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Smart Anything Everywhere

Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering Labs is part of the Smart Anything Everywhere initiative.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644400.

Frequently Asked Questions

Collaborative Modelling

Here we explain the process for submitting an experiment proposal. You can also download printable version of this guide. If you have any further questions about any aspect of our process please feel free to email us. New questions we receive may be added to this list.

We make every attempt to ensure that information contained here is accurate. However, it may be necessary to amend the information in these FAQs from time to time.

How to get started

Design centres



Our process


Funded experiments

I would like to apply for funding or technical support. How do I get started?

In order to get help from us, you should begin by designing an experiment that will help your business, and submit it to us. The rest of this page will try to answer your questions about experiments and our application process.

The process begins when the design centre publishes a call for experiment proposals, listing the types of experiments and technologies they are prepared to consider. Start by taking a look at the current calls to find one that's right for you. This will help you decide which design centre most closely matches your needs. Alternatively, for inspiration, you can look through our design centres' areas of expertise, their case studies of previous work, experiments that we have previously fundedor details of the technology platforms and tools that they offer.

What is an experiment?

An experiment is an innovation activity, designed and suggested by businesses themselves and funded by CPSE Labs.

CPSE Labs design centres publish occasional calls for experiment proposals. The calls describe the experiment topics which will be accepted, and the deadline for submitting an experiment proposal. Engineering and technology businesses then submit their proposals for experiments that they would like to carry out. The experiment proposals will be evaluated and ranked by independent experts. These rankings will then be used to help select a balanced portfolio of innovative experiments to receive funding and support.

Will my experiment proposal be eligible for support from CPSE Labs?

There are a few criteria that must be satisfied to ensure that your experiment proposal is eligible for CPSE Labs funding. We strongly recommend contacting our service centre if you have any queries about eligibility, and to take advantage of the pre-proposal check service.

Our eligibility criteria include the following:

  • Experiment proposals must be submitted in response to a published call for proposals, must meet the criteria outlined in the call and must be received before the specified deadline. Note that CPSE Labs specifically funds experiments in the area of cyber-physical systems (CPSs). CPSs span many technologies and engineering disciplines, and a large number of technology businesses are already contributing towards CPSs without identifying it as such. Read more about cyber-physical systems here, and feel free to contact our service centre directly if you have any queries.
  • Funded experiments will need to be one of the following experiment types:
    • Experiments designed to transfer an existing technology to a new domain
    • Experiments designed to help you and your partners complete a value chain (e.g., adding a new partner or service provider to your existing value chain); or
    • Experiments designed to transfer an existing technology to a new use case.
    The types of experiment we accept are described in more detail here.
  • The experiment proposal must be submitted by organisations established in one of the member states of the EU or in an associated country
  • Requested funding for the proposed experiment should be in the region €50,000 to max. €150,000 per organisation. Read more about costs and funding here.
  • Preferred duration of an experiment is 9-12 months, but in any case all experiments must be completed by 31st October 2017. Minimum duration is 9 months.

Please don't hesitate to chat to our service centre if you have questions about eligibility.

How do I know which design centre to contact? Do I have to contact the design centre closest to me? Can I choose a design centre in a different country?

You can contact any of our design centres; you do not need to be located in the same country as your chosen design centre. Our design centres each have different, complementary expertise and skills, and each has separate calls for proposals explaining topic technologies and topics they are prepared to consider. We recommend looking through our six design centres to find the one that best suits your needs.

If your experiment is selected for funding you will need to meet your design centre, and therefore if you choose a design centre in another country you are likely to incur higher travel expenses. You can include travelling expenses in your application. Read more details about travelling to meet your design centre.

CPSE Labs is part of the Smart Anything Everywhere initiative. If you have an experiment idea that does not match the topics in CPSE Labs, you can also check the Smart Anything Everywhere website for our sister projects which offer support for different technologies and topics.

The design centres are located in France, UK, Sweden, Spain and Germany. Do I need to be based in one of these countries to submit an experiment proposal?

Experiment proposals are very welcome from organisations located in any EU member state or in an associated country. You do not need to be located in the same country as your chosen design centre.

What is the expected duration of an experiment?

Preferred duration of an experiment is 9-12 months, but in any case all experiments must be designed to be completed by 31st October 2017. Minimum duration is 9 months.

What is an experiment consortium?

