Collective R&D and collective dissemination of knowledge (COOCK)
What is a COOCK project?
Enterprises are increasingly challenged to respond flexibly to economic and societal challenges and many companies do not have sufficient own resources or research capacity. For them, collective knowledge acquisition and transfer is an important tool for innovation. Offering new technology and knowledge helps Flemish companies, which are not actively engaged in research themselves, to innovate and implement research results.
COOCK projects aim to valorize research results by accelerating the introduction of technology and knowledge to a broad group of companies. A COOCK project aims at least to have a positive impact in terms of economic activities and the results can be valorized in the broadest possible group of companies. Projects can also pursue other social objectives or contribute to the Flemish transition priorities
The target group of COOCK projects are all companies within the innovation spectrum, including tractors, early users and early or late followers. The focus is mainly on small and medium-sized enterprises, but large (non-R&D intensive) enterprises can also be involved.
A COOCK project consists of 2 independent parts that are interconnected:
- Part A that is open to recognized Flemish research organizations and is aimed at translating research results, possible additional knowledge building, and the dissemination and transfer of knowledge and technology to a broad group of companies.
- Part B is a compilation of all the specific cases of the companies, subsidized or not, in which the value of the developed technology or generated knowledge from Part A is applied in a specific context of the company.
A good COOCK project:
- connects promising technology or knowledge with the needs of the companies in the target group;
- has sufficient support and;
- indicates concretely how it will contribute to knowledge enhancement in the target group and valorisation of the technology and knowledge. The target group is sufficiently represented.
Please consult VLAIO for an overview of the COOCK open calls.
Objective of COOCK
COOCK projects aim to valorize research results by accelerating the introduction of technology and knowledge to a broad group of companies. A good COOCK project is collective and focuses on a broad but also clearly defined target group of companies - with emphasis on SMEs - that will evaluate and implement the project results during and after the project. The project must therefore be ambitious but also realistic and achievable.
COOCK projects require good interaction with the target group to ensure that the project results are usable for them after the end of the project. It is important that representatives of the target group and of the value chain are involved in the preparation of the project proposal and in the execution of the project. The involvement of the target group will to a large extent determine the success of the project.
During the implementation, each project is compulsorily accompanied by a support group, which meets at regular intervals to ensure the good progress of the project and the usefulness of the project results for innovations with the broad target group. The members of the support group do not derive any rights from the project through their participation and allow the project results to be widely disseminated. They know that through their membership they are representative of the wider target group of the project and that the project results should be useful for other companies. Members of the support group are encouraged, but not obliged, to initiate a company specific project themselves.
When submitting the project application, the support group should be made up of at least 5 companies with an operating seat in the Flemish Region, including SMEs.
Who can apply for COOCK projects?
A COOCK project can be applied for by one or more recognised Flemish research & knowledge dissemination organisations. Non-Flemish research organisations can be co-applicants. Projects can be submitted within the framework of the annual COOCK call, the calls of the Flemish cluster policy or of a CORNET call.
For whom are COOCK projects intended?
The target group of COOCK projects are all companies within the innovation spectrum, including tractors, early users and early or late followers. The focus is mainly on small and medium-sized companies, but large (non-R&D intensive) companies can also be involved.
An active involvement of the target group is essential. In order to stimulate interaction with the target group, a representative support group is composed for each project.
A cooperation agreement is drawn up between the members of the applicant consortium in order to arrange the practical cooperation. All members have the same rights and obligations. It is important that all research organizations involved are willing to make the project results widely available, without preferential access for possible members of the organization or the support group.
Frequently asked questions
What are the characteristics of the various COOCK projects?
- 1 call per year
- online submission: before the deadline for submission (autumn - cf. call document)
- duration part A: min. 1 year, max. 3 years
- duration part B: max. part A + 1 year
- budget part A:
- min. 1 FTE, max. 1 million subsidy
COOCK project cluster policy:
- Number of calls in relation to the cluster policy
- online submission (time to be agreed with the cluster organisations involved)
- duration part A: min. 1 year, max. 3 years
- duration part B: max. part A + 1 year
- budget part A:
- min. 1 FTE, max. 1 million subsidy
What is the typical project duration of COOCK projects?
COOCK projects start from available research results and focus on knowledge translation, knowledge dissemination and knowledge transfer. Knowledge building within a COOCK project is possible, but cannot be the main part of the project.
Within a COOCK project, part A has a project duration between 1 and 3 years (max. 2 years for CORNET projects) and a minimum size of 1 FTE.
The start-up of company specific cases (part B) can be continuous, up to 1 year after the end of part A, so that the total maximum project duration is 4 years.
Which activities are eligible?
The following activities are foreseen within part A of a COOCK project: collective research: translation research and possibly additional knowledge building and/or generic cases; activities in the context of general broad knowledge dissemination and knowledge transfer (seminars, publications, workshops, demonstrations, lectures, website, etc.).
The activities of the company specific case (part B) can vary from testing the feasibility to implementing a technology/knowledge within one or more companies.
Can subcontractors be called upon?
Applicants can call upon subcontractors to bring specific expertise and competence to the project (e.g. software development, specific knowledge of legislation, collaboration with a cluster for further services and dissemination of knowledge). For any subcontracting from €8,500, an offer must be enclosed with the application in order to substantiate this cost. Applicants must comply with public procurement legislation.
