SME PROGRAM


Who is eligible and why is it funded

This is a Vinnova program, closely linked to Vinnova competence centers and dedicated to Swedish SME partners of the centers. All Swedish SME partners part of TECoSA are thus eligible to apply for this additional funding. The goal of the SME-program is to provide financial support to SMEs partners to engage further with the collaborative research of the centers. Vinnova aims to make up to 1 Mkr in total available annually for all competence centers in their second year onwards (i.e. from 2021 for TECoSA). The actual budget may vary depending on the grants allocated to Vinnova.

In TECoSA, we invite all our Swedish SME partners to provide proposals. Even though the SME program as such provides limited funding – and may thus not be able to support all proposals, we believe that proposal efforts would still be useful since they put ideas forward that can lead to various types of initiatives and projects, e.g. projects with other funding sources, MSc thesis projects, etc.

This page describes the process, criteria, call topics and how to apply. You can read more here, or download the information as a pdf document.

The Vinnova Call (Dnr. 2021-01084) text is available, and additional information from Vinnova can be found below:

Process for establishing and running SME projects

Vinnova and TECoSA have worked out the following process:

  • SME partners submit proposals to the TECoSA board using the Vinnova provided template (see headings in the Proposal Guidelines section below, and also refer to additional guidelines KTH Box under “Vinnova reporting, information and templates/SME program“).
  • The evaluation of submitted proposals is as follows:
    • A pre-screening with respect to eligibility constraints will be made by the TECoSA director and co-director and submitted to the Board. The Board will then review the proposals and decide on which projects to approve.
    • The Board makes a selection according to the established criteria (see next section) and provides feedback including an “ok”, “not ok”, and if relevant, a “conditional ok” (the latter could lead to a later resubmission). The “ok” will be manifested by a Board support letter to the SME partner.
    • Attention will be payed to any conflicts of interests; Board members with a direct connection to a proposal, for example as a company partner, will not take part of the corresponding decisions. SME members on the Board will also not be part of the decision making. Furthermore, to avoid conflicts of interests, the directors will only provide a pre-screening and not an evaluation.
    • The Board decision regarding each submitted proposal will be documented in the Board meeting protocol.
  • SME partners with “okayed” proposals go on and submit their proposal to Vinnova together with the support letter from the board. Vinnova then makes the formal decision. Vinnova will normally approve “ok’ed” proposals, assuming that proposing partners meet stipulated constraints (e.g. that they are indeed an SME). The requirements are described in the Vinnova Call text.
  • Vinnova approved proposals will result in a separate project between the SME partner and Vinnova. Such separate SME program projects have reporting separated from TECoSA where the SME partner individually reports to Vinnova according to a reporting plan.
  • Running projects are evaluated by the TECoSA Board and at the project end by Vinnova.

Criteria for selecting proposals (that will be assessed by the TECoSA Board)

  1. Relevance for TECoSA including:
    (i) relevance of the problem addressed in connection to TECoSA research topics – its motivation, and alignment / complementarity with TECoSA efforts, and
    (ii) impact potential, in terms of product/service innovation (industrial take-up), and/or testbed capabilities, and/or in terms of visibility/demonstrations.
  2. Feasibility in terms of plan, resources and budget
  3. Actors – collaborations. Vinnova and TECoSA would like to see collaborations whenever relevant. For equally ranked projects, referring to the Relevance and Feasibility criteria, projects with stronger collaboration will be ranked higher. Collaborations can refer to any of other SMEs, KTH PIs in TECoSA and the large industrial partners of TECoSA.

Call topics

Proposals should address topics that are seen to provide synergies with TECoSA including topics relating to the research projects, testbeds or beyond (e.g. providing an investigation that could be provide the basis for formulating a new project).

