EMIL has executed two open calls for funding which closed in January and August 2023 respectively. However, the EMIL network is an open network that is always looking for new members and growth.
These two funding periods were aimed at European-based XR technology developers and content creators. The EMIL consortium partners are in the process of and will continue to support and guide the funded Financial Support for Third Parties (FSTP) projects towards their goals. EMIL’s funded projects are provided with 250,000-500,000€ funding per selected project, with a duration of 15 months. The funding is targeted at media innovators, outstanding technology developers, SMEs, academia, and others that enable new ways of creative storytelling and interaction through immersive media technologies. The funding covers 100% of the applied for costs of the project and certain resources of EMIL nodes are available to the projects on top of the funded sum.
When starting the project must be on the Readiness Level 4 (RL4) and at the end of its execution on RL8. This is the case for both Technology-oriented proposals, as well as for Content & Production-oriented proposals. (Please check the sections below for further details).
The first call, EMIL-1, was opened on 1 Dec 2022 and ended 31 Jan 2023.
The second call, EMIL-2, was opened on 12 June and ended 14 August 2023.
The external submission page for EMIL call 2 was: https://emil-xr.aalto.fi/
For any questions about the calls contact us at email@example.com!
EMIL project invites proposals, especially for areas related to the core competencies of the consortium partners and the four Lighthouse projects that reflect the expertise and supporting infrastructure of EMIL. However, XR-project proposals that are not directly related to these four areas will also be considered. We provide brief descriptions of the core competencies and the thematic tracks of EMIL.
Wearable Haptic Interfaces for XR
Adding tactile sensations to XR has proved to enhance the immersive experience and has attracted tremendous attention from both academia and industry. EMIL develops smart garments (e.g., gloves and shirts) that combine vibrotactile, electrotactile and potentially also chemical stimulations to implement various tactile sensations and integrate stimulations into textiles. We will open source the designs of our smart garments and will provide open APIs for (re)configuring and (re)activating tactile sensations. FSTP projects in this area are expected to focus on XR experience design utilizing the smart garments developed by EMIL or new designs of smart garments that provide different types of tactile sensations. In either case, the proposed designs are expected to be prototyped and evaluated through user tests. Each FSTP project is free to choose any type of XR applications for demonstration and is encouraged to demonstrate the interplay between tactile sensation and other sensory modalities.
Affective Exergaming in Virtual Environments
Virtual environments hold great promise in supporting users to be physically active. EMIL is developing technologies to enable gamified exercise (“exergames”) in an effective and motivating manner; e.g. allowing users to interact naturally in virtual environments by cycling on an exercycle or running and jumping on the spot. Besides physical activity, our technologies make it possible to measure how users feel (“affect”) and to adjust and optimise virtual environments accordingly. We demonstrate the value of these technologies in VR exergames for sports training and rehabilitation, optimising the user experience to be both physically engaging and emotionally motivating. Possible FSTP projects include VR experiences that engage users through physical activity; e.g. for sport, rehabilitation and entertainment, and affective VR experiences such as interactive narratives.
Group-oriented Spatial AR
The common and cost-effective type of AR experience, based on smartphones or tablets, is often difficult to adopt by users and is isolating, which breaks the group dynamics user experience (UX) of visitors in public spaces such as museums, culture centres, heritage sites, schools, etc. Headset-based AR is also considered to be isolating as well as high cost, lacks robustness, and presents hygiene issues that have become obvious during the pandemic. Moreover, both types of technologies force every participant to use/wear a device, which is often not possible (e.g. motor or cognitive disabilities) or not desirable (e.g. invasiveness), hence leading to non-inclusive and non-accessible experiences. We expect novel approaches to group-based AR experiences for public spaces that: keep the sense of group UX; do not force all users in a group to use a device; and allow a situated, shared, co-located experience. Proposals of such AR experiences for public spaces may take advantage of UPF’s novel World-as-Support paradigm and the device that makes it feasible, the AR Magic Lantern. The SDK will support the rapid prototyping of experiences for this platform and will allow the proposal of novel augmentation of content and meaning for contexts such as learning, digital tourism, heritage transfer to younger generations, storytelling, an increase of interest in historical knowledge, etc. Other proposals of AR technologies that foster group-oriented, co-located, and situated experiences will also be considered, as well as other application areas.
Narrative Immersive Media Productions including Location Based
A solid narrative structure builds the foundation for any successful media production. In this context, we are expecting FSTP proposals with a strong emphasis on Animation, Digital Actors, and Visual Effects including Virtual Production, Interactive Installations, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, and Game formats utilizing the latest technological advancements to tell compelling stories. Running such productions is supported by an ecosystem of hard- and software tools to optimize workflows while preserving maximum creative freedom. The scalable LBX created within the EMIL project tells a compelling story by means of visual and physical immersion. LBX by nature is restricted to dedicated hardware and spatial constraints, therefore the experience is planned in different scales: individually seated, individually in a room-scale environment, and as a group experience in a large room-scale environment. LBX and existing toolsets are expected to foster and blossom FSTP projects with strong narrative elements in XR.
The open track is for the proposals for VR, AR or MR productions or development projects that do not fall into any of the four thematic areas mentioned above. We expect to see radically different approaches with innovative and surprising content productions, applications, and/or services of extended reality such as Virtual Productions utilizing the latest achievements in real-time graphics for VFX, character-centric applications including animated assistive services where believable facial animation of humanoids are essential, etc.
