Referential for evaluation if I 4.0 is a relevant in investment project, with a focus on project selection (raise evaluation and/or incentive).
Our question in 2017 was: “How will we evaluate if the projects include relevant investments in I4.0?” It was a new concept for SMEs and for those who evaluate the applications, so some guidance was needed, demanding a general framework, a specific fot the Tourism Sector. In the application the SME explains what technologies it already uses and how will it invest on the project, in 3 main areas (divided in several types of technology): - Adv. information systems (Digital Infrastructure, Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Algorithms, Adv. Data Analysis, Cloud computing, Cybersecurity); - Connectivity between systems, equipment, products and people (Adv. sensors and IoT, Remote operation, Increased Reality, Intelligent machines); - Advanced production systems (Adv. and connected products and materials, Mod. Operations, Additive production, Autonomous robots). Some adjustments were made with experience, being the most relevant the demand of a direct link to the expenses, which in turn helps the SME to explain and the evaluator to understand the investment. With the application, project is evaluated as a whole and assessed if it has relevant investments in industry 4.0 or not. If yes, the project would have higher score and in some cases also a higher incentive tax. This methodology helps the SME to focus more on Industry 4.0, guides them to fill the application and allows all the evaluators to have the relevant information structured and linked with the investment.

Resources needed

Human resources from Compete 2020, from COTEC and IAPMEI, with the responsibility for constructing the evaluation referential.

Evidence of success

This methodology was used on more than 5000 applications since 2017 till now, and has allowed the SME to achieve what is considered more relevant goals on I4.0 and evaluators to understand if they are taking the appropriate steps for I4.0. All this information allows also to have strong data on the relevance of I4.0 investments, type of companies, in what kind of technologies, etc. This information is available for 13 calls that had around 5.800 applications.

Difficulties encountered

The main challenge is to find the right balance to classify what is relevant or not in the field of I4.0. In the calls were not very demanding, but in the future, this methodology can be used in a more restrictive way. Other challenge was to make a clear association between the goals, and expenses.

Potential for learning or transfer

The main goal of this practice, when created, was to identify the technological areas relevant to I 4.0. But we've found mores uses since then. It’s a simple methodology that starts with the identification of relevant technologies in Industry 4.0, making it easy to adapt to any country, region, sector or programme. The referential allows to have the SME approach to Industry 4.0 in the application (with a business plan) to be evaluated and financed if it allows the SME to progress towards I 4.0. It can be used in specific supports only for I4.0 investments or to identify I4.0 relevance in innovation, qualification or training investment projects. With this referential, the projects must have this component to be selected, having higher scores and grant tax. With the submission of applications and their evaluations we can extract a huge amount of data from the type of SME (e.g. dimension, sector, region) and how are they are making their way to I 4.0. (technologies, investments).

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Main institution
COMPETE 2020 - Management Authority for the Competitiveness and Internacionality
Lisboa, Portugal
Start Date
August 2017
End Date


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