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Frequently Asked Questions

What is WeLink?

How is WeLink different from other accelerators?

When is the application period and program?

The applications intake process will take place twice per year, and will select a maximum of six teams.

2017 INTAKE - SPRINT#2 TIMELINE 

Applications open: September 12, 2017
Applications close: November 14, 2017
Pitch Day: December 11, 2017
Program begins: February 1, 2018

What are the focus areas?

The focus areas announced for each Sprint provide the broad technical areas that WeLink wants to explore. New areas will be announced in each Sprint. However, if your idea does not fit in any, you can still apply by selecting the focus area "Other" on the application form and be considered in the ongoing Sprint. Focus areas for Sprint #2 are as follows:

  • Technologies for Integration of Nuclear and Renewables
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine-Learning Technologies
  • Virtual- and Augmented-Reality Technologies for Industrial Applications
  • Remote and Autonomous Drones and Rovers for Interior and Exterior Applications in GPS-Denied Hazardous Environments
  • Cybersecurity and Behavior-Based Detection
  • Disposal Technologies for Radioactive Waste
  • Spent Fuel Applications

What were the technology focus areas for previous sprints?

For Sprint #1, the technology focus areas were big data; robotics and drones; operations, maintenance, dismantling and inspection; and technologies for advanced reactors. Proposals in other focus areas have also been considered.

Who is eligible?

WeLink is first open to individuals, teams or companies of any size.Applications can be submitted by teams from universities and research centers as well as from start-ups, scale-ups and small- to medium-sized enterprises. 

All applications will have to comply with the export control requirements of the applicant's country. If you need clarification on export control requirements, please contact us at welink@westinghouse.com and we will do our best to assist you. 

Prospective applicants should preferably have a previous background and/or experience in the nuclear or energy industry. Prospect applicants must also go through a conflict of interest due diligence review and shall provide any relevant information in the application form.

Selected participants are expected to fully commit to the program. Please refer to the Sprint Regulation document for the detailed conditions. 

What are the selection criteria for WeLink?

What happens after I submit my application and before Pitch Day?

The WeLink Team will screen the applications received and will do a pre-selection with the support of Westinghouse technical and business experts.

If your application does not contain enough information for the pre-selection, the WeLink Team will get in touch with you within two weeks after the applications close in order to give you the opportunity to provide more information. This may include having a phone or video conference with one representative from the WeLink Team.

If your application made it in the shortlist, you will be invited to participate to the Pitch Day. The WeLink Team may also schedule an informal meeting with you prior to the event to clarify any question related to the Pitch Day.

What type of contract will be put in place after Pitch Day?

The contract (referred to as “Accelerator Agreement” in the Sprint Regulation document) that will be proposed may take different shapes mainly depending on the maturity of the submitted idea/concept/product and whether it will need significant joint development to bring it to the nuclear industry.

If the effort will primarily consist of technical validation and market development activities, it is envisioned that the Accelerator Agreement will take the form of a Memorandum of Understanding and will contain the framework for both parties to collaborate. This may include priority or commercialization rights in the case both parties would want to move forward with either a development or a commercialization effort. 

If the effort will primarily consist of a technical development activity, the Accelerator Agreement will contain the framework for the exploitation of the intellectual property rights, if any.

Selected teams may be proposed convertible loan and/or, in a following stage, participation in the equity.

If selected, how much funding, resources and opportunities will I receive?

Depending on your submittal’s TRL and on a project-basis, different resources and opportunities will be proposed to each team to support the product development based on the specific needs and potential of the proposed application. These resources may include access to the Westinghouse Laboratories Network, which include hot cells and Class 1 qualified laboratories in the US and in Europe.

For a submitted idea having a TRL deemed to be early stage, the applicant may be requested to work from the Nivelles site in order to have access to a set of the following resources and opportunities for six months during the Technical and Market Validation phase, with the potential for continued access for an additional period to be defined on a project-basis: 

  • Support of one Westinghouse Innovation Coach, who will guide and support the teams in the technical development
  • Access to business coaches and mentors from partnering organizations
  • Access to Westinghouse experts on an as needed-basis
  • Access to Westinghouse Laboratories Network on an as needed-basis
  • Access to shared office space and general infrastructure
  • Access to relevant events organized by WeLink
  • Opportunities to pitch their project to potential investors and customers
  • Support to apply for governmental R&D funding schemes
  • A complementary budget of up to 20,000 EUR to be used for research and development purposes upon agreement with the WeLink team
  • Potential further investment by Westinghouse following the first six months
For a submitted idea having a TRL deemed to be “more advanced”, the applicant may be requested to access the following resources and opportunities for up to six months during the Technical and Market Validation phase, with the potential for continued access for an additional period to be defined on a project-basis:
  • Support of Westinghouse technical and market experts
  • Access to Westinghouse Laboratories Network
  • Support to apply for governmental R&D funding schemes
  • Opportunities to connect with the other teams in the program
  • A complementary budget to be used for research and development purposes upon agreement with the WeLink team
  • Potential investment by Westinghouse in the following phase
For a submitted idea having a TRL deemed to be “fully developed”, the applicant may be requested to access the following resources and opportunities for up to six months during the Technical and Market Validation phase, with the potential for continued access for an additional period to be defined on a project-basis:
  • Support of Westinghouse technical and market experts
  • Access to Westinghouse Laboratories Network
  • Opportunities to connect with the other teams in the program
  • A complementary budget to be used for research and development purposes upon agreement with the WeLink team
  • Potential investment by Westinghouse in the following phase
In any case, the resources provided by each party that will be supporting the projects will be outlined in the contract that will be put in place before the project start. Please refer to the Sprint Regulation document for the detailed conditions.

Do I have to move to Nivelles?

We truly believe in the power of bringing people together. We would strongly recommend that one member of a selected project team from a small- or medium-sized company, and up to a maximum of three members in the case of teams or startups, would move to Nivelles, Belgium, for the first phase and up to six months. However, the participant(s) from scale-ups and SMEs will have the possibility to opt for focused meetings if needed. 

In all cases, selected participants are expected to fully commit to the program independently of their location.

Does my project/startup have to be incorporated to apply?

We will consider applications on a case-by-case basis and may work out this aspect with you.

Teams from Universities or Research Centers will not be required to create a start-up provided they have the authorization of their organization.

How will the information in my application be treated?

Your application must include only non-confidential information. Do not submit any trade secrets or confidential data of any kind. All information disclosed in your application will be considered non-confidential, public information. WeLink, Westinghouse Electric Company and its subsidiaries will only treat your information as confidential if the information is covered by a formal, written confidentiality agreement signed by WeLink and/or Westinghouse prior to your disclosure.

Your application to WeLink does not create a contract or other legal relationship between you and Westinghouse, other than your agreement to the terms of the Sprint Regulation document, and you will not receive any compensation for your application.

Please refer to the Sprint Regulation document for the detailed conditions.

What about the three-minute video?

Your application video is your first opportunity to tell us how great your innovation truly is! You and your team should also introduce yourselves and tell us why you want to join the accelerator. 

Special instructions for submitting your video application can be found here.

Please remember not to share any trade secrets or confidential data of any kind. If you have an issue with your video, please indicate it on the application form and we will work to accommodate you.