Pimp my platform! An EU call that seems right for Edgeryders

2014 (assuming we don’t fold the whole company scheme) is where we get serious about embedding top-notch functionalities for research and collective intelligence in the Edgeryders platform. I remind you we have been thinking along the lines of:

  1. a "network dashboard" providing near-real time monitoring of the conversation graph (this is detailed in the Dragon Trainer project)
  2. massive open online ethnography functionalities. 

I would like someone to run a check on a couple of the new calls. In particular, I have been pointed to:

Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme (implemented through the SME instrument). What I like about this is that it supports “fast prototyping and demonstration of disruptive innovation bearing a strong EU dimension” (whatever “EU dimension” means in this context). Phase 1 gives winners a lump sum of 50K euro to spend in 6 months for a feasibility study – I think a prototype would probably meet the requirements. If we got this, we would probably have something to show our clients. Coaching is also available.  Phase 2 is only available for select Phase 1 winners that come up with a disruptive and realistic business plan. They offer 0.5 to 2.5 million Euro grants (co-funding of 30%) – very likely not for us, but a business plan we do need, and the coaching part of Phase 1 would be very helpful to building one. The only problem is that the deadline seems to be very far away (December 2014!). I think that is a mistake; what they must mean is you can apply any time before that date, and applications are evaluated on a rolling basis. There are over 220 million euro allocated – that’s lot of 50K grants! 

ICT-enabled open government seems to move from the very same position as the original Edgeryders project: “Public administrations need to address the new challenges posed by the evolution of society. Financial constraints are making this task difficult. At the same time, expectations - in terms of burden reduction and efficiency of public services - are growing.” We could be interested in the pilots on transparency and corruption fighting. If  we decide to take this up, I’ll talk to Giulio – folks at UNDP care deeply about ICT as an anti-corruption enabler, and launched services such as Kallxo (Kosovo’s version of ipaidabribe.com). This looks like a more traditional instrument – a large research project carried out by a consortium.

@Matthias, would you be up for it? You are the rare developer who can write eloquently, so you are almost self-sufficient here.

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Looking through the calls …

Great pointers, Alberto. I would be up for sorting through the Horizon 2020 calls for starters, as this is useful for other things as well (network barter is open disruptive innovation as well :smiley: ).

I already found that Open disruptive innovation is also a topic of the 2015 dedicated SME instrument of Horizon 2020 [see]. Again a budget of the same range is assigned.

After some confusion I think that the actual budget for the phase 1 (50k EUR) packages in 2014 is 25 million EUR [see], and that together with all the other topics of the call “Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument (H2020-SMEInst-2014-2015)”. Because when you follow that link, you see sub-calls for two phases, in two years each, and the same topics in each sub-call, speaking about the two phases. So for a phase 1 application in 2014, the combined budget is 25 million, divided into 50k EUR packages consistently through all the topics. Making 500 prototype projects to be implemented with this, which is still a lot.

Great stuff

Great @Matthias, thank you! I can see you are already well on track.

The main question that needs to be solved now is the deadline thing. The person I talked to was not sure, as this is a new instrument that had no equivalent in FP7. But it makes no sense to me that you would have a disruptive innovation in your hand now, and you would sit on it for a year waiting for the deadline! The innovation might even not be disruptive anymore in 2015. It’s even stranger given that the rest of it really is optimized for rapid prototyping of innovative stuff. So:

  1. confirm that the call is indeed on a rolling basis
  2. if it is, write an application for SMEInst (and I'll help, of course) asap.
  3. if it is not, this goes into the freezer, but we might want to build or join a partnership on the transparency call. 

Should we move this conversation over to the Horizon 2020 group? Or is it still too early stages?

Exactly how we’ll do it.

Ok, I will take on caring for the Horizon2020 SMEInst call. (The transparency call I have to leave to others for now.)

Already submitted a question about the deadline to the Horizon 2020 Helpdesk (Case_ID 0833106 / 9874566):

For all the sub-calls of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument  (H2020-SMEInst-2014-2015), a deadline around end of the respective calendar year is mentioned.

This also applies, for example, to “Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme topic, Phase 1 2014” (ICT-37-2014-1), with a deadline of 2014-12-17 as per this source.

Question: Does this specific deadline imply that all applications will be evaluated only after this deadline passed? Or are applications evaluated, accepted and funded on a rolling basis throughout the year? Thank you!

Let’s see if it helps.