If this contributes to the efficiency and speed of the project, a non-Flemish research organization meeting the EU definition of research organization can participate as a subcontractor (for a maximum of 20% of the eligible project costs). The relevance of this must be demonstrated. The same rules that apply to Flemish research organizations apply.
What is the size of the support?
The basic support percentage for part A of a COOCK project is 50%. Through a result commitment, the support percentage for part A can reach 100%, i.e. in function of the achieved KPI's, as well as the budgetary efforts of all company specific projects, a support bonus of 50% on top of the basic support percentage can be acquired.
This is monitored based on two targets:
- KPI 1: number of unique companies where a company specific project, linked to part A of the COOCK project, is started during or until two years after the end of part A;
- KPI 2: number of company specific projects, linked to part A of the COOCK project, that are started during or until two years after the end of part A.
With regard to the result commitment, only those projects that are started during the period between the start of the project and up to 2 years after the end of part A of the COOCK project are taken into account and for which the employability and economic feasibility in a company-specific context have been evaluated. During the COOCK project, i.e. in a period from the start of the COOCK project up to and including 2 years after the end of part A, part B must include a sufficient number of started company-specific projects (of which the feasibility study has been reported in that period) so that these as a whole represent at least the same (planned) budgetary effort as part A of the COOCK project.
It is advisable to provide a back-up plan for possible co-financing. If the conditions for a commitment to results are not met, the applicant consortium must itself provide the additional financing (either by its own means or by contributions from companies). Agreements in this respect must be included in the cooperation agreement.
How is COOCK situated in relation to other project formulas?
Projects that focus exclusively on the needs or technology offerings of one or a few companies or the further processing of generic project results in proprietary applications are referred to other support channels, such as INNOVATION BOOSTING , VLAIO development projects or Baekeland / Innovation mandates.
Compared to TETRA, the focus of COOCK projects is much more on the broader implementation of research results in a broad group of companies through company-specific projects, where the focus of TETRA projects is on translating recently available knowledge into concrete, useful information so that in the short term, at the end of the project, the target group can innovate faster and more efficiently. In addition, a TETRA project requires a flow of results to college education and integrated training of the applicants.
What about Intellectual Property Rights, exploitation of results and dissemination of knowledge?
The project consortium is the sole owner of the results and has the duty to disseminate and transfer the project results generated within the framework of part A of the COOCK project as widely as possible to a wide group of companies in a market-based manner and without exclusive rights. Every interested company or organization in the European Community must have access to the results on an equal basis.
Each project application should indicate which property rights already exist and how the agreements can be made with the companies in case of further use of the project results. Projects where IPR agreements are too much of an obstacle to the broad dissemination of knowledge or wide use of the results can be excluded.
The project consortium draws up a cooperation agreement (after a promise of support). This regulates the (co-)ownership of the project results and the rights of use of the background knowledge. However, compliance with state aid regulations remains the responsibility of the project partners.
How are the COOCK projects assessed and monitored?
The following evaluation criteria are used to assess whether a company-specific project is selected as part of part B of the COOCK project and the KPIs:
- Carried out by a Flemish branch: the project is carried out by a Flemish branch of a company. For this purpose, as mentioned before, possible support can be applied for at the agency. A company can also choose to outsource a study assignment to one of the research organizations involved.
- Link with the COOCK project: a good company-specific project has a clear causal link with the objectives of part A of the COOCK project. This is argued concretely in part B of the reporting of the COOCK project.
Also, the potential added value of the project for the company must correspond to the economic added value of part A of the COOCK project.
- Started within 2 years after the end of part A: only the company specific projects that are started within 2 years after the end of part A are eligible for part B and the KPIs. During the elaboration of the project proposal and the contacts that the applicant has with the target group, plans to start up company specific projects are probably already identified, whereby the company benefits from the technology/knowledge transfer from part A. In the template for the project application (part A) these can be indicated (previously this was in the template part B).
- Technological and economic feasibility: the technological deployability and economic feasibility in the company specific context should at least be investigated and demonstrated by means of a short report.
- Uniqueness of the company-specific project: A good company-specific project is unique, in the sense that the project is linked to only one COOCK project. The same company can carry out several projects within one COOCK project, as long as a sufficient number of companies globally participate in part B.
In the event of a positive decision, an agreement is drawn up between the Hermes Fund and the project applicants. The agreement between the parties and the Hermes Fund is made on the decision date of the grant award, unless the beneficiary announces within one month after the grant award decision not to start the project.
The success indicators (KPIs) with corresponding targets will be laid down in the grant award decision. The intention is to be able to monitor the progress/success of the project implementation in this way.
If more than one applicant(s) cooperate, a cooperation agreement will be drawn up between the partners that at least and sufficiently regulates the practical cooperation, as well as the agreements on ownership and exploitation of the project results. This agreement must be submitted to the Hermes Fund for approval.
The payment of the subsidy is made in several instalments (at the start and during the life of the project, annual instalments of 25% of the project budget), which are linked to the fulfilment of necessary conditions. The last instalment (max. 25%) is paid after approval of the last report of part B at the latest 1 year after the end of part A of the COOCK project.