Funding ambitious and well-positioned research upstream in promising areas for the Walloon region – Win4Excellence

Summary

The Win4Excellence measure is part of the PROJECT axis (Obtaining funds intended for conducting a research project alone or as part of a partnership) of the research aid reform based on identified needs (Win4Research).

This excellence programme for Universities, in collaboration with approved Research Centres, aims to fund ambitious, well-positioned research upstream in promising areas for the Walloon region, for example, the Strategic Innovation Fields outlined in the RIS3, or the areas specifically highlighted in the Regional Policy Declaration, such as space or cyber security.

Key points

Important dates:

  • Programme launch: Friday, 18 February 2022
  • Wednesday, 20 April 2022 at noon: Closing date for the submission of declarations of intent
  • 12 August 2022 at noon: Closing date for submissions of detailed proposals

The schedule may change. The valid dates are published on the SPW-EER website.

The research topics accepted in this call for tenders must fall within one of the following value chains:

  • The ‘Earth Observation’ sector covers the entire value chain, such as satellite platforms, including SmallSats constellations, tools (e.g. Multispectral, Hyperspectral), the ground segment (including testing and trial methods), insofar as all these elements contribute to a specific Earth observation task. This sector also includes the downstream portion of the value chain, namely processing data and transforming it into added-value products and geospatial information products via analysis tools such as Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

The aim is to eventually offer advanced, disruptive solutions to industrial needs for the entire ‘Earth Observation’ sector, thanks to structuring group research that makes it possible to address the hardware component, the software component and the service component of the value chain, including issues concerning transmitting and accessing data. ’

  • The ‘reusable’ niche in the ‘Launchers/Space Transport’ sector: Reducing costs and improving the flexibility and interoperability of European launch systems is the main challenge faced by major European institutional contractors when it comes to bolstering European independence and the strategic autonomy of space access, and increasing the competitiveness of the European industry on the global market. This change of approach within the European launcher sector is part of a profound change with respect to space access, which started ten years ago. This is seen in the development of reusable launchers, among other things.

Regardless of whether this is confirmed as a strategic decision during the Ministerial ESA in December 2022, this new orientation represents an opportunity for Walloon stakeholders to diversify their launcher-based activities, to increase their competitiveness and to prepare themselves to enter new markets in Europe and internationally by 2025–2030.

The aim of this call for tenders is to offer advanced, disruptive solutions to industrial needs, thanks to structuring group research that makes it possible for Walloon businesses to access projects such as future European reusable launchers (Future Launcher Preparatory Program FLPP, Themis projects, Prometheus, VEGA E, ASTRIS, etc.) at the level of equipment, sub-systems and testing and trial services.

The ‘Reusable Launchers’ sector covers R&I activities aimed at contributing to:

  • the recovery of the most expensive components, including the first floor at a minimum, by aligning space-saving with the ecological transition and sustainability;
  • increasing flexibility by reducing the timeframe between ordering and launch, by effectively adapting the pace of the launch and performance to market variations;
  • equipping the reusable first floor of a launch with a reusable, low-cost propulsion system;
  • developing sub-systems and testing and trial services.
  • ‘Agri-food chains of the future’: The health and economic crisis has highlighted the need to bolster the resilience and performance of agri-food companies. To do this, stakeholders in the agri-food chains must innovative and integrate themselves into local value chains at the Walloon level.

The aim is to eventually offer advanced, disruptive solutions to the industrial needs of all the agri-food value chains, thanks to structuring group research that aims to bring products that respond to new methods of consumption to market (for example, vegetable proteins) and distribute them, as well as positioning food products as a key part of a preventative approach to health and wellness. Innovations are expected in terms of nutrition, function and technology.

This list is exhaustive.

In detail

Target audience – details

The project sponsor must be a university research department.

The project partners must be other university research departments and approved research centres. At least one approved research centre must be present.

The total number of partners shall be dictated by the skills that are sufficient and necessary to conduct the research. With respect to structuring projects, the project must integrate all of the academic stakeholders who have useful skills in the research fields covered by the project.

Conditions

Target audience – Eligibility criteria

A pre-proposal or final proposal is eligible if the following elements are all answered in the affirmative.

  • The consortium integrates several university departments, as defined herein, and at least one approved research centre
  • The university departments must belong to several institutions with a distinct legal personality
  • The sponsor is a university
  • The submission methods have been followed
  • The project falls within one of the thematic fields covered by the current call for tenders
  • The overall budget is equitably distributed between the partners (with a maximum of 40% for one partner)
  • The research has not already received public funding
  • The consortium agreement is signed by all of the partners when the final proposal is submitted
  • The MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) is attached and signed by all the relevant stakeholders for the submission of the final proposal
  • When submitting the project, the partners must have fulfilled all of their administrative obligations with respect to their prior agreements with the administration (reports, declarations of debts, etc.), in accordance with the deadlines outlined in these agreements or established by the administration

Assessment criteria and project selection

The projects are assessed in accordance with the criteria defined by the Decree of 3 July 2008 and the Decree from the Walloon Government of 18 September 2008 concerning support for research, development and innovation in Wallonia. Each of the criteria defined in the aforementioned decree has its own maximum score and is defined below:

  • Article 38: The innovative nature of the project (rating/20)
  • Article 45/46: The excellence and experience of the consortium (rating/20), with a focus on the structuring nature of the proposed consortium. This consortium must be composed of all the academic stakeholders that have distinct skills that are necessary in the field concerned by the project.
  • Articles 39 and 45/46: The quality, feasibility and relevance of the project (rating/20)
  • Article 40 – 43/1: The promotion of innovation, including internationally (rating/30)
  • Article 41: The contribution to sustainable development (rating/10)
Benefits

Within the limit of eligible expenses:

  • For universities: the maximum amount of the subsidy for university research departments is 100%.
  • For research centres: the maximum amount of the subsidy for approved researched centres is 75%.

