Research & Innovation - Participant Portal

TOPIC : Pilot lines based on more flexible and down-scaled high performance processing

Topic identifier: SPIRE-09-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Planned opening date:
20 September 2016
Deadline: 19 January 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Although the European process industry holds a globally strong position, it is losing competitiveness in the face of world regions which are richer in raw materials and/or have lower energy, labour and environmental costs. Consequently, in order to maintain its competitiveness on the global stage, it will be important to substantially improve its performance, as well as the energy and resource efficiency of its operations. In addition, the existing industrial processes often do not provide sufficient flexibility (e.g. ability to easily change production rates) making them unable to meet the demand for fluctuating production volumes and seasonal production campaigns requiring in situ processing (e.g. bio-mass, limited batches), which would benefit from flexible and/or mobile production systems that do not require extensive infrastructure (e.g. containerised approach).

During the last decade, several concepts have been developed and reported to enable more flexible, compact and cost effective processes proposing a variety of process intensification methodologies, which have the potential to achieve the very significant improvements in performances, energy usage and material efficiency sought by the industry. However, these concepts have mostly been demonstrated/validated at laboratory/small scale and further work is needed to fully assess their industrial potential in terms of performances, techno-economic feasibility and scalability, in order to contribute to a circular economy in the European market.


Proposals are expected to identify and demonstrate innovative, compact, high performance production lines for existing and novel products with significantly lower operational and investment costs (compared to their existing analogues). This may be achieved by adaptation, redesign of existing process units or by completely new concepts, possibly using process optimised materials, provided that a significant improvement in cost, flexibility and performance can be achieved, compared to the commercially available processes. The approach proposed should allow short time-to-market and integration in currently existing plants, while ensuring a high flexibility (e.g. production lines with a broad turn-down ratio or by using parallel modular units for adapting capacity).

Proposals should address all of the following activities:

  • The proposed solutions should encompass the elimination, combination or replacement of one or more process steps/units aiming to achieve significant efficiency improvement and higher productivity and flexibility, while ensuring lower capital and operation costs.
  • Significant demonstration activities in a relevant industrial environment are expected, which will allow validating the productivity and flexibility improvements and provide clear indications on the scalability, replicability and potential for its integration in existing industrial plants.
  • Techno-economic analysis (including LCA) providing a basis for economic and industrial feasibility for the innovative, high performance, flexile/scalable production lines that will be demonstrated, as well as a business plan for the deployment of the technology.

Demonstration of the integration in existing industrial scenarios would be a major added-value.

The proposal should include clear steps for the deployment of the concepts in industry (e.g. including clear business cases and a work package on business plans).

The proposal should provide evidence on the concept potential for job creation.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business scenarios, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL 6.This topic addresses cross-KET activities.

A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 6 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • The equipment size/production-capacity ratio, energy and resource consumption, or waste production will be significantly improved by more than 30% compared to existing approaches. The targets should be quantified in the proposal and validated during the execution of the demonstration.
  • Project outcomes should demonstrate a positive environmental impact, by reducing by-products and/or waste generation, as well as reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption compared to the state of the art and in the scale relevant for the different applications
  • The novel processes/production lines should contribute to lowering the investment and/or operating costs by at least 20% compared to existing approaches. The targets should be quantified in the proposal and validated during the execution of the demonstration.
  • Wide adoption of the technologies developed for increasingly compact and flexible production lines.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

    described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to Australia, Brazil, Canada, ChinaHong Kong &Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

    described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.


    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold:
    described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions:

    For single-stage and second-stage evaluations, the threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4.
    The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except that proposals will be ranked on the basis of individual scores for the Impact criterion before the Excellence criterion.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except, when comparing ex aequo proposals of different topics, the proposals will be ranked first according to the position in the topic ranked lists.

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.
    for the type of action under this topic

    Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

    must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 

    Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.


    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Cross-cutting activities (Focus Areas)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes


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