General Requirements for FSTP Projects
The EMIL funding calls will be open to all legal entities located within an EU member state or in a Horizon Europe (HE) associated country and possessing a validated Participant Identification Code (PIC) granted by the European Commission (EC) will be required at the time of signature. The proposals should include a plan on how they can benefit from the expertise and/or infrastructure of EMIL lab nodes.
Requirements for eligibility of applicants
The proposal must be submitted by a legal entity located within an EU member state or in a Horizon Europe (HE) associated country. The applicant must be eligible to receive HE funding.
The legal entity must register in the Participant Register before submitting their application, in order to get a participant identification code (PIC) and be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation) before signing the FSTP agreement. For the validation, they will be asked to upload the necessary documents showing their legal status and origin during the grant preparation stage. A validated PIC is not a prerequisite for applying, however, it must be validated before the funding can be admitted.
Applicants cannot be affiliated with the EMIL consortium partners nor can they be employees of the EMIL partners. All potential conflicts of interest will be assessed carefully. Please see more info here.
Individuals will not be permitted to act as project coordinators in more than one application.
The applicants submitting the proposal have not had a proposal funded in a previous EMIL application window.
Eligibility of UK-based entities
Due to the complexities of the UK-EU research relationship, UK companies, and other UK entities, unfortunately, are not eligible for funding.
Financial eligibility requirements for applicants
Financial and viability checks will be made to ensure Horizon Europe funding eligibility. It will be verified that:
- The applicant is entitled to carry on the business; the applicant is registered in the trade register or in an equivalent register.
- The applicant’s financial resources are sufficient regarding the volume and quality of the procurement.
- The applicant has paid 1) taxes, 2) pension contributions, and 3) social security contributions and is able to effect the payments of any similar social liabilities.
- All the above-mentioned requirements apply both to the principal applicant and to possible subcontractors.
- If subcontractors are being used the funding rules of Horizon Europe must be followed (the best value for money and no conflict of interest).
The applicant’s financial viability must be on a sufficient level prior to the signing of the grant agreement.
- Applicant’s turnover or average magnitude of the business in years 2018 – 2021 (where available) plus a forecast for the project timeframe (2022-2025) was on average at least the value of the proposed FSTP project grant. Financial reports that would include P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow will be asked prior to the grant agreement. The profit and loss calculation tool can be used for evaluating the applicant’s financial situation.
- if the applicant concerned is a new company or entrepreneur, the applicant’s financial information (the latest balance sheet, a business plan, and a statement from the bank) on the basis of which the financial resources can be verified plus a forecast for the project time frame (2023-2025) will be required prior to the signing of the grant agreement.
- Statement of outstanding taxes and certificates of pension and social security contributions.
The reports are not required in the application phase, but they may be asked later.
Additional Eligibility Criteria
- The submissions must propose future-oriented eXtended Reality (XR) projects; i.e. using Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), or similar immersive and interactive technologies. These should propose a clear innovation in the field, whether at a technological level (bringing the technology up from TRL4 to TRL8) or at a content level (providing a novel type of experience with these technologies and media).
- The proposal is submitted before the specific cut-off date deadline as defined in the call;
- The proposal is submitted online through our exclusive application platform as defined in the call;
- The proposal uses the mandatory application template provided by EMIL;
- The proposal is written and submitted in English only;
- Applications must be readable, accessible, and printable.
- Applications should not contain sensitive personal data or trade secrets
- Applicant must be able to validate the content of the proposal if required at a later stage.
- Applicants are discouraged from using subcontractors. They can only be used in special situations. Subcontractors are subject to the same eligibility and certification obligations as FSTP applicants themselves.
How to write the application
- Please replace the text in [square brackets] with the appropriate text.
- In the footer of the document, replace the text “[Name of the project]” with the name of your project (or if it is very long, use a shorter version instead).
- Please use the given structure and headlines.
- Please describe your project so that you do not reveal potential trade secrets. In addition, please do not include any personal data that is not available publicly.
- Please be aware that an eligibility and compliance check will be conducted prior to the final selection.
- Please note that the top-ranked projects which could potentially be funded will undergo an ethics screening to assess whether there are any ethics or security issues.
- When the document is ready, please update the Table of Content and save the document as PDF
- The template document is made in MS Word and may not work as smoothly in other applications. We understand that, and it will not make your application worse.
- In this document you should give
- i) Admin information; name and contacts, financial information of the applicant,
- ii) The cover page and abstract of the proposal and
- iii) Application form
IMPORTANT: Page limit is 15 pages excluding these information pages, Organisation information and Cover pages. Exceeding the 15 pages can cause the application will not be evaluated!
- iv) Application form: Header 1.2 cm, Footer 1.29cm, Margins: Top 1.96cm, Bottom 2.5cm, Left and Right 2cm
- v) Use the following styles and fonts: Normal: Arial 10pt, 1.5 lines, space before 6pt; Heading 1: Arial Bold 14, 1.5 lines, numbering; Heading 2: Arial Bold 12, 1.5 lines, space after 6pt, numbering; Heading 3: Arial 12, 1.5 lines Space after 6pt, numbering. Lists can be used without space after.
- The application phase for the first call has ended. The second call, EMIL-2, is expected to open June 2023 and its deadline to be early August 2023.
- On the application website please fill in the information asked: name and contacts, and abstract.
- Upload your application and click ‘Send’. You should get an email receipt of the successfully submitted application.