They cover:

  • staffing costs for researchers and technicians;
  • operating costs;
  • general costs;
  • acquisition of specific equipment for the research;
  • cost of equipment used;
  • subcontracting costs.

The length of the research will be justified by measures implemented to achieve the established objective. The duration of the agreement that binds the Walloon region to the project partners will be limited to a maximum of five years.

Procedure

The submission process has the following four stages:

  • Stage 1: Information session

Information sessions shall be organised between the administration's representatives and the project sponsors before pre-proposals are submitted. The purpose of this meeting is to provide the project sponsors with the opportunity to present their project to the administration.

  • Stage 2: Pre-proposal

In particular, this pre-proposal includes a summary of the project, the work plan and the overall budget forecast. It includes the make-up of the consortium and the promotion committee. It must be submitted to the administration via the online form, which is available from the Wallonia Research and Technology Portal: https://recherche-technologie.wallonie.be/ontime.

There are no plans to advertise pre-proposals. The admissibility of the application will be confirmed in an email sent to the sponsor.

  • Stage 3: Pre-selection by the Internal Selection College

The administration’s representatives write a preliminary report in accordance with the assessment criteria outlined in Point 10 for the Internal Selection College (which includes representatives for the Minister and the administration) so that it can make its pre-selection. The maturity of the projects will also be taken under consideration.

Once this pre-selection has been made, the administration informs the sponsors by email, in as timely a manner as possible, of the possibility of submitting their final proposal.

Only pre-proposals that have received a favourable opinion from the Internal Selection College will be authorised to submit a final proposal, in accordance with the methods described below.

The administration provides access for submitting the final proposal via the ONTIME platform.

Rejected pre-proposals may be amended and submitted for the next call for tender if the theme of the project is included.

  • Stage 4: Final proposal

For pre-proposals that have been approved by the College, a final proposal will be requested (via an online form with all the necessary annexes). It will be drafted in collaboration with the administration. It will be completed and submitted to the administration via the online form, which is available from the Wallonia Research and Technology Portal. Only these final proposals will be considered, with the date on which the electronic submission is received on the administration’s server being decisive. In the event of multiple electronic submissions of said final proposal, only the last version submitted before the submission deadline will be considered.

The administration will then send the sponsor confirmation of receipt of the final proposal by email. This confirmation of receipt mentions the project number, which must be used in any subsequent correspondence.

After the deadline for submitting final proposals, the administration will only consider elements that are provided upon its request as part of its evaluation.

 

Appeal procedures

How can I contact the department who made the decision?

You may contact the administrative department that made the decision at any time, independently of the appeal procedures outlined below, in order to obtain additional explanations about the decision.

 You must contact the following department:

PSW Economy, Employment and Research
Technological Research and Development Department
Place de la Wallonie, 1 (Building III), 5100 NAMUR (JAMBES)
Phone no.: +32 (0)81 33 45 32

This free process is not subject to any specific formalities and does not suspend the periods for filing an appeal. The absence of a response from the administration does not constitute acceptance of your request.

How to file an appeal

Unless the dispute can be viewed as relating to a subjective right – in which case only courts of law and legal tribunals have jurisdiction – an appeal may be submitted to the State Council, in accordance with the procedures outlined below.

Request for cancellation

Cancellation of the decision may be requested by filing a request with the State Council, either:

Conseil d’État

Greffe

Section du Contentieux administratif

Rue de la Science, 33

1040 Brussels

You must submit your request within 60 calendar days from the date of notification for the disputed decision.

In your request, you must indicate the ‘reasons’ for your appeal, that is, the legal rights that have been infringed by the decision and the way in which they have been infringed.

Request for suspension

Sending a cancellation request does not suspend the effects of the decision.

If an emergency arises which is incompatible with the processing of the case, and if a serious argument is manifestly likely to lead to the cancellation, you may file a request to suspend the decision with the State Council.

The request for suspension may be submitted before, at the same time as, or after sending the request for cancellation.

In exceptional cases, and under specific conditions, you may also request the suspension of the decision in cases of extreme emergency.

Practical information

Requests for cancellation and suspension requests are only valid if they contain certain annexes and information. Reference is made to the coordinated laws and decrees mentioned below, which are available at http://www.raadvst-consetat.be (‘Procedure’ section).

Each requesting party must pay a fee of €200 (amount as of 9 January 2017), using a transfer form that will be sent to the party after the appeal is received. Payment is not currently subject to any deadline and the payment of the sum may be made at any time before the closure of the dispute.

Find out more: laws on the State Council, coordinated on 12 January 1973, Regent Decree of 23 August 1948 determining the procedure before the administrative disputes department of the State Council, Royal Decree of 5 December 1991 determining interlocutory proceedings before the State Council, which are available at http://www.raadvst-consetat.be (“procedure” section).

Contacts

Services

Research Programs Department
Place de la Wallonie, 1 Bât 3
5100 Jambes

Personnes de contact

Monsieur GILLIN - Directeur Alain 
Updated on
Process n° : 146252
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