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TOPIC : Advanced biomaterials for smart food packaging

Topic identifier: BBI-2016-R05
Publication date: 19 April 2016

Types of action: BBI-RIA Bio-based Industries Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
19 April 2016
Deadline: 08 September 2016 17:00:00

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

Bio-based packaging materials with advanced functionalities are gaining ground as compared to traditional paper bags and board boxes and fossil-based plastic containers, films, wrappers and bottles. Users in the end-markets are increasingly demanding advanced, 'smart' and even 'active' packaging to help increase the shelf-life of food. Improved characteristics like barrier to oxygen and UV, physical strength, resistance to temperature variations can help reaching these goals. Society and users are also demanding to improve end-of-life options for packaging material (such as being biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable).

The interest in new and smart food packaging is increasing by both brand owners and consumers. The latter group is vesting more interest in healthy food and in functional food in its quest for a longer and healthy life. Brand owners are seeking to gain marketing edge by taking leadership in meeting these needs in their respective fields. The challenge is to convert these market developments into a sustainable supply of useable material with functionalities that will outperform existing packaging materials while assuring consumer confidence by addressing safety concerns.

A key challenge for ensuring market uptake and realising the full potential impact of bio-based materials useable in new food packaging concepts is to prove their ability to meet market demand. The hurdle of a significant 'first mover' risk must be taken by providing a proof of concept of their successful and sustainable production. Establishing such new value chains requires bio-based (manufacturing) industries to seek a closer cooperation with market actors to understand the specific market demands, and with biomass feedstock producers and suppliers to ensure the long-term supply of the required sustainable feedstock for the desired bio-based materials.


Develop bio-based materials with new functionalities for food packaging. The new materials need to provide the following objectives:

  • Prove performances at least equal to existing, comparable packaging materials in terms of mechanical properties and temperature resistance or in terms of liquid/oxygen/UV/CO2-barriers or antimicrobial activity.
  • In order to improve end-of-life options:
    • provide biodegradable or compostable alternatives; or
    • provide mono-material (easily recyclable) alternatives while matching the same properties (e.g. barrier) of existing multi-material ones.

Proposals should address a small number of well-focused applications, identifying the benchmark products to prove the better characteristics of the developed materials.

Proposals should include the direct link with end-market actors to provide clear requirements of the developed products and materials. Proposals should comply with existing legislation for food contact.

For specific applications, biodegradable packaging should be the preferred route. Design for recycling at end-of-life must be part of the early development stages for non-biodegradable packaging material.

The projects should cover any Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 3 to 5. In the case of a pilot scale project (TRL 5), proposals should present a credible cost estimate for the proposed processes with a preliminary assessment of their competitiveness when scaled up. The new bio-based material should be at a competitive price to enable subsequent downstream steps for the production of films and flexible food packaging to suit market applications.

Proposals should also include an environmental and socio-economic assessment, for example with an LCA. In particular, when targeting TRL 5, proposals should include an LCA in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed products, with particular focus on the end-of-life phase.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget in the range of EUR 2-5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Expected Impact:
  • Improved mechanical and/or functional properties of the developed packaging products in a specific field as compared with state-of-the-art.
  • In case the project focuses on biodegradability or compostability: contribution to fulfilling the European objective of reducing the recyclable content in landfilled waste down to the targets as per the EC’s Landfill Directive, by showing reduction in landfilling as end-of-life option for packaging material as compared to baseline. Biodegradability other than under industrial conditions should also be considered.
  • Reduction of costs, on a life cycle analysis basis, as compared to on-market materials.
  • In case the project focuses on the preservation of food products: Increase of at least 10% of the shelf-life of the targeted products.
  • Opening new markets for new applications of biodegradable materials.
  • Contribution to the BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
    • Creation of at least 1 new cross-sectorial interconnection in bio-based economy clusters (KPI 1).
    • Set the basis for the creation of at least 1 new bio-based value chain based on the innovative products developed (KPI 2), new bio-based materials (KPI 5), and for new demonstrated consumer products based on bio-based chemicals and materials (KPI 6), or significantly improve the production process of existing ones.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Cross-cutting Key-Enabling Technologies (KETs)

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 H2020 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 H2020 Work Programme with the following exceptions: BBI JU Derogation to H2020 Rules for Participation.

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

    3.1 Evaluation criteria, scoring and threshold:
    described in part H of the General Annexes of the H2020 Work Programme, with the exceptions described in part 2.3.6 of the BBI JU Work Plan 2016.

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process and the BBI JU Calls - Guide for applicants (RIA-DEMO-CSA).

  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.
  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms:

               Specific provisions and funding rates: ddescribed in 2.3.4 of the BBI JU Annual Work Plan 2016.

               BBI JU proposal templates (Administrative forms and Technical annex) are available after entering the "start submission" button and then after entering the "Download Part B Templates" button

               Standard evaluation form (CSA)

               Standard evaluation form (RIA)

               Standard evaluation form (FLAG and DEMO)

               BBI JU Model Grant Agreement – Multi-Beneficiary

                H2020 Annotated Grant Agreement 

  1. Additional provisions:

    Technology readiness levels (TRL), where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.
  2. 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.
  3. Additional documents

    BBI JU Work Plan 2016
    BBI JU Scientific Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA)
    Horizon 2020 Rules for participation
    BBI JU Derogation to H2020 Rules for Participation
    BBI JU Regulation of establishment
    Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment 


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