The present guide defines the evaluation criteria for FSTP proposals presented to the calls for projects of EMIL. This guide is both addressed to FSTP proposal writers as well as to the expert panels that will evaluate the proposals. In this manner, the criteria are unified and proposal writers will understand how their proposals will be evaluated.
- The eligibility of the proposals will be checked by the
Programme Committee (PC). These checks will continue to take place
alongside the following steps.
- The international Independent Experts Panel (IEP) will be formed for each proposal to match their focus. The proposals will be evaluated by two international independent experts in the field that will seek a balance between academia and industry, as well as gender parity whenever possible.
- The evaluation reports are created according to the evaluation criteria (below).
- The PC will then integrate the individual reports of the IEP members for each FSTP proposal.
- The technological experts at EMIL Nodes will assess their technological feasibility and the adequacy of resources that the proposals ask to use from the Nodes during their execution.
- If specific evaluation is found necessary, an expert from EMIL’s Scientific Advisory Group will be asked to also review the proposal and further modulate the final score.
- The PC will then generate a final ranked list of proposals according to their global grades as per the previous steps and will propose this list for funding to EMIL’s General Assembly.
- Once the aforementioned list is ratified by the EGA, it will be published in EMIL’s website (https://emil-xr.eu)
This evaluation process will take about 10 weeks to complete, after which the negotiation period will start with each FSTP proposal grantee.
The proposal review will be based on the principles of relevance, transparency, equity, efficiency, quality, and independence as well as the best practices laid out in the European Science Foundation Peer Review Guide. To support this, guidelines on integrity will be developed and promoted to all parties involved in the review process, including applicants, reviewers, committee members, and staff.
Proposals will be ranked by the Programme Committee (PC) (according to the grades provided by the IEP members for each proposal and the modulation of these grades by the EMIL Node experts and an expert from EMIL’s Scientific Advisory Board) based on the categories of Excellence & Relevance, Quality, Efficiency, Impact, Sustainability, and Implementation as described below. Each category will receive a score between 0 and 5 with the following meanings:
5: Excellent: The proposal successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the criterion in question. Any shortcomings are minor.
4: Good: The proposal addresses the criterion well, although certain improvements are possible.
3: Fair: While the proposal broadly addresses the criterion, there are significant weaknesses that would need correcting.
2: Poor: There are serious inherent weaknesses in relation to the criterion in question.
1: Very poor: The criterion is addressed in a cursory and unsatisfactory manner.
0: Not addressed at all: The criterion is not addressed at all in the proposal.
A minimum threshold of 3 out of 5 is needed for every category. However, the proposal must score at least 17 out of 25 (17/25) to be ranked. Additionally, the categories are weighted as indicated below.
Excellence & Relevance
(0-5 points, threshold 3) (20% weight)
Extent to which the objectives of the FSTP Project are consistent with the EMIL-HORIZON-CL4-2021-HUMAN-01-06 call objectives. The main aspects are listed below:
- Developing ground-breaking XR experiences, open APIs, and access to substantial production aspects, as EMIL nodes are doing with their lighthouse projects. Proposals must explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service, or solution.
- Effective and timely delivery of FSTP projects, by making a rational and realistic use of EMIL’s nodes resources and relying on a consortium of experienced researchers, project managers, developers, industry representatives and content creators, with constant verification of progress.
- Enter EMIL’s network of support and expertise, initially based on the EMIL nodes and associated industry and education institutions, to exchange know-how and best practice, making effective use of all aspects of XR projects to achieve a mature European expert network which can exist beyond EMIL.
- Promote community building between the FSTPs and create strategic relations with industrial, commercial, and institutional supporters to increase the impact of results and ensure the longevity of the networked laboratory after completion.
- To disseminate and exploit results at key European events and guide project results into commercialization.
(0-5 points, threshold 3) (20% weight)
Extent to which the FSTP Project’s objectives are expected to be achieved, considering their relative importance.
- How future-oriented the proposal is: proof of the novelty; references of similar XR experiences; how the proposal is different from those; and how it advances in the field of XR; i.e. the extent to which the proposed work is ambitious, and goes beyond the state-of-the-art.
- If technological advances are proposed how they will move from TRL4 to TRL8, making a significant advance in XR technology.
- Relevant experience and capacity to implement the proposed solution (Does the team have the required skills to develop the proposed solution, is there complementary competencies in the team, …).
- Accuracy in the description of objectives and the procedures to achieve them
(0-5 points, threshold 3) (20% weight)
The quality, coherence, and structure of the workplan to achieve the proposal in an efficient way (see point 4. Efficiency). Soundness of the proposed methodology, including the underlying concepts, models, assumptions, interdisciplinary approaches, appropriate consideration of the gender dimension, etc.
- The definition of work packages, tasks, milestones, and deliverables is coherent with project objectives and work to be achieved, and will favour successful completion
- Gantt chart showing feasibility of workplan.
- Risk Management Plan to increase the probability of the project success by identifying potential challenging tasks early and envisaging mitigation measures to avoid or reduce the probability of negative occurrence.
- Budget definition in consonance with the proposal’s ambition and needs.
- Description of how the implementation will support the funding plan of the call (40% + 40% + 20% check the text of the Calls) which needs some interim co-funding.
(0-5 points, threshold 3) (20% weight)
Extent to which the outputs and/or desired effects have been planned with an optimised use of resources (funds, expertise, time, administrative costs, etc.).