If you choose, your business can group together with other organisations to create a joint experiment proposal. The group forms a temporary consortium (consisting of independent partners) for the duration of the experiment. Forming an experiment consortium allows you and your regular business collaborators (or new organizations with whom you have not worked with previously) to undertake joint innovation and development that would benefit all parties.

For example, forming a consortium with other businesses would be an excellent way to explore development of new types of products or services, using components, software and/or services supplied by multiple businesses.

If you are interested in forming a consortium, we recommend that the partners involved jointly establish a private "consortium agreement", to ensure that responsibilities, effort, intellectual property and costs are allocated unambiguously between the partners (you are not required to submit details of any such agreement as part of the experiment proposal submission process, however). The experiment proposal should detail the activities that each of the consortium partners will undertake during the experiment, and how costs will be allocated between the partners.

A consortium should nominate one partner as the co-ordinator; this partner takes responsibility for managing the contributions of the separate partners and liaising with the host CPSE Labs design centre during the experiment duration.

How big should my consortium be?

We recommend 2-4 partners as an ideal size for a consortium, but we can also accept experiment proposals from consortia outside this range.

Do we need a minimum number of European countries represented in the consortium?

There are no constraints regarding the minimum/maximum number of countries represented in a consortium for CPSE Labs experiment proposals. However, all partners in the consortium must be located in an EU member state or in an associated country.

Can I apply as a single organization, or do I have to form an experiment consortium?

We strongly encourage consortia to create joint experiment proposals. However, experiment proposals are also accepted from individual organisations.

Are academic institutions/public sector organisations eligible to apply?

Yes, these organisations are eligible to apply. We recommend that you study the proposal template (available from our downloads page) which contains guidance notes relevant for all applicants.

Are start-ups or SMEs eligible to apply? Do we have to provide evidence of our trading?

Yes, start-ups and SMEs are eligible to submit a proposal to CPSE Labs. We do not ask to see evidence of how you long you have been trading, but all applicants must possess the operational and financial viability to carry out the research tasks that they propose. CPSE Labs reserves the right to assure ourselves that applicants are genuine legal entities.

We recommend that you study the proposal template (available from our downloads page) which contains guidance notes relevant for all applicants.

What is the minimum/maximum funding available for an experiment?

Please check the details of the call for proposals for full details; indicative budget for experiments is stated in each call. Please note, however, that CPSE Labs cannot award more than €150,000 in total to one organisation. This means that if an organisation has already received €150,000 from CPSE Labs, that same organisation cannot apply for further CPSE Labs funding.

Can I submit more than one experiment proposal? / I've submitted an experiment proposal to CPSE Labs previously - can I submit another?

Yes, organisations are welcome to submit more than one experiment proposal to us, and organisations can submit different experiments to different topics in the same CPSE Labs call. Please note, however, that CPSE Labs cannot award more than €150,000 in total to one organisation. This is a total amount including all funded experiments. This means that if an organisation has already received €150,000 from CPSE Labs, that same organisation cannot apply for further CPSE Labs funding.

Organisations which have received less than €150,000 from CPSE Labs for previous experiment proposals may submit new experiment proposals, as long as the total funds received for all experiments will not exceed €150,000.

Please talk to a design centre or our service centre if you have any questions about eligibility.

I've got an idea for an experiment but it does not match currently available calls for proposals/I've missed the deadline for experiment proposals.

CPSE Labs is only able to accept experiment proposals which match currently published calls. Deadlines for each call are fixed and we are unable to accept late submissions.

CPSE Labs is part of the European Union-funded Smart Anything Everywhere initiative. If you have an experiment idea that does not match the topics in CPSE Labs, you can also check the Smart Anything Everywhere website for our sister projects, which offer support for different topics.

How do I find a partner? Can CPSE Labs put me in contact with a partner?

We strongly encourage joint proposals submitted by a consortium of partners. However, please note that we do also accept proposals from individual businesses as well. You can read more about this here:
About applying as a consortium
About applying alone

Unfortunately we are not able to offer a partner-matching service. However for help with finding potential partners, there are a number of "partner search" services available, such as CORDIS.

If you already have a platform in mind, you can also look at our pages on our platforms. These pages contain links to the external homepages of our platforms, links for projects that have used or developed the platform previously, and case studies. Some of these may help you identify partners who have already tried a platform previously.

Can I form a consortium with a CPSE Labs partner?

