aws Knowledge Transfer Centres for Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

Impulse programme for transferring knowledge and technology in Austria

The FAQ are there to help you with any questions you may have before and during the application process as well as with the processing of the funding. The FAQ aim to provide a basic overview without claiming to be complete and are being updated for you on an ongoing basis. Only the guideline specifications for the aws Impulse Programme for Transferring Knowledge and Technology in Austria is legally binding. 

1. Overview

Are the FAQ legally binding?

No, they are not legally binding. They only serve to summarise frequently asked questions. The FAQ are continually updated.

 

2. Invitation for application

Who can submit for a knowledge transfer centre?

Universities and universities of applied sciences are eligible to apply. The funding applicants form a consortium and the consortium coordinator submits the application.

 

Must a consortium agreement already exist at the time of submitting the application?

No. All consortium members must support the application and complete the application signature sheet (please see the corresponding template on the programme website under the downloads section). In case of a funding approval, all consortium members must sign the funding agreement. In the funding agreement, the conclusion of a consortium agreement among the members as well as its key points are stipulated as a requirement for the funding agreement.

 

Can consortia consist only of universities or only of universities of applied sciences?

No. Each consortium must consist of at least one university and one university of applied sciences as consortium partners. It is recommended to form consortia with the broadest possible representation of universities and universities of applied sciences in order to enable a comprehensive, collaborative further development of the transfer of knowledge and technology.

 

Must all universities and universities of applied sciences participate in the knowledge transfer centres?

No.

 

How many concrete cooperation projects can be applied for per knowledge transfer centre?

Consortia are free to choose the number. We recommend proposing five to seven projects. The jury then typically selects the three to five best projects from these.

If, for example, only three cooperation projects are proposed per knowledge transfer centre, it is possible that they are not or only partially recommended for funding. Any funds thereby made available can be used for other knowledge transfer centres or for the funding of patents and prototypes.

 

A cooperation project can be classified under several thematic focal points. Which one should be selected?

Please classify the project in the focal point that is addressed the most.

 

Is there a minimum number of projects that must be submitted?

Yes, a minimum of three projects. According to the guideline specifications, at least one cooperation project focusing on the "Strengthening of MINT" and one cooperation project focusing on "New, innovative cooperation projects" must be submitted per knowledge transfer centre. Additionally, “knowledge transfer centre coordination" must be submitted.

 

What is meant by the “Strengthening of MINT"?

The main aim is to increase the transfer of knowledge between the relevant and defined partners through new, innovative projects and in doing so to improve the regional education and information offering in MINT in order to make use of the personal and social opportunities offered by MINT qualifications and MINT knowledge.

 

Who are the partners in a MINT project?

Besides at least one cooperation partner of the knowledge transfer centre, who is also the project leader, the following three central partners are also involved in the pilot projects:
(1) elementary educational institutions, schools from primary to secondary level
(2) existing MINT initiatives and
(3) companies.

 

Is there a minimum number of partners in MINT cooperation projects?

Yes. A MINT project consists of at least four partners, with a minimum of one from each of the four groups mentioned:
(1) a cooperation partner of the knowledge transfer centre (university or university of applied sciences) as the project leader,
(2) elementary educational institutions, schools from primary to secondary level
(3) existing MINT initiatives and (4) companies.

Ideally, the cooperation projects should cover a point of intersection, e.g. between elementary education and the primary level, and should be designed in such a way that, for the purpose of successful knowledge transfer, they can be continued in a sustainable manner without funding even after the end of the project period.

Should more than one partner from group (2) participate, this will have a positive impact on the evaluation by the jury based on the selection criteria.

 

What questions can the MINT cooperation projects address?

The pilot projects can address a wide range of issues. e.g. “Is the regional educational offering in MINT optimally structured and coordinated?” “Are there any gaps in the qualifications and the information on offer that can be filled?” “What can be done to overcome the skills shortage in MINT?” “How can we get more girls and women in particular to become interested in MINT?” “How can the pilot project increase the interest in MINT among schoolchildren in Austria?” “How can new target groups be persuaded for MINT?” “To what extent does the subject area MINT find its way into the field of elementary pedagogy and especially into the teachers' own practice?” “Does the elementary pedagogical/school field involve the use of concrete materials or methods that can be ascribed to the MINT area or that focus on these areas?” “What possibilities are there to keep people with an affinity for MINT in the occupational field of RTI for as long as possible?”

 

Where can I find points of contact for MINT cooperation projects?

There are a multitude of potentially exciting partners, and here are some examples:

https://www.mintschule.at/, http://eis.eeducation.at , https://www.playmit.com/ , http://microbit.eeducation.at, https://www.wissensfabrik.at/,  https://www.science-center-net.at/, https://www.sparklingscience.at/, https://www.ffg.at/talente-regional, https://jugendinnovativ.at/http://www.industrielandkarte.at/, ...

 

Are MINT cooperation projects that have already been supported by other funding programmes eligible to receive funding again?

No, if it is merely a continuation.
Yes, if innovative new developments are implemented.

