnish research institution? How about, how many companies are needed for eligible application? Are
organisations like Natural Insititute of Finland and VTT eligible partners as they have locations in ENF area? Or should the professionals involved from public research organisations be located in
ENF area?
The consortium is composed of at least 3 legal entities based at least in two different East and
North Finland regions. This does not refer that another organisation should be Finnish research institution, such like Natural Resource Institute Finland (LUKE) or VTT. It can be any public organisation in East and North Finland who offers RDI development services (such like university or Research and Technology Organisation). The geographical location of public research organisation and its participating professionals is limited to ENF area. For companies it is required to be located in ENF area.

What TRL level must be achieved during the project?
In the HIA Guide we say….”intending to increase the technological and market maturity of their solution beyond TRL 6.” (page 8 and the infographic on page 9). In practise this means that the starting point for the project can be below or above TRL 6.  It is anyway advisable to keep in mind that it is highly unrealistic that during the project the TRL level could be increased more than 2 levels in TRL scale.

Is it possible for a non-SME company (larger companies) to participate to ELMO High Impact Call as part of the consortium? Could a larger company act as, for instance, a test site or platform provider in the consortium? In other words, could a larger company participate in the product development when the product innovation would benefit an SME?
Yes. Larger than SME companies can be the End-user or customer. Please see Guidelines page 3. End-user or customer is defined as it follows: any companies (including large scale), municipality, town or any other end user benefiting from the new applications / processes / products / services provided by the SMEs and micro-companies. Projects selected will be carried out in close collaboration with the different actors of the related value chain. Direct Beneficiary must be a micro-, small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) from ENF region, see European Commission SME Definition 2003/361/EC (

Shall all the companies and research participants in the consortium be located in East and North Finland area? Furthermore, is it adequate that the company/ research organization etc. has an office or certain functions in ENF area? Or does the main office or company registered office location of the consortium members/ participants need to be in ENF area? (the question concerning how is the ENF location of the consortium members defined precisely)?
Please check Guidelines page 10. The direct beneficiary must have its home location in the ENF region. The service provider must have its home location, or an office located in an ENF region.

Is it possible to receive the voucher for a product development that shall be tested in a non-wood-related-environment in case the product development achieved is directly applicable to end-users in wood-industry? The consortium would not include a direct link to wood industry, but would develop a product directly applicable in wood industry (and the applicability could be demonstrated in the application and results)?
The end product must be linked to tree, wood or timber value chain. The development is measured by increased TRL.

In the ENF HIA Guidelines, under section 3.2 How to apply is written “Get familiar with the procedure and download the HIA application form with annexes.” However, from the official website dedicated to this call I can only find ENF High Impact Action Annex 1_FINAL, ENF High Impact Action Annex 2_FINAL, and ENF High Impact Action Guideline FINAL. Is there a separate application form that should be filled for the call, or can the applicant use for example company’s own application template, if it follows the title structure given in Annex 1?
Please download and see the Annex 1 as instructions for application. Companies are encouraged to use their own templates as far as the structure presented on Annex 1 is applied.

In case of applying we, would like to know, is digital platform or application considered here as product or service? If service, does it mean that those are not in the scope of this call?
Very often it is difficult to totally concentrate on digital products without service, because usually business ideas include both.

The product is eligible as far as the development can be measured on Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale. Please see the instructions: Guidelines pages 3, 6 and 8 about TRL.

Can the lead partner be a start-up?

What do you mean by “in-kind salaries” (guidelines, page 9)?
In-kind salaries mean the direct beneficiary’s paid and duly reported salaries for employee/entrepreneur during the project development

What do you mean by “indirect eligible costs” (annex 1, page 3)?
Indirect costs are general administrative costs – overhead costs incurred in connection with the eligible direct costs of the project. They are limited to a flat-rate of 7% of the total eligible direct costs for the project. These can include maintenance, stationery, photocopying, mailing postage, telephone, internet, heating, electricity or other forms of energy, water, office furniture, insurance and any other expenditure necessary for the successful completion of the project.

