What is VIDA exactly?

Value-added Innovation in fooD chAins (VIDA) is a project co-financed by the European Union aiming to support innovation in the food sector. Moreover, VIDA aims to support cooperation between SME’s in Europe. VIDA is financed by the Innosup program, which in turn is part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation subsidy program of the European Union. This form of financing is called ‘cascade funding’.  VIDA is operated by a consortium of ten European cluster organisations (www.vidaproject.eu).

How does VIDA operate?

VIDA issues three types of vouchers from which you can apply to: Innovation Support Vouchers (ISV), Validation Vouchers (VV) and Demonstration Vouchers (DV). Each voucher has its terms and conditions, which you will find at the VIDA website: www.vidaproject.eu.

Who can benefit of VIDA?

SME’s operating in the water, food, energy or Key Enabling Technology (KET) sectors, when they are either located in a VIDA Region, or member of a VIDA consortium partner.

What is an SME?

An SME is  “The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding € 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding € 43 million.” The exact definition elements of an SME can be found on https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/sme-definition_en where also a self-test can be taken.

Can a foundation be an SME?

Yes, the definition of an SME does not include a limitation on the legal entity such as a foundation or any other form of a legal entity. The important consideration here is that there need to be an economic activity.

When can I apply?

You can apply for Demontration Vouchers during the 2nd call, which is open August 1st, 2019 at 09:00 hrs CET, closing October 31st, 2019 17:00 hrs CET. For the other two vouchers (Innovation Support and Validation Vouchers, you can apply when suited, until January 3rd, 2020, 17.00 hrs CET, or until budget is exhausted.

How do I submit an application to VIDA?

Go to www.vidaproject.eu. In the section VIDA Voucher Scheme you can make a choice which voucher suits you best. Under each voucher type you will find a link to the site with the application forms, which can be electronically submitted. Or go directly to www.clou5.net where you will find the application forms and all other information. Please do check our  instructional videos on how to successfully submit your proposals via CLOU5. Note that registration via CLOU5 platform is compulsory only when applying to DV vouchers.

Do I have to compete with other proposals?

ISV and VV are not competitive vouchers while DV are competitive and will award the best ranked projects until the call-budget is exhausted. The scoring, in case of Innovation Support and Validation vouchers is done by three neutral VIDA partners following criteria previously defined in VIDA Terms and Conditions on the VIDA website. In case of Demonstration Vouchers, the scoring is done by the VIDA Advisory Board and external evaluators. The scoring mechanism can also be found in VIDA Terms and Conditions.

How do I know I apply for the right voucher?

The Demonstration Voucher should mainly be used for “implementation” of new solutions in the food processing chain when TRL 6-8. VIDA is quite ambitious to create step changes in the food chain and the Demonstration Vouchers should support the implementation. The Validation Voucher is meant to help creating neutral evidence for the functioning of your technology when TRL 5-8. Innovation Support Vouchers are the lubricant in support to the above processes (e.g. getting advise on IP, market research, innovation management training, etc.).

How long can a VIDA project take?

Innovation Support actions and Validation actions usually can take six months to complete. Demonstration project can take up to a year. In any case: costs are only elegible if they are spent before the end of the VIDA project, which is March 31st, 2021.

Can we do a VIDA project outside the VIDA region?

Yes, as long as the applicant is either located in a VIDA region or member of a VIDA consortium partner.

Do case owners need to reside in the so-called VIDA countries?

No. Case owners can reside anywhere in the world, provided they do not receive VIDA funding.

What type of costs does VIDA cover?

VIDA covers three types of cost:

  1. Costs related to innovation support, such as market research, marketing plans, analysis, laborary costs, travel to VIDA events, etc.
  2. Costs related to the external validation of your technology or product.
  3. Cost related to the demonstration of your technology on the premisis of a potential client in the food sector.

Is there a maximum amount to VIDA’s contribution?

Yes, in total an SME can get maximum of € 60.000 from VIDA. Besides, Innovation Support Vouchers have a maximum of € 5.000 per application, Validation Vouchers have a maximum of € 25.000 per voucher, and Demonstration Vouchers have a maximum of € 60.000 per partner (more partners are allowed in Demonstration Voucher applications) with a maximum of € 250.000 per project.

Can I apply for multiple voucher schemes?

Yes, however, the maximum funding of € 60.000 in total applies. VIDA may reject multiple applications in the same voucher scheme.

Can an SME receive more than € 60.000 funding from VIDA?