 

What is meant by the dissemination concept?

The dissemination is to be interpreted in the understanding of EU projects. The aim is to disseminate the project results and experiences in a measurable way within a diverse communication mix (events, internet and paper-based instruments such as websites, social media, infographics, multimedia processing such as podcasts or videos, ...).

 

Do all cooperation projects submitted within a knowledge transfer centre have to focus on humanities, social sciences, cultural studies and advancement and appreciation of the arts & the arts in general?

No. It is however necessary to strike a balance in the cooperation projects submitted. For each cooperation project submitted without a focus on humanities, social sciences, cultural studies and advancement and appreciation of the arts & the arts in general, at least one cooperation project with a focus on humanities, social sciences, cultural studies and advancement and appreciation of the arts & the arts in general must be proposed. This means that for six projects that have been submitted, for example, there must be at least three involving a focus on humanities, social sciences, cultural studies and advancement and appreciation of the arts & the arts in general.

 

Are projects with a focus on humanities, social sciences, cultural studies and advancement and appreciation of the arts & the arts in general or university of applied sciences projects given preferential treatment by the jury?

No. The jury evaluates all cooperation projects according to the same criteria and recommends the best projects for funding.

 

Must all project partners always be involved in all cooperation projects in a knowledge transfer centre?

No. The respective project goals should be implemented by the most fitting partners. Since cooperation and inter- and transdisciplinarity are core aspects of knowledge transfer centres, there will typically be at least two to three institutionally different project partners implementing a cooperation project.

 

Can activities that are defined in the performance agreements be implemented and funded within the framework of knowledge transfer centre cooperation projects?

No. An activity cannot be financed more than once.

 

Is it possible to obtain funding for an individual project within the framework of a knowledge transfer centre that is carried out exclusively at a university or university of applied sciences without any external partners?

No. It is an explicit knowledge transfer centre goal to support inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation across institutions.

 

Can knowledge transfer centre project partners also stem from other educational regions?

Yes. It is, however, important to ensure that the knowledge transfer centre has a predominantly regional focus.

 

How long can the cooperation projects last?

Until 31/12/2021

 

Can cooperation projects of the first knowledge transfer centre period be continued in the current knowledge transfer centre call?

No, if it is an unchanged continuation.

Yes, if there are plans for further developments based on the project results of the first knowledge transfer centre period.

 

Is there a policy on how personnel and material costs have to be distributed in the course of the cooperation project?

No. How they are distributed differs in each project.

 

Must new employees be hired for the respective work packages?

No. The cooperation partners are responsible for the selection of employees.

 

Can employees who are financed from the global budget work on cooperation projects and be run through payroll?

Yes, you can run payroll for them to the extent that they worked on the project. Double funding must be excluded.

 

Is it possible to submit documents after the deadline for submissions?

No.

 

Which amount can be budgeted for the coordination of the knowledge transfer centres?

The respective knowledge transfer centres are responsible for allocating budgets between the cooperation projects and the knowledge transfer coordination according to regional priorities. 

 

Can cross-centre projects be submitted?

Yes.

 

Is it possible for the respective cooperation partners to authorise the knowledge transfer centre coordinator independently to submit the application?

Yes, if the "Application signature sheet" template is used. 

 

Which form must the declaration of intent of the consortium partners to participate in the specific cooperation project described in the application take?

Normally, a Letter of Intent (LOI) is produced for this purpose. The respective knowledge transfer centres are responsible for the structure of the LOIs.

 

Can questions in the application be answered in English or can documents be made available in English?

Yes. The processing of the funding, e.g. the funding agreement, however, is always carried out in German.

 

Is there a checklist for submitting the application?

Yes, please refer to Figure 1 at the end of the FAQ.

 

3. Project Selection

 

How does the jury procedure work?

The respective consortium coordinators together with the leaders of the proposed cooperation projects for each knowledge transfer centre are jointly invited to the jury.

It may be assumed that the jury is already familiar with the project plans.

There will be five minutes for the presentation of the cooperation project and ten minutes for questions from the jury for each knowledge transfer centre or cooperation project applied for.

The jury evaluates according to the assessment criteria, compiles a ranking and makes a jury recommendation at the end of the jury day.

 

3. Processing

 

When is payment made?

After the implementation, documentation and positive assessment of the conditions stipulated per milestone in the funding agreement.

 

During which time frames are the settlements made?

The account settlement periods are 1/7/2019 - 31/12/2019, 1/1/2020 - 31/12/2020, 1/1/2021 - 31/12/2021.

 

When should the settlements and milestone documentation be submitted?

At the latest 2 months after the end of the respective settlement period.

 

Are there annual hearings again?

No. Following the reports, peer review meetings are proposed in order to exchange experiences.

 

Within a cooperation project the costs may shift between personnel, material and third-party costs in comparison to the funding agreement. What can be done?

As long as the original goal of the cooperation project can still be achieved or even better achieved and the requested funding amount is not exceeded, the requested costs can be reallocated between personnel, material and third-party costs.