- Rational analysis and justification of resources needed:
- related to the budget of the proposal, and
- related to the resources of EMIL Nodes.
- Capacity and role of each member in the proposal, and extent to which they bring together the necessary expertise.
Impact and Sustainability
(0-5 points, threshold 3) (20% weight)
- Expected impacts with Key Performance Indicators to measure them. Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by the FSTP Project, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. Extent to which the benefits from the FSTP Project continue after the funding period, or the probability that they continue in the long-term in a way that is resilient to risks.
- Credibility of the pathways to achieve the expected outcomes and impacts specified in the work plan, and the likely scale and significance of the contributions due to the project.
- Quality of the Ethics Self-assessment. All proposals will undergo an ethics screening to detect if there are any potential ethical or security risks.
- Suitability and quality of the measures to maximize expected outcomes and impacts, as set out in the dissemination and exploitation plan, including communication activities.
- Means and measures to provide continuity of the exploitation after the funding and the project are over.
- Description of the IP that is expected to be generated from the proposal and how they will be dealt with.
Questions and Answers
Clarifications to questions asked by applicants.
- Do we need MS Word or MS Excel to fill the format?
No, the template document is in .rtf format and can be opened with most text editing applications. Depending on the application you used, differences in layout can happen. Please design your application so that it is understandable. Please use the text sizes determined in the document. You can use the Excel form (downloadable on the application page) to calculate the costs.
- Is a private, or public entity eligible to apply?
Are SMEs eligible to apply?
Are startups eligible to apply?
Yes to all of these, but there are certain requirements for the financial capability to execute the project. Please refer to 2.1 Requirements for eligibility of applicants
- Can a consortium apply?
No, only one entity can be an applicant.
- Can an organisation that is not registered in the trade register but in a local prefecture apply?
All kinds of legal organisations, public or private, profit or non-profit are eligible as far as they are registered in EU (and they have paid their taxes and the other statutory expenses and so on). The field in which the organisation is registered doesn’t matter as far as in the application they can reason why the project is important and that they can credibly ensure they have all the needed resources (knowledge, material and equipment) to execute the project they propose. All the countries have individual legislations how they register companies, if you have a company ID, VAT number or similar you probably are a legal person or legal organisation.
- What are the compliance requirements for applicants?
Compliance obligations apply to organisations wishing to receive EMIL financial support to third parties. These obligations include compliance with ethics provisions, highest ethical standards and compliance with applicable international, EU and national legislation and record-keeping requirements. Applicants that are shortlisted, will be subjected to a rigorous compliance check.
- Can my proposal be rejected based on the proposal budget?
Yes, your proposal might receive a low score if your budget is not in line with the proposed template and if it is not in line with the Horizon Europe rules on eligible expenditure. You are advised against adding cost categories that are not listed as eligible in the EMIL FSTP projects (e.g. equipment), and you are advised against placing costs into wrong budget heads. Applicants should pay attention to only adding eligible costs to the budgets. You can find a detailed explanation of compliance obligations and eligible costs in the Horizon Europe annotated model grant agreement EN••
- Where are the instructions on how to apply for funding?
All the instructions, application deadline, application template and budget template can be found at https://emil-xr.aalto.fi/ The forms contain guidance and relevant information needed to apply for the funding.
- Does my organisation have to register in the EU Participant portal prior to sending the application?
Yes, the applicant will need to have a PIC (Participant Identification Code) when applying. The PIC must be validated by the Central Validation Service before signing the FSTP agreement. A good practice could be to register the entity for getting the PIC and start the validation process immediately, because the validation may take several weeks or months. Please find more information on these pages.
- Is there a way of knowing if our organisation and our project idea fit your call?
EMIL does not provide guidance to individual applicants on their specific proposals. The applicant must ensure that they meet all eligibility requirements as detailed in the call page and application form for any call.
- How long will the evaluation process take and when the project can start if funded?
The evaluation will take about 10 weeks and after that, the awarded applicants will negotiate the details of the funding. The estimation is that the projects can start three to four months after the deadline of the call.
Can we submit our Call 1 proposal again in Call 2?
You can submit the Call 1 proposal again in Call 2, and you could also modify it according to the Evaluation Summary Report findings.
Can we modify our Call 1 proposal and submit it in Call 2?
You can freely modify the Call 1 proposal and submit it again in Call 2.
What is the maximum number of pages of the application?
The page limit is 15 pages excluding the Guidance of the application, Organisation information, and Cover pages. Exceeding the 15 pages can cause the application will not be evaluated!
- Can images be added to the application?
Yes, you can add images to the application.
- Can we use our own format?
As long as the text (basic text, headings etc.) sizes and page margins are the same as in the form and followed.
Partners and consortiums
- Can a consortium apply?
No, only one entity can be an applicant.
- Is subcontracting possible?
Yes, but we do not recommend that, a better solution would be to hire people instead. The rules of the EU will be applied also these projects, which means that for example competitive tendering might be needed if the subcontracting sum will exceed certain limits.
- Will the information in the proposals be kept confidential?
Proposals and all the other material sent as applications will be kept confidential. All the programme members and the staff members who may need to handle the applications will need to sign NDU. The proposals will be evaluated by external independent experts who will need to sign the NDU.
Questions asked via email
- Can you clarify if an applicant needs to include an international consortium or is the funding for only one applicant organization?
EMIL can only take single-applicant applications.
