Calling Innovative businesses in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly!

Featuring Richard Wadman | 25th October, 2018

Having just got off the telephone to a contact in ‘Access to the Programme Team’ for Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, I can provide an update on the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) Call for Research and Innovation.

What projects are being sought?

My understanding is that for this Call:

  • Applications sought from the private sector
  • Looking for projects that have R&D at the core
  • Example eligible expenditure items of a ‘project’, include:
    • Costs of developing a prototype
    • Investing in equipment to enable R&D to be carried out
    • Investing in verification equipment
    • Investing in conversion/ renovation of premises so that they are fit for R&D to be carried out

I have been informed that there has been a reasonable level of enquires received so far.

What grant assistance can be applied for (and a bit on State Aid)?

There are a number of different options for compliance with State Aid law, however one potential method of ensuring compliance is based on the General Block Exemption Regulation 2014 Art 25: Aid for Research and Development Projects. Art 25, if applicable, would allow the aid intensities as set out below. I should point out that other methods of compliance are available, which have different intervention rates and may be more appropriate in the circumstances, and it is always worth seeking professional advice in respect of state aid compliance (as I did when I started drafting this section!):

Level of support available (as per extracts from Section 4 of The State Manual for Practitioners – which also gives an explanation of the terms used)
Small Enterprise Medium Enterprise Large Enterprise
Industrial Research 70% 60% 50%
Industrial Research projects involving collaborations or where the results will be disseminated 80% 75% 65%
Experimental development 45% 35% 25%
Experimental Development projects involving collaborations or where the results will be disseminated 60% 50% 40%

When do applications have to be in?

Outline applications need to be in by 23:59 on 31 October 2018.

Next steps

Personally, if you have a significant spend project / activity with a strong focus on / relevance to R&D (i.e. the project is about carrying out and/ or facilitation of R&D) then I would:

  • Scan through the call specification and other guidance material on LEPs website page for the Call and the Call’s webpage
  • Sketch out/ jot down a rough summary of the project
  • Pick up the telephone to the ‘Access to Programme Team’ and talk through your project (maybe start with little detail and be prepared to flesh out detail if required) to better understand:
    • Is your project eligible? You may not get a definite answer but I would hope you would get a steer.  If eligible, then the:
      • key points you need to stress in your Outline Application
      • assistance available to you in drawing up your Outline Application

Start drafting your Outline Application – remember to address the points / questions being raised

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