aws prototype funding for universities and universities of applied sciences

Frequently Asked Questions


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 prototype funding?

Public Austrian universities according to the Universities Act (Universitätsgesetz) 2002 as well as according to the Federal Act on the University for Continuing Education Krems (Bundesgesetz über die Universität für Weiterbildung Krems) (“universities”) and universities of applied sciences according to the University of Applied Sciences Studies Act (Fachhochschul-Studiengesetz) (“universities of applied sciences”) are eligible to apply.


What is a prototype?

A prototype is defined in the guideline specifications as follows: An experimental, usually simple model of proposed products or services that is functional for the purposes it has. A prototype (from Greek protos for “first”) represents a functional yet often simplified experimental model (in this case usually also referred to as a demonstrator) of a proposed product to demonstrate its feasibility or to test its properties for later series production.


Are prototypes funded for which scientific use is conceivable?

No. This funding is exclusively aimed at prototypes that increase the chances of economic exploitation. Please also refer to the evaluation criteria.


Is it possible, for example, to further develop biomarkers, generate further data series in vitro or in an animal model as part of a prototype?

Yes, if it is intended to improve the chances of economic exploitation.


Can software prototypes be submitted?

Yes. It is essential that the software solution is a science-driven research or development project that represents a significant advance over cutting-edge technology and science.

My project has a myriad of possible applications. Should the project be focused on a few applications or should it be presented in the broadest possible manner?

The entire range of possible applications should only be presented when and where it is plausible and comprehensible. Focus should be placed on those applications in which the innovation can make use of its maximum potential for application. The greatest market potential or the expected easiest market entry are examples of what to prioritise.


Can a project be submitted for which economic activities have already been carried out?

No. The measures supported under this programme relate to non-economic activities within the meaning of the EU Framework for State Aid for Research, Development and Innovation (2014/C 198/01).


Are there minimum project costs for submitted projects?

Yes. For small prototype funding, the minimum project size is EUR 10,000.00. For large prototype funding, the minimum project size is EUR 50,000.00.


Can projects be submitted that are carried out with a partner?

Yes. Please note the following:

  • It is required that the educational institution submitting the application is the majority owner or the predominant beneficial owner of the project’s exploitation (please also refer to the eligibility criteria on page 24 in the guideline specifications): submit evidence showing the grant applicant is the majority owner or predominant beneficial owner of the exploitation where an existing industrial property right already exists, setting out specific qualitative and quantitative statements.
  • The proprietary rights are to be stated in the project description in % (Item 3: Presentation of rights and ownership for existing cooperations between companies and third-party rights).
  • Only the costs totalling the submitting university’s or university of applied sciences’ share of the invention or their percentages of the proprietary rights will be recognised as eligible costs.
  • Projects with partners require a written rule on how to divide IPRs between the submitting university or university of applied sciences and the partners.


Is there a policy on how personnel, non-personnel and third-party costs have to be distributed in the course of the project?

No. How they are distributed differs in each project.


Can project management completely be outsourced to third parties?

No. The project must, for the most part, be performed by the grant recipients, which can be universities of applied sciences and universities only.


Can the project be started before the application is submitted?

No. The project that is to be funded cannot be started before the application is submitted.


Can an application be made on the basis of a research result that was not developed in the applying educational institution but is now being handled there?

No. The condition for getting a project funded is that own research results already exist that were developed at the university or university of applied sciences submitting the application.

Proprietary rights and exploitable usage rights may be held by third parties. However, funding will only be provided up to the percentage the university or university of applied sciences holds in the exploitable proprietary rights.


Will a proof of concept suffice to apply for small prototype funding?

Yes. Evidence must be furnished demonstrating that all the foundations required for exploitation are available. This includes, in particular, proof of the project’s basic feasibility or viability (proof of concept).


Can additional information be submitted along with the application?

Yes. However, all information that is relevant for evaluating the project must be included in the project description. Any additional information may be presented in the annex, which should not, however, contain any information necessary for fully evaluating the project. 


Does the selection criteria place much emphasis on opportunities for exploitation and future applications?

Yes. Focussing on exploitation is an essential element of this funding scheme. The commercial consideration of the project, as explained in the project description of aws, is an essential criterion (see Selection criteria in the guideline specifications on page 24).


Can employees who are financed from the global budget work on 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.


