PSL-Valorisation and Qlife Institute launch a call for Proof-of-Concept projects 2019


Proof of concept, maturation, business creation, technology transfer to the socio-economic world.... The call is open to innovative projects with high socio-economic potential, involving PSL research teams. From hard sciences to medicine, and from arts & design to humanities &social sciences, all disciplines and application fields are eligible.

Laboration de l'Université PSL © Steve Murez


PSL Valorisation (the technology transfer department of PSL University ) and the Institut Convergences Qlife join forces to support innovative projects with high socio-economic potential.
This call will be supported by the Fonds National de Valorisation (SGPI - ANR) and the ERDF Ile-de-France, and will support up to 10 projects:

  • 3 projects in the field of quantitative biology, aimed at the creation of startups or at partnerships with existing startups, supported by Qlife
  • 3 MATIS@PSL projects: Projects aimed at the creation of startups or at partnerships with existing start-ups, in all fields and disciplines, supported by the ERDF funds of the Ile-de-France region, via the PSL Transfert Entreprises program
  • 4 projects that can lead to any form of transfer to the socio-economic world, in all fields and disciplines

One of these projects (at least) will be dedicated to the valorisation of research and expertise in the fields of humanities, social sciences, arts or design.
Each selected project will receive financial support up to 70K € to cover the costs of human resources, equipment, operations and external services, for a maximum duration of 18 months.
This funding must be used to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, results or inventions from the research teams involved, to promote economic and / or societal impact. In particular, it will support technical and economic proofs of concept, legal studies, or help reinforce the project team.
This new call for PoC projects is in line with the previous one launched in 2018, which enabled the launching of 10 high-level interdisciplinary projects in fields ranging from the treatment of epilepsy to energy storage, including the photo-activation of anti-cancer treatments, the design of dynamically deformable furniture or objects, stem cell culture or the processing of social survey data.

More about the 10 laureates of the 2018 proof-of-concept call for proposals

Selection process

The selection process will be supervised by the PSL Valorisation team, in coordination with the Qlife Steering Committee. The projects will be subject to prior expertise by 2 independent specialists in the field concerned, then will be evaluated by the Selection committee which will take into account 4 main criteria:

  • Scientific and technological quality (if applicable) : Existing results, publications, scientific environment
  • Innovative character and added value compared to the state of the art: State of the art description, comparison of the solution with possible alternatives
  • Socio-economic impact, transfer potential, identified markets: Innovation and transfer approach; preliminary vision of applications, users and markets; foreseen process for the definition of a business model, for contacts with users and for market identification
  • Technical and economic feasibility (resources, calendar, environment, partnerships): Key steps, milestones, deliverables; adequacy of resources and timeline; risk management

Provisional calendar:


  • 2019-02-01: Publication of the call for proposals
  • 2019-02-20: Presentation of the call for proposals
  • 2019-04-15: Closing of the call for proposals.
  • 2019 April-June: project evaluation

The files are to be submitted by email to PSL-Valorisation, in the form of a file in Word and PDF format using the template provided.
Do not hesitate to contact the Valorisation (technology transfer) service of your school / institute or with PSL-Valorisation for any information.
This call is supported  ERDF funding from the Ile-de-France region and by the National Research Agency under the Investment for the Future (PIA) program (IDEX program and Fonds National de Valorisation).



bandeau qlife psl commission europeenne investir l'avenir

For further information and questions about this call for projects

A presentation open to all researchers and technology transfer officers will be held on

February 20 at 10:00 am at the ENS - Salle des Actes - 45 rue d'Ulm, Paris 5ème

Please register via this link if you wish to attend.


What are the reporting obligations for funded projects ? How many reports are required during the course of a project?

An activity report is required at the end of the project, along with some financial reports (depending on the payment schedule).

Is the funding managed by PSL or by the host institution of the project leader?

