Public call for O2 challenge 2

''ACTION FOR POSITIVE CLIMATE CHANGE''

EXTENDED DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION Due to the new situation related to the Covid 19 pandemic , the deadline for applying on the call O2 Challenge 2 – Action for Climate Positive Change is extended until 03.06.2020. Last year Europe was the first continent to declare a state of emergency regarding the climate. In the summer of 2019, heat records have been recorded across the European continent, and we are witnessing extreme natural disasters resulting from climate change.

The world is in the middle of the warmest decade since 1850, when temperature data began to be kept. According to the forecasts of the London Meteorological Office, temperatures are expected to be a degree higher in each of the next five years and the decade from 2014 to 2023 is expected to be the warmest in the period of 150 years of record keeping.

The rising average temperature is a result of the increasing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere that retain the heat.

Climate change is actually a long-term change in the climate pattern and the average climate values that include changes in temperature and precipitation. Climate has been changing in the past centuries, but nowadays, climate is changing rapidly.

According to the scenarios of intergovernmental and international scientists working on and dealing with climate change, it is predicted that in the next 30 to 50 years in North Macedonia and the region, there will be higher temperatures and long droughts, but also heavy rains. There will also be frequent storms with electric discharges and hail, which can adversely impact the soil and make it unfit for agriculture and for living.

Scientists warn that the devastating effects of climate change will affect everyone, regardless of location, economic development and the size of the community in which the people live.

Therefore, climate change shall be perceived as a serious threat to the environment, the human health and wellbeing, the availability of natural resources and food, the economy, the built infrastructure and the quality of life.

Public opinion polls conducted by the United Nations Development Program, UNDP and the Ministry of the Environment show that Macedonian citizens consider climate change as the third most serious threat to society, but they do not have enough knowledge about adaption to climate change.

The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning creates climate change policies based on the greenhouse gas emissions, assesses the potential for their mitigation or “climate change mitigation” and based on future climate change scenarios, conducts analyzes and adopts adaptation measures.

Given that climate change is a global problem, there is a need for additional effort and attention as to promote adaptation of positive examples and best practices and support the development of concrete measures to overcome these problems through innovative ideas and actions, thus stimulating resolution of the problem. The Fund for Innovations and Technology Development (the Fund) invites you to participate in the second “O2 CHALLENGE 2″in the realization of which, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (MoEPP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the City of Skopje, Macedonia 2025, the Eco-Svest Association and other partner organizations and experts will take part.

The second O2 Challenge enables a wider scope of competitors to participate with their own ideas in action for climate positive change, and this call opens the possibility of establishing partnerships in the region of Western Balkans (WB6) that includes North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania.

Ова во исто време претставува основа за дизајнирање и воведување на нов регионален Инструмент на Фондот за иновации и технолошки развој насочен кон организирање натпревари и предизвици за изнаоѓање на иновативни решенија од општествен интерес во регионот

 

Competitors should offer solutions contributing to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions or enhancing resilience to climate change (climate change adaptation measures) in one of the following areas, either at national or regional level:

  • Energy
  • Industry
  • Transportation
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Biodiversity
  • Healthcare
  • Water resources
  • Disaster risk reduction

The list of areas is not exhaustive.

The solutions can target the following phases of the climate change problem solving process:

  • Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions by introducing new processes/services/ products/methodologies or activities that will encourage change of the citizens’ daily habits and/or
  • Projects designed to adapt to the changed climate conditions

The support will be granted to projects that comprise research and development of innovative solutions that are at an advanced stage of technological readiness, having at least a “proof of concept” and a clear commercial ambition.

The proposed projects shall contain a system solution, a product, a service, or an innovative methodology contributing to addressing one or more of the above specified challenges that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions or improving the resilience to climate change.

The proposed projects shall result in viable results, such as a new service for the citizens, new efficient and environment-friendly product, more efficient public service, or change in the citizens’ behavior.

The O2 Challenge II – Action for Climate Positive Change call is intended for micro, small and medium-sized companies seeking to develop an innovative product, service or process, independently or in cooperation with an institution carrying out a higher education or research activity, or another company and/or association from the country or the region of the Western Balkans (WB6) – North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.

