Find out more on our vouchers call through this Q&A. The questions were asked by the participants of the information session organised on 30 November 2021 and from the session for our first vouchers call on 24 November 2020.
Do all 4 the eligibility criteria have to be met?
- Q 1.1 What if the company is involved in crickets for food and feed?
Q 1.2 We are a rearing company and our systems can be used for food & feed. Is this a problem?
This is no problem. The case supported by the voucher scheme however has to involve the food part.
- Must it be a food application for humans, or can it be for pets?
It must be a food application for human consumption.
- Can new companies apply for the support?
Yes, as long as they have the SME status.
- Regarding the SME criteria, what is the year of reference?
The SME-declaration has to refer to the last closed accounting period of the company.
For start-ups a referral to a business plan is sufficient.
- What is the value for a voucher?
There are vouchers with a value of 10k, 20k and 40k.
- Can one company submit more than one application?
Companies can submit more than one application but the maximum grant per company for this call amounts 40k.
- Can more than one company apply?
Yes but in this case one company has to take the lead and is the official beneficiary of the voucher.
- Can national edible insect Organizations apply? For example, to increase consumer acceptance?
This is possible if the organization is an SME.
- Are the vouchers only available for producing companies or also for NGO’s working for insect industry?
If NGO’s have a legal entity they can also apply.
- If someone is affiliated to a University and is already involved in Tenebrio Molitor (mealworm) research, can he apply for research funding?
Only existing SME’s can apply. Universities are no SME’s.
- Can you please clarify about University. Can they be the "network " partner for the company. It is only possible to apply if you are an SME. SMEs can have partners but the application should be led by the SME.
- I don't have a company set up yet but I am interested in breeding mealworms, can I apply to help me set up the most optimal production
Optimization of the production of mealworms is a service mentioned in our Menu of Services. However there is an extra condition because you need to have a legal entity or a VAT-number to be eligible.
- Q 13.1: Why France is cut into 2 parts on the map?
Q 13.2: Can UK based companies apply?
Q 13.3: Is Italy included in the North-West Europe Region?
Q 13.4: Can companies from Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) apply for support?
Q 13.5: We are located in France but South of France. On your map only North of France was highlighted. I guess the program included all France?
Q 13.6: Why are provinces of north of the Netherlands outside the NW-region?
ValuSect is an Interreg North-West Europe project. The North-West Europe area is pre-defined by the EU and is not a choice of the ValuSect project. The NWE area involves Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and parts of France, Germany and the Netherlands.
More info on https://www.nweurope.eu/about-the-programme/the-nwe-area/
- Does the development need to take place in the North-West Europe region? e.g. operations take place in the region but production facilities are outside of it.
If the company is located in the NWE-region this is possible but it has to be clarified case by case. It is important to acknowledge that we are working with European money and that the main benefits of the voucher services are beneficiary for activities on the European market.
- Does the applicant have to be a resident in one of the North-West countries involved in the ValuSect project at the moment of the application?
- If the applying company is outside of the Region, but the production facilities are located in it, would it be possible to apply. We are located in Berlin and we produce in CH.
It is important to acknowledge that we are working in the NWE-region and that the main benefits of the voucher services are beneficiary for activities on the European market.
It is possible for companies from outside this region to apply but only if the services are focused on the facilities and activities going on inside the NWE-region.
- Would you open in the future to companies from other EU countries?
In this project that will not be possible.
- Why only these three insects (crickets, grasshopers and mealworms)?
To start with a specie variety which is likely to being approved as food by EFSA soon, the project organisation decided to choose the - at that time- most relevant ones.
- Would be all projects equally divided among the insect species?
Ideally all 3 insect species should receive the same amount of support. But there is no obligation for an equal distribution of the vouchers over the 3 insect species involved.
- What about the Alphitobius Diaperinus, which is a mealworm as well?
The Alphitobius Diaperinus is not included in the ValuSect project.
- How long does a voucher last?
The length of the voucher support depends on the case and the availability of the project partners. At the start the timing of the services will be agreed upon in consultation with all parties involved. In general we aim for a support period of one year.
- Q 22.1 : Who does the research?
Q 22.2 : Do the services come from full partners only?
Q 22.3 : What kind of services are included?
Q 22.4: Will the research be done by the ValuSect partners or can you get the vouchers for your own research?
The services are provided by the full partners of the ValuSect consortium. You can not use them for own research.
There is a wide range of services available. These services can be consulted in the Menu of Services.
- What would be the commitment of participating companies?
Engagement and collaboration in providing the necessary support so the project partners are able to deliver the services on time.
In the service contract agreements will be made for following up and monitoring progress on a regular base.
- Can you spend the voucher yourself based on the proposal, or will the ValuSect partners do the works?
The voucher represents services delivered by the project partners. In your application you can use the Menu of Services to choose the services that seem useful to you. This can be a combination of services provided by different partners. After approval, the services of the voucher are defined in a service contract. These services have a certain value and are meant to finance the innovation proposed by the SME and will be performed by the consortium partners. It is not possible to exchange it in cash.
- Who has to offer the menu? The participating universities or all universities based in the eligible area?
The full project partners of ValuSect offer the services. These are summed up in the Menu of Services. No other organizations are involved or can perform services.
- What is meant by the service contract?
The vouchers represent services provided by the project partners. Before the services start a service contract is concluded with the applicant to define the services, the timing and other relevant agreements.
- 1: Can the development be ''executed'' at a location of the entrepreneurs?
Q25.2: Will members of the project come to visit our production?
This has to be considered case by case. There is no general rule that prohibits this but on the other hand it has to be realistic as well.
