File a certification

Procedure and condition to fulfil

In 2016, ADVANCITY set up a new certification system to support its members throughout the life of their R&D process: from the project idea, to implementing it in real conditions on a region, via the financing of collaborative innovation projects. For this, three advancity® labels are available:

  • The advancity® innovative idea label: rewarding promising ideas, especially in the perspective of a future collaborative innovation project or for SMEs applying for an SME Initiative call for projects from the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME);
  • The advancity® innovative project label: rewards mature projects for filing at the next FUI (Single Interministerial Fund) or ANR (National Research Agency) call for projects;
  • The advancity® innovative product label: rewards products and services ready for the sale or installation of a pilot in the region as part of a demonstration.

The advancity® certification processes’ schedules are announced twice a year and calls for projects (ANR, FUI, ADEME, others) are published on the cluster’s website.
On the date of issue of the “Innovative Idea”, “Innovative Project” or “Innovative Product” label, the following two conditions apply, whether certification is required by the financing organisations before the submission of proposals or after:

  • the project meets the cluster’s certification criteria as shown below;
  • the project must have had a fairly long incubation period of at least two months1 (duration of calls minus 2 weeks in the case of non-regular financing2) within the cluster involving the project leader, cluster team, the strategic committee(s) – insofar as the confidentiality requirements formulated by the project sponsor allow – and the scientific council. This incubation must include at least an oral presentation before the scientific council experts and the team. The standard project process is the subject of another document.

The label is awarded to a project when it is submitted to a financing scheme. These always have different requirements in regards to the content and the methods of consortia and funding, including future editions, where feedback becomes new criteria for excellence. Any project that has already obtained the cluster’s label, but which is re-tendered for lack of funding in its previous format, must therefore be re-certified under the same conditions.

The incubation process may be simplified depending on the case. In the event that one of these conditions is lacking, the cluster may, at the request of the project sponsor, issue a letter of support, provided that the project fits into one of the cluster’s strategic lines.


Since its creation, ADVANCITY has consistently ranked among the top 10 clusters that have co-certified selected FUI projects. Since 2005, 14% of the projects supported by the cluster have been co-certified with at least one other competitiveness cluster. 40% of the co-certified projects had at least one other Ile-de-France label.

At the same time, the need to develop research within the framework of a systemic and non-sectoral approach induces a high proportion, about two thirds, of projects submitted to other organisations than the FUI.

Finally, the difficulty for project promoters to adopt a systemic approach leads to the certification of a small proportion of the projects submitted (about 60%), which often require a lot of work upstream of submission, or requiring rejecting projects that are not really factors for a sustainable city.



The criteria below apply to most of the funding organisations identified to date, unless otherwise specified in the text of the call for proposals. New types of organisations may be subject, if deemed necessary by the Chairpersons of the Strategic Committees, the Chairman of the Scientific Council, upon proposal from the Managing Director, to adapted rules in compliance with the cluster’s certification.

Appropriateness to the strategy

The project is in line with the cluster’s strategy: it falls under one of the cluster’s strategic lines, and is part of at least one of the innovation areas of one of the strategic committees.

Scientific and technical qualities

During the project incubation process, the cluster team, strategic committee member(s), if any, and the scientific council will have to verify that the presented project corresponds to the known requirements of the identified funding organisation. They will also have verified that the problems of use and utility are taken into account satisfactorily in order to be part of an approach to progress that does not detract from one of the dimensions of sustainable development.


The value chain impacted or transformed by the project is correctly taken into account and the project owners have sufficient skill to cover a relatively autonomous sub-set of this value chain.


The project consortium consists of at least two business partners and one academic partner. In projects other than the FUI, the two business partners participate in the project in significant proportions and thus cover at least 25% of total R&D&I efforts; until June 30, 2013, this rule will not be applied strictly. In FUI projects, the rules determined by the FUI apply.

In the case of demonstration projects, the presence of academic partners may be reduced to at least 10%. In the case of academic projects that choose to use a start-up process to validate and leverage results, projects may be certified without industrial participation, provided that the project and the academic institution of reference are clearly committed to a precise and explicit plan of commercialisation in this manner, in case of success.

SME presence

Ideally, SMEs should account for at least 30% of businesses’ R&D efforts.

Location (cluster effect)

The consortium is composed of at least one member company located in the Ile-de-France region and an academic partner from the Ile-de-France region. The minimum R&D effort expected from the Ile-de-France partners depends on the number of certifications sought:

  • for a single ADVANCITY certification: 60%
  • for co-certification with ADVANCITY in first place: at the very least 40%, and at least the majority
  • for co-certification in second place: 20%.                                                                                            These percentages represent only objectives which are desirable to be met.

For all projects and demonstrations, there is no requirement for any prototypes or research-action schemes to be carried out in the Ile-de-France region. However, the participation of Ile-de-France communities is a positive factor in assessing the quality of the application and its relevance to the strategy.

Remember: All project owners must be members of the cluster (or in the process of joining) to request certification for their project (unless they are already members of a cluster that will co-certify the project).

Feasibility of funding

In the case of financing by FUI-type schemes involving co-financing by local authorities, the cluster will check the credibility of financial feasibility against the feasibility criteria of local authorities. In some cases, the cluster may be obliged to tighten its certification requirements as regards the various % explained above.


The application must present an industrial operation process for the results of the R&D project developed with the cluster and reserving a large share for the cluster and its ecosystem.

1. The duration is defined as between the moment the project owner refers to ADVANCITY with a turnaround file, even a short one, and the date the proposal is submitted.

2. The FUI and ANR calls are all known in advance and are therefore considered regular.


Link to the call for project proposals for the first half of 2017