The project proposals may be submitted by a single competitor or by a consortium led by a leading competitor. When applying in a partnership/consortium, the lead competitor shall be considered to be the Project leader.

It is a company incorporated and operating based on the Law on Trade Companies and is registered in the Central Register of the Republic of North Macedonia;

  • It is a micro, small or medium-sized company (up to 250 employees);
  • It is in majority in Macedonian ownership (with 50,1% or more);
  • It is owned by a natural person and/or micro, small or medium sized company (with a majority of Macedonian ownership of 50,1% or more) and/or a higher education or scientific research institution (with up to 20% equity share in the applicant);
  • Its annual revenues shall not exceed EUR 10.000.000,00 (ten million), according to the financial statements for the previous two fiscal years;
  • It shall not have accumulated more than EUR 200.000,00 (two hundred thousand) de minimis aid/support for a period of three fiscal years, including the required amount of funds from the Fund in compliance with the Law on State Aid and the Regulation on the conditions and procedure for granting aid of minor importance (de minimis);
  • It shall not have accumulated more than EUR 100.000,00 (one hundred thousand) de minimis aid for a period of three fiscal years, including the required amount of funds from the Fund, if the company is active in the road transport sector, in accordance with the Law on State Aid and the Regulation on the conditions and procedure for granting aid of minor importance (de minimis);
  • It shall not be a company in difficulty (company in difficulty is a company that is not able to pay its liabilities from its own resources or with funds that it may receive from its owner/shareholders or lenders in order to prevent loss, which without external intervention from aid providers will surely lead to short and long term termination of its operation), and
  • not to be engaged in production of coal.

If the project proposal involves cooperation of the competitor with a higher education or scientific research institution, an association and/or a company, the requirements for the partner/member of consortium are as follows:

  • It shall be a micro, small or medium-sized company, an association or a higher education institution from the country or the Western Balkan region (WB6).
  • If it is from the Republic of North Macedonia, it should be registered in accordance with the Law on Higher Education, the Law on Associations and Foundations, the Law on Trade Companies.

The project proposal involving partners/consortium members from the Western Balkans region will have advantages when point scoring.

Activities eligible for funding are:

  • Research and development activities
  • Testing activities
  • Regulatory analysis (with identifying needs for amendment)
  • Design
  • Development of pilot lines
  • Activities related to intellectual property protection;
  • Functionality of the market solution

The abovementioned list of activities is not limiting.

Cost eligible for funding:

  • Gross salaries (only for the lead competitor staff). The amounts of gross salaries for the employees to be engaged on the project should be consistent with established beneficiary practices prior to the start of the project;
  • Purchase and / or rental of equipment and consumables for research and development;
  • Subcontracted research and development services (for instance, testing, laboratory services, and alike);
  • Hiring R&D experts/advisors;
  • Hiring consultants for other needs directly related to the expected project results (expertise related to innovation management, financial management, mobilization of funds and capital, business development, marketing, legal affairs, intellectual property protection, etc.);
  • Preparation and filing of patent applications, trademark protection and industrial design;
  • Office and business support (lease of office premises, overhead costs, bank commissions, accounting services, hosting and other types of administrative expenses) up to a maximum of 15% (fifteen percent) of the total project budget.

t is recommended that at least 10% of the total project budget is allocated to: business plan development, market research and marketing strategy, market validation and industrial property rights protection.

Only the costs incurred for activities carried out for the duration of the project, which are in accordance with the approved Project Budget and the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions or challenges to foster innovation in science and technology priority areas (pdf) will be considered as eligible costs.

The Fund reserves the right to negotiate with the winners on defining the project activities and budget based on the recommendations received from the Evaluation and Selection Committee (hereinafter: the Committee), prior to the signing of the Award Granting Contract.

In case the project is based on already existing intellectual property rights, the competitor is obliged, before signing the Contract for Awarding Funds, to submit proof of the right to use the intellectual property in a form of a licensing agreement, “in-kind” contribution agreements or other type of agreement that confirms that the competitor has the right to use the intellectual property on which the results of the project are based.

The duration of the project for which funds shall be awarded can be up to 12 (twelve) months.

A total of 5.000.000 (five million) MKD have been provided to fund projects under this call.

