How to respond to a call for projects in 2024?

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Whether you're a start-up, a major corporation, an association, a university or any other player in the research sector, understanding what an AàP is, how it works, and how to respond to it can be the key to your success. This article gives you all the information you need to understand the basics of this type of scheme.

To help you identify the calls for projects for which you may be eligible, we have developed a tool that allows you to find all the grants for your innovative company in just 8 clicks.

What is a call for projects (CFP)?

A call for projects (AàP) is an invitation issued by a government, institution or other organization to Fund projects that meet specific criteria, via specifications describing the specific expectations of the projects. These AàP can concern various fields such as scientific research, technological development, culture, education, the environment, etc.

How does an AàP work?

These calls for projects are often part of a funding program, which is an initiative developed by a government or a specific entity such as the European Commission, with the aim of mobilizing financial or human resources to support projects that contribute to achieving the strategic objectives of this entity, often political.

For some AàP projects, the answers may or must be shared by several organizations. If this is the case, the project is said to be collaborative, and the responding partners must form a consortium, which may include private companies of any size, public institutions or laboratories, associations...

When a company, association or organization is selected for financing, it receives funding in the form of grants, loans or equity.

Types of assistance: grants, loans, equity

1. Grants provide financial support with no obligation to repay.

2. Loans include repayable advances that must be repaid.

3. Equity investments involve direct participation in the company's equity by the entity or investors partnering the call for projects.

Please note that subsidies are subject to performance obligations, on pain of repayment or partial payment of the subsidy.

AàP or AMI (Call for expressions of interest)?

Unlike an AàP, an AMI is a preliminary stage (usually without dedicated funding) where organizations/companies are invited to express their interest in future funding in a given field. This may involve providing basic information on their skills, resources and interest in the project. Participants can then be shortlisted on the basis of this expression of interest to move on to the next phase, which may take the form of a call for projects as we understand it.

Who can respond to an AàP in 2024?

Companies, from start-ups to major groups

All companies, whether start-ups, SMEs or large corporations, can respond to calls for projects, depending on their areas of activity and their ability to achieve the defined objectives.

Associations & foundations

Non-profit associations and foundations with activities in the areas covered by a call for projects are generally eligible to respond. In particular, they can propose social, cultural or environmental initiatives. They usually benefit from very favorable funding conditions.

Incubators & gas pedals

Incubators and gas pedals, which usually support the development of start-ups and emerging companies, can respond to calls for projects by presenting their members' projects or proposing collective initiatives.

Research players

Other entities, such as research institutions, universities, laboratories, research centers, etc., can also respond to calls for projects, particularly in consortia. There are calls for projects dedicated to them.

How to apply and respond to a call for projects?

Responding to a call for projects requires a real investment for the organization wishing to apply, but the strategic benefits of structuring your project and aiming for excellence, even in the event of non-financing, are undeniable. However, there are a few good practices, tips and steps to keep in mind and not overlook when responding to a call for projects to increase your chances of being funded.

1. Identify the right call for projects

It's all about keeping abreast of current and future financing opportunities in your sector. There are a number of platforms for listing these AàP, such as institutional websites and sector-specific newsletters.

A proactive approach is needed to identify the opportunities offered by funding programs such as France 2030 and Horizon Europe. Anticipation is key.

Once you've identified the relevant call for projects, it's important to make sure that your company and your project correspond to the targeted themes, the objectives of the AàP and the eligibility criteria. It's also important to find out about the financing terms and conditions, to make sure they are compatible with your needs.

2. Framing the project and structuring the consortium

After positioning yourself on the AàP corresponding to the company's project, the first step is to clearly define the project's objectives, activities and expected results, based on the expectations of the AàP's specifications.

In the case of a collaborative project, this first stage is carried out at the same time as the constitution of the consortium: the project leader identifies and brings together the relevant private and/or public partners to bring the project to fruition. The complementary skills and resources each partner brings to the project are the key to a successful consortium.

3. Write and submit the file

Writing a convincing proposal is essential when responding to a call for projects. Indeed, it is in this proposal that all aspects of the project must be defended with a solid argument, demonstrating the project's impact and its relevance to the call for projects.

Putting together a project file can be tedious and time-consuming.

First of all, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the expectations of the call for projects: the administrative, technical and financial documents required for submission. Next comes the drafting of the proposal, following a detailed plan that includes a number of elements such as a technical presentation of the project and the company, objectives and challenges, a description of planned activities, a detailed budget, and so on.

Beware of the deadline trap: the project submission process does not allow for "just about anything". From the outset, you need to ensure that you can meet the submission deadlines and provide all the requested documents in the required format.

4. Implement and monitor the project

Once your project has been selected for funding, its implementation begins, and requires the definition of an effective management and monitoring structure to ensure its smooth running.

Funders also require a progress report to monitor results and adjust actions if necessary.

France 2030 financing program

France 2030 is a major investment plan unveiled by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2022. With an envelope of funds amounting to 54 billion euros, this plan aims to propel France ininnovation andindustrialization, in order to catch up with its industrial lag by investing massively in innovative technologies, while supporting the ecological transition, as with the "Première Usine" AàP for example.

Where can I find calls for projects?

Calls for projects are announced on the websites of the organizations launching them. For example, you can find some of them on the following sites:

> Bpifrance

> Ademe

> European Commission

> Our aid identification tool for innovative companies

To consult our support offer, click here.

Useful links : Businesses: how to obtain aid from Europe?

Maxime Dooms

Senior consultant in funding innovation - Public aids and subsidies, Europe, Environment, CleanTech - PhD Environmental chemistry - Lyon

Maxime has expertise in a wide range of funding mechanisms: Horizon Europe, ERC, EIC, Fonds Innovation, BPI (France 2030, iLab, iNov, iDemo, targeted calls: mobility, energy, nuclear, etc.). Our expert provides day-to-day support in setting up collaborative and individual projects, in Europe and France, with a global approach to funding innovation (synergies with the CIR, financing strategy, etc.). Finally, Maxime brings all his expertise, support and the application of the most relevant processes to our teams, empowering them in the implementation of projects towards excellence.

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