Moving this over to the Horizon 2020 seems good to me. The more open the better. Will do.

Well done!

This is exactly the spirit. As for the transparency call, maybe we could cook up something with other people in the community. I am thinking of [demsoc], [rysiek], [smarimc], [Bert-Ola] (given his academic connections) and [Justyna Krol], but others are welcome to step forward, of course. Would anyone be interested in developing further the open consulting model prototyped with the first Edgeryders exercise? By this I mean a hybrid of consultation and consultancy that uses citizen participation to produce knowledge artifacts that can be immediately fed to the policy making project (like reports, draft bills, or positioning papers). This is open because it disintermediates: decision makers don’t just engage in listening to the citizenry, then distill what they heard into an artifact shaped by their understanding of what citizens are saying; here citizens themselves are producing the artifact. And it’s transparent because it’s online.

Did you ever get a reply about deadline

Hi Matthias, thanks for looking into this. Did you ever get a response to your question about the deadline?


Ah yes, sure I got a reply. But since it’s half a year still, it got off my head. So:

The call works on a rolling basis, with cut-off dates for application evaluation being 2014-06-18, 2014-09-24 and 2014-12-17 for phase 1, which is the one that interests us. This is written on page 7 of this document.

And Alberto, this should answer your question about finding the Horizon 2020 thread again as well :slight_smile:

And we start! Deadline 2014 June 18

Just a quick comment to let people now @ArthurD, @Matthias and I have formed a small task force to follow through with this idea. Anybody wants to help, get in touch with one of us.

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Help offered

I’m up for helping write this. It’s been a few years since I’ve written EU bids - but once you’ve ridden a bike…


Thanks, David, much appreciated. The way it will work, is @ArthurD is putting up an online doc with the application form. He himself will take care of filling in the company’s administrative information. The rest of us will work on describing what we actually want to do.

Eligibilty problem…??

If we look at


in Section 2, bullet point 2 it says

" Only applications from for-profit SMEs "…

so it appear that we are ineligible…

Can someone point out to me why I’m mistaken…

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Damn. I am afraid @ArthurD is right. Edgeryders qualify as a SME as defined by Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC (“an enterprise is ‘any entity engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form’. […] Thus, the self-employed, family firms, partnerships and associations regularly engaged in an economic activity may be considered as enterprises”); since we are small, we qualify as an SME for most Horizon 2020 stuff. But apparently, SME Instruments have a specific provision, that mentioned by Arthur, that excludes nonprofit orgs.

I really want to do this thing. What for-profit vehicles do we have? I am a one-man for-profit company, incorporated in Belgium. I would be up for using my company to do that, if you guys still help with the work. Do you guys have access to for profit companies that are not submitting SME instruments at this round?


I also cross-checked this, and it seems to me too that Arthur is right. The link posted above refers to SMEInst Phase 2, but I looked it up for Phase 1, and there they refer to just the same documents with criteria (annexes B & C).

Using Alberto’s sole proprietor company for this seems fine to me, just that we’ll have to find a compelling explanation how the new product can be commercialized later by Alberto, and why it’s running inside the website of Edgeryders. Maybe Alberto would sell licences for the new software, and Edgeryders would be a first customer? But that doesn’t sound too satisfying, since it’s a niche product … so money is made by using it for consulting, not by selling the software …


The best-looking solution is a partnership. One of the partners is Edgeryders; the other one a tech company (which I am not). Possible tech partners are, in decreasing order of preference:

  1. the corporate vehicles used by @Matthias or @ArthurD themselves (Matt is a developer; Arthur an engineer, I am not sure what his company does)
  2. a company run by community members such as Paolo Mainardi's (specialized in Drupal) or Piersoft's (can do Drupal, I think another one-man company). 
  3. My company. Looks bad, as I have no specific ability to develop software, though I can package it up a bit. 

The partnership would run as follows: Edgeryders would be the testing ground; the tech company would do the development. The business model is a variation on the theme of everyone and their horse is doing online ethnography, we want to develop a free-open-scalable solution to do it and then sell the ethnography itself (ER) and the related tech services (the tech partner).


  1. Arthur, Matt, can you confirm that partnerships can run? It seems so (this page speaks of "at least one SME").
  2. Arthur, Matt are you up for partnering up your companies with ER?
  3. What do you think of solutions 2 and 3 above?

Ok for partnerships, in principle.

