Funding

SECTION I: ESTIMATION OF COSTS

1 Taking into account the rest of the cost evaluation please provide an overall estimation of the total costs for full deployment/production of the R & D result.
… in terms of IPR protection 

The product is IPR protected  (no cost)

…in terms of product development 

2 developers ( 1600 – 2000 € salary)

hardware  : servers, pcs, screens ( 5000 €)

…in terms of mass production 

There are no mass production costs

… in terms of marketing 

The marketing costs involve promotion actions to users . The marketing costs are estimated around 15000 € per year, for leaflets, TV reports, advertising in magazines and web sites, participation in exhibitions, testimonies, events etc.

2 Based on the above assessment as well as the marketing information please provide the correct estimation of the price for R&D product in correlation with costs (€)
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Fixed costs
Personnel 40000 50000 60000 60000 60000
Other running costs 5000
Marketing costs 15000 15000 15000 15000 15000
TOTAL EXPECTED COSTS 60000 65000 75000 75000 75000
Price per Unit 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000
Type of Unit annual use of the software
Number of Units 100 200 300 300 300
TOTAL Expected Revenues 100000 200000 300000 300000 300000
CASH FLOW REQUIRED (REVENUES-COSTS)
TOTAL CAPITAL required for five years

SECTION 2: QUALITATIVE FACTORS

3 Dimension of identified target groups
The goal of this product should be the distribution in all the English speaking markets and Greece. By using an intense advertising campaign in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Greece, the product can easily start making profits. The goal is to sell in these markets 100 units in the first and 200 in the second year.
4 Evaluation of financial Risks for R&D result
The financial risks for this result are small, since there is already active demand for the product. The lack of similar products in the market is also very important. However, the geographical diversity of the users is an obvious obstacle to the product’s promotion. Therefore, assuming that sales during the first year is an unachievable goal, the marketing costs constitute the financial risks for the product.

SECTION 3: IDENTIFICATION OF FINANCING SOURCES

After evaluating all the above mentioned criteria, please tick the best financing source for the achievement of R&D result (i.e. own capitals, banking credits, venture capital, business angels, etc

1. European Funding
-  EUREKA’s Eurostars Programme is the first European funding and support programme to be specifically dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises. 

- Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme (CIP) supports innovation activities, provides better access to finance and delivers business support services in the regions. With small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as its main target, it encourages a better take-up and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and helps to develop the information society.

- JEREMIE, Joint European Resources for Micro to medium Enterprises, is an initiative of the Commission together with the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund in order to promote increased access to finance for the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the regions of the EU.

- INTERREG IVC Programme provides funding for interregional cooperation across Europe and lasts from 2007-2013. The overall objective of the INTERREG IVC Programme is to improve the effectiveness of regional policies and instruments. The areas of support are innovation, environment and risk prevention.

2. National Funding
- National Strategic Reference Framework (ΕΣΠΑ) could be used for development as well as marketing costs 

- General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT)

3. Private funding
- Joint venture with potential investor 

- Personal capital

SECTION 3: FINAL EVALUATION

Taking into account the funding opportunities, a suitable method for product deployment would be the creation of a spin-off company. Crucial factor is the establishment of partnerships with prestigious autism schools that can help the spin off to build a strong sales network. This new company can be funded by an investor, who can combine private with national and european funding opportunities in order to promote the product. However, it could be useful to consider the granting of licenses to reach remote geographical areas, since the market is very extensive and has a worldwide importance.

Decision of evaluation (Please keep only the appropriate)

  • The R&D has a high potential of exploitation  v
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Description

Autism disorder is known to be characterized by a “triad of impairments” :

  • The primary one is the social impairment : an autistic person has difficulties in relating to other people.
  • A second one is the communication impairment : both verbal and non-verbal communication channels are hard to be understood and used by people with autism.
  • Finally, there exists rigidness in thinking, language and behaviour. It is agreed that the common traits of autism are abnormal reaction to input stimuli, lack of human engagement and inability to generalize between environments.

Autism is seen as a mental disability rather than a psychiatric illness and as such it requires a particular education process than can assist autistic persons in learning basic social, communication and reasoning skills. Education can be used as a tool to help autistic persons to cope with the “theory of mind deficit – difficulty in understanding mental states of others and ascribing them to themselves or others”. Successful autism “treatments” using educational interventions have been reported even a decade ago.

The proposed platform intends to enhance or mediate the teacher-child educational process. It is based on various interaction procedures according to the disability level of the autistic person in question. Several modules comprise the platform. Each of them represents a specific learning domain. Namely, there are modules where the child is asked to identify the correct image between two or more images, to put images in the correct sequence (according to time), identify emotions by visual expressions etc.

Furthermore, the more complex modules are in the form of semi-virtual environments. They provide the child with the ability to interact in a safe and controlled way. The theme of each module varies from objects in the normal surroundings, everyday use objects, colours, words etc. The instructions are given either by an affective avatar, synthesized speech in autistic person’s native language (in the specific example – Greek), written in the screen, by the corresponding makaton symbol or a combination of these.

Additionally, the avatar can express emotions depending on the situations, e.g. happiness when the correct image is selected, sadness if not. The instructions and the difficulty level can be personalised for each user. User input/feedback is facilitated by means of a mouse interaction, a touch screen or large buttons attached to the computer.

Equally important function of the platform is the recording of the interaction/education process in a database. Consequently, the educators are enabled with track record of the users’ progress and modify the difficulty levels accordingly. Additionally, an educator may register specific educational or personality data for each autistic person. The printable format of all the records enables easy monitoring and analysis of the learning process. In this way, a longitudinal record may be achieved indicating a ” learning curve”  for each autistic person separately, thereby enhancing and normalizing the educational procedures toward each person’s needs.

 

 

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