- Would we need to apply in collaboration with a MAGICS consortium member?
No, Magics is a different action of Aalto University, Tampere University and the University of Art. Aalto University itself cannot be a member of the application.
- Does the application need to outline how our institution would become part of EMIL and formally part of the MAGICS node?
As the main idea of EMIL is to establish XR research and development network in Europe we hope to see the FSTP awardees (also the applicants) in the network. We are hoping to collaborate with the Lighthouse projects.
- Would it be possible for a brief call to discuss this topic further?
We can only give general information about the call. We cannot advise or consult the content of the application.
- Must the project already be started and in the development phase in the beginning of the funding?
Yes, the project should be on (technology) readiness level 4 (T)RL4 when starting, and at the end of the project, it should be on (T)RL8. Please find more information about TRLs on this page.
- Is it permitted to propose projects that are e.g. centered around the volumetric studio? Would I need to request special permissions? And will this have (negative) impact on the evaluation?
It is indeed permitted. The facilities and equipment of the EMIL Nodes are available for the use of the FSTP projects. It is good to mention that FSTP project will possibly use or need a facility or equipment, or it can be evaluated as positive in most cases. The actual use of the will be negotiated directly with the respective node. Within certain reasonable limits, the use is free of charge and you do not need to take into account the budget, so in some cases, the funding can be actually more than 100%.
- Does the funding provided under EMIL have to be spent in the EU exclusively?
The Annotated Model Grant Agreement (see: aga_en.pdf (europa.eu)) Article 6 explains the eligible costs of Horizon Europe projects. There are some good presentations available online regarding eligible costs. E.g. here: What costs are eligible in Horizon Europe? – EU Funds. However, please always refer to EC resources in case of any doubt.
- What kind of accounting is required from beneficiaries?
The general eligibility conditions are that actual costs must be identifiable and verifiable, in particular recorded in the beneficiary’s accounts in accordance with the accounting standards applicable in the country where the beneficiary is established and with the beneficiary’s usual cost accounting practices. There are record keeping and audit obligations, in adition. For full list of requirements please see the Annotated Model Grant Agreement (see: aga_en.pdf (europa.eu)). In addition, regarding the record keeping obligations please see Article 20 on Record-keeping.
- Should applicants budget for audit costs?
It is advisable to budget for the costs of an audit.
- Should applicants be prepared for other audits?
The EMIL beneficiaries must ensure that the bodies mentioned in the Annotated Model Grant Agreement Article 25 (e.g. granting authority; the European Court of Auditors (ECA); the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)) have the right to carry out checks, reviews, audits and investigations on the FSTP recipients, and in particular to audit the payments received.
- Do applicants have to own the technology they intend to develop with the EMIL funds?
In the context of HE projects, “background” means any data, know-how or information — whatever its form or nature (tangible or intangible), including any rights such as intellectual property rights — that is held by the FSTP recipient before they start the implantation of the FSTP project and that is needed to implement the action or exploit the results. The FSTP recipient needs to have the rights to background which they intend to develop in the project. The ownership of results belong to the organization that generated them.
- Can content creation also be funded by the FSTP project budgets?
Content creation can also be funded. We expect to see radically different approaches with innovative and surprising content productions, applications, and/or services of extended reality such as Virtual Productions utilizing the latest achievements in real-time graphics for VFX, character-centric applications including animated assistive services where e.g. believable facial animation of humanoids are essential.
- What stage do you expect projects to be in when they apply? Prototyping? Production? Development?
The projects should be on technology readiness level 4 (TRL4) when starting and at the end of the project on TRL8. The levels and our interpretation of the levels to better describe creative sector projects are described below.
- Can a technology-oriented concept offering innovative XR-related services be possible to get funded in the context of the open-track area?
FSTP funding is aimed at projects by outstanding technology developers, media innovators, SMEs, academia and others that enable new ways of creative storytelling and interaction through immersive media technologies.
- Do I need to be enrolled in a government org (like a university) and/or research to receive the grant? No, that is not needed.
- Who owns the Intellectual Property (IP) of software created by the FSTP recipients in the FSTP project? FSTP recipients own the IP they create in the FSTP Project, and they can choose to commercialize software as proprietary software or release it as open source software. It is also possible to choose double licensing and combine a non-commercial software license with further availability of commercial software licenses.
- Can the grand be used to bootstrap the solution as an own start-up and do all IP and rights belong to the respective start-up or will everything be public domain? As the IPs belong to a grantee, the grantee decides how they will be exploited.
- A newly established startup asks: if it would be enough to provide profit & loss calculations for Q4 2022 + a statement of turnover and balances from accounts. The meaning of the requirement is to assess economic viability to estimate the applicant’s capability to successfully implement the proposed project.
- Do you require formal certificates from offices on statements of outstanding taxes and certificates of pension and social security contributions? Yes, it would make the process faster and there is a risk to be discarded if they are not provided in the proposal. In call-2 you only need to send the application, all the financial information will be asked in the later phase.
- Does the balance sheet need to be presented in English? EU has 23 official languages, and in the time and resources we have got it is unable to get translations from all the languages. The content of the proposal must be written in the English language. In this application phase, the administrative documents can be in your own national language, but please provide a preparatory translation in English, so that we know what the document is about. At first, the Independent Expert Panel will evaluate the content of the proposals according to the criteria. In the second phase, if a proposal advances to the list of negotiations, then a better translation of the documents may be asked to provide. This was the case in Call-1, in call-2 only application is needed, and the financial documents will be asked for later.