PSL will transfer the funding to the host institution or to one of the supervising institutions (“tutelles”) of the leading research team. This institution will manage the funds. The institution who validated the project proposal is usually chosen for the management of the funds. The other supervising institutions may sign the funding agreement depending on the agreements concerning the research unit. If needed, consultation involving all the supervising institutions and stakeholders will be held when preparing the funding agreement, to discuss all relevant issues, notably any pre-existing intellectual property linked to the project.

Can the project be funded by the call if a startup already exists?

Yes; the start-up company can be a partner of the project but the funding will go to the research team presenting the project and to the other PSL research teams involved. The funding cannot be granted to the start-up company. However the funding agreement may mention the intention of the stakeholders to transfer exploitation rights on the project results to the startup company.

Will the more profitable projects be funded in priority?

No. The socio-economic impact is a major criterion but the short term profit is not, nor the financial return for PSL. Non-profit projects can be funded.

Will the high-risk projects be disadvantaged?

The selection committee will evaluate the risk and potential impact of the projects as well as their feasibility. The high-risk/high gain projects will not be disadvantaged, on the contrary.

Can the same project leader submit two different projects?


Does PSL charge management fees?

PSL does not charge any management fees, the funding is allocated to one of the supervising institution (“tutelle”) in charge of the research team. This Institution can claim management fees, within the limit of 3% of the funding. (For the projects funded by Qlife, management fees are limited to 2,5% and are added to the allocated funding).

What is the level of maturity required for the projects? In particular for the transfer and market aspects.

Projects applying to this call are expected to be early stage, and thus not to have achieved an advanced maturity level both in terms of technology readiness and of transfer to the socio-economic sphere. However, they have to be based on a preliminary proof of concept, and describe the remaining technological issues to be addressed during the course of the project. Applicants must give an overview of the envisioned applications, targeted users and associated markets. They must describe the valorisation model they envisage, and the process they will follow to develop a more precise vision of the market, a value proposition and a business model. The innovative aspects, the added value compared to competing technologies or existing offers and the associated intellectual property, if any, will be major evaluation criteria.

Are Low TRL projects (1-2) eligible?

There is no prerequisite in terms of TRL. Typically, projects applying to this call would have a TRL of 3 and would aim to reach a TRL of 5 at the end of the funding period, but this is only indicative. The most important criterion is that the configuration of the project and its level of advancement be compatible with a credible approach of the transfer/market aspects of the project, and enable progress on these issues. If the R&D program absorbs the majority of the resources and/or the technological uncertainties make contacts with users end potential partners too difficult, the project will likely be found unconvincing, even if its scientific quality is excellent.


Must candidate projects be based on pre-existing patents?

No. Prematuration projects based on a recently filed patent are quite common, but other scenarios are also valid : projects based on software, on know-how, and/or aiming at developing intellectual property (patent or other) at a later stage. Projects based on an application linked to a market need, and aiming at developing or aggregating technological components will not be disadvantaged, on the contrary.

Are market studies or intellectual property studies a prerequisite to apply?

No. Such studies can be a good point for the application and should be mentioned if they exist but are not a prerequisite.

How will the induced intellectual property be transferred?

The funded projects will be supported by  one of the TTOs of PSL (PSL Valorisation or the valorisation department of a member institution). If the team developing the project has already established contacts with a TTO, continuity will be favored.
The management and the valorisation of the project results, and of pre-existing intellectual property, if any, will aim at facilitating their transfer (to a start-up or to another industrial partner), at maximising socio-economic impact and at ensuring an appropriate financial return to the stakeholders and to PSL.


Will all applications be evaluated?

All eligible applications will be evaluated, as far as possible, i.e. provided that the number of applications is compatible with the reviewing process.

Will the project leaders of the non-funded projects receive comments on their evaluation?

Yes, as in 2018, a summary of the evaluation will be sent to the project leader. For additional information, the project leaders may ask for the full reports of the experts (anonymized).