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FAQ

1: What benefits do proposers get from joining the consortium and what support does the project provide?

Accepted proposers will have the opportunity

  • to investigate and gather experience on Cloud Computing options for their use case,
  • to explore technical benefits, e.g., better product verification by more accurate simulation results using HPC/Cloud resources, and
  • to examine Cloud-based business models and their impact as well as
  • to extend the range of services offered via the CloudFlow Portal.

CloudFlow offers via its Competence Center:

  • Vendor-independent Cloud infrastructure already containing computational engineering services, such as CAD, CAM, CFD, PLM, etc., on which new experiments can be built.
  • A tailored HPC-Cloud infrastructure (with a contractual environment protecting IPR).
  • A methodology to describe and execute services and workflows in a Cloud environment.
  • Independent evaluation of experiments against your requirements.
  • Experience from 13 currently running experiments including consultancy on business models and participation in the I4MS ecosystem (www.i4ms.eu).

2: What engineering fields is the CloudFlow project targeting?

Application Experiments shall be rooted in computational technology for manufacturing and engineering industries, preferably SMEs, in stages covering but not limited to:

  • design (CAD),
  • simulation (product, process, factory, …),
  • optimization,
  • visualization,
  • manufacturing planning and execution,
  • quality control and
  • data management

addressing workflows along the value chain in and across companies.

Priority will be given to innovative product / process development and products such as mechatronic systems and cyber-physical systems, including, e.g., multi-domain simulation (mechanics, electronics, software, fluid dynamics, acoustics, etc.).

Economic aspects of the application experiment and the markets that can be addressed with the result being developed for the experiment are decisive in the selection process. Maximizing impact and sustainability of the result is a key selection criterion (see section one in the proposal template).

3: Are there any rules regarding the structure of the proposal consortium?

The CloudFlow objectives are aligned with those of the Factories of the Future initiative (under which it is funded), which aims to help EC manufacturing enterprises, in particular SMEs. Thus, priority will be given to proposals which address the needs of engineering and manufacturing SMEs. Experiments are expected to be driven by the end-users’ engineering and manufacturing needs and demonstrate the business benefits of the use of HPC and Cloud infrastructures for design and engineering software services.

Further details about the experiment consortium can be found in: Guide for Applicants (GfA)

In this second Open Call of CloudFlow experiments are welcome that build on workflows from the completed and on-going experiments (at least partially) and complement these. As these experiments will involve the CloudFlow Competence Center and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) already part of CloudFlow, such experiments can have as little as one new end user and no other new beneficiaries. However, the budgets for such experiment proposals are expected in the range of 30 to 50 k€.

4: What is the funding model?

The standard conditions for funding of the FP7 programme apply to all participants within the CloudFlow project, and thus also to those to be included through successful proposals for new experiments.

In particular, the EC funding for validated SMEs would typically be at a reimbursement rate of 75% of eligible costs (which include a flat rate of an additional 60% for “indirect costs”, i.e. overheads above the direct costs for execution of the project, typically staff salaries and travel costs).

Please note that potential beneficiaries have to apply for validation under the conditions of FP7, if not yet validated.

For details on the validation process please consult the procedure in the participant portal. Go to:
European Commission - Research Participant Portal
and scroll down to "How to participate".

5: What financial restrictions apply?

The maximum EC funding expected to be allocated to external partners of an individual experiment is approx. 90.000 € including the HPC infrastructure running costs.

Please note, the proposal template asks for a justification of HPC running costs. An estimation of these costs must be part of the proposals. Our HPC partners are open to support you to estimate the running costs while the call is open. If you bring your own HPC, please consult with them.

Each proposal has to include an HPC provider. We currently have three HPC centers: ARCTUR, UNIZAR-BIFI and CSUC. If a new HPC provider is proposed in an experiment the rationale behind and the complementarity to the three HPC centres already in CloudFlow has to be explained. Please take into consideration that the duration of experiments in the CloudFlow-2 Open Call only is 9 months. This gives little time to both port the CloudFlow infrastructure to a new HPC platform and run the experiment.

Note that additional in-kind funding for the CloudFlow Competence Center is available.

6: Are there restrictions on the organisations that may participate?

Successful proposals will be included in the CloudFlow project as new work packages and partners within the new consortia will join the CloudFlow project and become members of the consortium, meaning that they will accede to the Grant Agreement with the European Commission. Thus, all organisations that are eligible to participate within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) are eligible to participate in CloudFlow.

Note: as part of the submission procedure, we require all participants to provide their current, valid Participant Identification Code (PIC) for FP7 issued by the European Commission
European Commission - Research Participant Portal.

