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Programme of Applied Research and Experimental Development "ALPHA"

Program aplikovaného výzkumu a experimentálního vývoje "ALFA"

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Keywords
 
Industrial research development small and medium enterprises
Overview
 

ALPHA is a programme supporting projects of applied research and experimental development (R&D) and stimulating increased intensity and effectiveness of R&D cooperation between businesses and research organisations. The programme has been approved for the period from 2011 till 2016 in which three public calls are expected – in 2010, 2011, and 2012. The estimated overall budget of the programme is approx. CZK7.5b (approx. €302m) with an estimated public support of 65%. The programme is the first measure implemented under the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic.

The overall goal of the programme is to enhance creation and quality of new results of applied R&D in progressive technologies, materials and systems, energy resources, environment protection and sustainable development of transport. The programme puts emphasis on applicability of project outputs in a form of innovation. These results should improve competitiveness of economic subject and subsequently contribute to better living standards of the whole Czech society. Special attention is paid to cooperation of research organisations and enterprises on R&D and innovation.

The measure contains three sub-programmes, all of them providing support in a form of direct grant to enteprises or research organisations, which are the only eligible beneficiaries. However, nature of the programme implies that target groups are predominantly companies as applied results of the supported projects are required. All the sub-programmes have their own steering committee evaluating project proposals, but the whole administration process is carried out by the Agency staff.

Background and rationale
 

The programme ALPHA consolidates support measures of three thematic areas, which had been supported through independent measures before the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic has begun its operation. Thus, the programme is a consequence of the Reform of the System of Research, Development and Innovation in the Czech Republic implementation. ALPHA supports projects in the areas of high-end technologies (e.g. in biotechnologies), in which the Czech Republic is rather lagging behind world leaders. Furthermore, the programme supports mutual cooperation of research organisations and enterprises and utilisation of research results in innovations. This is traditionally a weak feature of the Czech innovation system according to many sources (e.g. Green Paper on Research, Development and Innovation in the Czech Republic).

Policy Priorities
 

The programme aims at enhancing the transfer of research results to applications. Simultaneously, special attention is paid to implementation of research results in small and medium enterprises.

Main Policy Priorities
2.3.1 Direct support of business R&D (grants and loans)
Other Policy Priorities
2.2.3 R&D cooperation (joint projects, PPP with research institutes)
4.1.1 Support to sectoral innovation in manufacturing
Targeting specific sectors
 
0. No specific sector
Selected research and technnology fields
 
No specific thematic focus
Start date
 
2011
Expected ending
 
2016
Relationship to other measures
 
Novel measure: No

How does the measure relate to other measures?
 

There were two previous measures that are already archived:
NRP II - TP3: Information Technologies for a Knowledge-based Society
Research Programme of the Ministry of Transport 2007-2011: Support to a Realisation of the Sustainable Transport Development

Geographic coverage
 

The measure has national coverage.

Targets or beneficiares of the measure.
 
All companies

All companies
Higher educations institutions research units/centres
More details on the target groups
 

As project results should be applied and introduced in innovations target groups are generally enterprises.

If more than one target group is eligible
 
Co-operation/networking optional (e.g. associating SMEs as users)
Overall implementation structure of the measure
 

The programme is implemented through public calls for project proposals, and the support is given in a form of grants entirely on eligible costs during the project solving. Expected rate of public support is 65%. The calls are run on an annual basis, and there are expected three public calls in years 2010 to 2012. Simultaneously, the Agency is the provider of support which allows it to establish committees for proposals’ evaluation.

The programme is divided into three sub-measures (see the next point), and general rules are applied for each of them. All the sub-measures have also the same implementation structure (e.g. steering committee), but composition of particular committees differs in accordance with thematic specialisation of the three sub-measures.

Sub-measure structure
 

The programme ALPHA contains three sub-programmes:

  1. Progressive technologies, materials and systems (support of enabling technologies applicable in multiple industries);
  2. Energy resources, and creation and protection of environment (renewable resources of energy, protection of ecosystems, environmentally friendly technologies);
  3. Sustainable development of transportation (development of infrastructure, telematics, and energy efficient, environmentally friendly and safe transportation).
Management structure
 

The whole programme is administered by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, which is also provider of public support for R&D. The programme is managed through its board consisting of nine members representing stakeholders from national as well as from some regional public authorities. Particular sub-programmes have their steering committees for evaluating project proposals. Representatives of the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Transport are involved in the committees in the sub-programme two and three respectively. Both mentioned sub-programmes have committees consisting of nine members, while committee of the first sub-programme consists of 19 members from various organisations (including e.g. the Ministry of Industry and Trade). Projects are chosen on a basis of at least two independent opponent reports.

Review of progress
 

Technology Agency of the Czech Republic as well as other providers of public R&D support in the Czech Republic is responsible directly to the government, but choice of particular projects is in a competence of sub-programmes’ steering committees. The programme is evaluated according to the current methodology for evaluation of R&D and innovation results. Goals of the programme are specified in a set of indicators.

The project proposals are evaluated ex-ante, than the funded projects are obliged to submit periodic reports (annually) to monitor progress of the project realisation and possibly to stop the funding, and finally ex-post evaluation. Moreover, the programme supports practical implementation of R&D results; therefore projects bearers must submit some agreement on utilisation of the project results and inform the Agency no later than three years after the project termination.

