Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Socio-economic research conceptualising and modelling energy efficiency and energy demand

Topic identifier: LC-SC3-EE-14-2018-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
12 March 2019
Deadline: 03 September 2019 17:00:00

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
25 January 2018
Deadline: 13 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Secure, clean and efficient energy
Topic Updates
  • 01 March 2018 12:48

     IMPORTANT - Page limits applicable to proposals

    Applicants are allowed to remove the page break in the cover page of the template for the technical annex, i.e. the proposal text can start on the cover page.

  • 16 February 2018 14:16

    The Frequently Asked Questions for topic LC-SC3-EE-14-2018-2019-2020 can be accessed here.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

In the Energy Union Strategy, Energy Efficiency was recognised as a resource in its own right which should be enabled to compete on equal terms with generation capacity and to have primary consideration across all policies[1]. However, the structure of energy demand as well as the real value beyond the fuel's cost and the (energy and non-energy) impacts of energy efficiency are still not well understood with the effect that benefits of energy efficiency are not sufficiently taken into account in financial and political decision making, and planning, while prices of fossil fuels remain relatively low.

The topic addresses three different dimensions of this challenge with the aim to trigger actions which

  1. make the energy efficiency first principle more operational (2018);
  2. substantiate the demand side aspects in energy modelling (2019).


The research projects should help to make the Energy Efficiency First principle more concrete and operational and to better understand its relevance for energy demand and supply and its broader impacts across sectors and markets. In particular, it needs to be analysed how energy efficiency programmes along the efficiency chain, i.e. end-use, operation, transmission and generation/utilisation of resources, can compete in reality with supply side investments (e.g. additional generation capacities or import capacities) including at the level of countries and having in mind limited public budgets. It would also be necessary to describe and assess how it interacts with and correlates to other policy objectives, at a policy level as well as at the level of implementation.

Actions which conceptualise and assess the impacts and model the energy efficiency first principle, in particular as regards:

  • its role and value in the energy system (e.g. for planning of generation assets and networks adequacy etc.) and the energy market (participation in capacity market, participation and impact on prices and costs on wholesale and balancing/reserve markets);
  • its role and value in financing decisions (considering as well that in some Member States retail prices do not reflect real costs);
  • its economic and social impacts;
  • its correlation and interaction with other policy objectives (e.g. renewable energy, demand response);
  • existing best practices worldwide where energy efficiency projects are given priority over additional supply side measures.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 million and 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.


The aim of the action is to deepen the demand side-related parameters in existing models and to include new aspects and data sources (e.g. by tapping DSOs modelling for forecasting of distributed loads). In general, it is to be expected that the introduction of smart meters and smart equipment will lead to more accurate consumption data providing for a more holistic mapping of the demand side and thus for better projections inside energy policy development and a more effective regulatory framework.

The action should complement the existing demand side energy models by developing multiple-agent energy models and/or modelling segments and/or developing methodologies on how to improve and enhance the demand side aspects in modelling.

These models and/or methodologies should:

  • be compatible with the energy models most commonly used at European level;
  • model more accurately those aspects not yet sufficiently considered in the existing models;
  • make use of new data sources, including big data as for example generated by smart meters, smart buildings and smart equipment;
  • identify and refine the structure and patterns of demand and how it will develop;
  • contribute to an enhanced demand-side model to be consistently used at European level.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 million and 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:


Actions are expected to support policies aiming to promote and implement the "energy efficiency first-principle" based on a sound assessment of the concept and its impacts. To this end, actions should lead to a better understanding of:

  • all relevant aspects linked to the "energy efficiency first-principle";
  • its impacts (e.g. technical, economic, socio-economic, and ecological etc.) on the relevant sectors and markets;
  • its potential across the different policy areas and sectors;
  • its consideration and valorisation in modelling and assessments; and
  • its interaction with other policy objectives both at policy level (e.g. climate and renewable policies, circular economy) and at the level of concrete application (e.g. design of buildings).


Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below, using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible

  • More accurate and holistic mapping and modelling of the demand side and to a better assessment of energy consumption trends for different categories of economic agents.
  • More accurate follow-up of energy efficiency measures implemented at the demand side;
  • Better assessment of demand-side policy needs at European level.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]Communication from the Commission A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy /* COM/2015/080 final

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):

Research and Innovation 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.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy WP 2018-20
12. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials 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

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.


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