SMEs whose SME status is not yet validated, should start the validation procedure as soon as possible – best when they decided to go for a proposal and to possibly apply for more EC projects. A validated SME status is needed to start the experiments on time and to be able to fund the participants with the expected funding rate. Please note that SMEs that have a valid PIC and a valid legal representative do not automatically have a validated SME status. SMEs only get the 75% funding rate after validation by the EC (REA) – if their status is not validated they are treated as big companies and get a smaller amount of relative co-funding through the EC. Note that funding rates cannot be changed anymore after negotiations are closed and contracts are signed. Since this is still an FP7 project, you may not apply for validation of the SME status for FP7 projects anymore. Your status in H2020 projects are unaffected by your status in FP7.

For details on the validation process please consult the procedure in the participant portal. Go to:
European Commission - Research Participant Portal
and scroll down to "How to participate".

7: Should partners new to EC's framework programs validate their legal status as soon as possible?

Experience shows that validation sometimes takes a long time. This has been experienced especially for SMEs with a complex ownership structure. So we urge all partners of experiment proposals that are new to the EC framework programmes to immediately start the validation process. For an experiment to be amended to the CloudFlow Grant Agreement all partners have to have completed their validation. Also remember that only partners that are validated as SMEs are eligible for the SME funding rates.

The validation is a process between the Validation Unit and the individual partners where the CloudFlow Core Management team has little insight. When an experiment is selected to be part of CloudFlow the Core Management will check the validation status. The group of selected experiments where all partners have completed their validation will follow a ‘fast track’ to be amended to the CloudFlow Grant Agreement. The group of experiments with some partners which did not complete their validation procedure will have to wait for the validation to be finished and risk ending in a second bunch to be amended to the Cloudflow Grant Agreement later. Pre-financing for any selected experiment will first be distributed to experiments when they are formally amended to the Grant Agreement. Prerequisite for signing the Grant Agreement is the finalization of the partner and SME status validation. It is the responsibility of the experiment partners to have completed their validation by the time an experiment is selected for contract negotiations to not jeopardize/delay transfer of pre-financing on-time.

For details on the validation process please consult the procedure in the participant portal. Go to:
European Commission - Research Participant Portal
and scroll down to "How to participate".

8: Should partners already registered with a PIC code check their validation status?

All partners to a possible proposal for the CloudFlow-2 Open Call should check their validation status in the participant portal as soon as possible. The validation is more comprehensive now than at the start of FP7 so there is a chance that a partner that believes that the validation is complete has to provide additional information to complete the validation.

9: What is the proposal procedure?

Proposals for a new Application Experiment in CloudFlow are submitted in a single stage by submitting a complete application in English following the proposal template found at
Second open call proposal template
Proposals must be submitted electronically in PDF form via the following web-page:
Submission Tool
Proposals not using the proposal template will not be evaluated. PDF files must not exceed 5 MB.

Proposals must be received before the closing time and date of the call:
30th September 2015, 17:00 h (Brussels local time).

Provided the call is not yet closed, the consortium can upload their proposal several times, over-writing previous versions. Only the last version received before the closing time will be considered for evaluation. Proposals handed in later or provided by any other means (e.g., by e-mail) will not be considered.

Applicants will receive a formal acknowledgement e-mail as soon as possible after the close of the call. The sending of this acknowledgement does not imply that the proposal is eligible.

10: How are IPR issues addressed in the Open Call?

a) We separate any proposal from any other. The proposal reviewers are independent experts and work under NDA with us, just as if they were reviewers to any other EC proposal.
b) If your proposal will be selected you become partner of the CloudFlow consortium and you have to sign the Consortium Agreement with is based on the DESCA model.
c) Your experiment will be handled as one work package. You decide what other experiment partners will see. The default is that the information generated by the experiment is only visible to the CloudFlow core management team (SINTEF and Fraunhofer – we are probably no competitors with your company). Of course, the EC need to see your deliverables and the project reviewers. And you have to provide public summaries of your experiment, where you define what you want to disclose. Some information about the expected impact and the economic benefits of the results are expected to be public, so that the EC can show they spend their money well.
d) If the Experiment is selected the description of the Workpackage for the experiment in the description of work will be available to all CloudFlow partners.

11: Where can I get any further information?

In case you do not find the answer to your question in this FAQ document, you can add a question by contacting: info@eu-cloudflow.eu.

The CloudFlow Competence Center will try to answer within 3 working days.

If you have a question about the existing HPC resources you can also contact directly:

12: Which Software is available through our ISVs and HPC centers?

We have compiled a list of available Software which you can download from here: Available Software in CloudFlow