Summary from the World Circular Economy Forum 2019

The third edition of global circular economy event – World Circular Economy Forum 2019 – was organised on 3-5 June 2019 in Helsinki. The most advanced circular economy solutions for governments, industries, businesses and citizen were presented here. “Europe wants to lead, and there is strong public support from EU citizens,” said Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.

Finland will assume the Presidency of the EU Council on 1 July 2019 and Finland’s new government programme (with focus on climate action, fighting inequality and moving towards the circular economy) was released recently.

Mari Pantsar, the Director of Sitra, mentioned in the closing speech that “…our world is encountering a deep, global sustainability crisis including three dimensions: the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, overuse crisis of natural resources. … To counter this, the circular economy is the most powerful solution. We simply must make better use of materials that already exist in our societies instead of extracting more and more natural resources – which in turn causes more and more air emissions and kills off more and more species.”

Altogether 121 presentations from the event are available here, as well as inspiring side events or sessions or examples from the Finish way to circular economy (e.g. the list of the most interesting companies in the circular economy in the country).

Next Forum will be held in October 2020 in Vancouver, Canada.

SC2 and NMBP draft work programmes published

European Commission published the updated draft versions of work programmes for the areas of “Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, and inland water research and the bioeconomy” (WP SC2) a “Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing” (WP NMBP).

They include topics for the very last calls for proposals of H2020 which will be officially launched in autumn 2019. One of the reasons for the publication of the drafts is to enable the preparation for international brokerage event which will be held on 3 July 2019 in Brussels.

European Commission opens call for Horizon Europe mission boards

The mission approach is one of the newly planned features of the next framework programme Horizon Europe. A number of missions will be included in the programme and these will be specifically focused on global challenges. The target would be clearly measurable and need to be achievable with a portfolio of research and innovation measures.

The call for expression of interest for members of five Mission Boards was launched by the EC on 13 May 2019 to help specify, design and implement missions for Horizon Europe.

It will be open until 11 June 2019.

The Commission is looking for a broad mix of experts from industry and innovation, research, policy making, practitioner organisations and also from end users, which are appointed in a personal capacity and have a deep commitment to the success of the missions. The Mission Boards will be implemented in two phases.

During the first phase, the main task of the Mission Boards will be to advise the Commission on the identification and design of one or more possible specific missions, with their respective objectives, indicators and timelines. In a second phase, and once the Horizon Europe framework programme and its budget is formally agreed, the Mission Boards will advise the Commission on the portfolio of

research and innovation activities needed to support the mission objectives, providing further advice on the mission implementation including preparation of dedicated mission calls in the Horizon Europe work programme, the criteria for selecting activities to fund, as well as on wider policy measures required to secure the success of the mission.

The EC is looking for up to 15 experts for each of the below mentioned missions:

Mission Board for Adaptation to Climate Change, including Societal Transformation

Mission Board for Cancer

Mission Board for Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters

Mission Board for Climate-neutral and Smart Cities

Mission Board for Soil Health and Food

All information about call with the specific criteria and procedures for the groups can be found here.


Horizon Impact Award


Have you completed Horizon 2020 or FP7 research project? Have your project´s results created value for society? Then the Horizon Impact Award is here just for you.

European Commission announced the award with the deadline on 28 May 2019. Five winners will be selected by the evaluation jury for their achievements. The direct and indirect exploitation of research and innovation results can take many forms among which are: influencing policy change, commercialization of a service or product, creating a start-up/spin-off, creation of a new standard, etc. The R&I results should address a well-defined target audience. Applicants must demonstrate how the uptake of their research results has helped solve a societal challenge and generate economic, societal, environmental or policy impact. The prizes are monetary and each of the five winners will receive EUR 10.000.

All information about Award can be found here.

Cascading grants opportunities

Horizon 2020 programme offers a huge variety of funding opportunities, but some of them are rather hidden. In this article we would like to present grants opportunities for small and medium enterprises arising from some of H2020 projects themselves, called “cascading grants” or “third parties funding”. Some of these schemes were discovered thanks to NCPs CaRE exchange of information with the Enterprise Europe Network.

H2020 project INNOWWIDE coordinated by the Spanish CDTI aims to fund at least 120 European innovative SMEs and start-ups to conduct Viability Assessment Projects (VAPs) in markets outside of Europe. In the frame of the project the call will be open focused on for-profit innovative SMEs, including young companies and start-ups, from any sector looking to compete and start business in new and emerging markets around the world. The companies will conduct Viability Assessment Projects (VAPs) in cooperation with local stakeholders. The call will be open from 1.4.2019 till 31.5.2019. The beneficiary must be established in an EU Member State or a Horizon 2020 associated country.

