Guidance for applicants

​The GÉANT Innovation Programme is a unique opportunity to enable initial development, establish a proof of concept or testing of new ideas, with lightweight, administrative constraints.

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GÉANT Innovation Programme guidance for applicants

Proposals may be submitted by a single organisation or by a small consortium. For small consortia, only the lead partner organisation will receive funding and will be responsible for assigning a budget to other project participants. GÉANT will not ask for a detailed declaration of expenditure, however, participants should be prepared to provide supporting documentation in the event of an audit.

Proposals must be submitted according to the timetable of the given call. Evaluations will be quickly carried out following a simple, two-stage process: a first review by subject experts, and final evaluation by the evaluation committee. The GÉANT Association will sign a Research Agreement with a successful applicant, which will outline the work to be done, the likely outcomes and results, as well as the conditions under which their projects will be carried out. Work should not start until this agreement is signed.

The legal entity representing a successful project will be paid upon the completion of the work. Due to the innovative nature of the work performed, we understand that not all projects will achieve their expected result. However, a project report will be used as the basis of the final evaluation to ensure value for money, efficiency and that the proof-of-concept activities were completed.

Proposal Evaluation and Selection

The evaluation of proposals will take place according to the timetable of a given call. Eligible proposals will be evaluated, using the form shown in the Application Form template.

A minimum of three subject matter experts will be assigned to make an initial evaluation of each proposal received.

A final evaluation will then be completed by a committee which may include:

  • Members of the GÉANT Community Committee (GCC).
  • Steering committees of GÉANT Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Task Forces (TFs).
  • Well recognised subject matter experts from the GÉANT community.
  • Ex officio members from the GÉANT Association.

All evaluators sign a conflict-of-interest form before taking part in the evaluation process and must be independent of any member of the consortium and of any applicant. In case one or more of the ex officio members are not independent, they shall abstain into the evaluation process in order to perform strictly administrative functions.

During the evaluation process, the lead partner in a proposal may be invited to meet with members of the evaluation committee - for example, in cases where further clarifications are required regarding the content, costs or outcomes of the project.

Once a proposal has been selected the lead partner (representing the consortium if several legal entities are involved) will enter into a Research Agreement with the GÉANT Association which outlines outcomes and expected results of the proposed work. Activities may only start upon signature of the Research Agreement.

Final Report

All successfully funded projects will submit a final report to the evaluation committee. The report shall include the results achieved, or the reason why they were not achieved and ‘lessons learned’ during the activity. Upon acceptance of the evaluation committee of the final report, a services rendered document is issued and can be submitted with the invoice for payment. A template for the final report will be provided.


This section provides a list of points that applicants are advised to check prior to their proposal submission.

Is your organisation eligible?
Member NRENs from the GÉANT Association or legal entities from one of its ‘connected institutions’, including universities, research or education institutes or institutions served by the NREN, are eligible for funding under this programme. If in doubt, please check either with your local NREN or the Innovation Fund co-ordinator.

Is the proposal eligible?
Applicants must submit a complete proposal, using the Indico submission system. Any proposal not meeting the eligibility requirements will be considered ineligible and will not be evaluated.

Does the legal department of lead partner institution accept the chosen Research Agreement?
Before submitting the proposal, the lead partner must ensure that the legal department of his institutions accepts to sign the GIP Research Agreement as is, without any amendments. There are two versions available, with and without a Data Processing Agreement section. The applicant needs to choose the correct version, taking into account, if any personal data will be processed.

Do you need further advice and support?
For further information and help please contact us. Answers to your question may be included in an FAQ section available on the Innovation Fund web page on the GÉANT website.

Support to Applicants
For further information and help, please consult the FAQs below. If the information you require is not on the website, please contact us.


What is the maximum award one organisation can be granted?
A single, eligible legal entity will be awarded up to EUR50,000 per project. One organisation can submit multiple
applications since each project will be judged separately on its merits.

