Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Sustainability schemes for the bio-based economy

Topic identifier: BB-01-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
27 October 2015
2nd stage Deadline:
17 February 2016 17:00:00
13 September 2016 17:00:00

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

Sustainability assessments are major factors not only for consumer acceptance but also for developing an efficient and meaningful policy framework for bio-based products. While there is already a framework in place for the sustainability assessment of biomass and biofuels, there are only incipient initiatives for bio-based products. Objective and quality life cycle assessments based on robust and agreed methods are important to clarify the environmental impact/benefits of bio-based products and to benchmark their environmental performance with alternative non-bio-based products on the market.


The proposals will develop sustainability schemes for bio-based products building on (1) existing schemes for biomass and bioenergy, including biofuels, (2) the work of (CEN-TC411) on standards for ‘Bio-based Products – Sustainability Criteria’ and ‘Bio-based Products – Life Cycle Assessment' which should incorporate end of life, (3) previous work on bio-based products LCA methods for bio-based products. Aspects that could be considered include: building-in economic and social factors; thresholds for different sustainability criteria/indicators; certification schemes and use of standards; life cycle assessment of bio-based products; (eco)labelling; aspects of the circular economy, resource efficiency and the principle of cascade use considering existing criteria for bioenergy product sustainability; the development of ILUC factors for bio-based products taking into account existing approaches to ILUC for bioenergy. The applicability and efficiency of the proposed sustainability schemes and criteria/indicators in the current regulatory framework; the balance between costs and complexity of the sustainability assessment; and the market pull the specific proposed measures will represent, should be presented as credible cases in the proposal. In this context applicants may decide to focus making the case for specific segment/groups of bio-based products, which should be of course justified.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

To contribute to the implementation of the objectives of relevant European policy initiatives, including the Lead Market Initiative in Bio-based Products, the Industrial Policy with its instruments such as the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials, the Environmental Technology Action Plan and the Bioeconomy Strategy, proposals will have to:

  • Contribute to the development of efficient, implementable and fit-for-purpose sustainability schemes and criteria and indicators;
  • Ensure market pull for bio-based products through (i) wider use of bio-based standards and certification schemes and (ii) the expansion of bio-based products accessing sustainability schemes, e.g. (eco)labelling;
  • Develop objective and quality life cycle assessments based on robust and agreed methods, allowing benchmarking, accepted and applicable in regulatory and policy frameworks.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

Topic conditions and documents

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

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: 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, China, Hong Kong & Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: 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. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme
    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    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.

    Information on the outcome of two-stage evaluation:
          For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
          For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.
  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement
  6. Open access 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. This topic participates per default in the open access to research data pilot which aims to improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data generated by projects:
  • The pilot applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available for open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan (to be provided within six months after the project start).
  • Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they are part of the Pilot, and will not be penalised for opting out of the Pilot.
  • Projects can at any stage opt-out of the pilot.
  • The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement
  • Further information on the Open Research Data Pilot is made available in the H2020 Online Manual.

7. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

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.

8. Additional documents


Additional documents

  • H2020-BB-2016-second stage flash info en
  • H2020-BB-2016-first stage flash info en
  • Generalised feedback en

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