This text provides a full set of information regarding the first open call for proposals for the BLOCKCHERS project (http://blockchers.eu/). In addition to these guidelines, the applicants are invited to get acquainted with the Sub-Grantee Funding Agreement template. The Sub-Grantee Funding Agreement template will be made available at the website http://blockchers.eu/ well before the closure of the second open call.
1.1 Background information
BLOCKCHERS is a Coordinated and Support Action (CSA) project co-funded by the European Union. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 828840.
1.2 BLOCKCHERS General Requirements and Tracks
The objective of BLOCKCHERS is to facilitate the revolution of Distributed Ledge Technologies (DLT) across SMEs in Europe thanks to the promotion and support of DLT sub-granted use cases in multiple sectors by SMEs, support on the creation of a “smart” regulatory framework for the EU and the development of policy recommendations.
The main objective of the open calls in BLOCKCHERS is selecting SMEs developing solutions with DLTs for their validation in end users SMEs use cases. As result of these use cases, recommendations and best practices will be elaborated for promoting the uptake of DLTs in different sectors. The beneficiaries of the open calls will act as promoters of DLTs uptake by traditional SMEs.
Any project selected by BLOCKCHERS must be executed by a SME and it is obliged to relate to one of the indicated sectors defined in this Open Call for proposals.
The chosen approach for the involvement of traditional SMEs as DLT uptakers is done through the funding of other SMEs as technology suppliers. With the BLOCKCHERS formula, two types of SMEs will be reached and will benefit from the project:
▪ Blockchers: they will implement uses cases with end-users (potential clients), they will have access to funding, supporting services and a private DLT network
▪ End users SMEs: will see their business improved with a tailor-made solution for free. They will get involved in the digitization process, properly trained and hand in hand with a technology supplier.
The open call will be divided in two tracks:
▪ Use Cases: The experiments should be run by the collaboration of 2 SME: one tech-based SME that will offer a new solution to an End user SME, a non-tech-based SME in which the adoption of the DLTs technologies may pose an actual revolution in the way business are done.
▪ Domain specific challenges: Industry 4.0, Mobility & Transport, Food & Retail, Media, Legal & Compliance, Health, Energy, others per the needs detected by the End users SMEs and defined in the Domain specific challenges Catalogue .
BLOCKCHERS will try to select at least 1 use case in each eligible domain in the first stage of the project, to be sure that all domains are addressed with DLT applications solving current challenges.
1.3 BLOCKCHERS Approach
BLOCKCHERS has been conceived as a 4-stage process: open call – immersion – implementation – recognition, that allows the adaptation of the technology to the use case, its implementation and validation in real use case scenarios, while facilitating the elaboration lessons learned across several verticals to extract recommendations and best practices.
The objective of the programme is facilitating the uptake of DLTs by End users SMEs whilst increasing the technical and business skills of the selected SMEs in charge of the DLT’s market exploitation in relevant sectors.
The programme will be based on a 4-stage process (repeated for two open calls): OPEN CALL -> IMMERSION -> IMPLEMENTATION -> RECOGNITION. Each stage comprises a set of activities that qualify for financial support. All the funds disbursed will be based on concrete results and not administrative justifications.
▪ Open call: This is the submission of proposals, purpose of these guidelines. No funding attached.
▪ Immersion: Up to 18 Use Cases will enter this phase. This phase will help the SMEs to clearly define their Use case. At the end of the stage, a Blockathon will be organised to prepare the first mock-ups of the applications. During the Blockathon and together with a technical analysis, SMEs participating will engage in a final “demolition pitch” contest, which will select the top projects that will access the following stage (up to 12 companies).
▪ Implementation of the use cases. Accomplishment of the KPIs defined among each SME at the beginning of this stage. KPIs are revised twice: at the mid-period and at the end of the implementation stage. To that aim, the up to 12 SMEs that are invited to this stage will have access to dedicated coaches and mentors, a technical Blockchain infrastructure ready to be used, a different set of training modules. It is also required the participation in the internal events to be organised and communicated.
▪ Recognition: All the blockchers successfully fulfilling the KPIs of the implementation stage, will have the opportunity to apply for a prize, awarding the best use case implementation during the celebration of a ceremony in the context of a major public event with high impact.
Each project funded will receive up to €50k depending on the stage reached in the incubation process under a lump sum scheme, based on the approval of different milestones or KPIs and along the funnel approach.
1.4 Preferred domains
The needs and opportunities for the domains selected in BLOCKCHERS are defined in the Domain specific challenges .
Proposals Open Call
Call opening on F6S platform [https://www.f6s.com/blockchers2020/apply] on 13/01/2020
Deadline for submission via FS6 Platform 13/03/2020, 12:00 (noon) CEST
Evaluation from 16/03/2020 to 03/04/2020.
Communication of results to applicants from 06/07/2020 to 08/04/2020
Negotiation and sub-grantees signature of contracts from 20/04/2020 to 15/05/2020
Stage 1 – Immersion
Execution from 16/05/2020 to 30/06/2020
Evaluation to access to the Implementation Stage: a Blockathon will be organised to prepare the first mock-ups of the applications. During the Blockathon, and together with a technical analysis, SMEs participating at Inmersion stage will engage in a final “demolition pitch” contest which will be the basis for the evaluation.
