Industrial Research Valorization and Acceleration (IRVA)

Within an IRVA project, Flanders Make performs Strategic Basic Research (TRL 4-5) which concerns innovative high-risk research focused on industrially relevant topics, which, if successful, can lead to long-term application in companies in the form of a new generation of products, processes or services. A well-balanced consortium of at least three mutually independent companies (of which at least two are based in Flanders) are part of the IRVA user group and adopt the IRVA results via application projects (TRL 5-6) to develop new knowledge that can be applied in practice and thus contribute to economic and possibly broader social added value in Flanders.

The IRVA is funded by the Flanders Make covenant and executed by core labs of Flanders Make while the company specific application projects are funded by the company itself and may be submitted to VLAIO as (cooperative) R&D projects or Innovation Boosting.

Within the application projects, contract research is performed by Flanders Make towards the companies for knowledge transfer and adoption of the IRVA results including IP licensing. The principle is depicted below.

The typical IRVA project duration is 2 years (exceptionally 2.5 to 3 years) with a midterm evaluation.



Key benefits of the IRVA project type

  • The project focus on prototype development with research from TRL 4 to TRL6.
  • Research along the value chain is possible as well as technology platforms suited for different applications.
  • IRVA stimulates industrial participation via in-kind cooperation and contract research.
  • There is maximum flexibility in the composition of the industrial consortium.
  • There is a low threshold for early adopters to participate.
  • We aim for fast and efficient proposal evaluation, efficient project management, monitoring and control.
  • IRVA offers maximum flexibility to handle changes that occur in companies during project execution.


Who is eligible?

The IRVA project is a specific research project type for Flanders Make and Flanders Make takes care of the submission of these projects. As an industrial partner, both SMEs and large companies can participate in the user group and the Flemish industrial partners can call upon the support of the Agency for Innovation & Enterprise (VLAIO) for their application projects. Companies located in Brussels-Capital Region can apply for funding at Innoviris while foreign companies can apply at their regional and national funding agencies.

How can you participate?

In order to realize the ambitions of the competence roadmap of Flanders Make and to obtain a consistent portfolio of research projects and infrastructure investments, Flanders Make organizes 2 IRVA project calls per year. You can participate by responding to the call. See frequently asked questions about the submission process.

Frequently asked questions

What is a typical project duration of IRVA projects?

The typical project duration is 2 years with a maximum of 3 years.

Can companies outside Flanders also participate?

Companies outside Flanders with their own valorization rationale can participate as a partner provided they can provide clear and important added value to the project and the consortium. They can not receive support from VLAIO for their application projects but could receive support from their regional/national funding agencies.

What is the (financial) commitment needed from companies in the IRVA project?

1. The companies will participate in the IRVA user group and will pay a one-time fee to Flanders Make. The amount depends on the category to which the company belongs and is as follows:

  • Small and medium-sized (SME) companies: € 1,000 excl. VAT.
  • Large companies: € 4,000 excl. VAT.

The contribution is invoiced by Flanders Make at the start of the project. Companies that are a paying member of a competence cluster (relevant for the project) of Flanders Make at the beginning of the project, get a 50% discount on the contribution.

2. The companies will execute application projects with contract research to Flanders Make. The criteria for contract research are the following:

  • The contract research is aimed at applying results of the IRVA research to the company case.
  • The total of all contract research at the companies shall be ≥ 15% of the IRVA budget.
  • Contract research of a single company cannot count for more than 50% of the total contract research.
  • The minimum contract research per company amounts € 15.000,00.
  • The contract research is binding and execution should be between the start up to 6 months after the end of the IRVA.
  • An agreement is made on public communication of the technology utilization.
  • The contract research is always executed by Flanders Make core labs.
  • IP transfer is at market conditions for the exploitation of the contract research results and is to be agreed before start of the company project, which is case dependent.
  • The Contract Research Agreement is conditional on continuation at midterm and must be detailed before the end of the project
  • The VLAIO R&D projects of the companies can be submitted in parallel with the IRVA proposal or afterwards. The proposal text of the IRVA project can be used by the companies in their application.

An IRVA project can start when:

  • The IRVA user group with a minimum of 3 companies is formed.
  • A binding Letter of Intent (LOI) is signed by the companies when submitting the project proposal.
  • The minimum amount of contract research to Flanders Make is committed.

Can you show an example calculation for the financial contribution of a company in an IRVA project?

Let’s take for example an IRVA project that amounts 1 million euro and 5 companies participating in a user group and executing application projects, of which 3 are large enterprises (LE) and 2 are small & medium enterprises (SME).

In the table below, examples of different amount of contributions for the user group (1.000,00€ for SMEs and 4.000,00€ for large companies) and contract research (the minimum contract research per company amounts € 15.000,00) are stated. In this example, it is clear that the total amount of contract research (167.000,00€) is larger than 15% of the SBO budget, which is a requirement for an IRVA project. And taking a look from the perspective from SME 2, this company gets access to 1M€ SBO research from Flanders Make and 1.5 man-months of contract research to adopt the results in its company context. The IRVA project offers great value for money!

IRVA calculation


What is the level of support that companies can count on for their implementation projects?

The IRVA project type fulfils a bridging function between research and application and therefore consists of a research part and an industrial part. The research part in IRVA is financed at 100% by the funds of Flanders Make. The company specific application projects are funded by the company themselves and they can call upon the support of the Agency for Innovation & Enterprise (VLAIO). Potential funded projecttypes include and are not limited to:

The funding schemes for the above project type can be found on their respective pages.

Firms in difficulty (OIM status) are not eligible for VLAIO funding. Click here for more information.

It is important to note that no support can be provided retroactively. Only costs incurred after the formal starting date can be subsidized. This start date can coincide at the earliest with the first working day of the month following the month in which the complete application document is submitted to VLAIO.

Can the other Strategic Research Centres (SOC) also participate?

The other Strategic Research Centres such as VIB, VITO and Imec can participate in Flanders Make research projects as external research partners. They finance their own participation. If needed other research groups (not belonging to a SOC) can be subcontractors of Flanders Make.

What does the submission process look like?

To manage the IRVA project calls, a so-called project funnel for project definition and selection is implemented. There are 3 stage gates as shown in the figure below.

IRVA project funnel

Stage Gate 1

The project ideas are evaluated based on a clear description of the project idea, a clear industrial application problem linked to an innovative technological solution and the valorization potential and expected impact of the result on the Flemish companies.

The proposals are evaluated by the company members of the competence cluster working group. The review results are discussed in the steering committee of the competence cluster and the cluster manager takes the final decision.

Stage Gate 2

The project summaries are assessed on the application needs, the common technology and infrastructure barrier and the technological approach. A clear timeline with tangible results, as well as a clear project structure and a high quality consortium with a significant impact on Flemish industry and clearly defined valorization mechanisms are also examined. In addition, there should be a significant impact on the implementation of the Flanders Make roadmap and its use in research projects or for services to companies is clearly defined.

The submission is done by cluster managers of Flanders Make or the Central Bureau (CEO, COO, CTO, CVO). The submission by the Central Bureau is intended for the development of new strategic directions and projects in which the scope exceeds the scope defined in the roadmaps of the competence clusters.

Gate 2 proposals are assessed by the Industrial and Scientific Advisory Board and the Central Office of Flanders Make. Within 14 calendar days after the submission deadline, the reviewers evaluate the proposal according to the above decision criteria. Thereafter, the Central Office holds a decision meeting in which the results are discussed and the final decision is taken.


IRVA pitch presentation

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Contact us for more information about IRVA projects.