- Can we provide tax and other certificates in another language than English? See the answer above. However, in Call-2 you do not need to provide these certificates, yet. They may be asked later.
- Is there a template for the business plan or are we free to provide it in a personal format? There is no template for the business plan, but please use established practices.
- It’s written that we need to attach these to the application: do they go with the PDF portfolio or should I send it another way? You can also make a ZIP file of all the documents, which is actually better for the process of evaluation. In the Call-2 only PDF is possible, and only application is needed in the application phase. The financial documents will possibly be asked for later.
- It is possible that the next deadline might be too early for us on this project, yet the EMIL-2 would probably land around the end of our production. How do you consider the timeline for the application? The deadline for EMIL-2 will be the 14th of August 2023. The funded projects are not eligible to apply from the second call.
- How should the sales forecast be mapped? Is it sufficient if the sales forecast is given per year? If you mean the applicant or company sales forecast, it should be sufficient at this application phase.
- When would the payment of the grant start? The grants will be paid the followingly: 40% when the project starts, 40% after the interim report is accepted, and 20% when the work is completed and reported. The projects should start on May 2023.
- What specific documentation from 2018 – 2022 should be attached? Is it enough if we use the profit and loss calculation tool with the appropriate years and attach the result as a pdf? Please attach the final accounts for those years. However in Call-2, only application is needed in the application phase, the other documentation will be asked later.
- Are we permitted to form a consortium using sub-contracting, i.e. one organization is the FSTP applicant and they would then award a subcontractor to a collaborating organization? Unfortunately using subcontracting as a way to get funding for a consortium is most likely not possible: HE rules apply to FSTP projects and the rules state that subcontracting has to be based on best-value-for-money and non-conflict of interest. Normally this means that the subcontracting organization must get quotes from more than one prospective subcontractor and that they must make the choice based on best-value-for-money and non-conflict of interest. A proposed solution would be that the FSTP recipient hires talent missing from their organization for the benefit of the project.
- Ideally, [our project] includes the use of the AR magic lantern. I was wondering how to include this in the proposal / budget – would we get access to the technology, does it require a partnership with the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and are we allowed, encouraged, to develop it? The funded projects will have the possibility to use the facilities of the nodes or the lighthouses as we are also calling them. The resources we have will be available for free (of course with certain limits). Magic Lantern is open-source technology and you are allowed to develop further, if you can make the development work in the project, it would probably be a good thing.
- We are developing a project that refers to [something], but not yet Location Based XR. However, we would like to submit it in the “Narrative Immersive Media Productions including Location Based Experiences” section because there is a strong focus on storytelling and original interactive modes are used. Do you think it might be okay to include the LBX aspect in the subsequent development related to the call for proposals? Would the project be considered?
Or, should it be more correct to submit the project instead in the “Open track” section working more on the original aspects related to interaction, would this have the same chances as a project in the first four sections? Unfortunately, we cannot give advice on content-related questions. In general, the category you choose is not that crucial, but it is good you are thinking of it.
- If we are submitting our own proposal, can we still be a subcontractor in another proposal? This is a problem in the case that both of the proposals will be funded. According to the funding rule, only one project per applicant can be funded, and subcontractors are treated the same as the main contractor.
Additionally, subcontracting needs to be entered into through the principles of ‘the best value for money’ and ‘no conflict of interest’. If a subcontractor is named in the proposal, we expect the proposer will be able to provide evidence of having applied the before mentioned principles for choosing the subcontractor. It should be noted that it is possible that there are other principles that have to also be considered if the proposer is a public buyer.
- What is the Ethics Self-assessment and how can we prepare it?
Please check the EU Guide on “How to complete your ethics self-assessment”
We have not paid pension contributions as we have not had employees. Are we disqualified?
Only failure to have paid contributions required by law forms a non-eligibility situation.
Is the EMIL FSTP aid?
No, it is not.
Can a start-up receive funding?
Yes, it can. It must be able to display proof of financial viability.
Can a registered association apply for funding?
Yes, we welcome proposals from registered associations.
Do we need to justify the use of a subcontractor?
If subcontractors are being used the funding rules of Horizon Europe must be followed (the best value for money and no conflict of interest). Applicants are discouraged from using subcontractors. They can only be used in special situations. Subcontractors are subject to the same eligibility and certification obligations as FSTP applicants themselves.
We have used the profit and loss calculation tool and ask for your comments. Can we get an assessment of our financial viability?
Only shortlisted proposal submitters shall go through a thorough financial viability check. We cannot give assessments to proposers during the time that the Call is open.
Can we submit Letters of Intent?
The maximum length of the proposals in practical terms is concise, 15 pages, so we don’t recommend using that space for Letters of Intent.
Our Call 1 proposal budget was deemed as not adhering to the given template. Could you provide more information?
Please use the template from the Call website and refrain from adding additional budget heads. Also, please categorize costs in line with Horizon Europe principles. Please refer to Annotated Model Grant Agreement for more information on each cost category.
We estimate our project to require over a million euros of funding. Can we utilize the EMIL FSTP as partial funding?
The FSTP project must be at TRL4, to begin with, and must achieve TRL8 during the course of 15 months. If the proposer has additional funding for the gap between the maximum EMIL FSTP grant and the needed funding, it might not create a problem. Such cases must be explained in the proposal. Ownership of results, however, could become a hurdle.
