The PREPARE open call was published on 18 March 2021. The RESTART & EXPAND open calls were published on July 08th 2020. The RESTART open call will close in September 2021. The EXPAND open call will close in June 2022. At several deadlines during that period, batches of proposals will be evaluated and can be started accordingly. This means that until the final deadline you can submit your proposal to the RESTART or EXPAND Open Calls, receive a response and start your project before this deadline. The deadlines for batches evaluations are available below.
This is not the case for the PREPARE open call. For PREPARE, the final deadline is indicated below.
Next Open Call submission
You want to submit a proposal?
Please use the designated Templates for proposal preparation as presented in the Open Call fiches for the PREPARE, RESTART and EXPAND Open Calls. You can find in this page more information about the aim of our Open Calls.
Please use the Proposal Submission Tool to register and submit your proposal before the deadlines.
Please check the FAQ in a first instance. If you have further doubts, please use the Open Call Forum to contact the SAH Open Call team and get assistance.
The SmartAgriHubs Open Call for proposals has as a key objective to expand the existing SmartAgriHubs community network with additional stakeholders and to promote the realisation of innovation experiments. The collaboration with new and existing Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) and Competence Centres (CCs) shall result in a joint effort of an active and dynamic community that creates knowledge and practical experience that will ultimately facilitate and disseminate digital innovation in the agri-food domain.
Digital Innovation Hub
Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) are support organisations that aim to make businesses more competitive by speeding up the development and uptake of digital innovations. They provide these services close to the end-users (“at working distance”) and thereby cater to the needs of agricultural producers and food processors in a specific region.
These can be (agricultural) research institutes at universities, experiment stations or farms, extension agencies or seed companies. The Competence Centre may also play the role of the Digital Innovation Hub orchestrator, taking a coordinating, organising and/or an agenda setting role.
SmartAgriHubs supports this with its available team, knowledge, and tools:
- The existing DIH network in SmartAgriHubs offers collaboration with additional and new Digital Innovation Hubs to facilitate experience exchange.
- The network of Competence Centres is helping to identify the most appropriate technology related expertise required for a successful realisation of an innovation experiment.
- Community of SMEs, startups and scaleups, helping to find promising tech suppliers, partners as well as reference end-users.
- Flagship Innovation Experiments from SmartAgriHubs and use cases from IoF2020 serving as show cases for digitisation and innovation in the agri-food domains and
- Excellent, well-equipped support team present in most European regions, familiar with local and sector specific challenges.
Facilitated by an Open Call, SmartAgriHubs will complement and connect existing and upcoming programmes that are supporting innovation and funding stakeholders (i.e. from both public and private sources) in the agri-food community.
Subsequently, these activities shall generate a critical mass of digital innovation experiments, where stakeholders share experiences gained and build an international community of regional hubs (DIHs) and knowledge transfer centres (CCs) that will result in a sustainable European network dedicated to closing the gap between research, innovation and business development.
The current COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the agri-food economy has pushed the SmartAgriHubs team to redesign the Open Call approach to respond to the needs of the sector in these critical times. In accordance to the current COVID-19 related situation and the importance of the food system’s resilience, two individual open calls were launched in May 2020 as an immediate RESPOND to the crisis (open call closed on June 3rd 2020). We are following-up with the PREPARE, RESTART and EXPAND open calls that will address the agri-food economy on the medium term. SmartAgriHubs will assign up to 5,000,000€ funding to the RESTART and EXPAND open calls, 1, 200,000€ funding the PREPARE open call. These open calls are addressing Digital Innovation Hubs that are supporting diverse stakeholders in the agri-food economy and specifically SMEs as drivers for digital innovation.
The RESTART and EXPAND open calls were published on July 08th 2020. The PREPARE open call was published on 18th March 2021. It is possible to submit proposals until July 28th2021. At several deadlines during that period, batches of proposals will be evaluated and can be started accordingly.
Figure 1: Overall timing of the planned open calls by SmartAgriHubs (RESPOND open call closed on June 3rd 2020).
A specific objective of this PREPARE open call is to prepare a proposal for an Innovation Experiment that can be submitted in the EXPAND open call. Because these Innovation Experiment proposals are not necessarily to be submitted in the EXPAND call, the more general objective is to plan and prepare the realisation of one or more Innovation Experiments.
What are the kind of projects to be funded by the PREPARE Open Call?
The projects selected under PREPARE should produce the following deliverables:
• Team: Compilation of an appropriate team, able and committed to realise the Innovation Experiment from an end-user, business, technological and extended stakeholder perspective.