Through this instrument, the Fund provides funding of up to 85% (eighty-five percent) of the total project budget, the maximum amount being EUR 30.000,00 (thirty thousand) in MKD counter-value.

The remaining amount of the total project budget i.e. at least 15% of the total project budget shall be provided by the competitor.

The funds received from the Fund on any other basis or any other state aid shall not be considered as eligible funds for co-financing by the competitor/awarded beneficiary.

If there are insufficient quality project proposals or the requirements under the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions or challenges to foster innovation in science and technology priority areas, have not been met, the Fund reserves the right not to award any funds.

Special awards have been planned as follows:

For three of the teams that entered the selection phase:

  • Study trip to Israel – “Start-up Nation & Mentorship” which will include an opportunity for meetings and exchange of experiences with leading companies, accelerators and hubs in the field of high technology and sustainability.

The award will be provided by: Kayama, the Center for Sustainable Design in Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

For one of the teams that entered the selection phase

  • Signing an Extended Partnership Agreement for future mentoring, consultations or other type of services during the project implementation (services or costs not provided or supported by the Fund). The type of support will be tailored to the user’s needs.

The award will be provided by Macedonia 2025.

 

The condition for being awarded one of the special awards is that the company enters the final selection stage, and the award and final decision is made by the awarding institution.

It is used in the evaluation of the project proposal in the Evaluation Table form proposals shall be used, containing the following main evaluation criteria:

  1. Environmental Impact and Climate Change Management 30 points

Most points under this criterion will be awarded to those project proposals that address the priority areas of action as defined in this challenge and those offering measurable indicators of the solution’s contribution to managing climate change on a short and medium term.

  1. Degree of innovation – 20 points

Most points under this criterion will be awarded to those project proposals whose solutions are significantly different from the solutions already existing on the market and having a high potential for intellectual property rights protection.

  1. Project Team Capacity and Partnership/Consortium Quality (if applicable) – 25 points

Most points under this criterion will be awarded to competitors with previous experience in developing similar innovative technology/solution, previous experience in the field (managing climate change) and competitor whose members have balanced experience in technical solution development and business development.

The same applies to competitors’ partners (if any). The quality of the cooperation between/among the partners (if applicable) will be particularly taken into account in the evaluation. A project proposals involving partners/consortium members from the Western Balkans region will be given advantage in the point scoring process.

  1. Market potential – 15 points

Most points under this criterion will be awarded to innovative solutions that have high and clearly identified market potential.

  1. Quality of the project proposal– 10 points – 10 поени

Most points under this criterion will be awarded to those project proposals that have clearly defined R&D phases with adequate involvement of potential clients and adequate human resources and material costs allocation.

The evaluation, selection and adopting of final decision for selecting the winners is performed by the Evaluation and Selection Committee.

Project evaluation consists of several steps:

  • Administrative verification of applications (whether the application is complete and in compliance with the eligibility criteria specified in the public call);
  • First evaluation of the project proposals (pre-selection);
  • Selection of best project proposals – including presentation of pre-selected project proposals to the Evaluation and Selection Committee (not later than May 20th 2020);
  • Signing contracts with the winners.

The Fund reserves the right to change the above specified deadline.

Each project proposal is evaluated by the Commission, which consists of:

  • Representative of the Fund for Innovations and Technology Development (FITR);
  • Representative of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning;
  • Representatives of the partner organizations;
  • External expert in the field in which the competition or challenge is organized (climate change expert);
  • Expert in the field of business development and/or marketing and sales 

NOTE: At the request of the Committee members, the Fund may hire experts to provide expert opinions on specific applications, in accordance with the area of ​​their expertise. In such case, the expert opinion shall be taken into account by the Committee members when evaluating the application.

In order to apply, the competitor shall:

  • download the forms by clicking the “Download Documentation” button;;
  • duly fill in, sign and print the forms for Project Application, Project Budget, Competitor’s Statement of Acceptance of Conditions Set by the Fund, Transparency and Public Communication Plan and Environmental Statement;
  • submit short CVs for the key project staff (three to five at most);
  • submit a Statement of Current Status from the Central Register of the Republic of North Macedonia, not older than 6 (six) months;
  • to submit a Income Statement submitted to the Central Register of the Republic of Northern Macedonia for the previous two years, except for companies registered in the same year when the project proposal was submitted
  • Submit a Statement on the ownership/foundation structure made by the competitor (notarized).