We are a startup. Is there a minimum requirement for bank balance?
If the applicant concerned is a new company or entrepreneur, the applicant must provide available financial information (the latest balance sheet, a business plan, and a statement from the bank) and e.g. a business plan with a forecast for the project time frame (2023-2025). The applicant needs to be aware, that the pre-financing is only 40% and there will be a need to fund the project activities from own funds for the time before reports have been accepted and further payments made.
Is this de minimis aid?
De minimis aid State aid and the de minimis aid criteria only apply to ‘state resources’ whereas resources centrally managed by EU institutions do not constitute state resources. Centrally managed programmes by the European Commission or its Agencies, such as Horizon Europe funding, are not therefore subject to state aid rules. Does de minimis aid affect participation in EU projects? – EU Funds
(Technology) Readiness Levels (RL)
|EU definition: where a topic description refers to a TRL, the following definitions apply, unless otherwise specified:
|A proposal for EMIL’s definition regarding XRmedia productions
|basic principles observed
|basic principles observed
|technology concept formulated
|a service concept formulated or synopsis and the preliminary version or sections of script
|experimental proof of concept
|experimental proof of service concept or advanced version or production schedule or …
|technology validated in lab
|plan for testing the service or advanced production schedule
|technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
|service tested in small scale or content described carefully or full script with schedule
|technology demonstrated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
|service demonstrated in a real environment or sketches and visuals of the content. Demos or protos or similar of the game, service or all the content ready for editing or …
|system prototype demonstration in operational environment
|service prototype demonstration in operational environment, content edited
|system complete and qualified
|service complete and qualified, content ready for publishing
|actual system proven in operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies; or in space)
|service or content tested in the final environment
EMIL Node’s Resources
Below you may find the list of resources that FSTP proposals may apply for and use during their execution if funded. These resources must be fully justified in the work plan of the proposal, not only listing which resources would help the proposal but also in defining their usage in terms of intensity (in hours or days), the timing within the work plan, as well as why they are necessary. The adequacy and justification of these resources will be part of the Efficiency grading during the evaluation of the proposals. Nonetheless, once an FSTP proposal is accepted, access to these resources will be bound by two main aspects:
- The reevaluation of these needs by the technical experts of EMIL to redimension them according to real development and/or production needs.
- The availability of such resources during the time they are needed within the particular FSTP.
All resources are to be accessed within the nodes’ schedules of use and will be agreed separately between the nodes in question and the FSTP project during negotiation of the funding contract agreement. The conditions of using a resource will vary between nodes, e.g. based on their booking and insurance policies, and will be formalised in the FSTP Project Agreement. Access to these resources will be subject to their availability depending on uses and ongoing productions, projects, or classes at the time of request. Resources may not be all available from a single node but may be pooled over several nodes.
The allowed usage times provided below are just estimates and may be adjusted later on. The overview of resources below is structured according to the following categories:
- Facilities: spaces that are already equipped with specific equipment that is meant for that space.
- Equipment: apparatus and other elements that may be used on their own or added to spaces but which are not bound to any specific space.
- Software: SDKs and other software tools that can be made available.
- Services: mentoring, tech support, and other aspects that may not be listed under the previous sections.
Aalto University can provide access to, among others, the following facilities:
- Mocap & Virtual Studio (250m2, https://studios.aalto.fi/roihupelto-studios/) with a high-fidelity OptiTrack system (24x OptiTrack Primex 41 cameras) and Arri Amira based multicamera virtual studio setup (Unreal).
- 360-degree Visualization Studio (Igloo Vision) Immersive facility (https://www.igloovision.com/products/technology/cylinders-cubes-domes)
- VR Studio (https://studios.aalto.fi/vr-studio/)
- Wearable Systems Lab, (https://www.aalto.fi/en/wearable-systems-lab)
The usage time of the Aalto facilities will be negotiated between the FSTP project and the particular facility of Aalto University.
Filmakademie BW can provide access to the following three facilities:
- Studio with camera, lighting, rigging etc. and OptiTrack & NCAM tracking systems. (5-10 days per project)
- Workspace with desks and workstations. (70 user days, up to 4 users per project)
- Post production facilities. (10 days per project)
Universitat Pompeu Fabra can provide access to the following facilities:
- Mixed Reality Space (Full-Body Interaction Lab) with floor projection (1920 x 1920 pixels in 6m x 6m), 2D and 3D tracking, high-quality panned stereo sound system. (5-30 days per project)
- Immersive Projection Space 8m x 7m flexible space with 4m ceiling) for immersive full-body interaction with projection-based experiences with rear or front projection screens and a range of projectors. (5-30 days per project)
- Multipurpose Hall (approx. 24m x 12m with 7m ceiling) with lighting, 3D audio capture, 4K projector-based visualisation and 4K video capture. Mezzanine oval shaped balcony-like first floor (at approx 3.5 metres) from which the main lower floor may be observed and managed. (2-10 non-consecutive days per project)
- TV Studio (200m2) with 4 cameras, pantograph lighting rigs and chroma key backdrops. Includes production control room with 52” multi-screen for monitoring the generated signals, digital mixing console, master control (SDI), control (RCP), dual channel titles, teleprompter, airspeeds, iNEWS, KVM, 2 ME video switcher. (5-10 days per project)
- Post-production Rooms with professional editing software (Adobe Premiere, AVID Media Composer), sound recording space. (5-15 days per project)
- Co-working spaces with cubicles. (5-60 days per project)
University of Bath can provide access to the following three facilities:
- Campus CAMERA Studio with marker based, markerless, inertial motion capture, force-plates for kinetic measurement, VR/AR equipment, handheld 3D scanners, face/body 3D capture, professional creative software, studio production cameras and multiple VR/AR devices and integrable suits such as XSENS and Perception Neuron. (5 days per project)
- Bottleyard CAMERA Studio with further state-of-the-art digital innovation facilities, including a high-end motion capture array with a 10m x 10m capture volume, 8m force plate array, dedicated facial capture tools and meta-human pipeline. (5 days per project)
- Work spaces including desks and workstations. (10 user days per project)
The following lists of equipment are only indicative, with further equipment available on demand. Please ask the nodes if your proposed project requires other equipment than the one listed here.
