3IA Start-it-up Program


1. General framework 

As part of its Startup Program, the Interdisciplinary Institute of Artificial Intelligence "3IA Côte d'Azur" is issuing its 2021 "Start-it-up 3IA" Call for Proposals designed to help innovative startup projects related to the Institute's research.

Proposals submitted must meet two conditions:

  • Have a strong scientific and technological content related to the scientific research of 3IA Côte d'Azur.
  • Concern a startup project or a company created less than 3 years ago.

Projects may also receive additional assistance and funds from the different agencies active in startup support and knowledge transfer (BPI France, PACA Est Incubator, SATT Sud-Est, Inria Start-up Studio, CNRS Rise, PPE, INSERM Transfert, etc.).

Funding is provided for projects lasting 6 to 12 months.


2. Eligibility

Link with 3IA
The project presented must be related to the work of a research team in which a 3IA Côte d'Azur chairholder is involved.
The project must have the explicit support of a chair holder of 3IA Côte d’Azur or failing that be approved by the Scientific Director of 3IA Côte d'Azur. The proposal must provide evidence of how the project is linked to the research of 3IA Côte d'Azur and will promote the institute's work.

Startup project
The target company can be either a new company or a company created after September 2019:

  • If the company has not yet been created: the proposal must provide evidence of the soundness of the startup project and its state of progress. The competitive advantage provided by collaboration with the 3IA-CA must be explained.
  • If the company has already been created: the proposal must mention the date it was created, the names of its founders, its management team, its shareholders and information about its activity (number of employees, turnover, clients, etc.). The competitive advantage provided by collaboration with the 3IA-CA must be explained.

A meeting with the PACA Est Incubator will be organized before submission to assess the startup project, whether it is already registered or not.

Project leader
The project team must include a permanent or a non-permanent member of a research team in which a 3IA Côte d'Azur chairholder is involved.

The researcher must be:

  • Either in charge of the startup project or involved in a company created less than 3 years ago.
  • Or scientific manager of the partnership with the future company or with the company created less than 3 years ago.
Nature of the project
The actions funded by this call for proposals must involve research and development activities corresponding to:
  • The pre-maturation stage (low TRL) or
  • The technology maturation stage (high TRL).
In both cases, the proposal should identify the maturation and technology transfer circuits.
These actions could include, for example, construction of an operational prototype, a robust demonstrator, or the experimental validation of a concept the startup intends to commercialize.

The project's expected deliverables could be:
  • Intellectual property assets to be transferred to the company being created.
  • Results that allow the startup project to break a barrier, that take its technological development a step forward or bring added AI value to its current technological assets.
The final objective of the project is a technology transfer contract, and its principles must be presented in the proposal (intellectual property, exclusivity, and financial operating conditions).

3. Funding

The funding provided by 3IA Côte d'Azur covers:

  • Engineering and supervision of the startup project's technology maturation.
  • Assistance from the PACA Est Incubator with the economic maturation of the startup project.

The proposal must describe the nature of the support expected.

Technology maturation
3IA-CA can offer two types of assistance with technology maturation:

  • 3IA Côte d'Azur can hire a staff member (post-doctoral fellow, engineer, intern) who will stay with the startup at the end of the project.
  • 3IA Côte d'Azur can supply one of its qualified engineers.

It can also finance the purchase of equipment or services required for completing the project.
The maximum amount awarded for the technology maturation phase of the project is €50,000.

Co-financing will be appreciated.
Co-financing can come from:

  • Partners of 3IA Côte d'Azur (providing Human Resources or equipment).
  • Startup support services of the partners of 3IA Côte d'Azur (Inria Startup-Studio, CNRS Rise, etc.).
  • External agencies (BPI France, SATT, Region, Europe, etc.).
  • The startup itself if it already active.
Economic development
If the startup project wishes to be incubated by the PACA Est Incubator, 3IA Côte d'Azur will contribute €25,000 to the PACA Est Incubator to help cover incubation costs.

4. Assessment criteria

“Startup 3IA-CA” proposals will be examined based on the following criteria:

  • Technological and scientific impact of the project with respect to the research of 3IA Côte d'Azur.
  • Potential for technology transfer and/or scientific expertise.
  • Project impact:
    • Increased competitiveness of the company.
    • Added value compared to the state of the art and prior knowledge.
    • Capacity to leverage additional and subsequent financing.
    • Possibility of a long-term partnership between 3IA Côte d'Azur and the company.
  • Project implementation:
    • Credibility and soundness of the development schedule, risk assessment and alternative scenario.
    • Division in packages, tasks and deliverables.
    • Additional funding, consistency with the development schedule.
    • Policy for the protection of Intellectual Property and the use of prior knowledge and the knowledge generated.
    • Project governance.
    • Relevance and quality of deliverables to be transferred to the company and to the market.
  • Technology transfer:
    • Identification of the assets generated.
    • Proposal for the distribution between partners of the intellectual property rights for the results.
    • Proposals for the commercialization of results.

5. Submission procedure

The project must be described in a document written in French or English that follows the template "AAP-Start-up-3IA-modele.rtf" that can be requested by email from 3ia.startup@univ-cotedazur.fr.

The project leader and his or her team must schedule an interview with the PACA Est Incubator before submitting the proposal.

The proposal must be signed by:

  • The holder of the 3IA Côte d'Azur chair involved.
  • The scientific council of 3IA Côte d'Azur.
  • The head of the institution (or of the laboratory, depending on the internal rules of the institution) to which the project leader belongs.
  • The manager of the company if it has already been created.

6. Selection procedure

The proposals submitted will be examined by a special committee made up of members of the UCA Innovation and Valorization Commission (CUIV), which includes partners of 3IA Côte d'Azur and the PACA Est Incubator.

If the proposal is accepted, the CUIV sends the funding request to the members of the 3IA Côte d'Azur Bureau who make the funding decision.


7. Startup project support

3IA Côte d'Azur has set up a support service for startup projects that provides the following assistance:

  • Before the proposal is submitted, assistance in drafting the proposal in line with the requirements of the call for proposals.
  • After the proposal has been accepted, help in finalizing the budget and legal aspects of the project in line with financial and administrative constraints.

Requests for assistance can be sent to 3ia.startup@univ-cotedazur.fr.

The PACA EST Incubator will need to carry out a preliminary assessment of the entrepreneurial and economic aspects of the project. The PACA EST incubator can be contacted at the following e-mail address: masson@incubateurpacaest.org or candidate@incubateurpacaest.org.


Download the scoping document