• Technnology readiness level and feasibility: Analysis of the technology readiness level of the envisaged innovation, the technical and economic feasibility and its relevance for the supported team to have an impact that could be realised in the scope of an Innovation Experiment.
• Budget: A budget planning for realising the Innovation Experiment(s). DIHs shall also include the financial plan, detailing the path to facilitate access to additional private investors and/or regional, national, European funding schemes provided by third parties.
• Project plan: A project plan consisting in one or more Innovation Experiments, explaining the timing of activities, milestones and deliverables. This could also be materialised in the form of a project proposal to be later on submitted to a relevant open call to further support the realisation of the aforementioned Innovation Experiment(s) (e.g. by the SmartAgriHubs EXPAND open call).
• Letter of intent: Signed letter of intent by the main participants in an Innovation Experiment, stating their role and envisaged effort and in-kind contribution to be committed.
All details about deliverables and the open call is available in the PREPARE open call fiche for download
What are the kind of potential proposers to be funded by the PREPARE Open Call?
The funding is exclusively available to fund the efforts/costs of one or more Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) preparing Innovation Experiments
These results should serve as preparation for one or more subsequent proposals to the SmartAgriHubs EXPAND open call, other initiatives organising open calls and/or potential investors that offer funding for:
• DIH(s) that are supporting the realisation of Innovation Experiments and/or
• Organisation(s) or consortia that are realising an Innovation Experiment.
SmartAgriHubs will realise a focused open call for hackathon type of activities that will RESTART the economy around the agri-food related sectors and affected food systems. The main objective is to generate ideas for potential Innovation Experiments that can be realised by related teams, going beyond initial conceptual implementations. Generally, such activities shall facilitate networking of organisations and individuals, aimed at the mobilisation of talent and enable the realisation of digital innovations that address current challenges, opportunities and threats.
What are the kind of projects to be funded by the RESTART Open Call?
Proposals could realise hackathons, challenges and datathons that have a direct and indirect impact to mitigate effects of the COVID-19 or similar (future) pandemics. Such initiatives should facilitate the RESTART of the agri-food economy after the COVID-19 crisis.
The underlying idea is to support the European agri-food economy to better cope with the requirements of the “new normal” and maintain its global competitive position, for example by:
- • Helping specific sub-sectors and regional economies to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic impact, through new opportunities for digital innovation.
- • Stimulating private investments in the agri-food sector and promoting opportunities across the European investment community.
- • Making food systems fair, healthy and environmentally friendly, in line with the Farm to Fork Strategy that is at the heart of the European Green Deal.
- • SDGs: Initiatives in the agri-food economy that contribute significantly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- • Introducing principles of circular economy in the agri-food sector.
- • Automatic: Relieving agri-food stakeholders (e.g. farmers) from tasks without added value, e.g. by automating monitoring and/or control of farming activities.
- • Resilience: Increasing the resilience of the agri-food chain.
- • Increasing the availability and the shelf-life of food products.
- • Tracking & tracing of food and related products from farm to fork, facilitating regional sourcing.
- • Consumer information: Helping consumers to make informed decisions about food choices.
- • Facilitating access to data and services for an easier digital innovation in the agri-food sectors
Are you eligible to the RESTART Open Call?
The funding is exclusively available to fund the efforts/costs of one or more Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) preparing and realising hackathons, datathons or focused challenges.
Proposers shall consider the following key characteristics that need to be taken into account for being able to submit an eligible proposal for the RESTART open call:
- • The funding is exclusively available to fund the efforts/costs of one or more Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) preparing and realising hackathons, datathons or focused challenges.
- • Depending on the type of organisations, DIHs’ costs are funded with 70% (for profit organisations) or 100% (non-profit organisations).
- • SmartAgriHubs considers that proposals for hackathon type of activities requesting a contribution from SmartAgriHubs of 10,000 to 60,000 Euro would allow appropriate support for a range of activities.
- • The efforts/costs of third parties involved in the hackathon type of activities (e.g. person effort, offered infrastructure, or provided data sets) or effort/costs of teams participating in the specific hackathons (e.g. effort, equipment, travel, accommodation, prizes) are not funded.
- • For balancing efforts/costs of DIHs versus the number of supporters and participants in the hackathon type of activities, it is expected that the DIH part is generally not exceeding 20% of the overall effort/costs required.