No. CPSE Labs partners are not eligible participate in a proposal. See a list of our partners.

How much total funding is CPSE Labs making available for experiments?

CPSE Labs expects to make €2,175,000 available across all of our design centres.

What funding is available to experimenters?

When carrying out experiments you will incur costs which are eligible for funding by CPSE Labs. Different funding rates are applicable for commercial and for non-profit legal entities.

The total funding CPSE Labs can provide to experimenters will be:

  • Costs will be re-imbursed to industrial applicants at the rate of 70% of (direct costs + 25% indirect costs)
  • Costs will be re-imbursed to non-profit bodies and educational establishments at the rate of 100% of (direct costs + 25% indirect costs)

If you have questions regarding funding, please get in touch with our service centre.

In addition to funding, you can also receive benefits such as expertise, advice or effort from your host design centre (i.e., the design centre which issued your selected call). Your experiment proposal must make clear what is required from your host design centre. See the call for proposals for your intended design centre for more information.

Do we have to travel and visit the design centre if our experiment is selected for funding? How do we cover the costs of travelling?

There will be some face-to-face meetings between you and your host design centre if your experiment is selected for funding. As a minimum we expect that you will meet your design centre:

  • At the start of the experiment (this can include training if you require),
  • In the middle of the experiment, for the interim review, and
  • At the end of the experiment, for the final review.

Taking into account the duration of your experiment, distance involved and your training requirements, additional face-to-face meetings may also be needed. Regular updates can take place using teleconference software (such as Skype) or regular phone calls.

Face to face meetings obviously incur some travel costs. You can claim the the costs of your travel as part of your experiment; these should be listed under Table 2 of the Experiment Proposal. Your planned travel budget should reflect the distance between you and your target design centre (e.g., your budget should be appropriate for international travel if your design centre is in another country, or it should be appropriate for local or regional travel if your design centre is located within your home region).

Design centres also have some travel budget and may be able to visit you, although please note that design centres cannot commit to this before your proposal is evaluated as their budgets must be divided between a number of future commitments. Details such as: locations of meetings; who will travel or host a meeting; and practical details for tele-conferences can all be agreed with your design centre when your experiment is selected for funding.


Can hardware be included in the budget? What if the price of the hardware not yet known?

Hardware to be used in the experiment can be included in the proposal's budget. If the price is not yet known accurately, you should estimate an amount and spend up to that price on that hardware.

How to include equipment and infrastructure under "other direct costs"?

The funding conditions of "other direct costs" are the same as those stipulated by the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 programme. In that sense, you can allocate the costs incurred throughout the experiment and that are directly attributable. If the amount of the "other direct costs" exceeds 15% of the "direct costs", their goal must be clearly specified. If a given piece of equipment or infrastructure has a useful life longer than its use during the experiment, then the attributable costs is the amortized value during its use.

How do you define a small/medium enterprise (SME)?

Whilst experiment proposals are welcomed from all eligible organisations, we especially encourage small and medium sized technology businesses to submit an experiment proposal. Our proposal submission process, reporting obligations and review process have all been designed with the needs of SMEs in mind.

The European Commission generally defines SMEs (small and medium enterprises) as businesses which have fewer than 250 employees AND one of the following:

  • Turnover <= €50m, or
  • Balance sheet total <= €43m

However, defining SMEs can be complex - please check the EU policy for further clarification.

What are cyber-physical systems? How do I know if I am working in cyber-physical systems?

Many technology and engineering firms will discover that they already contribute towards cyber-physical systems, even if it is not explicitly labelled as such. See our page on cyber-physical systems here.

What is the experiment proposal submission process?

See our page on how to submit an experiment proposal.

What is a pre-proposal?

A pre-proposal describes the core ideas of a planned experiment proposal. You can submit a pre-proposal to the service centre, before committing to writing a full experiment proposal. The service centre will pass it on to your intended design centre, and the design centre staff will then check the pre-proposal for you.

Note that this service is limited to clarifying whether the experiment proposal fits into the call's scope (i.e., it is compatible with the current call regarding the chosen scenario, research focus, expected innovation etc.) and whether it is likely to be eligible.

More details on the pre-proposal check service are available here.

What is the deadline for a pre-proposal check?

Please send us your pre-proposal check no later than one week before the final deadline for the current call.

What information is needed in the experiment proposal? Is there a template for an experiment proposal?

Template documents for experiment proposals are available on our downloads page.

