What is CORNET?

CORNET (short for Collective Research Networking) is a transnational funding network that supports the implementation of international research projects in favour of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The pre-competitive character enables a large number of SMEs benefitting from one project as the research results are widely published.

Who can join CORNET?

Funding agencies or ministries from all around the globe can join CORNET and become partner as the network combines existing national and regional funding programmes to realise international Collective Research projects.

What is Collective Research?

SMEs are often confronted with challenges such as new security or environmental norms, new materials, or the need to innovate their production processes. Most SMEs lack financial and personnel resources to perform research activities that would be necessary to tackle these issues. Collective Research offers the solution: several enterprises of the same branch (or even across sectors) with a common pre-competitive problem join forces within a project consortium. Usually supported by an SME organisation, the project consortium receives funding for assigning a research organisation with the task of solving their problem. After the completion of such a research project, the results are widely distributed.

What is the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of Collective Research?

The kind of research funded in CORNET - Collective Research - corresponds to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 to 6.

Who are beneficiaries? Who receives funding?

Beneficiaries are SMEs with no or limited research capacity who will get access to the research results which are published after finishing a project. Research institutes are the ones who carry out the research and receive funding in order to do so. Companies do not perform research activities in CORNET projects and therefore do not receive funding.

Can a research centre become partner in CORNET?

No, CORNET partners are funding bodies such as ministries and funding agencies providing and managing public funds for research projects. Research centres act as participants in research projects; they usually receive funding from the funding bodies mentioned above.

What, if my country isn’t CORNET partner yet?

No problem. New countries and regions can be included. The only requirement is that a certain budget for pre-competitive Collective Research needs to be provided as funding of the international projects is always covered on national level. Usually, the source for financing projects is public funds provided by organisations such as ministries and funding agencies.

If your country or region isn’t partner in CORNET yet, you can help identifying the appropriate funding organisation:

  1. You can look for a relevant funding agency or ministry in your country – the resident researchers in your project team are usually the experts for existing funding sources. Think of the funding mechanisms you would usually use for your pre-competitive projects on national or regional level (no international programme required!): Which organisation would you ask for funding? Where would you apply with your project idea? They might be the right supporters for a CORNET project as well.
  2. Please get in touch with them and tell them about your planned project, and that you would like to do it within the CORNET framework.
  3. Please get back to us with the contact details of the person in charge from the respective funding organisation you talked about financing your planned project. Cooperation details in CORNET can be sorted out on agency/ministry level and it might be possible that project funding can be aligned.

International collaboration within CORNET can also be tested out by initiating pilot projects.

With your help, we will try to make a collaboration with your country happen!

Who provides funding?

CORNET itself as network does not provide any funding. Funding of international CORNET projects is provided country-by-country, combining financial resources from two (or more) countries into one project budget. No money crosses borders. Usually, the source for financing projects is public funds provided by funding organisations such as ministries and agencies in the respective countries.

How high is the funding rate?

The funding rate depends on the respective national or regional funding instrument used in your country for CORNET projects. An overview of currently available funding instruments can be found here.

How many countries/regions have to be involved in a project?

At least 2 countries or 2 regions from different countries have to be involved in a CORNET project.

Can two regions from the same country implement a project?

No. The project must always be implemented across countries. There may be 2 regions from one country involved in one project, but then there must be another country on board.

What does the international project consortium look like?

Per participating country, the project consortium must (at least) consist of one SME association (representing the needs of SMEs of a branch), one research institute (performing the research) and a minimum number of 5 SMEs (guiding the research and ensuring the pre-competitive character; the required number might differ depending on national/regional rules).



How many SMEs have to be involved in a project?

At least 5 SMEs per country/region are necessary. The required number might differ depending on national/regional rules.

Which research topics are funded?

In general, there are no thematic boundaries – all areas of research with technological focus and high innovation potential are welcome! There only might be restrictions on national/regional level according to the funding source.

What is the maximum duration of a CORNET project?

A CORNET project typically has a duration of 24 months.

Which research topics are funded?

In general, there are no thematic boundaries – Collective Research projects from all areas of research with technological focus and high innovation potential are welcome! There only might be restrictions on national/regional level according to the funding source.

How can I find project partners?

There are several possibilities to find suitable project partners and complementary knowhow: you might participate in a Partnering Event or have your project idea published. In any case, contact the funding organisation in your country or region for support. 

Who is entitled to apply for funding?

That depends on national rules and structures. SME organisations, clusters and ad-hoc-groups are entitled to apply for funding. In some cases, research institutes are also eligible to apply. Please contact your national or regional funding organisation for more details.

How do I apply for funding?

Please have a look at the section Application process where you will find detailed information, both on the common international proposal as well as the national application.

Where can I find the application documents?

Once the call has opened, you will find all necessary documents for the joint international application on the CORNET webseite. For national documents, please contact your local funding organisation.

How high is the success rate?

As a well-established international funding network, CORNET accomplishes an average success rate of about 66 %.

Which amount is funded at most?

That depends on the underlying national/regional funding mechanisms. For more information, please contact your local funding organisation.

When can I submit CORNET proposals?

CORNET issues two calls per year. The calls usually close end of March and end of September. Please make sure you don´t submit your proposal in the last minute. There will be no extension of time to replace or complete your proposal after the deadline.

Does the call deadline also apply for national documents?

In general: yes. In some cases, national documents need to be handed in earlier.

Can I change any documents after having submitted them?

No. Please make sure that all application documents are correct before submitting them.

May I hand in later some application documents?

No. We can only process applications that are complete and submitted before the deadline. Incomplete project proposals will be rejected.

Do I have to submit all documents in English?

Yes, please use the English language without exception even if all participants speak another language.

How many resubmissions are possible?

One resubmission is possible.

What is the timeline after the submission of documents?

Following the submission of the proposal and its possible determination as eligible, it will be evaluated by international experts. Funding of CORNET projects starts about 8 to 9 months after the call deadline.


If you have any further questions, the CORNET experts at AiF are happy to help and assist you.