Circular economy to get £495m of EU funding in 2016/17

The European Commission (EC) will provide funding of €670 million (m) (£495m) in the next two years to develop the circular economy in the European Union (EU).

The funding is part of the Horizon 2020 funding scheme, which was launched in 2014 to support research and innovation in Europe. Between 2014 and 2020, the scheme is set to invest €77 billion (bn) (£57bn) in a range of sectors to boost ‘Europe’s economic competitiveness and extend the frontiers of human knowledge’.

A total of almost €16bn (£11.8bn) will be invested in research and innovation across a range of sectors in the next two years, after a new work programme for 2016-17 was adopted on Tuesday (13 October).

Announcing the funding, Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: Research and innovation are the engines of Europe's progress and vital to addressing today’s new pressing challenges like immigration, climate change, clean energy and healthy societies. Over the next two years, €16 billion from Horizon 2020 will support Europe's top scientific efforts, making the difference to citizens' lives.”

Industry in the Circular Economy 2020

Circular economy to get £495m of EU funding in 2016/17The work programme establishes six key priorities that encompass all of Horizon 2020’s funding programmes. ‘Industry in the Circular Economy 2020’, the call for projects that will ‘contribute to boosting and renewing Europe’s industrial capacities while ensuring sustainability’, comes under the priority of ensuring a ‘deeper and fairer internal market’.

According to the work programme’s guidance, ‘Industry 2020 in the Circular Economy’ will ‘bring together complementary activities’ that are in line with the EC’s Circular Economy Strategy.

It states that the programme will support ‘systemic innovation’ that addresses ‘economic, social and environmental dimensions’, integrating technology, business models and economic organisation, finance, governance and regulation as well as skills and social innovation. This, the guidance suggests, will come in the form of ‘challenge-driven, solutions-oriented research and innovation that… involves co-creation of knowledge and co-delivery of outcomes with economic, industrial and research actors, public authorities and/or civil society’.

Specific objectives of the actions in the call for proposals include:

  • a reduction of costs and emissions;
  • a more efficient use of energy and resources; and
  • a cascade use of materials.

Specific topics that proposals should address include:

  • demonstrating design for circular value and supply chains and systemic services for the circular economy;
  • unlocking the potential of urban organic waste, such as improved collection and processing of waste for the production of bio-based projects, including bio-based chemicals and bioplastics;
  • smart specialisation for systemic eco-innovation and the circular economy;
  • new models and economic incentives for circular economy business; and
  • water in the context of the circular economy.

Further Horizon 2020 funding streams

‘Industry 2020 in the Circular Economy’ is just one of the initiatives that will be funded by the programme.

In addition to the €670m it will receive, the programme will provide €1bn (£739m) to modernising Europe’s manufacturing industry, over €100m (£74m) to technologies and standards for automatic driving, €139m (£102m) to address digitalisation of EU industries and €232m (£172m) to integrate environmental, transport, energy and digital networks in the EU’s urban environments.

A further €50m (£37m) will be provided for research on security of the EU’s external borders, crime and terrorism, and the origin and impact of migration flows, as well as €5m (3.7m) to respond to an outbreak of an olive-tree pest.

Read the full details of the Industry 2020 in the Circular Economy funding stream or more about Horizon 2020 programme.

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