H2020 – Circular economy. A new call for large-scale demostration projects is now open for submission

EU funding opportunities

In the framework of Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials, the submission period is open for Systemic, eco-innovative approaches for the circular economy: large-scale demostration projects.

The call is included in the Cross-cutting activities – Work Programme 2016-2017 under the H2020 Industrial Leadership Pillar.

The challenge is to face the increasing resources’ constraints that affect the EU  competitiveness and the quality of life of individuals. Important gains in resource efficiency can be made by replacing current linear economic models with circular models of production and consumption, which result, at the same time, in a substantial reduction of GHG emissions. While relying on industrial leadership, the success of circular economy models will depend on adopting a systemic approach to eco-innovation that encompasses value and supply chains in their entirety and engages all actors involved in such chains. Bringing end-users closer to the design and production phases, and customising the production and delivery of goods and associated services can boost new consumption patterns that add greater value and reduce over-production, waste and other negative environmental impacts. The involvement of end-users in designing circular economic models that better respond to their needs can enable the development of value-added solutions and act as a driver for Europe’s re-industrialisation.

Under this topic, proposals shall address the following issue:

Systemic services for the circular economy

Proposals need to  demonstrate through large scale projects the economic and environmental feasibility of circular economic business models that underpin new services based on performance/functionality rather than ownership, and/or on mass customisation, including through supporting demand side measures. Proposals should adopt a systemic eco-innovative approach addressing all forms of innovation, combining technological, organisational, societal, cultural and behavioural innovation, and strengthening the participation of civil society. Business models that foster new services and consumption and production patterns will require support to end-users in the transition to the circular economy by raising awareness and knowledge sharing activities on circular economy models. The proposals should include an outline business plan which can be developed further in the course of the project.

The testing and demonstrating of circular economic business models and services, including logistics and ICT capabilities, based on performance/functionality enhancement, is expected to measurably contribute in the medium term to:

  • creating markets for new products/services which empower end-users in their choice for more sustainable consumption patterns;
  • enabling the development of new approaches for designing products/services that collectively consider end-users, brand owners, as well as entrepreneurs, and researchers, and deliver the needs of end-users;
  • reducing supply chain length, thus increasing resource efficiency and reducing adverse impacts on the environment, including on climate change;
  • facilitating the inclusion of resource or materials criteria in designing products/services (e.g. durability, reparability and recyclability), thus contributing to an increase in resource and energy efficiency, and reduced environmental impacts, in the whole life cycle of products;
  • creating new business opportunities for industry and SMEs in the EU;
  • demonstrating the economic, social, cultural and environmental sustainability of the proposed approaches and main elements that a business plan should include in order to realise them;
  • providing evidence-based knowledge regarding the enabling framework conditions that facilitate a broader transition to a circular economy in the EU;
  • implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 12 ‘Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’, as well as the conclusions of the COP21 Paris Agreement


Within the projects funded, additional or follow-up funding should be sought, be it private or public, so as to achieve a more effective implementation and deployment at larger scale and scope of the innovative solutions addressed. Additional funding sources could include relevant regional/national schemes under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), such as under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), or other relevant funds such as the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 million and EUR 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

Proponents will see a funding contribution up to a maximum of 70% of total eligible costs, , unless the work programme provides exceptionally for another rate.

The deadlines for the submission of projects are:

7 March 2017 (first stage proposal)

15 September 2017 (second stage proposal)

Further information and all official documents of this Call for proposals can be found in the Participant Portal.

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