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Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI)’s circular systemic solutions
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 3: Circular Economy and Bioeconomy Sectors
70% (NPO: 100%)
Estimated EU contribution per project
between € 9,000,000.00 and € 10,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
In the context of this topic, a circular systemic solution is defined as demonstration project for deploying a circular and climate-neutral economy at urban and/or regional scale, involving key stakeholders and, ideally, addressing more than one product value chain.
Proposals are expected to implement and demonstrate at large scale circular systemic solutions for the deployment of the circular economy (including the circular bioeconomy) in cities and regions or their groupings. They should form part of the implementation of the European Commission’s Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) and they should be carried out in close coordination and cooperation with the CCRI Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO).
The implemented circular systemic solutions should address economic, social and environmental dimensions of the transition towards a circular economy and include science, technology and governance components. They should demonstrate circular innovative technologies, novel governance and business models and support the active participation of all relevant actors in cities, regions or their groupings. Examples of relevant actors are: public administrations (national/regional/local authorities) and utilities (public/private companies); private sector services and industries, including start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs); research infrastructures, scientific and innovator communities including incubators and accelerators; financial intermediaries with a focus on environmental and social impact; venture capitalists and business angels; civil society, including citizens; and non-governmental organisations and philanthropy.
The implemented circular systemic solutions can address ideally more than one of the key product value chains set out in the new circular economy action plan, i.e.: batteries and vehicles, electronics and ICT, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and buildings, food, water and nutrients. The circular systemic solutions may also include nature-based solutions. Circular systemic solutions and the economic sectors involved in them should be selected and based on a detailed analysis of the cities, regions or their grouping’s socio-economic and environmental needs to be addressed, circular potential to be exploited and challenges to be tackled.
Circular systemic solutions should identify, analyse and, when feasible, quantify the economic, social and environmental benefits and trade-offs/challenges related to their implementation and demonstration. They should include the monitoring and evaluation of the transition towards a circular economy, identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as causes. They should analyse the encountered regulatory obstacles and drivers and provide clear and precise policy recommendations to improve circular economy. Each circular systemic solution should address environmental externalities and contribute to preserving and, where possible, increasing the well-being and the health conditions of the local communities involved in the transition towards a circular economy.
It is crucial that the circular systemic solutions implemented and their business models have a high replicability and scalability potential. This is fundamental to facilitate that circular systemic solutions demonstrated in specific areas should be replicated in others. During their implementation and by the end of their life cycle, the selected proposals are expected to share with all stakeholders clear and comprehensive guidelines on the circular systemic solutions adopted, including their strengths and challenges. They should also provide information on key barriers identified to avoid their emergence at early stages of replicating existing solutions. Proposals should ensure that all evidence, information and project outcomes will be accessible through the CCRI website (incl. business models and other studies).
It is essential that proposals also ensure complementarity and cooperation with existing and future relevant European projects on the circular economy and the circular bioeconomy, with special reference to those on local and regional scale and avoid overlaps and repetition.
Citizen science could be appropriate mode of research to increased practices and participation of citizens in circular systemic solutions.
Where relevant, SSH and social innovation aspects should be considered.
Expected effects and impacts
Successful proposals will support the delivery of solutions to implement the European Green Deal, the EU circular economy action plan (CEAP) and the bioeconomy strategy. The topic will support the transition towards a sustainable, regenerative, inclusive and just circular economy at local and regional scale across regions of Europe, boosting interregional and cross border cooperation.
Proposals funded under this topic will form part of the demonstration projects for the implementation of the European Commission’s Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI). Proposals are expected to provide policymakers, public and private investors and local communities with concrete and demonstrated examples of circular systemic solutions.
- Significantly increased circularity, reduced GHG emissions, and where relevant increased carbon removals, in product value chains, and efficient valorisation of local resources in cities, regions or their groupings.
- Creation of business opportunities and jobs in the circular economy at urban and/or regional scale.
- Increased uptake and participation of citizens in circular and climate-neutral practices.
- Enhanced knowledge transfer between the cities, regions or their groupings involved in the proposals financed under this topic and other cities and regions in EU Member States and Associated Countries.
- More effective widespread uptake and easier replication, scalability and visibility of circular systemic solutions and hence multiplication of their economic, social and environmental benefits.
- Contribution to achieving the policy targets of the European Green Deal, circular economy action plan, EU bioeconomy strategy and the European industrial strategy at local, regional, national, European and international levels.
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
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
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
other eligibility criteria
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-8 by the end of the project.
For the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), the following definitions apply:
- TRL 1 — Basic principles observed
- TRL 2 — Technology concept formulated
- TRL 3 — Experimental proof of concept
- TRL 4 — Technology validated in a lab
- TRL 5 — Technology validated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 6 — Technology demonstrated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 7 — System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
- TRL 8 — System complete and qualified
- TRL 9 — Actual system proven in an operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies, or in space)
Proposals funded under this topic, and their circular systemic solutions, must form part of the demonstration projects for the implementation of the European Commission’s Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI). This means:
- proposals must cooperate with CCRI and its Coordination and Support Office by means of sharing with this initiative knowledge and experiences developed during the implementation and demonstration of the circular systemic solutions
- proposals must participate in the CCRI’s events. Applicants must integrate explicitly these obligations into their proposal’s work plan.
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).
This call follows a two-stage approach.
This topic is part of the blind evaluation pilot under which first stage proposals will be evaluated blindly. Applicants submitting a proposal under the blind evaluation pilot must not disclose their organisation names, acronyms, logos nor names of personnel in Part B of their first-stage application.
The limit for a first-stage application is 10 pages. The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages. In order to include a business case and exploitation strategy, the page limit in part B of the General Annexes is exceptionally extended by 3 pages.