Official communication of results to applicants will be done from 01/07/2020 to 03/07/2020
Stage 2 – Implementation
Execution from 15/07/2020 to 15/12/2020 The use cases fulfilling the previously determined KPI swill be considered for the final recognition. Communication of results from 16/12/2020 to 23/12/2020
Stage 3 – Recognition
The prizes will be distributed by the celebration of a ceremony in the context of a major public event with high impact. January 2021
Dates are an initial estimation and might slightly change if agreed by BLOCKCHERS consortium for the benefit of the sub-grantees.
3.1 Types of Beneficiaries
The accepted applicants for BLOCKCHERS open call are technological SME developing a use-case for an end-user SME based on DLT. The detailed definition of SME is explained in the following section 3.3.
The implementation of the DLT by the beneficiary in any of the Domain specific challenges , must be assured and represented by an end-user SME from these domains. The end user SME follows the same definition of SME as indicated above.
3.2 Use Cases
The use case is directed to the development of a new solution based on DLT to solve a current challenge or needs identified in an End-user SME from different domains. For the development of the Uses Cases, a relationship between the Technological SME and the End user SME from the indicated domains is needed.
The end user SME DOES NOT RECEIVE FUNDING, but their participation with the Technological SME needs to be assured. In order to demonstrate this relationship, a Commitment Letter must be signed by both SMEs and presented with the application form. A template for this Commitment Letter is available at the website.
3.3 Definition of SME
A SME will be considered as such if accomplishing with the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC  and the SME user guide . As a summary, the criteria which define a SME are:
Headcount in Annual Work Unit (AWU) less than 250.
Annual turnover less or equal to €50 million or annual balance sheet total, less or equal to €43 million.
Only applicants and End-users legally established and working as SME in any of the following countries will be eligible:
▪ The Member States (MS) of the European Union (EU), including their outermost regions;
▪ The Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) linked to the Member States1 ;
▪ H2020 Associated countries: according to the updated list published by the EC at
1 Entities from Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) are eligible for funding under the same conditions as entities from the Member States to which the OCT in question is linked.
4. GENERAL INFORMATION
4.1 Means of Submission
The F6S platform will be the entry point for all proposals in Stage 1  (accessible at https://www.f6s.com/blockchers2020/apply). Submissions received by any other channel will be automatically discarded.
Documents required in subsequent stages will be submitted via dedicated channel, which will be indicated by BLOCKCHERS consortium during the sub-granted projects execution.
English is the official language for BLOCKCHERS open calls. Submissions done in any other language will not be evaluated. English is also the only official language during the whole execution of the process. This means any requested submission of deliverables will be done in English in order to be eligible.
4.3 Documentation Formats
Any document requested in any of the stages must be submitted electronically in PDF format without restrictions for printing.
4.4 Origin of the Funds
Any selected proposer will sign a dedicated Sub-Grantee Funding Agreement with the members of the BLOCKCHERS consortium. The funds attached to the Sub-Grantee Funding Agreement come directly from the funds of the European Project BLOCKCHERS, and the consortium is managing the funds according to the grant Agreement Number 828840 signed with the European Commission.
As can be seen in the Sub-Grantee Funding Agreement template , this relation between the sub- grantees and the European Commission through BLOCKCHERS project carries a set of obligations to the sub-grantees with the European Commission. It is the task of the sub-grantees to accomplish them, and of the BLOCKCHERS consortium partners to inform about them.
4.5 Number of Proposals per Applicant
Only one proposal will be accepted for funding per technological SME.
Given the fact this call is a competitive one, and the solutions will focus in a specific challenge or project, only one proposal per SME will be evaluated. In the case of a multiple submission by a SME, only the last one received (timestamp of the system) will enter into our evaluation process, the rest being declared as non-eligible.
If the last submitted proposal is declared then non-eligible or fails to reach the thresholds of the evaluation, the other proposals submitted earlier will not be considered for evaluation in any case.
Proposals selected in the 1st Open Call of Blockchers (2019) are not eligible in this 2nd Call (2020).
4.6 Funding Principle
The process will be based on a 4-stage process OPEN CALL – IMMERSION – IMPLEMENTATION – RECOGNITION. Each stage comprises a set of activities that qualify for financial support. All the funds disbursed will be based on concrete results and not administrative justifications.
▪ Immersion: €3,000 attached to the successful participation in the respective call Blockathon, elaboration of a mock-up of the future solution making use of DLTs and a pitch of the overall solution in the pitch contest.
▪ Implementation: up to €30,000 subject to the degree of accomplishment of the KPIs defined among each SME and its coach at the beginning of this stage. The selected participants are also required to attend some of the internal events organized by the consortium in this stage. The total amount of this stage will be divided in two payments according to the % of KPI’s fulfilment in each review.
▪ Recognition: All the blockchers successfully fulfilling the KPIs of the implementation stage, will have the opportunity to apply for a prize, awarding the best use case implementation during the celebration of a ceremony in the context of a major public event with high impact. The winners will receive €17.000 or €13.000 for the first and second prize respectively.
Therefore, a third-party could receive as maximum €50,000 for a project, under a lump sum scheme, based on the approval of different milestones or KPIs and along the funnel approach.