What is the maximum/minimum length of an experiment proposal document?

Experiment proposals must not exceed 15 pages. Please use our proposal template to write your experiment proposal. In the template, we have provided notes indicating our suggested length for each section of the document. You can exceed (or fall short of) the suggested length for each section if there is a good reason to do so, such as a section requiring additional detail. However, the total amount of pages for the whole proposal is fixed and should not be exceeded.

Who will evaluate experiment proposals?

CPSE Labs will appoint independent evaluators to score the submitted experiment proposals. Evaluators may be academics or industrial practitioners. They must not have a personal connection with either CPSE Labs itself or the experiment proposers, and will be required to declare that they have no conflicts of interest before evaluating experiment proposals and sign a declaration of confidentiality.

Evaluators will be recognized experts in cyber-physical systems with experience of reviewing funding proposals. However, when writing your experiment proposal, you should assume that not all evaluators reading your proposal will have a detailed knowledge of your own specialized domain. Technical concepts specific to your domain should be explained. You can assume the evaluator will be an experienced person with a general background in embedded systems, software development and/or engineering.

What are the evaluation criteria for experiment proposals?

Experiment proposals will be evaluated with respect to three categories:

  • Excellence: scientific and/or technological excellence (relevant to the topics addressed by the call)
  • Impact: potential impact through the development, dissemination and use of project results
  • Implementation: quality and efficiency of the implementation and the management

Impact is very important for CPSE Labs experiment proposals. In particular, experiment proposals will be required to:

  • Build on one of the key enabling technologies (e.g. platform, tool chain, architecture) supported by the design centers.
  • Establish a user-supplier collaboration for realizing clearly specified innovation objectives.
  • Address a clearly specified user and market need.
  • Facilitate user-supplier partnerships across value-chains and regions.
  • Have a well-defined positioning and added-value (appropriate for the type of experiment).


What is evaluated in the Excellence?

The evaluated points are pertinence, clarity and credibility of the proposal's objectives; ambition, viability and potential beyond the state of the art; and feasibility and specificity of the requirements.

What is evaluated in the Impact and Exploitation?

The evaluated points are the relevance of the impact, the growth it will cause in Europe, the added value of the results, the analysis of usability and the value chain. Under Exploitation we value the business analysis, the business expectations and the IP management. This section also values the rationale of the experiment type and its alignment with the topic.

What is evaluated in the Implementation?

The evaluated points are the work plan's organization, dependencies and results; the consortia's description, coverage and expertise; and a clear justification of the costs.

How are experiment proposals evaluated?

The independent evaluators will allocate three scores to each experiment proposal, as follows:

  • A mark 0-5 is awarded for excellence
  • A mark 0-5 is awarded for implementation
  • A mark 0-5 is awarded for impact (this score is double weighted)

The overall maximum score for an experiment proposal is 20 (because the impact score has a double weighting). Each proposal will be separately scored by multiple independent evaluators.

For a proposal to be considered further, each individual score must meet a minimum threshold, which is 3 out of 5. The individual scores have the following interpretation:

  • 0 - Fail. The proposal fails to address the criterion under examination or cannot be judged due to missing or incomplete information.
  • 1 - Poor. The criterion is addressed in an inadequate manner, or there are serious inherent weaknesses.
  • 2 - Fair. While the proposal broadly addresses the criterion, there are significant weaknesses.
  • 3 - Good. The proposal addresses the criterion well, although improvements would be necessary.
  • 4 - Very good. The proposal addresses the criterion very well, although certain improvements are still possible.
  • 5 - Excellent. The proposal successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the criterion in question. Any shortcomings are minor.

In particular, inadequate justification of costs and resources, as judged by the expert evaluators, will result in a below-threshold score in the Implementation category.

The experiment proposals will be ranked based on the scores produced by the independent evaluators. The ranking will be used as input to the selection process. CPSE Labs aims to have a balanced portfolio of innovative experiments.

How many experiment proposals will be selected for funding?

The number of proposals which will receive funding depends on the requested funds and the budget available for this call for experiments. Available budgets are stated in the specific call for proposals.

What is an innovation objective?

Innovation objectives are important for the identifying and describing the impact of your experiment proposal. These will be clearly-stated objectives which are aimed at improving the innovation capabilities of your business; your experiment proposal should explain how they do this.