Detailed information can be found here.

The EU-funded project KET4CleanProduction (KET4CP) sets its strategic objectives on helping SMEs to solve their clean production challenges and – as a result – to stay sustainable, innovative and competitive. Project´s Micro Grants are focused on transnational cooperation projects between SMEs and minimum 2 KET technology centres (KET TCs), which aim to integrate key enabling technologies (KET) to solve clean production challenges. Focus is on upgrading production processes. Call is open from 1.6.2018 till 29.4.2020 with 8 cut-off dates (the remaining ones are on 30.4.2019, 31.7.2019, 31.10.2019, 31.1.2020, 29.4.2020). The beneficiary must be established in an EU Member State or a Horizon 2020 associated country.

Detailed information can be found here.

Project VIDA aims to accelerate the implementation of new solutions (preferably key enabling technologies) in the food sector which improve the usage of water and energy with the ambition to reduce losses and consumption. It offers three different types of funding vouchers to support SMEs seeking new resource efficient solutions. The Innovation Support Voucher provides in-kind and/or financial support to SME in the food, water, energy or key enabling technologies (KET) sectors to get access to external knowledge and expertise. The Validation Voucher allows innovators to get their technological development validated. The Demonstration Voucher offers consortia an opportunity to demonstrate their new developments on site of a ‘prospective user’. To be eligible for VIDA vouchers the applicant must be member of a VIDA cluster or be headquartered in a VIDA territorial scope (Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Lombardy Region in Italy, Aragon region in Spain). However in the Demonstration Voucher, the „prospective user“ can benefit from the developed solution (but not from the voucher) even if it is not headquartered in a VIDA territorial scope). Detailed information can be found here.

The overarching aim of H2020 project DESIGNSCAPES is to exploit the generative potential of urban environments in the highest possible number of European cities to encourage the uptake and further enhancement and up scaling of Design enabled Innovations by existing enterprises, start-up companies, public authorities and agencies, and other urban stakeholders. Calls are (or will be) open for Prototypes and Scalability Proofs specifically for designers and creative entrepreneurs. Applicants must be eligible for participation in Horizon 2020.

Detailed information can be found here.

More opportunities for third party funding on the Funding & Tender Portal.

by Jana Čejková, Camille Lepinay

Nature-based solutions in Horizon 2020

Since the beginning of H2020 six topics directly focused on nature-based solutions (NBS) have been listed in the work programme under Societal challenge 5 (Climate action, environment, resource efficiency, and raw materials) and Cross-cutting activity Smart and Sustainable cities. The following topics have been already closed and evaluated:

  • SC5-08-2017: Large-scale demonstrators on nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction
  • SC5-09-2016: Operationalising insurance value of ecosystems
  • SC5-10-2016: Multi-stakeholder dialogue platform to promote innovation with nature to address societal challenges
  • SCC-02-2016-2017: Demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions in cities
  • SCC-03-2016: New governance, business, financing models and economic impact assessment tools for sustainable cities with nature-based solutions (urban re-naturing)
  • SCC-04-2016: Sustainable urbanisation

Available data sources (mainly the eCORDA database, January 2018) register 122 project proposals focusing on NBS issues in selected six topics. Seven project proposals did not meet the formal requirements needed for peer-review evaluation, and thus were classified as “INELIGIBLE”. Fifty-six project proposals were rejected during the first stage of the evaluation process. The remaining 59 project proposals were submitted to the final evaluation round as “full proposals”. Based on the results of the evaluation process, 16 project proposals were recommended for funding from the H2020 budget and other 17 high quality projects proposals ended above the threshold in evaluation process.

Continue reading Nature-based solutions in Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 main data sources

Among EC public sources EU Open Data Portal + CORDIS and Participant Portal are most commonly used. The European Union Open Data Portal (EU ODP) gives an access to open data published by EU institutions and bodies. All the data found via this portal are free to use for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Data since FP1 (1984-1987) till H2020 are available. There are four main files: participating organisations are listed in the file H2020 Organisations; file H2020 Projects contains grant information for each project; then there are Principal Investigators in Horizon 2020 ERC projects and Researchers in H2020 MSCA projects files. These CORDIS datasets are produced on a monthly basis. Therefore inconsistencies may occur between what is presented on the CORDIS live website and the datasets. On CORDIS website projects, reports, results etc. can be searched using many different criteria.

