The Technology Agency of the Czech Republic is an organisational unit of the state that was founded in 2009 by the Act No. 130/2002 Coll. on the support of research, experimental development and innovation. The creation of TA CR is one of the cornerstones of the fundamental reforms in research and development (R&D) in the Czech Republic. The key features of the reform is the redistribution of financial support from the national budget. The Technology Agency of the Czech Republic simplifies the state support of applied research and experimental development which has been fragmented and implemented by many bodies before the reform.
In accordance with the Act No. 130/2002 activities assigned to TA CR are:
- preparation and realisation of its own programmes of applied research, experimental development and innovation; and realization of programmes from those governmental departments without public financial support,
- evaluation and selection of programme proposals,
- administration of functional financial support of applied research from the national budget,
- control of a fulfilment of project contracts,
- evaluation of fulfilment of objectives of programmes and control of their results,
- counselling (legal, financial and IPR) for programmes and projects of applied research, experimental development and innovation,
- communication support between research organisations and the private sector,
- negotiations with institutions in the Czech Republic and the European Union in terms of permitted public support of applied research and innovation, and
- cooperation with similar foreign institutions.
There are 7 funding programmes of The Technology Agency CR:
- Alfa Programme
- Beta Programme
- Gama Programme
- Delta Programme
- Epsilon Programme
- Omega Programme
- Competence Centres
The EPSILON programme is mainly focused on improving the standing of the Czech Republic, as well as European industry in a global context, through the support of applied research and experimental development, whose results have a high potential for rapid application in new products, production processes and services, particularly in the following priority areas:
- Competitive knowledge-based economy
- Sustainability of energy and material resources
- Environment for quality of life
The aim of the EPSILON programme is to support projects, whose results have a high potential for rapid application in new products, production processes and services. The instrument for achieving this aim is fulfilment of the National priorities of targeted research, experimental development and innovation (Priorities) by providing support to projects, through which the research objectives of the areas and sub-areas of the given priorities will be achieved. The programme is therefore based achieving the objectives of the Priorities rather than industry. The objective of the programme is aimed in particular at supporting industrial applications using new technologies and new materials in the energy, environment and transport sectors.
The programme can only support projects that are reasonably expected to achieve at least one of the following types of results (categorised according to the register of information on the results):
P - patents;G - technically realised results - prototype, functional sample;Z - pilot plant, verified technology;R - software;F - results with legal protection - utility model, industrial design;N - certified methodologies and practices, treatment, conservation methods, specialised maps with expert content.
Results, which will not be recognised by the provider as the sole result in the given project, but only in combination with at least one other result given in the above list of result types, are results of the type:
H - results promulgated into legislation and standards, and results promulgated into guidelines and regulations of a non-legislative nature which are binding within the competence of the relevant provider.
For the purposes of achieving the objectives the programme is divided into three sub-programmes:
- Sub-programme 1 - Knowledge-based economy
- Sub-programme 2 - Energy and Materials
- Sub-programme 3 - Environment
The planned duration of the programme is 11 years (2015-2025). The first public tender will be announced in 2014, with the provision of support commencing in 2015. Subsequently, public tenders will be announced annually from 2015 to 2018, with the provision of support commencing from 2016 to 2019. The duration of the programme is determined in this way due to the need to evaluate the programme after completion of all of the projects, including the period of implementation of the achieved results in practice. For this reason, the need for funding from the state budget is not mentioned for the years 2023 - 2025.
Recipients in the programme may be enterprises and research organisations.
The total expenditure on the programme will be 16,150 million CZK, of which 9,690 million CZK will be covered from the state budget. The expenditure shall be allocated for each year of the duration of the programme in accordance with the expected announcement of the individual public tenders. The maximum allowable aid intensity is 60% for the whole programme. For each public tender the maximum allowable aid intensity will be determined per project on average for all of the recipients together. In terms of the focus of the EPSILON programme and considering the experience gained from previous programmes supporting applied research and experimental development from public funds, the average amount of support per project is expected to be 10 million CZK. Expenditure on the implementation of the programme will be applied in relation to the possibilities of the state budget in the proposal for expenditure on research, development and innovation in the given period.