A Proof of Concept (POC) is a demonstration or type of evidence deriving from an experiment or pilot project, which main purpose is to verify that certain concepts, business proposals or theories have the potential to turn into a reality application. A proof of concept is meant to determine the feasibility of the idea or to verify that the idea will function as envisioned.

PoC is sometimes also known as proof of principle.

A proof of concept is not intended to explore market demand for the idea, nor is it intended to determine the best production process. Instead, its focus is to test whether the idea is viable.

In software development, for example, a proof of concept would show whether an idea is feasible from a technology standpoint. For startups, a proof of concept would demonstrate financial viability.

In practical terms, Proof of Concept activities include but are not limited to:

Functional prototype development

Feasibility study

Demonstration of technical feasibility

Pre-clinical research studies for medical tech­nologies

Investigation and protection of intellectual property

Concept design and development strategy

Market analysis, testing and competitors’ analysis

Product commercialization study/ plan

The PoC program is addressed to young researchers/scientists, research centres (private & public sector) and PhD students which will be ready to promote their research idea into a commercial product, creating thus a competent human potential with specific knowledge in the field of youth entrepreneurs

The PoC program seeks primarily on the proof of the products commercialization (actual needs of the market) and secondly on the technical and scientific content.  

Only proposals in TRL 3 “Proof of Concept”: Analytical and experimental studies are performed on a lab scale to validate analytical predictions. Work is done on various components of the potential technology (which is not yet integrated) or at least TRL 4: Lab Scale demonstration (“low fidelity”): Basic Principles observed and reported Basic technological components are integrated to establish that they will work together. This is relatively “low fidelity” compared with eventual system.

Patenting as an activity is putting in place protection over an idea you/the company own. A patent then has to be used if it is to have any value. Simply applying for patenting costs is an activity very narrow in scope which creates a tool that may be used to create value but is not an end in itself. Patenting – protecting IPR –  does not in itself indicate any plans to take the product into commercial markets supported by a strong business plan.  If that was the sole focus of an application, it would be unlikely to provide convincing evidence of the plans to ensure that the potential product would reach the market and be commercialized successfully. 

In case of funding patent costs in the amount of €50,000, that is a huge cost for European patenting which should be much cheaper and in the case of “developing a product and possible new intellectual property rights” that means to patent something that does not yet exist, but is only a possibility. Researchers usually see a patent as a result not a tool. It is important to know how the potential applicant plans to use that tool to get a product to the market.

 

The company would be eligible to apply and we note that the project manager is closely engaged with R&D in the company which suggests that the company plans to develop a new product.   However, in evaluating any proposal, PSPPoC needs evidence of active engagement in leading the plans to commercialise the product on behalf of the company and our expectation would be that the proposal would include commercialisation plans that would include a strategy for the application and exploitation as well as the ownership of the IPR alongside plans to identify, assess and test the market and potential competitors. Similarly, while there is no reason for a stakeholder, who holds equity in a startup not to apply we would expect to see more active demonstration through planned actions of their commitment and motivation as well as relevant experience in knowing how to take a product to market.

Note: A stakeholder usually holds equity, a share of the company. Some will be “executives” and have jobs in the company and others will simply hold shares (part-ownership) without contributing any expertise or skill or advice. That is acceptable of course but in addition the PSPPoC program expects them to be the “executives” doing many more active things to demonstrate engagement and commitment to taking a product to market.

Generally, any R&D activity will be designed to produce new knowledge or solutions to a challenge.  Research is the act or process of discovering, or confirming, research results of entirely new science that in some instances could be used to create new products. The development and proving of the concept as a technology for which there is a market comes after the research and is part of the process of product development – the act of turning the discovered and confirmed research results into a useful product that can be marketed and sold. This development stage is when PSP PoC funding becomes appropriate to use.

PSPPoC activity will take that knowledge with the explicit purpose of developing it into a product attractive to the market, in a form the market is willing to buy and for which work has been planned or undertaken to test the viability of the global market. It is not aimed at extending the original research or predominantly concerned with overcoming obstacles to practical application. It is concerned with turning research outputs into a commercial or socially valuable offering, i.e. the initial steps of pre-competitive development.

