Call for pilot projects on data sharing applications

Sharing data between companies creates innovations and services. Sitra is issuing a call for funding applications to collect experiences and lessons learned on data sharing. The call, aimed at businesses and other organisations, also investigates the functioning and practical business benefits of the European Gaia-X network model focusing on data sharing. The call is open until 29 September 2023.

The guidelines of this call have been amended on 28 November 2022. The submission deadline for the funding applications has been changed. From 28 November 2022 onwards, the submission period will be continuous. Instead of the previously announced three application rounds, applicants can submit their proposals at any time up to 29 September 2023, 16.00 (EEST). The funding applications will be evaluated on a first come, first served basis and applicants will be contacted within 20 working days. In addition, information has been added stating that pilots awarded EUR 50,000 of funding may apply for additional funding of EUR 100,000 later if the project reaches a higher level of maturity.

What is it about?

Sitra is issuing a funding applications call to collect experiences and lessons learned on data sharing between businesses. We are looking for companies that want to pilot data sharing based on the European Gaia-X model. The aim is also to find out how different solutions for data sharing can work together smoothly and how data sharing can create new value and business. For more information on the Gaia-X model and how to create compatible solutions based on it, see the Gaia-X Trust Framework publication.

In its data strategy, the European Commission estimates that the value of the European data economy will increase to EUR 829 billion by 2025. We believe that this is only possible by sharing data across organisational and national boundaries. It requires an infrastructure that enables the reliable data sharing between different parties and supports the interoperability of different solutions. We also need common rules and standards and smart regulation. Above all, however, there must be mutual trust between those that share and use data, as well as trust in the solutions chosen.

Gaia-X is a pan-European project that aims to create models for trustworthy and interoperable data sharing across Europe. It is aligned with the objectives of the European strategy for data and the EU’s new data legislation. In particular, it represents the voice of parties in building European data spaces. Sitra is the co-ordinator of the Finnish Gaia-X-network.

Gaia-X aims to define rules for digital identity management, creation of trust and data exchange, as well as to build a European cloud architecture that complies with these rule structures.

Sitra’s call for funding offers consortiums of multiple applicants an opportunity to experiment and learn data sharing and value creation in line with the principles of the fair data economy. We are looking for partners to find out what kind of data sharing use cases would benefit from the principles underpinning Gaia-X’s work. We also want to explore what it means to build an interoperable solution based on these principles means in practice. For more information about the principles of data sharing, which are at the core of the Gaia-X work, see the international Gaia-X association’s website.

The aim is to also strengthen the capacity of businesses and ecosystems to participate in building European data spaces and obtain related international funding. Sitra will publish the lessons learned from the projects, which will be freely available for use in Finland and abroad.

Application instructions

Apply now by completing the application form, attaching a free-form project plan (max. 2 pages), the budget of the pilot project and de minimis aid declarations.  

The funding call is continuous and open from 1 September 2022 until 29 September 2023. The first round ended on 30 September 2022. Since then, the terms and conditions of the call have been amended. The call is continuous and the applications can be submitted at any time. The deadline for the submission of applications to Sitra is 29 September 2023, 16.00 (EEST). All applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.

Sitra held an information session on the call for funding on 5 September 2022, 11 October 2022 and 10 November 2022. An information session will be held also in the spring 2023. 

Questions concerning the call for funding were submitted in the first round to Sitra by e-mail to gaiax@sitra.fi by 16 September 2022. Answers to questions were published on Sitra’s website on 23 September 2022. The document will be updated if needed.

Who can apply? 

The call for funding is open to consortiums of companies and other parties that want to share data between several companies and have use cases where data sharing supports their business or provides them with business benefits.  

The applicant consortiums may include companies alone or companies, ecosystem co-ordinators and/or research institutions. The applicant consortiums must always include companies that use and share data in their business and a minimum of one Finnish company.  

The applicant consortium is liable for the accuracy of the information provided to Sitra and their non-infringement of the rights of any third parties. For more detailed instructions, please read the attached additional information on the data sharing applications call for funding (PDF). 

Amount of funding 

Sitra can cover up to 70 per cent of the costs and expenses incurred in developing a working prototype, experiment or concept. The maximum amount of funding is either EUR 50,000 or EUR 150,000 per applicant consortium, depending on the data sharing capabilities of the companies in the consortium taking part in the pilot and the objectives of the pilot project. The sum will be distributed between the members of the applicant consortium.  

Pilots that receive EUR 50,000 in funding can apply for additional funding of EUR 100,000 if the project maturity level rises. In this case they could receive a total up to EUR 150,000 of funding from Sitra.

However, applicants who have received EUR 50,000 in funding will not have priority over new applicants if they apply for additional funding. Applications for EUR 100,000 additional funding must follow the same application deadline as mentioned above.

A total of about EUR 1,000,000 has been reserved for collecting experiences and lessons learned. We are aiming for a maximum of 15 pilot projects.  

The call is open to consortiums advanced in data sharing and consortiums that are new to data sharing.

Applicant consortiums with a minimum of two and maximum of seven members are expected to take part in the pilot project call. 

What do we expect from the pilot projects  

Evaluation and approval of applications 

Sitra will evaluate and select the pilot projects to be funded. It may use external experts to support the evaluation of applications. 

Following the selection process, funding agreements that specify the pilot project to specify the pilot. Sitra will make an overall evaluation of on awarding financial support to the project based on the project plan, application criteria and the budget submitted.  

Granting funding requires that all of the members of the applicant consortium sign a funding agreement with Sitra. In granting funding, Sitra complies with the EU regulations on state aid.  

For more detailed selection criteria, see the attachment (PDF). 

Schedule  

The pilot projects should be completed within 6 to 9 months of signing the agreement (by 30 April 2024 at the latest).  

Results  

The results of the pilot project will be reported to Sitra. Sitra and the Finnish Gaia-X network will use the results in their own work and communications. 

Sitra will publish the names of the organisations implementing the approved pilot projects and their contact details plus a brief description of the projects to be carried out and, when the project ends, a description of the results of the project. The terms and conditions of funding will specify the publication of the results and licences to use them in more detail.  

Further information 

We recommend that you carefully read the further information on the terms and conditions (PDF) before completing the application form.

Twelve principles for value creation at ecosystem level through data sharing

Questions and answers: Call for pilot projects on data sharing applications

Financing and Collaboration Agreement for economic activites (PDF, draft agreement) and Financing and Collaboration Agreement for non-economic activities (PDF, draft agreement). At this stage of the application process, the drafts are intended for the applicants only on a for-your-information basis and there is no need to fill in the agreement templates and attach them to the application. Actual agreements will be concluded at a later stage on the basis of these model agreements.

Funding project’s monitoring and cost annex

Finland’s Gaia-X strategy

A fair data economy is built upon collaboration (Sitra Studies 191, 2021)

The fair data economy maturity model guides companies to use data sustainably

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