Continue reading Horizon 2020 main data sources

Some features of H2020 participation in the environmental area

Calls for proposals in H2020 societal challenge 5 – “Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials” – covering period 2014-2017 were evaluated and there is an appropriate time for the brief overview now. Analysed data were taken from the E-CORDA database (version 9.1, 30/09/2017). Please note that for 2017 the results of one-stage calls are included only. Altogether 4 634 proposals were submitted with 18 733 participants. During evaluation 427 projects with 3 537 participants from 85 countries were selected for funding. Share of participants from EU countries amounts to 89 %.

Participation of all EU countries is summarised in Table 1.

Country Teams Projects Eligible costs – € H2020 funding – €
AT 96 63 32 943 337,2 26 829 814,2
BE 191 101 66 466 110,6 57 236 189,8
BG 14 10 2 318 388,8 1 508 919,9
CY 22 20 6 598 037,2 4 914 810,7
CZ 29 22 9 923 629,6 6 566 549,9
DE 349 151 197 186 183,7 142 307 789,3
DK 85 54 37 608 772,4 28 290 732,2
EE 20 18 5 099 888,1 3 156 626,4
EL 95 55 35 600 224,2 30 774 913,2
ES 421 174 184 995 259,1 147 297 752,9
FI 95 63 49 289 948,4 36 964 322,0
FR 240 124 107 462 525,3 81 043 409,2
HR 16 12 2 563 847,0 2 011 979,7
HU 32 22 8 089 357,2 6 729 570,3
IE 42 28 16 787 690,1 12 374 683,1
IT 358 165 133 899 768,7 105 512 105,7
LT 10 9 2 375 336,9 1 889 396,0
LU 6 6 1 840 648,1 1 267 435,8
LV 7 7 1 408 998,6 765 073,9
MT 7 7 1 249 625,0 1 249 625,0
NL 234 116 107 439 218,2 92 541 883,0
PL 62 46 18 293 034,1 14 744 639,3
PT 121 65 39 541 013,1 33 349 117,7
RO 53 34 11 175 440,6 7 391 179,0
SE 125 80 73 691 288,3 52 939 480,7
SI 44 32 16 210 829,5 11 422 265,4
SK 19 15 2 791 659,5 2 022 537,2
UK 345 161 161 043 791,3 141 658 782,4
Total 3138   1 333 893 850,8 1 054 761 583,7

Table 1. Projects selected for funding in EU countries (number of projects, number of teams, total eligible costs and requested H2020 funding).

Participation success rate (ratio of all teams of given country in project proposals recommended for funding to the overall number of teams of given country in all project proposals) for EU and selected associated countries is very diverse (in range from 9,6 to 29 %), see Figure 1. Associated countries with very small number of participation were excluded from the comparison.  Average participation success rate of EU countries amounts to 21,1 % and it is clear from the figure that participation success rate of most EU-13 countries remain below this level.

Continue reading Some features of H2020 participation in the environmental area

Summary of EU participation in raw materials area of Horizon 2020

Primary and secondary raw materials are essential for the economy of all countries and influence significantly their competitiveness. EU faces two main challenges, high dependence on the import of raw materials and the security of supply of raw materials. EU addresses these challenges among others in the EU Raw Materials Initiative and in the Innovation Partnership on Raw materials and of course this issue is reflected in Horizon 2020 as well.

Raw materials part of Societal Challenge 5 (SC5) is focused mainly on non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials used in industry. Since the launch of Horizon 2020 in 2014 till February 2017 altogether 6 calls for proposals have been evaluated in the frame of SC5 containing 21 topics focused on raw materials. Budget for H2020 research focused on raw materials amounts to 600 mil. €. European Commission received 198 proposals from which 40 were recommended for funding. 594 teams from 43 countries participate in those 40 projects altogether requesting 211 mil. €.

Continue reading Summary of EU participation in raw materials area of Horizon 2020

Future of the oceans

The Maltese presidency organised an Informal Ministerial Meeting on Blue Growth and Ocean Governance in the EU and the Mediterranean; Innovation, and Nautical Tourism on 20 April 2017 in Valletta. Blue Growth is the long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the maritime sector and represents the maritime input to attaining the goals of Europe 2020. The Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella gave the opening speech at the conference. He highlighted some achievements like global leadership of Europe in the development of ocean energy technologies (Europe host 52% of all tidal stream developers and 60% of all wave energy developers in the world) or the fact that in the last 10 years, EU research programmes have provided some 150 million euros to fund ocean energy research, development and innovation. He also mentioned that the value of sustainable aquaculture production in the EU is up by more than 40% compared to a decade ago. Vella also flagged three areas where more needs to be done: access to finance, skills and qualifications connected to new jobs and finally the regional cooperation.

Continue reading Future of the oceans