Co-Innovation joint projects between research organizations and companies promote high-quality research and accelerate the renewal and international growth of Finnish companies as well as the building of competitive ecosystems.
The participants in a Co-Innovation joint project work together to generate new knowledge and innovations that enable the companies involved to develop significant new business activities. The participants in the joint project have a common goal and need to engage in collaboration projects and a plan to achieve their common goal.
The funding strengthens the expertise of the research organization and accelerates the utilization of research data in the companies' R&D activities and the development of new export products. Co-Innovation joint projects strengthen both domestic and international networks.
Co-Innovation joint project funding is granted to collaboration projects that have undergone the Co-Creation phase and projects that have been prepared directly without it.
A joint project may be formed by at least two cooperating parties. If one or more research organizations are involved in the project and the project is not related to the ecosystems of leading companies, the collaboration must involve at least three companies. Furthermore, at least two of the companies must have applied for Business Finland's R&D funding. The consortium should often have between 6 and 8 members. In addition, the project may involve companies that otherwise contribute to the project without having an R&D project of their own. They may act as a subcontractor for another company's project, fund research, or bring other in-kind investments (e.g., equipment) to the whole.
Apply for Co-Innovation funding when:
There is demonstrated demand for public research
As a rule, the research projects to be funded are required to be closely engaged in international cooperation, and only in exceptional cases can national cooperation be accepted for obtaining funding.
One of the forms of cooperation below must take place:
It is possible to integrate the Co-Innovation project into the ecosystem of a leading company. Exceptionally, research organizations may set up a Co-Innovation joint project without business partners if it relates to the themes of an ecosystem of leading companies and a roadmap and if it focuses on a strategic research area for which it is still impossible to find business partners.
A Co-Innovation project consists of research projects conducted by public research institutes and R&D projects conducted by companies, with the members of the consortium engaging in close cooperation. Each party must describe in their own application how their project is linked to the joint project.
Research organizations: Before applying for funding, discuss the planned project and application with the research support services of your own organization.
Companies: Companies can contact their own Business Finland account responsible or contact person.
If discussions with your organization's research support services lead to further preparation of the idea, the research support services will direct your idea to Business Finland, which will appoint a contact person for your Co-Innovation project. Prepare to present the consortium and joint project plan to your contact person at Business Finland before submitting your funding application. Before the application is submitted, Business Finland also comments on the R&D project plans that are part of the project. It is useful for the participants in the Co-Innovation joint project to designate a lead coordinator for the project from among their members.
We cannot grant the funding if:
The funding terms and conditions describe the costs that Business Finland can fund, how we monitor your project costs, and how you should report on the progress of your project.
We will evaluate your joint project as a whole and take into account the other applications competing for funding.
Key evaluation areas are:
In companies' projects, we also assess how the project contributes to the company's own growth goals and generates international competitive advantage and exports. The company must have sufficient resources and self-financing for carrying out the project.
In the projects of research organizations, we evaluate how the public research lays the foundations for new innovations and expertise, and how the economy can utilize the results. R&D activities for companies cannot be conducted in a public research project. The results of the research project serve as a basis for the companies' own development projects.
Funding for a Co-Innovation joint project can be applied for continuously.
The funding applications are made in Business Finland's online service. The coordinator fills out the main Co-Innovation application form, and all the participants applying for funding fill out the Co-Innovation participant application form.
1) The coordinator submits the main application
To launch a joint project, the coordinator first fills out the main application, which summarizes the Co-Innovation project. The coordinator is the organization that has assembled the project's participants. The coordinator indicates the number of participants in the application and sets a deadline for the completion of the participant applications. The coordinator also provides the participants with the joint action ID, which the participants use to associate themselves with the project. The coordinator can monitor the status of the participants' applications in the main application.
If the coordinator applies for funding for an R&D project of its own, it must also fill out the participant application form. Coordinating itself is not funded as an R&D project. The participants share the coordinating costs with one another if, in addition to the participants' own project management, they want to involve an external coordinator or other jointly utilized services in the joint project, for example.
The joint project plan (see Appendix 1) is attached to the main Co-Innovation application.
2) The participants in a joint project submit their own applications
Each participant applying for funding for its own sub-project in a joint project submits their own participant application and attaches the joint action ID provided by the coordinator to the application. In this way, the participants join the joint project and the parties filling out the participation application can see the deadline for submitting the application.
Companies also submit their own detailed project plan as an appendix to their application. The project plan guide can be found at the end of the R&D application. In general, the plans of the research participants are only described as a part of the joint project plan.
