Interview with Miguel Goncalves, DEMETER Open Call Manager

Can you tell us about yourself and your role in DEMETER?
I have a background in economics, and I am passionate about innovation and technology. At F6S – the largest Startup/SME community globally – I work as an EU project manager helping founders grow by connecting them with equity-free funding opportunities and other innovation support services. In DEMETER I am the open call manager, meaning that I am responsible for the co-creation and implementation of the two open calls planned in the project.

What is the objective of the 1st DEMETER Open Call?
The first DEMETER Open Call, called DEVELOP, aims to attract and engage Startups/ SMEs with technology products that can be implemented within the Agro-business. DEMETER will fund the activities of integration and interoperability of those technology solutions, and improvement of their innovation level. Such solutions will enlarge and enrich the pool of technology offers/ options of DEMETER towards the co-creation of particular solutions to overcome end-users needs and challenges.

Who is the Open Call aimed at?
The target audience of this first open call are SMEs with technology solutions addressing one of the five proposed challenges, established in any the member states of the European Union, including their outermost regions, the overseas countries and territories linked to the European Union member states, the H2020 associated countries and the United Kingdom. Potential applicants should read the Guideline for Applicants for more details about this subject.

What challenges do the Open Call expect to solve?
The DEMETER Open Call #1 – DEVELOP focus on five different challenges:
1- Soil workability and humidity monitoring: we are looking for solutions to help farmers predict the possibility of machine work in fields and enable better planting, application and harvest.
2- Interoperable Geo Tagged Photo APP: we want to facilitate the provision of geo tagged photos with specific metadata from farmers to FMIS or to Paying Agencies.
3- ISOBUS enabler: the purpose of this topic is to enable different protocols and standards in the agri-food domain, talk to each other, by enabling machinery to interoperate with other machines and platforms.
4- Blockchain-based solutions for agricultural applications: the need for traceability in the agriculture domain is well-know and it could be applied in numerous scenarios from simple supply chain monitoring, procurement tracking, crop and food production, insurance, to land registration and payment of services.
5- DEMETER Business process integration (BPM): we want to support farm managers to better use a range of data sources and to create actions based on the analysis of the collected data to improve operational efficiency.

How much funding is available in total and expected per project?
The total amount available for the DEMETER first Open Call is €300.000. Each SME can get up to €30.000 equity-free funding. And the project will support between 8 to 12 SMEs. But the funding is not everything, the project will also support the selected SMEs with technical support and access to top infrastructure.

What are the key dates that applicants need to keep in mind?
The most important date for applicants is the 18th of November 2020. The open call submission system will automatically close that day at 17:00 CET.
Also important is the 5th of November, 11 AM CET, which corresponds to the date of the second webinar focused on the first DEMETER open call, where applicants will be able to ask all their burning questions, live.

Will there be further Open Calls?
Yes, one more, planned to be launched next summer, called DEPLOY, with a different goal than the first open call. It aims to deploy geographic distributed small-scale pilots that demonstrate the impact and potential of DEMETER approach towards digitalising and boosting European Agro-business. We will be looking to fund small consortia of 2-3 partners with a budget up to €150.000 per project.