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Company participation in collaborative projects

Most funding programmes provide the opportunity for companies to participate in some way. In many cases, companies are encouraged by the funder to be part of the consortium.

Is the company prepared to join the project? What is the aim of participation?

Several issues must be addressed before initiating work. The key is to understand why the company wishes to participate in a project. Doing so requires us to consider the role that the company can play. Will they bring to market or verify a product, or is the company's role to be a developer? Does the company have an internal objective, and does this agree with the company’s other work?

The company's ability to meet its obligations

Liquidity should be considered. In many cases, the company may need to advance project funds in the form of salaries or investments. The costs accounted for are then paid out following approval. This means that liquidity is a parameter to be taken into account.

State aid rules

State aid rules may apply in certain cases. In simple terms, this EU law is designed to ensure that competition is not distorted. Basically, a company can receive up to €200,000 over a period of three years without it being counted as a competitive advantage over the market. There are many exceptions linked to the role of the company. In the case of joint development between public and private actors, the situation is different.

Read more about state aid rules

Indicators of maturity of a given technology

Many calls for funding require the development of a product or service to be within a certain Technology Readiness Level (TRL). This indicates the maturity of a particular technology.

Below is the definition from the Horizon Europe Programme, endorsed by the European Commission.

The text is taken from the document: https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/other/wp/2016-2017/annexes/h2020-wp1617-annex-ga_en.pdf

Where a topic description refers to a TRL, the following definitions apply, unless otherwise specified:
TRL 1 – basic principles observed 
TRL 2 – technology concept formulated 
TRL 3 – experimental proof of concept
TRL 4 – technology validated in lab 
TRL 5 – technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
TRL 6 – technology demonstrated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
TRL 7 – system prototype demonstration in operational environment 
TRL 8 – system complete and qualified  
TRL 9 – actual system proven in operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies; or in space 


Latest update: 2023-02-16