Innovation objectives should be explicitly stated and, as far as possible, measureable. Examples of such objectives could include:

  • Increasing the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of a technology (state how many levels' increase you intend to achieve through your experiment, and what you are using as a baseline)
  • Reducing development time/effort/operation costs etc. (e.g. - state what % reduction you intend to achieve, and what data you are using as a baseline)

Note that these are examples only - other well-thought through innovation objectives are also welcomed.


What is a Technology Readiness Level (TRL)?

Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) are a scale used for assessing the relative maturity of a new technology, usually beginning with initial concepts and research ideas, and ending with a mature technology that has been demonstrated in a production environment, or is ready for commercial exploitation. There are many TRL definitions and scales available; click here to see the scale employed by the European Commission. Contact your intended design centre if you need some guidance on TRLs.

When will I find out whether the experiment proposal was successful?

The deadline will be published with our call for proposals.

When will I receive funding for the experiment if my experiment proposal is successful?

Experiments which are selected for funding will receive a payment at the beginning of the experiment from the from the CPSE Labs design centre hosting the experiment. This pre-financing will cover the 20% of the total experiment costs.

Further payments will be made upon successful completion of milestones and/or deliverables as agreed in the Contract (this could include deliverables, reports and financial documents) as the experiment progresses. Generally, we expect that the amount of payment will be 50% at midterm and 100% at the end of the Project.

What is a CPSE Labs Contract?

The Contract is the legal contract between your organisation (all organisations, if you have formed an experiment consortium) and your host design centre. It will detail the obligations on both sides in terms of reporting requirements and funding. If your proposal is selected for funding, the Contract will be agreed before the experiment commences.

Due to our own contractual obligations towards the EU, CPSE Labs has to impose some obligations on the third parties involved in an experiment. In particular, the agreed contract will include clauses to ensure:

  • that the Commission, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) can exercise their rights regarding checks, reviews, audits, investigation, and impact assessment towards the third parties receiving financial support; and
  • that the third parties receiving financial support comply with obligations concerning conflict of interest, confidentiality, promotion of CPSE Labs, and liability for damage.
Additional information can be found in the Annotated Model Agreement (AGA) user guide under Article 15.

What is an Implementation Plan?

The Implementation Plan details the planned experiment and reporting obligations, and will be agreed between your organization (all organisations, if you have formed an experiment consortium) and your host design centre. It will be closely based on the plans you submitted in your experiment proposal. If your proposal is selected for funding, the Implementation Plan will be agreed before the experiment commences.

How soon must the experiment start after I am notified that the proposal was successful?

We anticipate that experiments will be able to start within 2 months after the notification.

What are the reporting obligations for experiments?

Reporting obligations are not intended to be onerous. It's anticipated that experimenters will report to their host design centre on the progress they have made at regular intervals during the experiment's lifetime.

As a minimum, there will be reviews at the mid-way point of the experiment (the interim review) and after the end of the experiment (the final review) before remaining funds are released.

Who will conduct the final review?

The final review will be conducted by the host design centre and additional staff from other CPSE Labs design centres.

What is the purpose of the final review?

The purposes of the final review are:

  • To satisfy CPSE Labs, as the funder of the experiment, that work has been carried out and costs incurred as was agreed
  • To allow CPSE Labs to understand the impact that has been achieved, or is likely to be achieved, as a result of the work conducted in the experiment. CPSE Labs has its own responsibilities to demonstrate the impact of the CPSE Labs project as a whole to the European Commission.


Who will own intellectual property (IP) generated as a result of the experiment?

Results from industrial experiments are owned by the parties that generate them. We anticipate that results of experiments are likely to be jointly generated by the experimenter(s) and their host design centre, and so in this case the IP will be shared by both. The Contract (which will be agreed between the host design centre and experimenters before the experiment starts) will specify details.

We recommend that consortia discuss issues of IP ownership between consortium members when establishing a consortium agreement.

Are there any special ethical considerations for my experiment?

The experiment proposal template includes a short section about ethics which must be completed. If there are any special ethical considerations revealed by any of these questions, you will be required to submit additional text describing how you plan to tackle this. Please contact the service centre if you have questions about ethical issues in experiments.

We recommend checking the ethics section in the proposal template in advance to identify whether you need to make special considerations for the ethics of your proposed experiment.

We make every attempt to ensure that information contained here is accurate. However, it may be necessary to amend the information in these FAQs from time to time.