On page 11, you have written “all consortium members declare not to be an “undertaking in difficulty””.  How should this declaration be done in practice?
By signing The Declaration of Honour, Annex 2. The Declaration of Honour includes following “By signing the East and North Finland in Industrial Transition application the Lead Partner on behalf of all partners, confirms that: neither our organisation nor the partners are in any of the situations excluding them from participating in contracts which are listed in the respective documents and we accept that if we participate in spite of being in any of these situations, we may be excluded from other procedures; and if recommended to be awarded a grant, our organisation accepts the contractual conditions as laid down in the Grant Contract and in its conditions;”

Are there limitations or guidelines of the ownership of the company? Can an SME partly owned by a bigger company apply? If the ownership is limited, how big is the share that is allowed to be owned by a bigger company?
By the European Union definition for SMEs, the participating company must be autonomous. For description of “autonomous SME”, please see further details on “The revised User Guide to the SME definition”, page 16:

How many vouchers can a project be granted; e.g., if we had three partners (two SME’s and one RTO) and the total budget would be around 170 kEUR, is it possible to have each partner funded by max 45 kEUR – in this case provided that the budgets are close to equal between partners?
One consortium is granted only one voucher. Profit organisations (SME’s) can only participate to one winning HIA pilot consortium. The number of winning High Impact Action consortiums for non-profit organisations (i.e. RDI organisations) is not limited.

Can an RTO (research institute) be a beneficiary as well, i.e. to get a voucher/direct funding?
Direct beneficiary should be micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from ENF regions, see European Commission SME Definition 2003/361/EC See more about voucher-system from the HIA Guide page 6. It is assumed that direct beneficiary uses the voucher to cover the cost of the service provider(s).

Are there any priorities for a lead partner (a company vs. an RTO)?
We do not have evaluation criteria for lead partner´s organisation type. We follow the general eligibility criteria in Guideline page 10, “3.1 Eligibility conditions” in addition to definitions on page 3, “0/Terminology and key concepts”

Are there limitations on the partner budgets in terms of acceptable cost and cost types? For instance, if a voucher is used to purchase external service from a RTO, can they decide freely how the allocated funding is used (salaries, reagent purchases, equipment, rents, etc.) as long as the overhead does not exceed 7% ?
The decisions on internal budgeting must be taken amongst direct beneficiary and service provider as long as it’s not contradicting the rules and budget lines set in Guidelines and Annex(es). Budget lines are “Staff, External services and Indirect eligible cost”.

If the main applicant / beneficiary SME wishes to perform investments, or support financially the investment made by RTO, to facilitate piloting of a process, are the costs associated to equipment, chemical or service purchases acceptable to be counted to the 20% share of own funding, or do they have to be salaries paid?
Please see the page 9 in Guidelines. Own funding (20 %) can be allocated only for salaries. It can be so called “in-kind”. In-kind salaries mean the direct beneficiary’s paid and duly reported salaries for employee/entrepreneur during the project development as mentioned on FAQ section of webpages.

Can in-kind be other than paid salary? Like lead partners payments for external services, like for coding?
In-kind funding can be only salaries as stated in the High Impact Action Guideline on page 9.  Anyway, own contribution can be also services paid to service provider.

Can the partner organisation consist of three partners, of which lead is a coordinating firm, sub-contractor (firm in other regional county) and a spin-off firm from University of Applied Sciences?
The partnership/consortium can consist of three different organisations, as long as the eligibility rules are applied. See more details from the High Impact Application Guidelines chapter 3.1 Eligibility conditions.

Do the social security contributions have to be visible in the budget or can they be left out of the budget?
If you leave social security contributions out from HIA application budget, you shall not report them either. In this case, the social security contributions should be payed from another source than HIA budget. It’s required to indicate the total staff cost and it’s up to participating organisation if the social security contributions are included in HIA budget or not.

We are a SME that wants to cooperate in the ELMO project with two departments of a same university, departments located in different cities. How do you see these partners, are they considered as one or two separate partners in the ELMO context? Are we going to need one more partner in order to be an eligible applicant?
Two departments of the same university are considered as one legal entity. Please see page 10 in Guideline, “The consortium is composed of at least three legal entities based in at least two different ENF regions.”

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