No. An SME awarded by VIDA can not receive more than € 60.000 from the VIDA project, irrespective of its role in VIDA:

  • as beneficiairy of various vouchers,
  • as DV-consortium partner,
  • or subcontractor to other VIDA funded projects.

An SME with more ideas should therefore be aware that the involvement in one VIDA project could limit their opportunities for funding for another VIDA project.

What percentage of costs does VIDA recover?

VIDA covers 100% of the eligible costs (please refer to the VIDA Terms and Conditions for eligable costs).

Is VAT considered an elegible cost?

Deductable VAT is NOT considered an elegible cost; non-deductible VAT IS considered an elegible cost.

How do I receive the VIDA contribution?

The applicants receive their contribution in terms: two equal terms of 50% for the Innovation Support Vouchers, and Validation Vouchers (at contract signature and after completion) and three terms of resp. 40%, 40% and 20% for the Demonstration Vouchers, depending on self-established milestones.

Do milestones need to be aligned with the actual costs at a certain period of project supported by VIDA Demonstration Vouchers?

No. But at the end of the project you must have executed all budget and keep corresponding records of the real costs which in any case should be done in no longer than 12 months and before December 2020 (included).

Can I sub-contract project activities?

This depends on the type of voucher you apply for:

  • Innovation Support Voucher: up to 100% subcontracting is allowed
  • Validation Voucher: a minimum of 75% subcontracting is mandatory
  • Demonstration Voucher: up to 50% subcontracting is allowed.

Does VIDA pay each project participant indvidually?

Yes, all VIDA project participants are paid directly by the VIDA coordinator. This way, the VIDA coordinator can control the maximum contribution level of € 60.000 per VIDA project participant.

Does VIDA subsidy count for the European Deminimis regulation?

No. This form of cascade funding does not count for Deminimis.

Does the maximum amount of VIDA subsidy also count for subcontractors?

No. A subcontractor, knowledge provider or service provider can take activities from several SME’s who use VIDA vouchers. The maximum amount of € 60.000 does not apply for subcontractors as long as they are not VIDA beneficiaries – i.e. they are not applying for a voucher.

Can I invest in equipment using a VIDA subsidy?

Yes. The eligible cost in this case are calculated as follows: Depreciation costs of equipment, infrastructure or other assets necessary for the project incurred and invoiced to the participating SME(s) of maximal 30% per year. The sum of costs of specific investments such as hardware or licences necessary for an innovation project shall not exceed 50% of the total project costs.

How do I calculate costs for equipment and materials?

Costs of materials: 100% eligible (Materials is used directly within the pilot installation and should not be mentioned on the national list of equipment/investment).

Cost of equipment: Only the depreciation costs of the equipment (other than material) purchased specifically for the VIDA activities can be taken into account for the total amount used within the project period.

Example: Company X buys a machine of € 100.000,- with a life time of 10 years. Depreciation costs are calculated according to the national law/guidelines. If in this example deprecation = € 10.000,- per year. For VIDA Company X can claim max € 10.000,- provided he uses the machine 8 hours a day for a full year. If Company X uses the machine for 6 months, 4 hours a day, they can claim max. € 2.500,-.

National accountancy standards should be obeyed for the determination of depreciation methods followed.

Can I use VIDA subsidy for a research project?

Yes, as long as the technology readiness level of the technology concerned is equal or above 5 for Validation Vouchers, and equal or above 6 for Demonstration Vouchers.

How does VIDA control the expenditures of the subsidy?

In all projects, financial reports must declare the project expenditures, to release the second, resp. third payment term. This way, VIDA is able to follow the money.

How does VIDA account for personnel costs?

Hourly costs are calculated by taking the yearly salary excluding (holiday and performance- or profit based) bonusses, multiplied by a factor 1.35 for coverage of employer/social costs, then the resulting amount multiplied by a factor 1.25 for overhead, and the total result being divided by 1.720 hrs per year on a 40-hourly working week basis. SME-owners use a fixed rate of € 39 per hour.

How do I budget a project for a Demonstration Voucher?

You need to include all costs related to the demonstration effort. Costs directly allocated to the project must be budgetted as such, and costs for which an investment is made count as depreciation cost for the period of the project. For the hours involved, use the directions given in VIDA Terms and Conditions. Subcontracted costs can be taken as such, or alternatively you present the subcontractor as a partner-SME in the consortium.

When applying for a demonstration project in consortium, do all the partners involved need to provide the detailed information in the application form?

No. At the moment of application, the lead partner (the one signing) is the only SME that needs to provide the requested information on page 2 and page 15. Once the application is approved and the project is suggested for funding, all involved SMEs that request funding, need to provide the information of page 2 and page 15.