The PSP POC is designed to support new ideas, based on proven research results, to develop towards becoming commercially viable products.  We look for robust and realistic plans to support the proposed use of the funds; plans that assure us that this technology with PSP PoC support will be realised as a new product/method on the global market.

The funding can be used to support whatever is needed of the following:

  • Establish viability, technical issues and overall direction by investigating and answering important questions such as evaluating the global market and the competitors to establish both commercial viability and a credible commercialisation strategy to take the concept to market. Technical issues may include an element of technical design or adjustment of an existing prototype or a web interface, for example, to make it attractive to customers but they cannot include additional research to confirm initial research results or create new results.
  • Clarify the intellectual property rights (IPR) position and strategy to ensure that the IPR and any plans for protection and delivery of them in a commercial product on the global market are appropriate. This is more than patenting; it is about planning how to define and use IPR as part of the commercial strategy. It will include commercially realistic decisions on vehicles for IPR such as for example whether to license, to enter a joint venture, to create a new company.
  • Provide feedback for budgeting and other forms of commercial discussion through development of a robust business plan that will take account of markets, competitors, sales channels, approaches to potential partners and to potential customers, costs of all aspects of product development and market engagement. This could form a major element in developing the case to be made to potential investors.
  • Provide connections to later stage funding possibly by a) preparing the background commercial and technical strategies to convince venture capitalists or business angels to invest time and money in the proposition to develop, b) realising plans to approach potential partners that would invest or provide support through a joint venture or in return for a licensing deal, c) implementing a plan to engage with potential investors, customers or partners.
  • Cover initial expenses for establishing a company to ensure that it has a robust start with a strong commercialisation strategy and business plan including credible financial projections that will be sustainable, committed, experienced and plausible leadership for a commercial venture, a clear position on ownership or access to IPR.

The PSPPoC program doesn’t support financially ideas in early stage research levelor proposals that haven’t create a product standard. The program funds the development of an idea that has already proven to work in a product

Yes, it is possible for the team member to submit a second proposal but with a different team

Probably yes according to the nature and perspective of the idea, but this case will depend mainly on the Advisory Board

VAT number is included in the total/gross salary

Someone with a subsidiary abroad cannot be included in the beneficiaries to submit a proposal to the PoC program.Beneficiaries are only those who have their headquarters in Greece

This criterion refers to past fundings made by public bodies/organisations, or by NSRF programs. This criterion may also refer to the equipment provided to you by a Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund. However, this criterion will not be On / Off, which means that even if you do not meet thiscriterion and since your proposal meets the rest of the other criteria, your proposal will be approved for the next stage

No, it is not possible for a team member to participate and be financed which simultaneously is working in another project team.

The possibility of submitting the proposal is possible if a well crafted business plan has been developed in the case of research companies with the necessary prospects, which is an important criterion for the funding stage.

PhD students do not need to have a business plan in order to submit a proposal

There is no age restriction or exclusion in the applicant’s or faculty member’s property

Financing costs are covered at 100% of all eligible costs (direct staff costs, subcontracting costs, travel costs, intellectual property rights, purchase costs or rental of equipment etc justified costs) up to € 50,000. You do not have to deposit more invoices to justify 50,000 euros.

If the total costs differ from the grant requested, it should be clarified by the applicant what exactly will be financed from other sources in order to avoid double financing of the same expenditure

Before the proposal begins, an agreement shall be signed between PSP and the PI (Principal Investigator) of the project or CEO of the company for the rights that will correspond to the PSP. A private company would not necessarily be led by a PI. I would write “PI of the project or CEO of the company”. The negotiation will depend on the maturity level of the company / product and it cannot be defined from the beginning of the agreement.

It is important to have already create a small prototype before submitting your proposal, demonstrating the prototype’s technical development and evidence of its functionality alongside with plans of approaching possible customers and manufacturers. The MVP could be done with the accordingly commercialization strategy and plans for its entry into the market, but the amount of €50.000 of the PSPPoC program may not be enough for its support.

Subcontracting costs as category of the budget section (including costs for any task of an awarded project) are eligible only in Greece.    

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