The participants of a joint project cannot see the content of each other's funding applications or funding decisions.
Companies and other organizations participating in the joint project with in-kind contributions submit their notification of participation in a separate attachment without filling out their own funding application. The funding applications submitted by the parties applying for funding serve as notifications of participation. Therefore, the parties applying for funding do not need to submit any other notification of participation.
3) The coordinator submits the application package to Business Finland
The coordinator may submit the application package to Business Finland immediately after the deadline or when all the applications have been completed. All applications associated with the main application are then transferred to Business Finland for processing simultaneously. The allocation of costs to the projects of the companies and research institutes involved in the project can begin, at the earliest, when the coordinator has sent the application package to Business Finland and Business Finland has all the information necessary for evaluating the project. The main application must not be submitted to Business Finland if it has no participant applications associated with it.
When the applications have been submitted for the first time, it is still possible to supplement both the main application and the participant applications and attach documents to the participant applications. Business Finland may request the parties to supplement the applications. The request for supplementation is sent by email to the person in charge of the application, and the content of the request for supplementation appears on each page of the application. The supplement is made by using the application form, which is finally submitted back to Business Finland.
New participants may join in the Co-Innovation project after the first submission of the application package during the application processing phase. Permission to join the project afterwards is granted by the project's main processor, a financial advisor at Business Finland. When joining the project afterward, use the Co-Innovation participant application. The joint project ID must also be used when joining the project afterwards.
The joint project must have a joint project plan describing the entire project.
In the joint project plan, describe the concrete implementation and resourcing:
The parties to the joint projects should conclude a mutual cooperation agreement on matters such as
The contract templates have been drawn up in cooperation between certain universities, universities of applied sciences, and research institutes. Business Finland is not responsible for the content of the templates, their suitability for the intended purpose, or their updating, and is not a contracting party to the cooperation contracts.
The coordination of large joint projects is a demanding task, and participants in joint projects must demonstrate that they have enough time and expertise to manage the project.
As a rule, the participants in the joint project submit reports on their own project and the cooperation simultaneously in accordance with the reporting schedule mentioned in the funding decisions. Simultaneous reporting facilitates the monitoring of the joint project and its goals.
Eligible costs for public research projects (e.g., for research organizations)
All costs incurred must be related to the implementation of the project. We accept costs in accordance with the Funding Agency's general terms and conditions for public research. Eligible costs may include:
The following costs are not eligible in the project:
Eligible costs for companies' R&D projects
The content and goals of the project determine which project costs can be accepted. We accept costs in accordance with Business Finland's general terms and conditions for companies' R&D funding. We accept costs at the earliest from the date of submitting the application to Business Finland.
In research and development projects, eligible cost types include:
Costs of piloting projects may include:
If the beneficiary receives income from a prototype, demonstration project, or production testing created in the project during or immediately after the project, the beneficiary must report this to Business Finland immediately or no later than during the final report. If the income is significant, we may refuse to accept any costs related to commercial activities.
A 'research and information dissemination organization' refers to any entity (such as universities or research institutes, technology transfer bodies, innovation intermediaries, research-oriented physical or virtual collaborative communities), irrespective of its legal status (whether governed by public or private law) or its mode of funding, the main purpose of which is to independently conduct basic research, industrial research, or experimental development, or to disseminate the results of such activities through education, publications, or the transfer of knowledge. Where such an entity also carries out economic activities, separate accounts must be kept for the funding, costs, and revenues of these economic activities. In such an entity, companies exercising decisive influence, for example as shareholders or members, must not have preferential rights over the results achieved.
Plan a project and define its goals. Ensure the sufficiency of self-financing.
Submit your application through online services. Submit the additional information requested.
Business Finland will assess your application and notify you of its decision. Read the decision and its terms and conditions, and approve the decision in online services.
Arrange project accounting. Notify Business Finland of any changes.
Report your project's implementation and costs. Attach the additional information requested with your report.
Research and knowledge-dissemination organisation means an entity (such as universities or research institutes, technology transfer agencies, innovation intermediaries, research-oriented physical or virtual collaborative entities), irrespective of its legal status (organised under public or private law) or way of financing, whose primary goal is to independently conduct fundamental research, industrial research or experimental development or to widely disseminate the results of such activities by way of teaching, publication or knowledge transfer.
Where such entity also pursues economic activities the financing, the costs and the revenues of those economic activities must be accounted for separately. Undertakings that can exert a decisive influence upon such an entity, in the quality of, for example, shareholders or members, may not enjoy preferential access to the results generated by it.