Aalto University can provide access to:
- Xsens High-End Mocap suit kits
- Riegl VZ-400i Lidar Scanners
- Artek Leo 3D Scanners
- Foley Stage with Pre-Mixing Stage
- Master Mixing Stage
- Colour Correction Suite
- Insta Titan 360, Insta Pro2
- Microsoft Hololens 2
- Zylia 6 DoF VR/AR microphone set
- Flir T1020 High-resolution Thermal Camera
- Pupil Labs Invisible Eye Tracking kit (with lenses)
- Noraxon Ultium EMG system for synchronous group measurements
- Further equipment: https://takeout.aalto.fi/
Filmakademie BW can provide access to:
- Cameras, lighting, rigging, etc.
- Tracking systems
- Server storage
- Rendering resources (up to 25k kWh per project).
Universitat Pompeu Fabra can provide access to Augmented Reality Magic Lanterns (ARMLs), which provide the key aspects to provide co-located shared augmentation that greatly enhances the user experience of groups of users of AR in public spaces, such as Digital Tourism, Cultural Heritage, Informal and Non-formal Learning.
University of Bath can provide access to:
- Cameras, lighting, rigging, etc.
- Tracking systems
- Equipment for physical activity such as an instrumented indoor cycle and cross trainer
- Equipment for physiological measurements such as skin conductance monitor, heart rate monitor and eye trackers
All nodes provide professional creative software as well as novel software resources related to their research capabilities. Unless a free licence is available, software licences need to be purchased by FSTP projects.
Aalto University can provide access to:
- SDKs to control smart garments and haptics.
- Professional editing packages such as Avid Media Composer Video Editing Suites and Avid Pro Tools Editing Suites
Filmakademie BW can provide access to:
- SDKs to develop location-based experiences
- High-end rendering and VFX software to run on their computing infrastructure
Universitat Pompeu Fabra can provide access to:
- SDKs for Augmented Reality Magic Lanterns running on iPhone 7
- Essentia open-source C++ library for audio analysis and audio-based music information retrieval
- Freesound API to share recorded sound clips under Creative Commons licences
- FSD50K open dataset of human-labelled sound events
- MusicCritic external music assessment tool
- SDKs for Computer Graphics & Avatars
- WebGLstudio (https://webglstudio.org/) platform for the creation for interactive 3D scenes directly from the browser
- Medusa (https://github.com/upf-gti/Medusa) open-source library for behaviour creation for 3D virtual agents
University of Bath can provide access to:
- SDKs for the integration of physical activities such as walking, running, jumping and cycling into immersive experiences
- SDKs for affect recognition (detecting how users feel) based on sensors
- Research code for motion-capture, animation, and machine learning for computer vision
All nodes can provide mentoring from researchers and professional support for their facilities, equipment and software.
Aalto University can provide a 2-hour tutorial on electronic textiles and regular consulting services (1 hour/project/week) for the FSTPs that plan to build user interfaces using electronic textiles.
Filmakademie BW can provide two full tickets for the FMX event including a presentation slot (online or on location) per project.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra can provide business and IP rights mentoring in the field of media industries for potential future products derived from the FSTPs
University of Bath can provide an industry facing introductory workshop series to focus on the needs identified by industry within EMIL. Delivered as a recorded course it will provide an introductory point for potential and then successful FTSP projects.
Information about the evaluation process calls 1 and 2
- 20240105: Information about the evaluation process Calls 1 and 2
- 20230803: one question about de minimis added.
- 20230802: 10 more questions were added to ‘Questions asked via email’.
- 20230712: Question about compliance requirements, rejection because of budget, and can the same proposal be sent both to calls 1 and 2.
- 20230706: Question about Ethics Self-Assessment added
- 20230705: Question about IP rights for software developments updated
- 20230630: Clarifications for the second call, changes of information that applied in the first call but not in the second.
- 20230615: A question about subcontracting added
- 20230614: Questions about sub categories, and information that is different in Call-2 compared to Call-1 has updated.
- 20230612: TRLs changed to (T)RL
- 20230126: Questions about subcontracting, payment schedule etc.
- 20230125: Clarification about Evaluation Step 1 added.
- 20230123: Questions about eligibility and viability amended.
- 20230120: Clarification about UK entities’ eligibility to apply in the first call
- 20230105: Questions about auditing amended.
- 20230104: EMIL Node’s resources added
- 20230103: A line space was added before the headings.
- 20221223: information about 100% funding, and about the other support by the nodes.
- 2021222:questions about eligibility amended.
- 20221216: more information about the evaluation of the proposals and TRL table was added.