The major amount of funding will be assigned to the implementation of programmes by DIHs to support the realisation of Innovation Experiments. This shall specifically contribute to the expansion of the network of DIHs and CCs as well as making available new knowledge and results from digital innovation activities. The EXPAND the Network open call is specifically targeting at DIHs as the main proposers thereby facilitating the realisation of innovation experiments, while the services of CCs would be logically consumed when implementing an innovation experiment. The main objective is to stimulate initiatives involving all of those and even fostering the collaboration of different type of DIHs, engaging DIHs with diverse maturity levels, to elaborate blueprints to facilitate the expansion of the community.
Proposers should take into account the following key characteristics, in order to submit an eligible proposal for the EXPAND the Network open call:
- • The funding is exclusively available for developing, maturing, and providing Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) innovation services, that are used by teams realising an innovation experiment (IE).
- • For being eligible to receive this funding, DIHs need to support one or more Innovation Experiments with their services.
- • DIHs’ costs are funded with 70% (for profit organisations) or 100% (non-profit organisations).
- • Proposals shall explain the overall initiative – DIH services funded by SmartAgriHubs as well as the efforts/budget of IE(s) that are not directly funded by SmartAgriHubs.
- • For balancing such initiatives in terms of efforts/budget, it is expected that the DIH part is generally not exceeding 20% of the overall effort/budget required.
- • One DIH could ask for a maximum of 100,000 Euro funding in total from SmartAgriHubs in one or also several proposals. A team of several DIHs could request up to 500,000 Euro for providing support services and programmes in one proposal/project.
Call for Proposals and Evaluation Procedure
Proposals are called under a continuous submission scheme. Proposals will be evaluated after reception in varying intervals after the open call publishing. The deadlines for submission will be regularly via the open call website. Currently, it is planned to close all open calls latest on July, 28th 2021, 17:00 h CEST, or at an earlier date, in case the budget that is reserved for open calls in SmartAgriHubs (i.e. for this and other SAH open calls) is completely allocated.
During that period, batches of proposals will be evaluated at several deadlines and can start immediately after the proposal evaluation & selection is completed.
Proposals will be evaluated and selected by experts based on the Evaluation Criteria. To be considered for funding, your proposal must score above a certain threshold for each criterion, and above an overall threshold.
Figure 2: Timing for the RESTART and EXPAND Open Calls.
The detailed funding conditions, evaluation procedure and eligibility criteria for RESTART the Economy around Food Systems and EXPAND the Network can be found in the Open Call publications and the SmartAgriHubs Open Call Programme.
The SAH Portal offers the possibility for potential proposers to connect with different organisations (DIHs, CCs, SMEs, technology providers, NGOs, farmers, etc.) through different functionalities:
- • The SAH Network gathers over 500 organisations in the agri-food and other related sectors all over Europe, identified by organisation type, sector and region. Open Call proposers and interested stakeholders are invited to register and navigate the SAH Network in the search for potential collaborators.
• Open Call proposers are welcome to check the information provided on Hackathons and Datathons that are supported by SmartAgriHubs in the scope of the RESPOND open call. This will provide some insights on regional activities, planned events and potential teams for cooperation.
- • Proposers are invited to check periodically the Open Call Forum to find support from SAH team members on solving doubts and answering questions regarding the Open Call.
Proposals can be submitted for evaluation until closure of the open call and will be evaluated in batches at regular points in time. Currently the following dates are planned for evaluating delivered batches of proposals:
• Next batch evaluation of submitted proposals: before 26th of May 2021, 17:00 (Brussels time)
• Dates for batch evaluations in 2021 will be published a certain time after closing the second batch evaluation.
Latest Open Call Forum Posts
EXPAND: 80% for realising the supported IE10 April 2021
Good morning, We want to present a Project for the EXPAND call of SAH, and we have a question about the 80% of the eligible costs which is not funded by SAH: It is not clear to us if the 80% that is not funded by SAH need to be mobilized and justified by the DIH or by the teams that realize an IE. A. If it needs to be mobilized by the DIH, then we have the following situation: We have a digitization project that is being carried out with the help of the CDTI (https://www.cdti.es) which is a public business entity in Spain, dependent on the Ministry of Science and Innovation, which manages reimbursable aid programs and grants with own funds and funds from European institutions (structural and investment funds and the European Investment Bank). In this sense, we want to use a result of that project to support companies that use that result as an input to create innovation experiments (IE). Is it possible to cover the 80% of the total project expenditure, which SAH requires to be mobilized with other funds, with this project? B. If the 80% needs to be mobilized by the IEs, how do we justify it? On the other hand, what are the requirements for the DIH in order to present a proposal? Thank you in advance!
