The R&D feasibility study: getting better insights into the potential and feasibility of an innovation

The R&D feasibility study: getting better insights into the potential and feasibility of an innovation

The Innovation and Enterprise Agency (VLAIO) is pulling the R&D feasibility study from under the dust. And that’s good news for all Flemish entrepreneurs who innovate!

As an entrepreneur with innovative ideas, it happens regularly enough that you could use a firm push to find out if there really is music in the innovation you have in mind, without already wanting or being able to launch a comprehensive innovation project. That push is exactly what an R&D feasibility study can do for your business.

What is a R&D feasibility study?

It is a rather limited study that your company carries out in preparation for an ambitious innovative follow-up project, such as a development project, a research project, an ICON project of VLAIO; or trajectories that fall outside the support frameworks of VLAIO (e.g. Eurostars, Horizon Europe, EIC Accelerator,…). In principle, the study does not stand alone, unless during its implementation it would prove that the innovative idea is not feasible or offers no opportunity.

Topics covered during the study are mainly challenging technical / scientific aspects, but business model innovation, service innovation and intellectual property issues may also be addressed.

Over time, the innovative idea offers potential for sufficient economic and/or societal valorization in Flanders.

How much support will your company receive for an R&D feasibility study?

Your company will receive up to 50,000€ support for an R&D feasibility study. The grant is calculated as a percentage of the study budget. The basic support rate is 40%, with an increase to 50% for SMEs. The budget is made up of costs for personnel, overheads, operation, external performance, investments (depreciation during study period) and research partners. All these costs are incurred as a function of the necessary knowledge acquisition activities.

If multiple partners participate, the total grant for the study can be up to €500,000 (with still a maximum of €50,000 per partner).

Additional modalities and conditions for R&D feasibility studies

  • The study lasts from 3 months to 1 year.
  • The study will start at the earliest on the first day of the month after submission.
  • A company can receive support for up to 1 feasibility study per year.
  • There are some requirements of a financial nature: (1) the applicant’s net working capital is sufficient to bear the unsupported portion of the study; (2) the applicant is not a struggling business when the study proposal is submitted.
  • The grant is exempt from corporate income tax.

Process of R&D feasibility study application

The application and evaluation process could be thought of as a slightly lighter version of that for development projects. An application – consisting of a business case and study description, a budget and business information of a financial nature – is submitted through the digital VLAIO portal. A few weeks after receiving your application, you will be contacted by a VLAIO project advisor, who will schedule an explanatory interview. During this conversation, the application will be discussed in more detail. After the interview, the application is reviewed against the evaluation criteria and VLAIO will make a decision on whether or not to grant support.

What can Konnekto do for your company in this regard?

Konnekto guides you through the entire process, from identification, through formatting, submission and evaluation to reporting.

  • We help identify the opportunity for an R&D feasibility study. Do the intended objectives and activities really qualify for such study, or should they rather be thought of as a development or research project?
  • We write the application in full, based on some interviews and additional information you provide us. We provide submission on the VLAIO portal according to the rules of the art. We prepare you for the clarification interview with the project consultant, and during the interview we assist you in answering the questions asked by the project consultant.
  • Even after approval of the study, we remain ready to guide your company in reporting and applying for the grants.

If you’re wondering what experience we at Konnekto can have with a support measure that has only just been created, we have two answers to that

First, the R&D feasibility study is part of a broader innovation project that also includes, e.g., a development project or a research project. We at Konnekto have very broad experience with such trajectories, the technological challenges that VLAIO wants to see solved through them, and the valorization in Flanders that they should yield.

Second, the measure is not entirely new, but reintroduced after disappearing from VLAIO offerings for several years. Because it is a tool that offers very nice opportunities for companies at the beginning of an innovative journey, we are excited about the return of the R&D feasibility study.

Interested? Contact us

Would you like to kick off an idea for an R&D feasibility study? If so, please feel free to contact us using the form below or our contact information.