Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Structuring R&I towards zero emission waterborne transport

Topic identifier: LC-MG-1-11-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
04 December 2018
Deadline: 25 April 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Waterborne transport moves 90% of global trade and today accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions (similar to air transport). This proportion is predicted to increase with growing global trade and improvements within other sectors. The International Maritime Organisation has shown that GHG emissions from ships have increased by 70% since 1990 and a European Parliament report predicts that without action the global share of shipping's GHG emissions may reach 17% by 2050.

Waterborne transport (Maritime & Inland) can also be a major contributor to air pollution (PM, NOx, SOx), particularly in coastal regions around port cities and busy waterways. Hull coatings, discharges and noise can also influence the underwater environment.

Inland waterway vessels, whilst also supporting low carbon logistic chains and decongesting European roads are largely powered by older generation diesel engines and improvements are necessary to further reduce GHG emissions and to reduce air pollution in order to meet regulatory and local urban air quality requirements.

There are potential solutions for low - and zero-emission future ships and to improve the environmental performance of the existing fleet (Electrification, fuel cells, renewables, fuels, exhaust treatments, efficiency improvements, optimised logistics etc.).

A structured approach to R&I is needed to achieve wider use of these solutions, for example battery powered shipping needs to be integrated with port and electricity infrastructures, the use of these solutions must be cost-effective, safe and practical. R&I taking place at EU, national and international levels need to be identified and coordinated to maximize value and avoid duplication.

Consequently, a strategic research and innovation agenda and new partnerships are needed towards the supply chain, research community, technology and energy providers. Clear priorities must be established and widely communicated so that they can become a focus for the greening of waterborne transport as a whole.


To address these challenges, proposals should cover all the following activities:

  • Establish a multi stakeholders "green shipping" expert group. The group should address both maritime and inland transport with a membership including, for example, representatives from inland waterways, shippers, ship owners, waterborne equipment providers, ship builders, ports, logistics, energy and fuel providers, class societies, civil society and expertise in relevant technologies such as renewables, batteries and fuel cells. The group shall cooperate with the Waterborne Technology Platform, coordinate with Member States and Associated Countries and take into account the activities of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF), the European Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda (STRIA) and EU programmes such as the Motorways of the Sea under the Connecting Europe Facility.
  • Working with the "green shipping" group, and considering the state-of-the-art, establish a clear vision for green waterborne transport which includes quantified targets for 2025, 2030 and 2050. Targets should include GHG, PMs, SOx, NOx as well as addressing different kinds of use e.g. for inland, deep sea, short sea, offshore and different vessel types such as cruise ship, ferry, small passenger ship etc.
  • Building on the vision, jointly establish a strategic research and innovation agenda and an implementation plan for green waterborne transport. The most important priorities with the highest impact and the related knowledge gaps should be identified together with any synergies with all relevant programmes and actions at national, international and European level. The outcomes should be attractively presented in a way that is suitable for a general readership and also in a form that is suitable for the waterborne sector.
  • Identify and if necessary develop the most appropriate mechanisms, incentives and business models to increase the take-up and deployment of the outcomes from the R&I projects.
  • Establish and implement a strong communication strategy which will ensure visibility within wider society, press, the sector as a whole and with important stakeholders. Publish full reports, clear summary documents, electronic and visual media that are attractive and suitable for a general readership and the waterborne sector. The outcomes and related R&I activates should be disseminated widely, including within an annual workshop or conference which will ensure the widest possible attendance, visibility and engagement.
  • Whilst work must focus on the greening of shipping towards the zero- emission goal for all waterborne transport, some related activities concerning digitalisation, safety and competitiveness may also be included.

The Commission considers proposals requesting a contribution of up to EUR 1 million would enable this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Improving environmental performance of waterborne transport towards achieving a goal of zero-emission. Achieving decarbonised, low environmental impact logistic chains. Increase Europe's competitive lead in green shipping technology Better targeting of R&I efforts and resources within a coherent strategy. Increased synergies between relevant national, international and European programmes. Increased take-up of R&I outcomes. Create wide spread awareness and "buy in" to a European strategy towards zero-emission shipping. Increased visibility for R&I outcomes and recognition that it is essential to improving environmental performance and moving towards the goal of zero-emission shipping.

Delegation Exception Footnote:

This activity directly aimed at supporting [the development and implementation of evidence base for R&I policies and supporting various groups of stakeholders is excluded from the delegation to the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and will be implemented by the Commission services.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Blue Growth
Clean Energy

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
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. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme. 


Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.  
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.


5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Coordination and Support Action:

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


6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

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.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
11. Smart, green and integrated transport WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


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Type of Action Coordination & support action [CSA]
Topic Structuring R&I towards zero emission waterborne transport - LC-MG-1-11-2019
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