To my knowledge, partnerships are indeed possible for SMEInst. (I even heard that, while it’s in principle possible to apply as just one company, a partnership of companies that complement each other is preferred.) But I don’t think that any partner is allowed to be a non-profit – they simply state “Only applications from for-profit SMEs” here. So it seems Edgeryders could only be listed as a non-project partner, which may mean in practice that none of the grant money can be spent on it (?).

The eligibility criteria state that a company must not be engaged in a parallel phase 1 or phase 2 application to be eligible: “SME instrument: No concurrent submission or implementation with another phase 1 or phase 2 project. […] SMEs […] need to focus their applications but have the chance to come back due to the permanently open call” [source, at p. 2 and footnote 5]. So this seems to mean, you can re-apply after getting a decision for the previous application (about two months after the cut-off date for phase 1).

So it seems we’re running into a shortage of companies :smiley: I’d like to use my company for a SMEInst application for Makerfox, so it would not be available for a parallel application for the ethnography tool. But I’m open to any useful suggestion – say, using my company for the ethnography tool, if we find a better alternative for a Makerfox applicant.

@Alberto, why do you think your company is not apt for the ethnography tool application? Because the Horizon 2020 funding is for developing innovative products, so they would not like simply outsourcing the software development part? But then again, the actual product that will be marketed is the “ethnographic analysis as a service”, not the software itself. But I’m not sure that’s a waterproof argument …

You nailed it all

Your interpretation of “at least one SME” is more restrictive than mine, and possibly better. I put in a question to the Horizon 2020 Helpdesk (Case_ID: 0905293 / 9611811).

I am interested in the SME-instrument. We have in mind a proposal that involves a partnership of two companies:

  1. company 1 is a technology provider, who would develop a prototype of the tech we have in mind

  2. company 2 is a social enterprise, who would test it and deploy it. The proposed technology would improve and deeply innovate the services already offered by company 2.

The business model at scale works like this:

  1. company 1 implements and sells solutions based on the technology (to anyone that buys them, not just company 2)

  2. company 2 sells an improved service and gets a headstart on the use of the new tech.

Company 1 is for-profit. Company 2 is a UK Limited By Guarantee NOT for profit enterprise. Both are small. 

Is this viable, or do all partners need to be for-profit? 

My main problem with my company is that it is too new, I just started it last year, like ER itself. So it does not have a history!

@ArthurD, thoughts?

Not partnerships, but subcontractors: the answer is in

Dear Mr Cottica,

We acknowledge receipt of your e-mail and would like to inform you that only the for-profit can apply with the not-for-profit as subcontractor.

What do we do?

Candidate solution

I propose we enter this call under the following configuration. The leading proponent would be TwinBit – a company led by @paolo mainardi and (yes) his twin brother Stefano, the one we contracted in 2012 to rescue the Edgeryders 1 website from its early fiasco. I know Paolo reasonably well by now, mostly via the open data movement.  Edgeryders LBG would be a subcontractor, tasked with testing the new tech and representing the point of of view of the user (in the sense of researchers). I think this might be a strong combination, because:

  1. TwinBit is an honest-to-God tech SME with a strong specialization in Drupal.
  2. Edgeryders is a company using Drupal to deliver research  and intelligence based on online ethnography.
  3. European: TB is incorporated in Italy, ER is ostensibly British.
  4. ER has already implemented a pre-prototype based on Drupal.
  5. TB and ER have already worked together.

I spoke to Paolo today, and he is game – modulo getting his partners to agree, which he does not think will be a problem. So here I ask you, @Matthias and @ArthurD, to ok this strategy of mine.

I remind everyone that the idea is outlined in this document. It will now need to be revised in the light of the partnership requirement.

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Very good.

It will be best that the company applies that will do the actual coding, so I’m happy with the Twinbit proposal … of which now, finally, I get the name :slight_smile:

Personally I’m not eager to dive deeply into PHP coding for Drupal; technically I could, but I have decided to largely avoid fixed-price coding work, after my calculations for this stuff have always been way off in the past. Esp. when I’m new to a framework, like in this case, coding with Drupal.

“Client” side

@Matthias, I see your role (and mine) as representing the “client” with the developers. Paolo and his crew would write the code; we would describe what we want the software to do (that’s more my role, with the help of Inga and Noemi) and how to observe the various tech compatibilities (that’s more you). If I am not mistaken, we always assumed that we would hire a developer, even if we had done the application alone, so there is little difference here.