+++ Innovation Fund blog series (part 3) +++ An Innovation Fund application is one of the most complex funding applications in the European Union. It comprises eleven mandatory application documents and annexes totalling 200 to 300 pages, supplemented by additional supporting documents as required. Experts assess this application based on five main criteria: degree of innovation, GHG avoidance potential, project maturity, replicability and cost efficiency. Part B, with a maximum length of 80 pages, forms the centrepiece of the entire application. This is where all the information from the various individual documents flows together and is linked to form a complete work.

  +++ Our blog series on the Innovation Fund +++  


What should you generally pay attention to with part B?

Let's start with a fundamental aspect – the form. There is a template for part B of the Innovation Fund application that must be used. There are also clear specifications regarding font sizes, margins and other formal requirements. One special feature is that it is a so-called "tagged" document that uses text tags to mark the various sections. These – as well as the notes they contain – must not be deleted. 

The template specifies exactly what content should be provided by the applicant for the individual evaluation criteria. It is crucial that all detailed questions are answered - omissions will quickly lead to points being deducted. Given statements should also always be backed up with reliable data, e.g. by referring to the relevant sections of the accompanying document. The consistency of the data across the various documents is also a relevant quality criterion for the application.

Innovation Fund Dependencies of Mandatory Documents_EN-1

Deep Dive part B in detail

Part B of the Innovation Fund application consists of eight main chapters that are assigned to an evaluation criterion. However, they are also interrelated, as the diagram illustrates.

1. Project and Applicants

In the first chapter, not only the project background, project objectives and the consortium should be presented, but also a general overview of the technical characteristics and scope of the project is expected. This includes a detailed description of the chosen technological approach and the planned technical implementation. Even though this section is numbered "0" in the template, it should not be misinterpreted as a mere introduction. The last part in particular is relevant for the evaluation criterion of technical project maturity.

2. Degree of Innovation

In this chapter, the innovation performance of the project is presented in comparison to the state of the art. Here it should be carefully worked out that it is more than an incremental innovation (step-by-step improvement), for which quantitative measurement criteria or performance data should also be used. This is particularly important for applications in the "Clean Manufacturing" and "Pilots" categories, as the degree of innovation is weighted twice here. All claims made should always be backed up with evidence, e.g. with precise references to the feasibility study or any existing technical due diligence documents.

For a comparison with the state of the art, reference should be made to publicly available documents with European relevance, e.g. the Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas (SRIA). An exception applies to small-scale projects (capital expenditure < €20 million), as a comparison with the national rather than the European state of the art is sufficient here. A differentiation from already funded Innovation Fund and EU projects is also expected.

3. GHG Emission Avoidance Potential

This chapter deals with the absolute and relative greenhouse gas avoidance potential of the project. The assumptions made for the CO2 avoidance calculation must be briefly explained, especially if they deviate from the recommended standard.

4. Project Maturity

This chapter includes a detailed description of the technical, financial and operational maturity of the project.
  • The technical maturity of the project should be quantified in the form of the established "Technological Readiness Level" or the "Manufacturing Readiness Level" based on it. This can be substantiated by relevant performance data, e.g. from pilot tests or previous R&D projects, preferably with reference to the feasibility study.
  • When presenting the financial maturity of the project, a summary of the project business plan is expected. This includes clear references to the business plan document or to any expressions of interest from potential users or customers. Furthermore, the project cash flow calculated in the financial information table and the project profitability, including assumptions made, must be described. A detailed and reliable project financing plan with references to financing commitments, e.g. from board members or investors, emphasises the financial maturity.
  • The operational project maturity explains the specific project implementation, including any legal or regulatory hurdles and ensuring public acceptance. You should also describe the project team and project organisation with references to the feasibility study and participant information file.
A final important point in the project maturity section is the comprehensive presentation of the critical risks relevant to the project from a technical, financial and operational perspective, including suitable countermeasures.

5. Replicability

The replicability of the project is considered on the basis of two main aspects: firstly, the replicability at the primary site and secondly, the quantitative potential for other sites. Important key points are the associated environmental impact, possible effects on the resilience of European industry and the potential creation of new value chains. To this end, detailed, credible plans for cost reduction or transferability to other locations should be addressed. In addition, the project-specific communication strategy is summarised, including appropriate references to the Knowledge Sharing Plan.

6. Cost Efficiency

The cost efficiency combines the relevant costs and the CO2 avoidance potential. The cost efficiency calculation – including the assumptions made when calculating the relevant project costs - must be presented and referenced to the relevant documents.

7. Bonus Points

Depending on the project, up to four bonus points can be applied for. The application must be justified in this section with reference to the other application documents.
  • The first point is awarded to projects with a negative carbon footprint.
  • If the project causes significant greenhouse gas savings that cannot be included in the absolute CO2 avoidance potential due to the prescribed calculation method, a further bonus point is awarded.
  • Projects that consume significant amounts of electricity or hydrogen receive a bonus point for the use of renewable electricity (with direct connection or e.g. via Power Purchasing Agreements) or for the use of RFNBO hydrogen (Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin).
  • The fourth bonus point is awarded to all projects from the maritime sector.

8. Workplan, Milestones, Deliverables

The presentation of a solid work plan is the last important chapter in Part B. This includes a detailed description of all work packages, tasks, milestones and deliverables. This plan should be consistent with the Gantt chart, the financial planning and the project implementation plan and is an important component for assessing the operational maturity of the project.

Do you need support with your application?

EurA has gained extensive experience with the EU Innovation Fund programme in recent years. Are you interested and would like to find out more? Then contact our EU funding team. We will be happy to help you!


Text: André Nadolny


Dr André Nadolny

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Dr André Nadolny

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With more than 20 years of experience in the field of national and international funding, I am an expert in acquiring financial resources for innovative projects. During my time in industry, I have coordinated and supported a wide range of development projects with partners in Europe, North America and Asia. For EurA, I have organised international symposia on hydrogen, renewable energies and integrated energy systems in addition to providing funding advice. My current consulting focus is on the funding instruments EIC Accelerator, Innovation Fund and "steuerliche Foschungszulage". The projects I have successfully managed come from a wide variety of topic fields, e.g. hydrogen electrolysis, biotech and medical devices, process engineering and mechanical engineering, recycling and circular economy or bio-based materials.

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