Which project will qualify you for WBSO? We'll walk you through how to determine if your project is eligible for a WBSO grant.
Developing a new idea may be the next step for your business. But when working out new ideas, you cannot devote your time to your regular day-to-day operations. Also, your new idea may simply involve too much expense with no guarantee of success. Because the Dutch government wants to provide tax incentives for businesses to stay ahead and keep developing, the WBSO was created.
The WBSO (Wet Bevordering Speur- en Ontwikkelingswerk) is an allowance for the costs you incur when developing a new innovation. In practice, this means that you pay less payroll tax. In case you are self-employed, you get a fixed deduction for innovating. There is also a separate allowance for start-ups. You can read more about this in our blog on the tax benefits of the WBSO.
Which project will qualify you for WBSO?
Okay, but which projects are eligible for WBSO? To this end, the RVO (the Netherlands Enterprise Agency) divides WBSO projects into various categories. For each category, the criteria on which the project is assessed differ. The starting point here is that the work is always carried out by the person who applied for the WBSO subsidy. The categories are as follows: development projects and technical scientific research.
This category includes technically new physical products, physical production processes or software. Technically new means that you encounter a problem in developing the product or process you have in mind, for which there is no immediate solution with current techniques. These problems are called technical bottlenecks.
It is required for the WBSO subsidy for products and production processes that technical bottlenecks are present, otherwise the project is seen as "standard" engineering and not really research & development work. As a result, the project does not qualify for WBSO. The idea is that you yourself start working to overcome these technical bottlenecks and that you can prove that the working principle of your innovation is technically new. The outcome of the project therefore does not always have to be a working product or a new working method. You may also have developed a prototype, a model or an application.
Software and software WBSO
In the case of software, it always involves an IT solution. Here, in addition to the technical novelty, the software itself is also considered. This means that the software you want to develop actually solves technical bottlenecks that exist within the software. This is similar to the technical bottleneck as it occurs with products or production processes. Again, only in the case of a technical bottleneck are you eligible for WBSO.
Within the WBSO application, always make it very clear which aspects of a project you plan to do for WBSO, as the RFO distinguishes between a project and a problem. For example, developing a new route planning system may be the project, but the problem may be that the information technology does not have the right algorithm for the way you want to work with it. Added to this, it is also important for the WBSO that new software is always recorded in a formal programming language.
Technical Scientific Research (TWO).
In addition to physical developments, to qualify for WBSO, it is also possible to develop technically new knowledge. Technical new for TWO includes the following fields: physics, chemistry, biotechnology, production technology or information and communication technology. Economic, social and psychological research is therefore not included. Here it is not necessary for the new knowledge to have an intended application in a technically new product or production process. In addition to being technically new, it is also required that the research be scientific .
This has to do with how the study is conducted and on the purpose and results of the study. For example, it is important for the design of the research to be known at the time of application. Also, the research should be conducted systematically and in a planned manner that does not involve routine work.
However, the WBSO does not require that you can demonstrate that the results are reproducible, or that your research leads to new concepts or theories. The purpose of the research must be to explain something for which no explanation can currently be formed based on publicly available knowledge. Thus, the knowledge is generated by you, gathering knowledge is not considered TWO. In this, then, it is realistic that the explanation being sought may not be found.
These are the three main categories for the WBSO subsidy. Do you doubt whether your innovation falls into category 1 or 2? Or would you like to spar with an advisor about how your project can meet the requirements? Please contact us. We are happy to think along with you.