Pilot project employee

The purpose of a pilot project is to establish a basis for further development of an idea that could lead to funding of a main project through Discovery or attract other sources of funding. Pilot projects make it possible to verify, explore or build prototypes to mitigate technical and commercial risks. Employees may apply for a grant of up to NOK 200,000. Grants of up to NOK 75,000 are available to students. Pilot projects have a time frame of maximum 6 months and are established as internal projects under the relevant department/clinic. The project responsible must be employed by the department and is responsible for the administration of the project. The project manager is responsible for implementation and reporting.

Application deadlines:
Monthly (last day of each month, applications are not processed in July)
Upload the completed for at ntnudiscovery.no/en/apply-pilot-project/


  • Applicant(s) must be employed by NTNU/HMN and the department/faculty/clinic must accept and confirm the application (signature from vice dean/clinic director required on the application form).
  • Applicant(s) must be employed by NTNU/HMN and the department/faculty/clinic must accept and confirm the application (signature from vice dean/clinic director required on the application form).
  • A DOFI for the project must be submitted to NTNU TTO, and the application must include TTO’s IPR assessment.
  • The project must be pre-start-up; it cannot be associated with any existing business enterprise.
  • The application must be submitted using the application template for NTNU Discovery Pilot Project – Employee


Applications for main projects and innovation grants are evaluated by an external jury of independent members.

Applications for main projects and innovation grants are evaluated by an external jury of independent members. The jury evaluates applications individually based on the following assessment criteria:

  • Degree of innovation
  • Market potential
  • Team, project plan and commercialization strategy
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Contribution to achievement of UN sustainable development goals
  • In addition, for innovation grants the jury takes into account the academic community’s contribution of time and resources to provide the candidate with guidance and mentoring during the project period.

Selected projects will then be invited to present their idea to the jury, after which the jury will make an overall assessment of the project using an assessment form.

Finally, the jury will submit a prioritized recommendation for funding to a steering committee, chaired by NTNU’s Pro-Rector for Innovation. The steering committee will make the final decision on grants and funding. Pilot projects are evaluated administratively, based on the same criteria as above, in consultation with the jury and relevant vice deans/academic environments at NTNU and clinic/innovation directors at HMN.



Discovery pilot projects and main projects

Payroll and indirect expenses: Personnel costs to cover necessary activities for concept development and increasing the project’s value.
NTNU Discovery will cover paid leaves of absence for employees at HMN/NTNU for contributions to the project with up to 20 % of the grant from NTNU Discovery. In addition, up to 10 % of the NTNU Discovery grant may be used for project management (payroll expenses).

Consulting services: Costs associated with acquiring services from subcontractors or other development service providers, including external R&D and consulting services.

Materials and equipment: Costs associated with buying materials and equipment for the production of prototypes, necessary equipment for laboratory testing, etc.

Costs associated with the use of laboratories: Varies expenses associated with the use of laboratories, such as laboratory fees or other expenses associated with the lease of similar facilities.

Patenting costs: Funding for pilot projects does not cover patenting costs, whereas funding for main projects may cover such costs.

Other costs: Any costs not fitting into any of the above categories must be specified and must be directly associated with the project’s commercialization objectives in order to be covered by NTNU Discovery.

Basic research, development or marketing of existing products and services, or business development costs.



You must have delivered DOFI to NTNU TTO before applying for NTNU Discovery funds.

You can do this here.


Remember that you must have the application signed by the Prodekan, to confirm that the application is accepted at the Department / Faculty / Clinic.

What do we NOT support?

The project must be pre-startup, it should not be linked to existing company.


Håvard Wibe
Epost: havard.wibe@ntnu.no
Telefon: 41 47 37 68
Kontor: Hovedbygget, sokkel , rom 009



For å stimulere til økt nyskapingsaktivitet vil NTNU Discovery som tidligere tildele forprosjekter på inntil 200.000 kroner for ansatte og 75.000 kroner  for studenter og med løpende søknadsfrist, behandling og tildeling i 2021.  Mer informasjon om dette finnes på www.ntnudiscovery.no


Forskningsrådet har gitt NTNU tilbakemelding om at de ønsker flere søknader til Milepælsprosjekter, som er et av NFRs viktigste tidligfase kommersialiseringsvirkemidler:


For å stimulere flere fagmiljø til å søke Forskningsrådets virkemiddel «Milepælsprosjekt i tidlig fase prosjektutvikling» vil NTNU Discovery, som et alternativ til Hovedprosjekt for 2021 tilby toppfinansiering til prosjekter som oppnår finansiering av Milepælsprosjekt Forskningsrådet

 Milepælsprosjekter i NFR har prosjektramme 200-500.000,- NOK per prosjekt og NTNU Discovery vil tildele 250.000 kr til prosjekter som oppnår finansiering av Milepælsprosjekt fra Forskningsrådet.

Midlene skal brukes for å sikre kontinuitet i prosjektutviklingen og som mellomfinansiering før videre prosjektfinansiering (for eksempel verifiseringsprosjekt i Forskningsrådet) oppnås.

Begge ordningene behandles løpende innenfor en totalramme på 8.000.000 kr.