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Here you can find the answers for the most common questions asked by the applicants.

About TrustChain

TrustChain – Fostering a Human-centred, Trustworthy and Sustainable Internet is a project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme (GA 101093274) and aims to create a portfolio of Next Generation Internet protocols and an ecosystem of decentralized software solutions that reach the highest standards of humanity such as those chartered by the United Nations including the respect of human rights, ethics, sustainability, energy efficiency, our care for the environment and our respect for the World’s cultural history.

The Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative, launched by the European Commission in the autumn of 2016, aims to shape the future internet as an interoperable platform ecosystem that embodies the values that Europe holds : openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and protection of data. The NGI will drive this technological revolution and ensure the progressive adoption of advanced concepts and methodologies spanning the domains of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, interactive technologies and more, while contributing to making the future internet more human-centric.

TrustChain offers you equity-free funding, mentoring and coaching services on technical and business aspects, access to top infrastruture as well as visibility and promotion through TrustChain community.

TrustChain will tackle several challenges pertaining to trustworthy and reliable digital identity, to resilient, secure and reliable data pathways, to economics and trading of data, to energy efficiency for data storage, transport and sharing, to seamless services and data flows through 5 Open Call as follows:

  • Open Call 1: Decentralized Digital Identity 
  • Open Call 2: User privacy and data governance
  • Open Call 3: Economics and Democracy
  • Open Call 4: Multi chains support for NGI protocols
  • Open Call 5: Green scalable and sustainable DLTs

Through these 5 Open Call, the selected projects would have the potential to entail a substantial advance in the state-of-the-art, delivering new software solutions and services to the TrustChain ecosystem with potential to improve the Internet infrastructure and/or reach the market in the short run.

TrustChain is a 3-year funded project. The indicative timelines are as follow:

  •  Open Call 1: Decentralized Digital Identity 
Call announcement: 8th of February 2023 at 12:00 pm CET
Call closure and submission deadline: 10th of April 2023 at 17:00 CEST
Evaluation period: Until end of May 2023
Signature of sub-grant agreement: First week of June 2023
Projects: From June 2023 to February 2024 (9 months)

Funding is given by the TrustChain consortium under a Sub-Grantee Agreement signed by the selected applicants and the TrustChain consortium. The funds are given by the European Commission (Horizon Europe Framework Programme), which uses TrustChain as intermediary.

The aid provided is relying on a cascade-funding scheme involving HE funds. The scheme is based on a Grant Agreement signed by the European Commission and the TrustChain Consortium partners. The Consortium partners as such receive the HE funds which are then transferred to the winners of the TrustChain Open Calls based on the rules and regulations explained in the Guide for Applicant available at our website. This means that funds that will be received by the call winners are Horizon funds.

Who is eligible?

Cascade Funding, also known as Financial Support to Third Parties (FSTP), is a mechanism of the European Commission to distribute public funds in order to create new companies, increase their scalability, SMEs and / or mid-cap companies, in the adoption or development of digital innovation. The main objective of this financing method is to simplify administrative procedures with SMEs, thus allowing some projects financed by the EU to issue, in turn, open calls to obtain more funding.

The funds of the project come from the Horizon Programme. This means its regulation will apply to the funds. If you get additional public funding from other entities it will be your responsibility to assure the compatibleness of the different sources of funding whether you are a legal entity or a natural person.

Only Applicants legally established/resident in any of the following countries (hereafter collectively identified as the “Eligible Countries”) are eligible:

  • The Member States (MS) of the European Union (EU), including their outermost regions.
  • The Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) linked to the Member States;
  • Horizon Europe associated countries, as described in the Reference Documents and the List of Participating Countries in Horizon Europe according to the latest list published by the European Commission.

Applicants can apply as individuals or linked to a legal entity. Hence, the participation is possible in several ways:

  • Team of natural person(s): Team of individuals, all established in any eligible country. This does not consider the country of origin but the residence permit.
  • Legal entity(ies): One or more entities (consortium) established in an eligible country. It can be Universities, research centres, NGOs, foundations, micro, small and mediumsized enterprises (see definition of SME according to the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC), large enterprises working on Internet or/and other related technologies are eligible.
  • Any combination of the above.

In addition, the following condition apply: 

  • The participating organisations should not have been declared bankrupt or
    have initiated bankruptcy procedures.
  • The organisations or individuals (Team of natural persons) applying should not
    have convictions for fraudulent behaviour, other financial irregularities, and
    unethical or illegal business practices.
Check the Guide for Applicants for more details.

How to participate?

The F6S platform is the entry point for all proposals at https://www.f6s.com/trustchain-open-call-1/about. Submissions received by any other channel will be automatically discarded.

Remember to read the Guide for Applicants to get all the information you need to apply successfully.

The calls are competitive and applicants should focus on one specific topic, therefore only one proposal per applicant may be submitted per call, whether this is a legal entity or a natural person. In the event of multiple submissions, only the last one received (timestamp of the F6S system) will enter into the evaluation process.  Any other submitted proposals involving the same applicant will be declared non-eligible and will not be evaluated in any case.

Yes, you can. However, note that the maximum funding eligible per beneficiary within the TrustChain project is limited to €200,000.

The first Open Call closes on April 10 2023 at 17:00 (CEST).

