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Call key data
Biodegradable polymers for sustainable packaging materials
Horizon Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 2: Increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilient industry
Estimated EU contribution per project
between € 6,000,000.00 and € 8,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Projects should develop new, demonstrate and scale-up novel advanced bio-degradable polymer materials and innovative processes that will allow the bio-degradable polymers to be produced at a large scale.
Proposals should address at least four of the following activities:
- Develop new, demonstrate and scale-up novel advanced bio-degradable polymer materials and innovative processes that will allow the bio-degradable polymers to be produced at a large scale with a similar economy of scale to replace present production with PE, PP and PET, and with an improved sustainability profile compared to present production and EoL characteristics.
- Develop sustainable additives and catalysts to support the production of bio-degradable polymers.
- Provide evidence with life cycle and techno-economic assessment (LCA/TEA) that the cost for the novel advanced biodegradable polymer products are not significantly higher compared to existing polymer products (PE, PP, PET) on the market.
- Scale up the production of packaging materials at pilot level.
- Identify and test the biodegradability pathways in all environmentally relevant conditions (for the application of the developed material in relevant shape or form); and extensive quantified risk analysis from both a human and environmental perspective for all the different intermediate and end products of biodegradation, including quantification of the contribution to GHG emissions. Contribute to further defining standards and labels for specific applications. Model the lifetime of the developed polymers along the biodegradation pathway in environmentally relevant conditions, both in natural, (terrestrial and marine), and in waste processing environments.
- Demonstrate complete biodegradability in all relevant conditions and environmental compartments (e.g. landfill, compost site, litter in marine-freshwater-sediment-soil) within acceptable timeframes, determination of the main influencing environmental conditions; and assessment of the impact on the environment. Integrate a holistic sustainability assessment, accounting for the full life cycle (including sourcing of feedstock).
Develop and demonstrate circular business model for production at industrial level, where the release of GHG emissions is; and assess significantly reduced; and assess the potential of secondary raw materials as a feedstock (including from renewable sources) for the production of bio-degradable polymers.
To enable a fast development of new advanced materials, digital tools, such as modelling and simulation, and characterisation techniques (including those provided by analytical infrastructures) are under the scope, assisted by advanced methods, e.g. physics-based methods or artificial intelligence (including machine learning).
The future Commission initiative for Safe and Sustainable by Design will set a framework for assessing safety and sustainability of chemicals and materials and should be considered as a baseline in the proposal.
Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the introduction to this Destination.
This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities. An early involvement of end users could be essential.
Projects should build on or seek collaboration with existing projects (e.g. Open Innovation Testbeds) and develop synergies with other relevant European, national or regional initiatives, funding programmes and platforms. Where relevant, proposals should seek links with and capitalise on the results of past and ongoing EU funded research projects, including the ones under Cluster 6 'Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment' and Circular Bio-based Europe JU (CBE JU).
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
- The packaging industry will have access to the next generation of biodegradable polymer materials, which will also be recyclable materials. Plastic materials producers will switch from PP, PE, and PET to bio-degradable materials with reduced GHG emissions along the value chain.
- The packaging industry will apply business model of circularity-by-design and sustainable end-of-life (EoL) solutions for plastic packaging materials. This has the potential to lead to a reduction in landfill waste volume of packaging materials; and to a reduction of littering of plastics, coherent with the ambition of the Horizon Europe Ocean and Waters mission, to reduce the plastic pollution of the oceans. Projects are expected to contribute to the Plastics strategy, the Single-use Plastics Directive and the EU Circular Economy Action plan (CEAP).
- Standards and labels for specific applications will be further defined based on the development of testing of biodegradability of plastics in open environments.
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 are expected to start at TRL 4 and achieve 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 make use of Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS (other data and services may additionally be used).
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)
This topic is a two-stage proposal. The deadline for the first stage is 7 February 2024. If invited to submit at the second stage, the deadline is 24 September 2024.
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 (see General Annex E).
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.