Selection criteria
 

There are some basic criteria which are prerequisite to involve project in further evaluation:

  • projects are of applied R&D;
  • project proposals must be in compliance with overall objectives of the programme;
  • project is not funded by any other measure;
  • beneficiaries of the projects prove sufficient rate of co-financing.

Projects are further chosen on a basis of total score in these criteria:

  • expertise and capacity of the project team;
  • expected outputs of the project and their contribution to the programme objectives;
  • proven perspective of a demand on the project results and ability to exploit the market niches;
  • effective collaboration between research organisations and enterprises;
  • motivation effect of the support;
  • economic efficiency of the project.
Openness to EU countries
 

The measure is open to applicants from other EU countries. The applicant and its partners must be stated in the Czech Business Register (i.e. the company is allowed to do business in the Czech Republic), and keeps the accounts according to the Czech legislation. This prerequisite does not concern research organisations and universities involved in the project solving. Results of the projects supported must improve competitiveness of the Czech economy.

Openness to third countries
 

The measure is open to applicants from the European Economic Area and from Switzerland. The applicant and its partners must be stated in the Czech Business Register (i.e. the company is allowed to do business in the Czech Republic), and keeps the accounts according to the Czech legislation. This prerequisite does not concern research organisations and universities involved in the project solving. Results of the projects supported must improve competitiveness of the Czech economy.

Selection process of projects / participants
 

Functioning of the programme ALPHA is based on public calls in the first three years, each year one call. The first call was evaluated in 2010, the second one in 2011 and the last one is expected in 2012. The current call was open for two months to project proposals and the results were published in half a year.

Project applications must fulfil administrative prescriptions and two independent opponent reports are required for each project. The reports together with information sent by applicants are background materials for the steering committees.

What State Aid framework is applied to the measure?
 

The programme does not have to go through the notification process, a block exception was enacted.

ModeOfFunding
 
Grants
Elegible costs
 
Equipment
External expertise (consultants, studies, etc.)
Labour costs (including overheads)
Other: in case of small and medium enterprises IPR expenses eligible

Sources of co-financing
 
Co-financed by the private sector

Overall budget in EUR
 
302 000 000
Exchange rate used (1 EUR = # in national currency):
 
25 CZK
Overall budget in national currency:
 
7 558 000 000
Years:
 
2011
EUR 31 100 000

2012
EUR 60 300 000

2013
EUR 59 100 000

2014
EUR 43 000 000

2015
EUR 16 600 000

Further information
 

First and second call total respective budget for the selected years from the funding period 2011-2016.

Indicators specified ex ante
 
Yes

Indicators of the programme realisation:

  • Minimal number of projects supported 750;
  • Minimal number of collaborative projects 490;
  • Minimal number of successfully finished projects 600;
  • Successful termination of at least 80% projects.

Indicators of the programme results:

  • Minimal number of patent applications, utility models and industrial models 300;
  • Minimal number of pilot production and proved technologies 300;
  • Minimal number of prototypes, functional samples and software 100;
  • Minimal number of certified methodologies 50;
  • Minimal number of applied programme results 750.

Minimal 75% of the programme objectives will be achieved

Minimal share of non-public funds will be 30% on total expenditure of the programme

Support Measure evaluation
 
Ex-Ante: No
On-going/Mid-term: No
Final/Ex-post: No
If no official evaluation has been undertaken is there any evidence which allows an appraisal of the success of the measure?
 

Total 247 projects were supported from 657 proposals through the first public call with total allocation of €109.4m. As the programme encourages collaborative R&D and innovation 90% of projects supported through the first call will be solved in cooperation of enterprises and research organisations. The most common proposal in the first call was sent by small enterprise(s) together with research organisation(s) (37% of proposals). Number of projects approved in the first tender was around the anticipated average number of supported projects in a public call.

The results of the second call have already been announced. The Technology Agency expects to sing funding agreement applicant in this list.

Results
 

The programme ALPHA supports the projects only in case the applied results will be achieved (patents, models, prototypes, semi-operational equipment or software) and these results will be really applied. The projects supported through the programme should create 105 patents, 218 pilot production and proved technologies, 243 utility models and industrial models, 419 prototypes, 223 certified methodologies, 254 software products, 558 of other results.

Further development
 

It is too early to say about further development of the measure as the programme ALPHA is at the beginning of its lifecycle. But it is obvious from the first public call results that demand highly exceeds the budget of the programme. Furthermore, number of expected results of the first public call far exceeds the number required not only for this call, but even for the whole programme.

Website in original language
 
Website in English
Relevant further information
 

 

Analysis of the first public tender at: http://www.tacr.cz/dokums_raw/vyhodnoceni_programu_alfa_1.pdf (Czech only)

Legal basis
 

ACT No. 130/2002 Coll. on the Support of R&D from Public Funds and on the Amendment to Some Related Acts; Government Regulation No.461/2002 Coll. on Targeted Support of R&D from Public Funds and on Public Tenders in R&D.

Launching Agency
 

the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (Technologická agentura České republiky TA ČR)

Agency administering
 

the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (Technologická agentura České republiky TA ČR)

Funding Agency
 

the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (Technologická agentura České republiky TA ČR)

Manager(s) responsible for the measure
 

Lenka Pilátová

pilatova@tacr.cz

+420 234 611 613

Mgr. Markéta Šulcová

sulcova@tacr.cz

+420 234 611 614

Correspondent name
 
David Marek
Document Date
 
13/03/2012

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