Can a project be supported for both small prototype funding followed by large prototype funding?

Yes. Please note that the large prototype project must be completed by 31/12/2020.


Can documents be submitted subsequently to the application?



Can rejected projects be resubmitted?

Yes. A re-submission is justifiable if significant further developments in the project have been achieved.


Can the application be in English?

Yes. However, we would like to point out that aws documents such as the funding agreement are in German.


How should overhead expenses be entered on the application?

While filling out the application, overhead is entered in the aws Funding Manager under item Costs and Financing of the Project, more specifically in the costs as a cost item. The overhead expenses are entered in the dialogue box – see below – by selecting the category “Overheads (flat rate)”. In the description field “25% overhead on personnel and non-personnel costs” is entered.


3. Project Selection


How is the funding decision made?

The submitted documents are reviewed for completeness and formal correctness. Formally correct projects will be admitted to the decision-making meeting. Projects will be funded by the funds available at the time of each decision-making meeting.


How often does a decision-making meeting take place?

Decision-making meetings take place twice a year. The dates are posted on the aws website. Please note the submission deadline for the decision-making meeting.


Do I have to present my prototype at the decision-making meeting?

No. The decision is based on the submitted information.


4. Processing


Must time sheets be kept for aws?

Technically no. Should, however, any doubts arise about the performed work, the methodology of how staff is accounted for as regards the project must be justified in detail and the performed activities must be explained in a plausible manner.


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 as regards the project must be justified in detail and the performed activities must be explained in a plausible manner.


Are overhead expenses funded?

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


Do you accept overhead expenses for third-party costs?



How are overhead expenses accounted for?

Proof of existence of overhead expenses must be furnished such as by presenting financial statements. When settling the accounts, overhead expenses are entered in the expenses form as a line item and as a total (= 25% on personnel and non-personnel costs). 


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).


How can the personnel costs be proven?

By means of payroll records.


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



Can invoices from a cooperation partner be accepted who is not a grant recipient?
No. Only the costs incurred by the grant recipient can be recognised. With invoices, for example, only those will be accepted that are addressed to the grant recipient party to the funding agreement and have verifiably been paid.


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. Please note that the period of performance must always be stated for fee notes and the invoicing party must be informed thereof ahead of time.


Can internal events or catering for project partners be funded?



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.


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

No, it is not possible to submit documents after the deadline for submissions.


Can in-kind contributions be recognised?



As of which date are costs eligible?

Only costs incurred on and after the reference date and paid before the end of the project period are eligible for funding. The reference date is the date on which the application for funding was sent via the aws Funding Manager. The reference date can therefore never be earlier than the date the formal application for funding was received. You can find the reference date in the funding manager with your submitted application and in the funding agreement.


How are the project costs settled?

Small prototype funding: Settlement = final account statement can only be made once at the end of the project using the expenses form that can be downloaded from the aws website.

Large prototype funding: Payment is made in two tranches. The numerical proof that the project was implemented is made at the end of the project using the expenses form that can be downloaded from the aws website.


Can invoices that were forgotten be submitted at a later date?

No. The final settlement of accounts that is filled out by the grant applicant can only be submitted once. It is not possible to change an expense report or to submit an additional one.


Can business trip expenses be claimed?

Yes, subject to item Travel Expenses in the guideline specifications on page 20.


Does prototype funding have to be paid back if the project is commercially exploited during the project period?

Prototype funding is a non-repayable grant. If there is commercial exploitation after the project is completed, there is no repayment.


If there is a change in the proprietary rights during the contractually agreed project period, aws must be notified. No further funding can be provided if the research is carried out in the economic sphere of the educational institution or is otherwise commercially exploited. 


Can annual costs for an industrial property right be submitted?

Yes. The university or university of applied sciences assures with the application to bear the costs for the industrial property right during the project period. Necessary expenses/costs for securing industrial property rights in the member states of the European Union during the project period can be submitted. The payment must have been made (verifiably) during the project period and can only be credited to the project period in a prorated manner.


The costs for obtaining a patent are non-eligible costs (see 8.5.6 Non-eligible costs in the guideline specifications on page 22).


When is the deadline for submitting a final expense report?

The deadline for submitting the statement of accounts and reports is laid down in the funding agreement and is two months after the project has been completed.