What costs are eligible?
Costs that are directly associated with undertaking the project are eligible, for example, manpower, travel, etc.

Should project participants be located in an EU country? Does geographical location also apply to team members (EU
nationals) and subcontractors?

Project participants should be registered in a country where a GÉANT Association NREN is located. There are no
restrictions on the nationality of team members, but they should be employed by a participant organisation. Similarly,
there is no restriction on the nationality or location of subcontractors.  Subcontracting needs to be explained in the
application (purpose of subcontractor, input to the project, etc.).

Is match funding needed?
Projects that provide matching funding will be scored more highly than those without. Match funding may come either from
internal funds of the organisation or external funding. In the latter case it is important to indicate the source, e.g.
national or regional public funding, external investor, bank loan, etc.

How will the funding be paid? Do milestones/deliverables justify the payment or is a detailed declaration of
expenditures needed?

GÉANT Association will provide a final payment at the end of the project, based on the acceptance of the final report.
Interim payments will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. A detailed declaration of expenditure is not
required, however, in the event of an audit, the lead partner should be prepared to provide supporting documentation.

Does GÉANT pay any overhead (e.g. 25% as in H2020 calls/programmes) for costs that cannot be identified and calculated
by the beneficiary as directly attributed to the project?

The funding is provided as a lump sum contribution, there are no set rules for how organisations design their budget.
The aim of the budget in the proposal is to demonstrate to the evaluators that the requested funding is consistent with
the effort invested in producing the outcome the project aims to achieve. It should give GÉANT a ‘value for money’
perspective on the project.

Is it possible to attach support letters e.g. from the local NREN?
Letters of support may be included as part of the proposal in so far as they are relevant.

Can universities have a system supplier as one of their partners?
The ‘lead partner’ will choose the best partners to deliver the objectives of the project. The GÉANT association will
sign an agreement with the lead partner only.

Can a not-for-profit association be a partner?
Yes, as long as it is a legal entity, and it is a ‘connected institution’ of a GÉANT association NREN. Only ‘connected
institutions’ can be a leading partner.

Can one institution have more applications?

What about adaptations of previous EC work – are they eligible?
Adaptation of previous EC work is eligible - as long as the benefit is for the R&E community and it is genuinely
innovation and useful.

Regarding the Eligibility criteria what do you mean by ‘connected institutions’ to the National Members?
We mean organisations which are users of GÉANT Association member NRENs.

Would it be possible to form a consortium (e.g. two partners both members of GÉANT Association)?
Yes – but only the ‘lead partner’ will sign an agreement with GÉANT and invoices will only be paid to the lead partner.
The lead partner is wholly responsible for any additional assignment of funding between other partners in a small

GÉANT ran an Open Call programme before – is this the same? Are these ‘Open Calls’?
No. The Innovation Programme is not a grant funding programme and no EC guidelines or regulations (usually associated
with a formal funding mechanism like for example an ‘Open Call’) apply here. The GÉANT Innovation Programme is a
lightweight and agile scheme to support new ideas and innovative concepts from the GÉANT community.

Is there a list of previous successful projects on the web?
The list of last year's funded projects is available here.

Is there a list of connected institutions of NRENs so that I can find partners?
Some NRENs provide such a list on their web sites, others don’t. If in doubt you can contact your local NREN.

For the project, do we have to demonstrate the costs (financial report) or is the payment modality a lump sum?
The payment modality will be a lump sum paid to the lead partner after the end of the project and submission of the
final report.

What is the expected TRL (Technology Readiness Level) for the proposals?
We do not work with TRL levels. We focus on the levels of innovation and benefits to the Research and Education

Are SMEs eligible applicants for the Innovation Programme?
No. However SMEs can be partners of an eligible applicant.

Are legal entities not belonging to the GÉANT community eligible applicants for the Innovation Programme, for example
non-European institutions?

No. However they can be partners of an eligible applicant.


For further information, please contact us.
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