The Project Application, the Project Budget and the CVs shall be filled in Macedonian and English language and in PDF format, together with the other documentation that shall be submitted only in Macedonian language, should be attached to the application form available at the following link: www.fitr.mk/predizvikklimatski, by clicking the “Apply” button..

The deadline for submitting applications on this public call is July20th 2020, 23:59 pm.

Only those project proposals submitted in the above manner and within the given deadline will be considered for funding.

The rules and procedures for the implementation, monitoring and supervision of the project are defined in the document Rules for organizing and conducting competitions or challenges to foster innovation in science and technology priority areas (pdf). 

For all additional information you can:

  • visit us at the Fund’s office, address: GTC, local 6, unit 220, Skopje, R. of North Macedonia
  • e-mail us at: O2predizvik@fitr.mk
  • call us on the telephone number: 02 3145 258

In order to assist you in preparation of the project proposals during the call, the Fund will organize info events, it will provide free technical assistance from experts and mentoring workshops. All information regarding these activities will be published in a timely manner on the Fund’s website as well as on its official profiles on the social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Participants at O2 Challenge II – Action for Climate Positive Change will be given the opportunity for mentoring assistance in preparing of their applications. To this end, planed are online mentoring sessions supported by the Ambassador of Israel to the Republic of North Macedonia and Macedonia 2025.

By participating at this event, all participants interested in O2 Challenge II – Action for Climate Positive Change Mentorship programme will be able to:

  • Present their business concept or project idea/product and get individual consulting and mentoring assistance from domestic and foreign managers and businessmen with experience in business development and product promotion in the country and abroad;
  • Hear motivational lectures from top domestic and foreign experts/entrepreneurs;
  • Establish business contacts with Israeli mentors/start-ups working in the field of climate change and clean air and having experience in environment protection.
  • Have continuous mentoring with Israeli mentors and/or start-ups that work in the field of climate change and clean air and have experience in environment protection.

To register for the mentorship programme, please fill in the form at the following llink.

All participants in the O2 Challenge II will have the opportunity, during the year 2020, to use the active measure for unemployed people – Training for professional qualifications and skills according to your requirements and needs. The trainings will be implemented with the support of UNDP, in partnership with the Employment Agency of the Republic of North Macedonia (AVRSM), with financial support provided by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC).

The competitor will get this opportunity regardless of the evaluation of the project proposal. The key factor for utilizing the measure and delivering the training is the competitor’s need to hire skilled and qualified staff.

The realization of the training shall start after identifying the needs of the competitor (as a future employer), and what follows is the identification of potential trainers. The competitor can also be a trainer in this case having the status of a trainer and future employer. The training programme or plan is modified or designed together with the trainer according to the competitor’s needs. In case when the competitor acts as a trainer, it will receive expert support for designing the training plan.

The professional qualification training may be carried out in a period of 2 to 4 months, in the premises of the trainer and/or in the competitor’s premises, in accordance with a pre-established training plan.

The people taking part in the training must be unemployed people, registered in the records of the Employment Agency. The number of people involved in the training will depend on the number of jobs required, i.e. twice as many as the number of future employments.

If all preparatory activities are successfully completed and a training contract is signed, your company would be obliged to employ at least 50% of the unemployed candidates who have successfully completed the training, for a minimum of 6 months.

The selection of candidates interested in training is made by the competitor, based on the criteria previously established in the application (education, previous work experience, etc.). The final selection of people to take part in the training will also depend on the employer’s offer of employment, since the unemployed person who rejects the job offer after completing the training is obliged to return the funds received during the training, except in case of employment with another employer.

Financial support amount                            

The people attending the training will receive a monthly allowance of MKD 9.000, including workplace accident insurance and personal income tax for the duration of the training (2 to 4 months).

The trainers can receive a total fee of up to MKD 30.000 per person per training.

More information can be obtained by using the following contact information:

Suzana Ahmeti suzana.ahmeti@undp.org 072204140

Urim Kasapi urim.kasapi@undp.org 070364775

More detailed information and guidance will be provided during the info-events and consultative meetings organized by the Fund.