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Technologies for processing and refining of critical raw materials
Horizon Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 2: Increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilient industry
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Projects outcomes will enable achieving the expected impacts of the destination by increasing access to primary raw materials and secondary raw materials, in particular critical raw materials for EU industrial value chains and strategic sectors.
Actions should demonstrate new or improved systems integrating relevant processing and refining technologies for better recovery of raw materials from low grade and/or complex ores from extractive wastes, less waste, higher energy efficiency. The action could also reduce the content of toxic elements or compounds in the resulting material products. The actions should target minerals and metals, particularly critical raw materials.
The solution proposed should be flexible enough to adapt to different or variable primary and secondary raw materials grades and should be supported by efficient and robust process control. Where relevant, any solution proposed for the reduction of the content of toxic elements or compounds in the resulting materials should also include the appropriate management of the hazardous substances removed.
Actions should develop intelligent and innovative production systems which better utilise natural resources by minimising losses during waste-rock separation in an optimised and energy-efficient process and by minimising use of water
Recycling of end-of-life products is excluded from this topic, though joint processing of waste streams originating from end-of-life products recycling could be included and has to be duly justified.
Actions should envisage clustering activities with other relevant selected projects for cross-projects co-operation, consultations and joint activities on cross-cutting issues and share of results as well as participating in joint meetings and communication events. To this end proposals should foresee a dedicated work package and/or task, and earmark the appropriate resources accordingly.
Actions should facilitate the market uptake of solutions developed through industrially- and user-driven multidisciplinary consortia covering the relevant value chain and should consider standardisation aspects when relevant. The action should also include the analysis of financial opportunities ensuring the market exploitation and replication of the circular business model behind the developed solutions as new processes, products and/or services.
Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the introduction to this Destination. For TRLs 6-7, a credible strategy to achieve future full-scale deployment in the EU is expected, indicating the commitments of the industrial partners after the end of the project.
In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and/or gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement, however, should you consider it to be of relevance for your specific proposal, you are strongly encouraged to do it.
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
- Increase recovery rates of valuable raw materials, particularly critical raw materials from low grade or complex ores and/or from extractive waste;
- Significantly increase economic performance in terms of higher material-, water-, energy- and cost-efficiency and flexibility in minerals processing and metallurgical processes;
- Significantly improve the health, safety and environmental performance of the operations throughout the whole life cycle which is considered, including a reduction in waste, wastewater and emissions generation and a better recovery of resources from generated waste;
- Improve responsible supply of raw materials to Europe in line with the EU principles for sustainable raw materials, which are a non-regulatory set of principles based on the EU acquis. They set out requirements for sustainable raw materials and extraction and processing in Europe in terms of social, environmental and economic performance. Actions are expected to contribute to the implementation the EU action plan on Critical Raw Materials.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), 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), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, 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 should reach TRL 6-7 by the end of the project.
If projects use satellite-based Earth observation, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, beneficiaries must use Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS (other data and services may be used in addition).
To increase EU resilience in raw materials supply chains and thus reduce the serious risks to the Union’s strategic assets, economic and societal interests, autonomy, and security associated with the current EU reliance on a few third countries for critical raw materials, by increasing sustainable and responsible sourcing of primary and secondary raw materials necessary to enable the green and digital transition and in alignment with the Communication (2020) 474 on Critical Raw Materials Resilience, participation in this topic is limited to legal entities established in Member States, associated countries, OECD countries, African Union Member States*, MERCOSUR, CARIFORUM, Andean Community and countries with which the EU has concluded strategic partnerships on raw materials. The choice of these countries was made taking into consideration the development of strategic international partnerships on raw materials and avoidance of reinforcing existing over-dependencies, as well as the importance of involving partners committed to pursuing open trade in such materials. Proposals including legal entities which are not established in the countries that fall under the criteria above will be ineligible.
Any activity aimed at deploying subliminal techniques beyond a person's consciousness, exploiting any of the vulnerabilities of a specific group of persons and at using emotion recognition systems will be ineligible.
* "African Union member states" includes countries whose membership has been temporarily suspended.
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 45 pages.
In order to include a business case and exploitation strategy, the page limit in General Annex A of the General Annexes is exceptionally extended by 3 pages.