Cascade funding untangled!
Easy-to-apply EU funding
You might have seen the expression “cascade funding” here and there in our blog and in FundingBox site. You may have already got that it has something to do with support for tech projects, but probably you are trying to focus on finding the way of pushing your project ahead and have no time to dig into what on earth is this wicked thing.
Well, if you reached that point, you are going the right way: cascade funding is public EU funding easy to apply for by innovative digital start-ups and experiments. Let’s see if I can help a bit with the rest.
Almost every start-up or tech SME in Europe know something about Horizon2020 Programme, the EU Research and Innovation programme (2014-2020), but not so many people know that, under certain topics, it grants projects which foresee financial support to third parties.
This means, that some granted EU projects may issue, in turn, open calls to distribute funding among final beneficiaries (including tech start-ups, scale-ups and/or SME). Here, “open” means “open to the public”: any entity fulfilling each call’s rules can apply.
So, what type of projects may get cascade funding? Can start-ups apply?
These open calls within EU projects are usually competitive, distribute funding or vouchers for support services and aims at:
– Selecting tech start-ups or scale-ups for acceleration or incubation purposes (usually equity free),
– Supporting pilots, demonstrations and/or experiments undertaken by start-ups or SME on a specific innovative technology or framework, or
– Integrating more participants to the project to extend its scope or to address specific tasks.
Support offered may range typically in the order of € 50,000 – € 150,000 . However, open calls do not always distribute money but, for example, vouchers for support services or free access and support to use testing facilities.
Open calls for incubation or acceleration are aimed at selecting best entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups (or even SMEs) that are willing to include new technologies promoted by the project to their products, services or business models.
Other calls targets supporting experimenting projects, such as piloting experiments (small scale preliminary studies), application experiments (to provide first users with novel products and services and assist them to implement them), innovation experiments by SME (to apply emerging technologies in real-like situations), or assessment experiments (to support suppliers to assess their prototypes / products in production-like environment).
Finally, open calls for extensions usually aim at enlarging the existing experimentation support capacity of the project, by adding new testbeds or platforms to the project or new partners developing new functionalities (such as testing tools, apps, etc.) to project’s framework or undertaking specific tasks for the experiments/demonstrators foreseen in the project.
In many cases, the same project may issue both experiments and extensions open calls.
Does cascade funding focus on a particular technology domain?
Most of the open calls issued during this Horizon 2020 can be classified under one (or more) of the following domains: Future Internet / Next Generation Internet, Smartisation, Industry 4.0 (ICT for Industry), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Big Data, Photonics, Innovation throughout value chains, and the nexus between creativity and technology.
Ongoing cascade funding open calls
The following projects have launched cascade funding open calls, which are now ongoing and admit applications submissions:
- Impact Growth, an accelerator for start-ups in the growth phase in Smart Infrastructures and Cities, Smart Content, Smart Manufacturing or Smart Agrifood (up to € 250,000, equity free).
- frontierCities2, including Market Acceleration Grants (up to € 75,000 funding) and Development & Acceleration Grants (up to € 100,000 funding).
- 4th WiSHFUL Open Call for Experiments on advanced solutions for controlling wireless networks (funding up to € 50.000 per Scientific Excellence experiment).
- Rosin call for “Focused Technical Projects” complementing ROS infrastructure with development targeting concrete business needs. (up to 33% of project cost)
- Superbio call to support SMEs in constructing their value chain by offering 10 innovation services (granted up to 75%) up to a maximum total value of € 60,000 per project.
- Neptune call for expressions of interest for vouchers for SME innovation (up to €60,000) in new cross-sectoral value chains in Blue Growth.
- Permides call to support, via innovation vouchers, digitalization solutions undertaken jointly by a biopharma SME and a IT SME (acting as service provider), which address innovation barriers/challenges of the biopharmaceutical value chain.
- Vertigo Starts Artistic Residencies Programme, including calls for RTD projects and for artists (grants of up to € 30.000 goes to the artist).
- WEAR Sustain call for teams of artists/designers and ICT/technology entrepreneurs/engineers to co-innovate the “next wearables generation” (funding – up to €40.000- and innovation vouchers – up to € 15.000-).