It is important to note that third-party costs are not the main focus of the changed use of funds and that the implementation of the cooperation project is not predominantly carried out by third parties, but rather predominantly by the funding recipients.

Such cost adjustments must be recorded and justified in the ongoing reports of the consortium coordination. No further coordination with aws is necessary. It is recommended that the knowledge transfer centre management board have a vote.

 

The costs between cooperation projects within the framework of a knowledge transfer centre may change in comparison to the funding agreement. What can be done?

Are the adjustments

- less than 40%: Voting within the framework of the knowledge transfer centre management board. The adjustment must be recorded and justified in the consortium coordination’s report.

- greater than 40%: Voting within the knowledge transfer centre management board and subsequently a submission to aws via the knowledge transfer centre coordinator, with reasons for the adjustment, including an updated cost structure. The approved adjustment must be recorded in the consortium coordination’s report.

 

What can be done if it turns out that an individual cooperation project cannot or should not be continued?

First, voting takes place within the framework of the knowledge transfer centre management board. Possible options are: Termination of the cooperation project with or without a replacement cooperation project and subsequently application for termination or approval. The knowledge transfer centre coordinator must submit replacement cooperation projects, together with the reasons, to the aws for approval.

 

Must time sheets be kept for aws?

No. Programme management is impact-oriented and funds are paid out on the basis of performance-related milestones.

 

Are overhead expenses funded?

Yes. An additional fixed overhead payment of 25 percent on the eligible approved personnel and material costs can be funded.

 

Do you accept overhead expenses for third-party costs?

No.

 

How are overhead expenses accounted for?

Proof of existence of overhead expenses must be furnished such as by presenting financial statements.

The overhead expenses eligible for funding are added by the aws during settlement and therefore do not have to be calculated and quoted individually by the funding recipient for each invoice.

 

What personnel costs are eligible for funding?

Only those costs are funded that have a) actually been incurred and proven and b) have been approved under the funding agreement.

 

Can employees who are financed from the global budget work on projects and be run through payroll?

Yes, whereby you can run payroll for them only to the extent that they worked on the project. The methodology that was used must be explained (e.g. cost unit accounting).

 

Is it possible that the travel costs of employees of the technology and knowledge transfer centres who are not project staff in one of the cooperation projects can be funded?

As a rule, only the travel costs of project staff are eligible for funding.

Should travel costs be incurred by the staff of technology and knowledge transfer centres (who are not project staff) in the context of fulfilling the objectives and within the scope of the approved costs of a cooperation project, e.g. know-how development and the expansion of knowledge transfer through joint workshops, their travel costs are eligible for funding as they represent the target group of the cooperation project to be reached.

 

How can the personnel costs be proven?

By means of payroll records.

 

Do hourly rates have to be calculated when accounting for personnel expenses?

No.

 

What is meant by “the grant provider [can] demand a detailed breakdown of all carried out activities”?

Should, however, any doubts arise about the performed work, the methodology of how staff is accounted for regarding the project must be justified in detail and the performed activities must be explained in a plausible manner.

 

Are there any more detailed explanations concerning settlement?

Yes, in general, the provisions of the guideline apply correspondingly, (https://www.aws.at/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/Abrechnung/aws_PreSeed_Seedfinancing_Leitfaden_Kostennachweis_ab_2018.pdf) unless the agreement, the guideline specifications or the guideline contains other provisions.

Please also take note of the explanations in the settlement template.

 

How should the personnel costs be settled?

In general, settlement is done on a monthly basis (refer to the guidelines above).  For the sake of simplification, personnel costs can also be summarised per person per settlement period in the knowledge transfer centre, e.g. Person X, 1/7/2019 - 31/12/2019. In this example, the settlement date and payment date must be the last day of the statement of accounts according to accounting, e.g. 31/12/2019. The invoice must state the name of the person as well as the settlement period.

 

Is it possible, depending on cooperation partners or cooperation projects, to settle the personnel costs partly on a monthly basis and partly on the basis of the respective settlement period?

No. Please decide on a uniform, consistent method for the entire settlement process.

 

When must different price quotes be obtained?

Whenever it is in line with the principle of economic and resource efficiency. On a case-by-case basis, the individual internal tendering procedures of each university or university of applied sciences can be applied. They must be made available in the event of an audit together with the obtained quotes, upon request.

 

What is meant by “...a detailed account of the work hours spent” for fee notes?

That is a description that provides greater clarity and more detail of the specific services provided and the time spent on them.

 

Can costs for the catering at events be funded?

Yes, if the event is primarily attended by external persons.

 

Can internal events or catering for project partners be funded?

No.

 

Can invoices of less than EUR 20 be accounted for?

No. Exception: For travel, individual receipts of less than EUR 20 can be expensed in the course of travel expense accounting, which in total must be more than EUR 20, however.

 

How fixed are the payments according to the milestone plan?

The disbursement tranches are fixed as part of the funding agreement.  These can only be amended in justified cases, after application and approval in the context of a contract amendment.  Any amendments to the contract must then be signed by all funding recipients.