Each eligible proposal will be evaluated by a set of two experts. The evaluation criteria are:

  • Excellence and innovation (40% weighting)
  • Expected impact and value for money (30% weighting)
  • Project Implementation (30% weighting)

The documents that will be submitted are:

  • Application form: administrative questions to be completed directly in the F6S platform. In addition, some general questions for statistic purpose and tick boxes to be clicked by the third parties confirming they have read the conditions and agree with the conditions defined in this document. In addition, the Annex IV: Additional Applicant(s) Template needs to be uploaded in case that more than 3 applicants participate as individuals (natural persons) or/and more than 3 applicants participate as organisations (Legal entities) filled with the information about the applicant(s) that do not fit in the application form.
  • Proposal description: document in PDF format containing the description of the project.

The Evaluation & Selection phase is expected to take place from April 11 2023 to May 30 2023.

How the evaluation process works?

The evaluation of the proposals is carried out by the TrustChain Consortium with the assistance of independent experts. TrustChain Consortium staff ensures that the process is fair and in line with the principles contained in the European Commission’s rules on Proposal submission and evaluation. Experts perform evaluations on a personal basis, not as representatives of their employer, their country or any other entity. Each proposal is evaluated by a set of two experts according to the following criteria:

  • Excellence and innovation (40% weighting)
  • Expected impact and value for money (30% weighting)
  • Project Implementation (30% weighting)

The evaluation of proposals is carried out by the TrustChain Consortium with the assistance of independent evaluators. The independent evaluators are experts with various expertise related to the TrustChain project. They are required to be independent, impartial and objective, and to behave throughout the evaluation process in a professional manner. They sign an expert contract, including a declaration of confidentiality and absence of conflict of interest, before beginning their work.

Granted projects

Payments will be done in 4 instalments based on concrete results (one pre-financing, two interim payment and one final payment). A detailed evaluation process is described in the TRUSTCHAIN Open Call 1 Guide for Applicants for the related periods. The 2K € extra funding will be provided in case of the project outcome results in a peer reviewed journal publication with a minimum impact factor of 2.5

  • Beginning of the implementation and Pre-financing:

During the first weeks of the project implementation, each team will define with their coaches a set of clear and objective KPIs to be achieved and linked with the funding. These KPIs are different for each team and are related to the solution to be
implemented. These KPIs will help measure the progress if any, but also the commitment and involvement of the third party innovators (i.e., attending periodic call meetings with the coaches, meeting the deadlines for reporting, etc.). After this KPIs definition, a pre-financing of 30% will be released.

  • First midterm review linked to the delivery of deliverable D2 and 2nd payment:

At first midterm of the project implementation, the coaches will assess the KPI’s percentage of execution of the project based on the evaluation of the deliverable D2. A 100% completion of the KPIs for the related period will unlock the total of the 2nd
payment which is 20% of the total amount. A lower completion of the tasks will launch the proportional payment. If the KPIs for the related period are met by less than 50%, the payment will be retained until KPIs for the period are assessed as completely reached. If less than 25%, the third party innovators will be automatically disqualified from the process.

  • Second midterm review linked to the delivery of deliverable D3 and 3rd payment:

At the second midterm of the project implementation, the coaches will assess the KPI’s percentage of execution of the project based on the evaluation of the deliverable D3. A 100% completion of the KPIs for the related period will unlock the total of the 2nd payment which is 30% of the total amount. A lower completion of the tasks will launch the proportional payment. If the KPIs for the related period are met by less than 50%, the payment will be retained until KPIs for the period are assessed as completely reached. If less than 25%, the third party innovators will be automatically disqualified from the process.

  • Final review and last payment:

At the end of the project implementation, third parties will be paid according to their overall completion of KPIs materialized by the deliverable D4. 

A final event will be used to evaluate third parties on a face-to-face pitch contest. The third parties will present their implemented solution, and their business plan in the context of TRUSTCHAIN.

A panel of evaluators consisting of the TRUSTCHAIN Consortium and Advisory Board members, will assess the third party innovators to release the final payment (remaining 20%). Only in the case of an underperformance below of a 25% the team
will be disqualified, and no further payment released.

According to the minimis regulation (EC No 1998/2006), TrustChain is not a State Aid and therefore the funding does not count as minimis grant.

Payments will be done based on concrete results and not administrative justifications. However, your costs and funding breakdown will be required to ensure that the funding is used for the right purpose, as well as for traceability and accountability.

Subcontracting is not encouraged. The general rule applicable to the TrustChain project is that beneficiaries must have the appropriate resources to implement the full set of tasks needed within the project. This means it is not allowed to subcontract key parts of the project. Examples (not restricted to) of subcontracting not desired are, paying an external developer not in the company, paying a research centre or foundation to execute technical tasks, etc. Employees of a company are never considered subcontractors but part of the company itself. Example(not restricted to) of subcontracting activities that could be appropriate if needed are legal services or design services.

In addition, the subcontracting amount should not represent a relevant amount of the total budget and should be justified on the submitted proposal.

If you participate as a team of individuals, you have to stick to that team. Only new members can be added to improve the team, but not to change the initial team. If you are participating as an entity, you are free to add new employees from the firm to the team.

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