Proof of concepts as “testing & validation” service - Expand call06 April 2021
Dear @Sundmaeker Thanks for your answer. We know what to do now! Kind regards Du (Kapernikov)
Granted funding from oktober/november 202006 April 2021
Dear @Sundmaeker Thanks for your answer. It’s clear for us now. Kind regards Du (Kapernikov)
Combining calls02 April 2021
Dear Harald Thank you for the clarification. The dates are clear. I still have a question regarding the number of sub-grants, as in the EXPAND open call fiche, it’s mentioned that ‘Organisations can only receive funding in maximum of two different projects (i.e. sub-grants) funded by SmartAgriHubs in the scope of the open calls.’ Could you please confirm this, meaning that we cannot apply for PREPARE and then for EXPAND? (Considering that we’ve already received one sub-grant in RESPOND). Thank you Happy Easter ToMas
Granted funding from oktober/november 202001 April 2021
Dear @Kapernikov , Thank you very much for asking. The idea of the EXPAND open call is to provide support to running innovation experiments that are financed by the teams themselves or third party funding. It does not matter if the innovation experiment started a bit earlier, as such activities have often a longer runtime. It is of course important that you are only proposing support that would happen after the signature of the sub-grant with SmartAgriHubs. This would also assume that the “Innovation Experiment” is still ongoing. If the innovation experiment is already done and finalised, and the DIH support was provided before signing the SAH sub-grant agreement, it would not be eligible. I hope that this will answer your question. Best regards, Harald
Proof of concepts as “testing & validation” service - Expand call01 April 2021
Dear @Kapernikov , Thank you very much for asking. If your DIH is providing tangible support for digital transformation/innovation for the realisation of Innovation Experiments it sounds that it is very welcome. We also consider it very important that a DIH is an active member of an IE and provides tangible and not just theoretical support. In the scope of the EXPAND open call, you should also explain which implementation (identifying effort, investemt, in-kind contribution as external KPI as these efforts/costs are not in your accounts) of the follow-up project/system is planned, aka Innovation Experiment - balancing the effort you are providing to your customer. If you could not identify a following activity (innovation experiment) and your proof of concept would be the only activity, it could not be funded. I hoppe that this answers your question. Best regards, Harald
Combining calls01 April 2021
Dear Tomas Mildorf, @mildorf Thank you very much for asking. The open calls are currently in an evolving situation as we learned from previous submissions and are aliging the calls in close collaboration with the administrative support from the European Commission. However, as this takes some time we focused at first on the PREPARE open call for being able to launch it as soon as possible before the May deadline. There will be some updates specifically of dates also in the RESTART & EXPAND open calls available soon. However, this has no impact on the evaluation deadline on May 26th that applies for PREPARE, RESTART & EXPAND. It is the closure date for the PREPARE open call, but additional evaluation deadline for RESTART & EXPAND will follow. At the moment, we are planning to move the closure of RESTART & EXPAND as follows RESTART - final delivery for evaluation and closing in September 2021 EXPAND - closure in June 2022, with several evaluation deadlines until then. Concerning the maximum number of sub-grants that can be funded - as mentioned in the PREPARE open call fiche, if you are selected for PREPARE, you could still have 2 additional sub-grants with SmartAgriHubs (i.e. taking into account past and future sub-grants). I hope that this will answer your question. Best regards, Harald
PREPARE Open Call01 April 2021
Dear Elisabetta, @elisabetta Thank you for highlighting the situation. As told before, we cannot provide support for work that would be done before signing a sub-grant agreement according to EC rules. However, you could make an EXPAND proposal to further support the realisation of the IE. You could submit the EXPAND proposal at the May 26th deadline, as it is not a prerequisite to have the IE(s) fully settled before submitting an EXPAND proposal. Best regards, Harald
Granted funding from oktober/november 202031 March 2021
In a project, we could deliver a customer more services in the role of a DIH via an expand call. The 80% of the required funding, could come from another approved funding project the customer recieved in 2020. This grant was given in oktober or november 2020. (the first actions of the customer project started december 2020 / beginning 2021) Would this funding be accepted as “proof” of the required 80% of financing?
Proof of concepts as “testing & validation” service - Expand call31 March 2021
As DIH, we would like to offer a customer a service to “test & validate” several concepts in the area of deep learning & machine vision. In stead of doing a theoretical validation (because then the answer is almost everytime “yes it can”), we would like to do several proof of concepts, which involves doing some real testing and setting up a test-case, applying deep learning on a test-set etc. Would this approach would be valid as an action in the expand call? Important note: the Proof of concept will not be implemented in the project/system, for that, there is much more integration & development needed.