- 1: Where can the ValuSect Quick Look guide be found?
All documents are available on the ValuSect website.
- Does approval for other grants preclude approval for this voucher?
No. But as always dubble funding is not allowed.
- How is the height of the voucher value determined?
For the services offered by the project partners, a competitive value is calculated taking into account the cost of the staff involved (such as researchers or technicians), materials, consumables, facilities, etc. that are necessary to carry out your proposal / question.
- Q31.1: It’s easy to find a laboratory to make some tests but really difficult to produce a batch test FOR the food market… So, do you have the possibility to produce something with the food Security agreement?
Q31.2: Does the product cover a first test batch for the market (just to cover equipment renting and renting a place to produce)?
A facility to produce test batches for the market is not part of the Menu of Services and cannot be offered. The vouchers do not cover costs for renting equipment or locations.
Partners of ValuSect have expertise and offer services on development of innovative food product concept. They can offer insights into practical considerations that will help to accelerate the development of your food product idea. With lab-scale and other facilities, they/we conduct tests and experiments on
- Recipe and ingredient choice
- Cost price estimations
- Shelf-life assessment
- Sensory considerations
- Processing technique consideration
- Introduction into relevant regulation processes / requirements
- market drivers, competitor positioning, identify potential routes to market, barriers to entry
It will depend on the proposal and if it fits into one of these services.
- Can the ValuSect project welcome new partners?
We cannot enter new partners in the project consortium at this stage.
- Is it intended to use this programme to also do tech/knowledge transfer to developing economies or is the focus squarely on developing/improving products and processes for Europe?
It is an accelerator programme for the EU insect business. The technologies which will be developed and improved stand open for other applications.
- 1: Does the voucher cover product development? Like product manufacturing etc.
Q32.2: Will quality aspects be covered by the vouchers?
Q32.3: Can redesign of rearing systems also be part of the project?
Yes, yes and yes.
- Do you provide support also for social events that consider introducing mealworms for human use?
If the application is done by a SME these kind of activities can be supported. Of course taking into account that an evaluation has to be made of every application.
- Is there assistance to get EFSA approval for new species?
The composition of an approval file is not included in the services.
- Any support for market research? Some SMEs are not necessarily knowledgeable about prices for instance.
Market research can be included in the voucher services. Check the Menu of Services to see which partner can support you on this.
- Is the application of insect frass included in the scope?
No, applications for insect frass are not included as these are not usable towards food applications. The food products in the scope of ValuSect have to be based on the 3 species mentioned in the proposal.
- 1: Is a refusal definitive or can the application be updated according to your feedback?
Q34.2: Will it be possible to ''debate'' the decline?
The evaluation is performed by the ValuSect selection committee and is binding.
- Will all selected subjects be revealed upon selection?
For reporting we have to reveal the selected cases as we are working with EU money and open communication is considered. This does not mean that we have to give all the details. But we will report the name of selected SMEs, the insect specie and where in the value chain the case is located.
- If information is generalized and published, where will other companies find it? In your newsletters? On your website?
All communication channels used for project communication are possible.
Confidentiality agreements will always be respected.
- How many applications do you expect?
We received 60 applications from 50 SMEs for the first call. But we do not know how many SMEs will apply for this second call.
- Can the ValuSect vouchers be linked to another EU Funding?
The ValuSect consortium decides independently. There are no links with other project.
The de minimis legislation is applicable on the voucher scheme.
- Will the data being collected during the vouchers be kept secret by the consortium?
The original data will be kept confidentially, but, as EU funds these innovations, we are allowed to generalise these new insights and disseminate it to the broad public via eg. newsletters, publications in scientific and/or sector journals...
- Q45.1: Who owns IP coming out of the project?
Q45.2: What happens to ''background'' IP if brought to the project ?
Q45.3: Can you guarantee that my innovation idea is not being copied by a member of the consortium?
The standard procedures on IP and confidentiality used by the different knowledge centers are applicable.
If IP needs special attention, this can be integrated in the service contract that is made to make the agreements between the project partner involved and the applicant.
Standard IP procedures are described in the complete version of the manual.
- Will you present to tops and flops of the first call, one day?
This is not mentioned as a specific topic in the project proposal. But it is a good suggestion and we will discuss this in the context of our Accelerator Platform to see what we can offer on this subject.
- Will the previous and future researches regarding the vouchers be published?
The results of the researches performed in ValuSect (including the vouchers) will be published at the end of the project. If this research refers to an individual voucher, the results will be generalized first.
- When is the call going to be for feed?
The call for feed will be launched on the 17th of January 2022. There will be a webinar for more info on January 11.
- Will there be another food call later with a higher threshold for the vouchers?
At the moment no extra food call is planned and the objective is to use all remaining resources for this call.
It is possible however to have an extra call if there are enough resources remaining after this call.
- Where can we find a list of the ValuSect partners?
On the ValuSect website: ValuSect | Interreg NWE (nweurope.eu)
- Can you say something about the protein quality that is having more demand or that has more potential for food application?
Which protein quality has the most potential is a complex question to answer because many factors have an influence on this. If you want to go further in this discussion I suggest you contact one of the project partners individually to have a thorough discussion about this.
- What is the current bottleneck of the supply chain in the insect sector?
The insect sector is a relatively new sector with lots of uncertainties in the whole value chain. This value chain is still in full development. At the moment there are for example bottlenecks on the side of the producers but also on the side of the consumers.
In the preparation of the Accelerator Program of ValuSect there are ongoing activities to get a better view on this situation. But the conclusion of these activities are not available yet.
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