Opportunities for subsidies in 2021
Below we provide up-to-date information on subsidy programmes available in 2021. The Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR) has clarified the conditions for participating in the TREND programme, while a new call focusing on energy savings has been announced under the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness (OP EIC). Simultaneously, the deadlines for filing applications within the Application and Innovation programmes have been extended.
A call to participate in the TREND programme organised by the TA CR
TA CR is planning to announce the fourth call to participate in Sub-Programme 2 – Newcomers under TREND, a programme supporting industrial research and experimental development, and designed for businesses that have not been drawing research and development subsidies exceeding CZK 1 million for the last five years.
The TREND programme mainly focuses on research and development to enhance the international competitiveness of enterprises, expand their markets abroad, penetrate new ones, and move higher in global value chains. Project outputs that will be supported include industrial design or utility models, prototypes or functional samples, software, pilot plants or verified technology, and patents or methodologies (both only in combination with previous results).
The period for accepting project proposals will run from 11 March to 28 April 2021. Projects will have to be commenced in the period from 1 January to 31 March 2022 and may not take longer than 48 months. Total funds for allocation under the programme amount to CZK 180 million with a maximum subsidy per project of CZK 15 million and a maximum aid intensity of up to 80%. Support will be provided in respect of operating expenses (wages including scholarships, subcontracting – 20% of total expenses at the maximum, project-related indirect and direct costs). Businesses may apply irrespective of their size, either separately or in a consortium with another business or a research organisation. Support may also be drawn in respect of projects that will be implemented in Prague.
Within the evaluation process, projects concerning sectors such as Industry 4.0, Automotive, Technology 5G, projects aimed at mitigating health threats such as COVID-19 and their effects, and projects carried out in structurally affected regions will be given preference.
Other calls to participate in the Energy Savings programme under OP EIC
In December, the sixth call designated as Energy Savings with EPC was announced under the Energy Savings subsidy programme. EPC, i.e. energy performance contracting, is a method of financing a project through future savings. In practice, this means that within a project, an applicant will enter into a contract with a company providing energy services (i.e. ESCO, or energy service company) that will prepare an energy-saving project tailored to the applicant’s needs while guaranteeing savings that will further be used to finance the project.
The evaluation process consists of two rounds: preliminary applications for subsidies must be submitted by 31 March 2021 at the latest, while final applications will be due from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021. Total funds for allocation are CZK 500 million with a maximum subsidy per project of up to CZK 200 million. The level of support provided to large businesses is 30% of eligible costs and the number of applications per corporate identification number (IČO) is not limited. Other conditions of this call are practically identical with the standard call we provided information on in the December 2020 issue of the Tax and Legal Update.
OP EIC in 2021
In January 2021, it is still possible to apply for support under the Innovation programme, until 29 January 2021, as well as under the Application programme, where the application acceptance was extended to 15 January 2021.
Other calls planned for 2021 include, for example, a call to participate in the Advisory programme – Call II – Advisory Services for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, which should be announced in early February 2021. Applications should be accepted until June 2021. This call will focus on the provision of advisory services for start-ups and developing enterprises to help develop the business activities and competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses.
Depending on the availability of funds, another call is planned under the ICT and Shared Services programme – Digital Enterprise, focusing on the acquisition of ICT products and services (e.g. investment in SW, HW and other machinery and equipment that is directly related to ICT or using ICT solutions provided in form of services). This type of support will only be intended for small and medium-sized businesses.
Should you be interested, we will be happy to discuss with you the individual parameters of your project as well as other specific criteria applicable to individual subsidy programmes.