Filter Search for grants
Call key data
Harnessing the innovation potential and market uptake of successful circular economy water related projects
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 3: Circular Economy and Bioeconomy Sectors
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The water sector is facing important transformations in order to ensure resource efficiency, food and water security and meet relevant targets of the EGD. Transitioning to a circular economy and bioeconomy present a big opportunity for that.
Past and ongoing EU funded projects demonstrated the benefits of applying circular economy and bioeconomy principles to water systems and provided interesting case studies on various circular water management approaches and business models, and insights on how materials, water, energy, products and components can be managed in such a way, they can maintain their highest possible intrinsic value. However, the uptake of innovative circular water solutions (e.g., recovered products) is hindered by the lack of a common understanding of benefits of systemic solutions and the lack of a systematic analysis of the various, technological, regulatory and social barriers. Raising, for instance, public awareness, stakeholder and business engagement on the use of recovered products (water, nutrients, other resources) is crucial for overcoming social barriers and other regulatory ones as well as for enabling policy developments.
There is therefore the need to create a critical mass for knowledge exchange, to further promote the dissemination and exploitation of EU funded research results, to remove social barriers, facilitate their use by various stakeholders, reduce unnecessary duplication of efforts, ensure/demonstrate public and stakeholders engagement in developing business opportunities of circular use of water and identify wider policy implementation opportunities as well as, opportunities to accelerate and scale-up various scientific and technological advances that support greater water efficiency and reuse in various sectors and promote innovation and business development.
This action should bring together relevant business representatives, investors water utilities, policy makers, researchers, technology providers, water utilities, and other water users and citizens from past and ongoing successful EU funded R&I projects on the circular use of water, to take stock of the outcomes of major results with regards to technologies, eco-innovative solutions and related business models for sustainable treatment and practices of stakeholders and water managers involvement, recovery and reuse of relevant resources from wastewater and sewage sludge (e.g., nutrients, metals, energy, etc.). The involvement of relevant EU water EU associations and supporting platforms should be encouraged, as they play an important role in bringing together different stakeholders (industry, science, regulators, consumers and downstream users) and different sectors (recycling technologies, waste industry, user industries and agriculture) for knowledge transfer, dialogue and confidence building utility associations. The inclusion of relevant SSH expertise would be also needed to help achieving the social related expected outcomes of this action.
For achieving these objectives the action should analyse relevant results and experiences and provide guidance related to the transition pathways that would enable water management authorities and utilities to navigate through water, material and energy pathways. Various business models for future replication, use, policy and market uptake of project results, should be also analysed, as well as related regulatory and/or market barriers. Recommendations for best practices to engaging the public and user industries (such as the food industry for nutrients or the biobased industry for biomasses) in co-design and co-creation processes that can speed up the market uptake of the solutions should be provided, as well as recommendations for future research needs.
The action should:
- Assess how digital business models can further support water reuse, energy and resource recovery along the water cycle and help to increase awareness of the water sector operators concerning the water-energy-carbon nexus and longer-term impact of their day-by-day activity and promote actions for their market uptake.
- Assess the social, environmental and economic impacts of various project results and their contribution the aims of various related EU policies. The full cost of service should be considered within the water sector. This includes the capital and operating expenses, cost savings from recovered products, the environmental and social aspects of water cycle management.
- Propose a roadmap, recommendations and guidance on the standardisation of water products, in relation to secondary raw materials from wastewater treatment plants, including standardized key performance indicators and product certification schemes. In this context it would be also useful to assess to what extent, the development of niche markets and decentralised logistics/business models could further support the market uptake of recovered products.
- Propose a roadmap and action plan to address the social perception and related biases of water reclamation and reuse with a view to increasing awareness among various water users and citizens in general.
- Develop new education and training programmes to upskill young professionals in relevant sectors in relation to the circular use of water along the water cycle.
- Define and propose national and EU-harmonized end-of-waste criteria for the recovered materials.
In support of the European Green Deal and EU water-related policies, successful proposals will contribute achieving sustainable and circular management and use of water resources, as well as prevention and removal of pollution, in particular the expected impact of the Destination ‘Circular economy and bioeconomy sectors' to ‘Accelerate transitions towards a sustainable, regenerative, inclusive, just and clean circular economy based on enhanced knowledge and understanding of science’.
Projects results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Boost the uptake of the most promising systemic solutions, innovative recovered products and related business models for sustainable wastewater treatment, recovery and reuse, removing relevant barriers and create a level playing field for innovative companies;
- Change perception and behaviour of European citizens, removing social barriers with regard to wastewater management, recovery and the reuse of resources and energy
- Enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing on water reuse and recovery, education, awareness, and professional skills development;
- Support the implementation of relevant EU policies (e.g., water and marine related policies, water reuse regulation, sludge and industrial emissions directive, climate change adaptation strategy, circular economy action plan, EU bioeconomy strategy and its action plan, EU zero pollution action plan).
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
EU Body, Education and training institution, International organization, Natural Person, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Applications may be submitted by one or more legal entities, which may be established in a Member State, Associated Country or, in exceptional cases and if provided for in the specific call conditions, in another third country.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 33 pages.
Eligible costs will take the form of a lump sum.