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Programmed biodegradation capability of bio-based materials and products, validated in specific environments
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 3: Circular Economy and Bioeconomy Sectors
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Successful proposals will enable the bio-based industries in the Union to contribute to the enhancement of European industrial sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence and to the development of innovative and sustainable value-chains in the bio-based sectors. Projects results will contribute to deliver bio-based solutions with reduced environmental impacts on soil, water, and air quality, biodiversity and climate, in line with the EGD objectives, the EU circular economy and the EU zero pollution action plans.
The amount of waste littered in the open environment and causing pollution from harmful substances released from such waste streams, such as from plastic littering, has reached the level of a global emergency, especially affecting soil and water quality and biodiversity in land and marine environments. The overall low level of recycling of many waste streams, including collected plastic waste, is also part of such global pollution challenge. Biodegradability of materials and products for targeted applications may offer viable end-of-life solutions in case of safe and sustainable biodegradation either in open environments or under controlled conditions, i.e., in composting plants and anaerobic digestors.
To deliver biodegradable bio-based solutions that address the global pollution challenges effectively, proposals should:
- Analyse those cases of uncontrolled waste littering in the open environment, particularly of plastic waste leading to pollution from nano- and micro-plastics and other contaminants released by macro-plastics, and the corresponding safe bio-based applications where biodegradation in open environments could enable safe and sustainable end-of-life options, e.g., in humanitarian contexts where waste management systems for collection, sorting and recycling are not feasible.
- Select applications for biodegradable non-single-use/single-use bio-based materials and products. Such applications should include materials and products which are biodegradable in open environments in those cases of uncontrolled waste littering, as treated in the previous point, and/or other items that may bring some environmental benefits from being biodegradable, for example in cases where products and materials are contaminated from food or from other organic substances during their use;
- Develop manufacturing technologies of such bio-based materials and products with targeted performances: i) decreased carbon footprint (based on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and on the increase of carbon removals) and environmental impacts of the production processes; ii) improved circular life extension through predictive maintenance, suitability to be safely re-used and re-manufactured, allowing for recycling, and programmed integrity/biodegradation in specific environments, depending on the application, either in controlled environment (i.e. aerobic digestion in composting plants, anaerobic digestion producing biogas) and in open environments, including in extreme environments in terms of physical conditions; iii) safe biodegradation in the specific environments as in point ii), especially considering the eco-toxicity and any impacts on natural ecosystems from biodegraded materials and from their additives and other components;
- Use innovative and adapt existing AI-based and other digital solutions to optimise the circular lifecycle of products and make it more environmentally and economically sustainable;
- Validate tests of biodegradability of bio-based materials designed for specific applications both in controlled and in open environments, e.g., soil and water, under ranges of physical/chemical conditions including extreme conditions. The tests should include the monitoring of the time-frame of partial up to full biodegradation and the environmental impacts in case of biodegradation in open environments, including eco-toxicity and any impacts on biodiversity;
- Provide insights into the development of information and labelling systems to inform users on the most appropriate applications and on the correct use and end-of-life disposal options for the materials and products within the scope. Transparent information should aim at improving the societal acceptance of bio-based innovation and at supporting consumers and customers in making responsible and informed choices. Information should include the assessment of the risks and environmental impacts, including on ecosystems, from an uncontrolled disposal and from littering into the open environments;
- Assess the overall economic feasibility of the manufacturing of the materials and products within the scope.
Where relevant, proposals should seek links with and capitalise on the results of past and ongoing EU funded projects, including under the Circular Bio-based Europe JU, the Processes 4 for Planet partnership and other European partnerships of Horizon Europe.
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.
In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.
In order to achieve the expected outcomes of this topic, international cooperation is encouraged.
Projects results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Circular design of bio-based technologies and products: decreasing environmental impacts on soil, water, and air quality, biodiversity and climate, increasing durability and suitability of products to be safely re-used and re-manufactured, allowing for high-quality recycling and for biodegradability.
- Innovative manufacturing processes to enable programming the safe biodegradation of bio-based materials and products according with the environmental conditions and time frame for specific applications.
- Information and labelling of bio-based materials and products with biodegradability capacity for specific applications and end-of-life options.
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 4-5 by the end of the project.
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).
Eligible costs will take the form of a lump sum.
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 50 pages.