The evaluations for 136 proposals for 276 companies in north-western Italy that participated in the first window of the NODES Ecosystem cascade calls - Line A and Line B, which ended on June 30th, have been concluded. The commissions then drew up, for each Spoke, the rankings for the allocation of funds available for industrial research, experimental development and access to innovation services projects that can be financed from the Ecosystem's MUR-PNRR funds.
The total amount of funding allocated by NODES for this tranche exceeds €16 million, or €16,052,213.27 to be exact. Of the 83 admitted proposals, 57 are projects for industrial research and experimental development, submitted on Line A of the calls for proposals: for these, NODES will contribute about 64.5%, with more than €15.4 million out of a total project value of €23.9 million.
On Line B, on the other hand, 26 proposals have been accepted for funding that will enable companies to access important innovation services: here NODES will contribute 50%, covering half of the more than €1.2 million in costs budgeted by companies.
An important fact amplifies the scope of these contributions: as many as half of the proposals are the result of collaborations between entrepreneurial realities. Thus, the 83 proposals accepted mean that no fewer than 138 companies located in the Ecosystem's area (Piedmont, Aosta Valley and the provinces of Como, Pavia and Varese) will actually be able to take advantage of the funding.
Analysing the numbers in more detail, we also discover that the desire for innovation knows no size, reaffirming the nature of the Italian production fabric: 64% of eligible companies are small or micro-enterprises, while 22% are medium-sized and 14% large-sized.
The high number of applications received has also enabled all the Ecosystem Thematic Spokes to exhaust their available funds for the first cut-off. In particular, Spoke 1 - Aerospace and Sustainable Mobility will finance 9 proposals and 18 companies for investments amounting to approximately €4.67 million.
Guido Saracco, Rector of Politecnico di Torino, commented: "We are delighted that this first phase of the calls for tenders has hit, on all topics and lines, the targets that the Ecosystem had set itself. Today we can say that the opportunities for innovation provided by NODES will be seized in full. The evaluation work has been intense, having set certain selection criteria that were unavoidable for us with respect to the challenges posed by the current transition and for which these 138 companies are called upon to act as guarantors in a certain way. This is an important moment because we are putting our efforts to good use by rewarding the most deserving projects, capable of landing MUR-PNRR funds in our territory and representing significant growth opportunities for the entire ecosystem."
After these initial assessment results, and after the final checks (anti-mafia and corruption prevention), the grant orders for the eligible proposals will be drawn up and the signing of the compulsory contracts between the Spokes and the beneficiaries will be finalised. Only once the contracts have been signed will the enterprises be able to proceed to work and spend, subsequently reporting physical and financial progress in order to receive the contributions.
For all other proposals not eligible for funding, however, the opportunities do not end here. In fact, companies have until October 31st, 2023 to reapply by participating in the second cut-off of Lines A and B.
The ranking lists of successful applications are available on the call pages of the ecs-nodes.eu portal.