The European Commission has launched a call for Expressions of Interest (EoI) for Innovation Deals, a pilot-scheme seeking projects with strong potential to contribute to the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan.
The initiative was introduced in the Circular Economy Package adopted by the European Commission in December 2015. The package stresses the importance of developing a production model where resources are used by businesses and consumers in a more sustainable way, keeping the value of products, materials and resources while minimizing waste production.
Innovation deals are meant to address bottlenecks caused by EU regulatory frameworks.
If a rule or regulation results as an obstacle to innovations that could bring wider societal benefits, the Innovation Deal will make it visible and feed into possible further action, without undermining commonly agreed environmental objectives.
Deals will be available for innovations that:
- have a recent and limited, or even no access to the market, but a wide applicability potential;
- are more effective or efficient in achieving EU policy objectives;
- do not violate EU legislation or principles of EU law.
Any innovator or group of innovators seeking to introduce a circular economy-related product or service to the market can apply. Application should preferably involve other stakeholders, as for example sector associations NGOs. In order for the Innovation Deal to increase the possibilities to be selected, relevant national/regional/local authorities should also be included.
According to the European Commission, Innovation Deals are made for a transparent, bottom-up and smooth collaboration. Innovators and national, regional and local authorities will structure their mutual cooperation on a voluntary basis, thus meaning that the European Commission facilitates, but does not fund the preparation nor the implementation of Innovation Deals.
Up to five Expressions of Interest will be selected and will become Innovation Deals.
Up to ten Deals may origin through the Horizon 2020 Calls CIRC-01(Systemic, eco-innovative approaches for the circular economy: large-scale demonstration projects) and CIRC-02 (Water in the context of the circular economy), foreseen in Work Programme 2016/2017 under Industry 2000 in the Circular Economy.
The Innovation Deals build on evidence from Member States that almost two-thirds of the perceived regulatory barriers currently preventing innovators from bringing their ideas to the market can be overcome through explanations or clearer interpretation of specific regulations by public authorities.
The initiative is inspired by the “Green Deal” Programme of the Government of the Netherlands, where a large number of Green Deals are proving to be successful in supporting the national Green Growth policy by providing regulatory clarity for innovative solutions.
The call will close on 15 September 2016, while the implementation of the selected deals will start in January 2017.
Further information can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-deals/index.cfm.
The web-platform for submitting proposals is accessible at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/EU-InnovationDeals
Applicants are invited to carefully read the background document ‘Open invitation to submit expressions of interest’ and the Commission communication ‘Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the circular economy’ before preparing and submitting their expressions of interest.