The call is open for topics generally in the scope of TECoSA research. This may include topics which are also beyond the current research agenda but can be motivated in terms of industrial needs and a corresponding lack of state of the art methods/techniques to address these needs. The following topics are meant to provide ideas, but the call is not limited to them:

  • Methods for enabling secure data processing and storage at the edge
  • Methods for the management and protection of identities in edge applications
  • Testbed related proposals: Proposals providing software/hardware platforms that support experiments and testing of edge computing systems, in one or more relevant applications domains.
    • More detailed example: Contributions to an edge-based automated driving and intelligent transportation testbed on campus with an edge-based “ITS station” with wireless connectivity and environment sensors.
  • Software platforms, either providing, or for evaluating trustworthiness aspects – for example referring to container-based software.
  • Software services/framework useful for error and anomaly detection in edge based systems and various applications.
  • Investigations of new safety and security standards resulting in guidance and/or comparisons that can be useful for TECoSA research and industrialization.

Intended project time frame and funding sizes in this call

  1. Funding limits: Funding proposals are recommended to request up to 600 Kkr, but also proposals with a larger budget will be considered. The total budget for all projects for 2021 is up to 1 Mkr and we expect the same amount for 2022 through 2024.
  2. Duration: It is possible to apply for projects with a duration longer than one year, and thus across calendar years. such that they end within the year of the proposal (e.g. a proposal starting 2021 should end by the end of 2021). Proposals may also describe potential continuations as possible follow-up projects/efforts.
  3. Funding models: Vinnova provides two funding models for SMEs with approved projects:
    (i) Standard model: Funding with 50% of the effort of the proposing SME.
    (ii) “De minimis”: 70% funding can be offered in the case when an SME has received less than 2 MSEK in public support the last 3 years, the so called ”de minimis” principle. If “de minimis” support is applied for, then a statement has to be filled in and provided together with the proposal (see https://www.vinnova.se/globalassets/mikrosajter/kompetenscentrum/dokument/intyg-de-minimis.docx)

Proposal Guidelines (template and size)

We recommend a page limit of 3 pages, using the Vinnova Proposal Template
www.vinnova.se/globalassets/mikrosajter/kompetenscentrum/dokument/projektbeskrivningsmall-kc-stod-till-smf.docx

Key headings include:

  1. KORT SAMMANFATTNING AV PROJEKTET (max 1500 tecken)
  2. RELEVANS FÖR KOMPETENSCENTRUMET (Beskriv så tydligt som möjligt det behov eller problem som projektet adresserar)
  3. GENOMFÖRBARHET (Beskriv hur ni planerar att genomföra projektet (projektplan))
  4. AKTÖRER (Ange de personerna, i det egna företaget och hos eventuella konsulter/samarbetspartner, som har en viktig roll för projektets genomförande)

What would a typical project look like?

A typical project might run for a duration of say 5-10 months, involving a close tie to a TECoSA research project or testbed, or providing an investigation that could be the seed for a new research project. The projects would typically be expected to involve some level of partner collaboration, e.g. with a TECoSA KTH PI and another company. Say that one TECoSA SME partner gets a 9 month project approved with an overall effort of 500 Kkr. Assuming the standard funding model, Vinnova would then support the SME partner with 250 Kkr, with the rest being provided by partner.

When to submit proposals

Proposals should first be sent to the TECoSA Directors for submission to the TECoSA Board. The Board will provide Support letters to approved proposals, as soon as possible after the Board meeting. Such support letters are required for the SMEs as they submit their “recommended” proposal to Vinnova.

Vinnova will provide a dedicated link for submitting proposals the board has recommended. A proposal can be submitted to the TECoSA board at any time with the idea that they will be handled at the forthcoming board meeting (taking place quarterly) or – if need be – in a per capsulam (off-line) fashion. Vinnova continously accepts proposals between February and September, and provides a decision within a month.

The last decision point for Vinnova is in September for projects to start within the same year.

Submission: Email your proposal to: tecosa-admin@kth.se; martint@kth.se; james.gross@ee.kth.se

Further information

What about agreements and IP conditions?
We normally expect that SME projects will be governed by the TECoSA agreement.

Can an SME be engaged in more than one project/proposal?
An SME partner can lead one project and also be part of (but not lead) another SME project.

Contact persons

Projects so far

MBRASA – a 2021 SME Project with Syntell, Safety Integrity and Einride
(Model-Based Risk Assessment and Safety Analysis – exploring new methods for ensuring safe autonomous transport system for the future!)