Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : InCo Flagship on Integrated multimodal, low-emission freight transport systems and logistics

Topic identifier: MG-2-9-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
05 September 2018
2nd stage Deadline:
16 January 2019 17:00:00
12 September 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:

Global as well as regional and local freight transport is massively changing due to accelerating technological changes, the establishment of new players in global trade, the rise of protectionism, and the slowing down of economic growth of important partners such as China. New logistics concepts (such as the Physical Internet) and new disruptive technologies, such as Blockchain, Industry 4.0, vehicle automation and truck platooning or new business models, like 'crowdshipping' and the circular economy models will have an impact on global freight transport, its optimisation and its environmental footprint that needs to be better understood and assessed. Furthermore new trade routes from and to Europe will probably change the traditional pattern of freight movement and will need new connections with European corridors and hubs at a time of budget limitation on investment for transport infrastructure.

Sustainable integrated multimodal freight transport is particularly important for the development of countries in special situations – least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island states and outermost regions - which face common problems resulting from the under-resourcing of transport infrastructure and services, traffic-related air pollution and high accident levels, but also diverse geopolitical and trade situations. These countries/regions also have an enormous potential for sustainable development. International cooperation can support their economies both domestically and globally for a global benefit and ensuring better integration of these regions into the world economic landscape.


Proposals should address one or more of the following aspects:

  • Understanding how new concepts in logistics, in combination with new national strategies to organize freight flows in ports and airports have an impact on global freight transport, and on related greenhouse gas emissions. Multimodal transfer zones from ports and airports from long-haul to last mile logistics need to be better analysed in order to find appropriate measures and for ensuring seamless door-to-door transport, exploiting the full potential of modularization and other innovative logistics concepts. International cooperation with major trade partner countries is essential to ensure the smooth transfer at all levels of the transport chain. Proposals should also address solutions that enable peripheral regions and landlocked developing countries to have proper accessibility to international trade.
  • Speed up the process and transition towards the Physical Internet paradigm, demonstrating how different technologies, business cases and standards come together in real-world applications, and are able to deliver added value to the users and have positive impacts in terms of emissions and energy consumption. Priority partners should be USA, Canada, China, Japan. Demonstrations of satellite-based applications using EGNOS and Galileo are also suggested.
  • Research the range of new issues and questions emerging with the new trade routes to and from Europe, such as the Northern Sea Route (across an ice-free Arctic in summer months) or the new Silk Road routes and the Chinese One Belt One Road strategy; the effect of the development of these new routes on trans-continental freight modal split; the additional interfaces needed between the new overland routes and the EU internal transport networks / corridors. Priority partners are those along the routes. The geopolitical and trade aspects of these developments, in particular on countries affected by these developments, should be considered.
  • Understand new disruptive trends emerging as on-demand logistics solutions such as crowd-sourcing of deliveries (or ‘crowdshipping’) which have the potential to be a logistics ‘game-changer’, evidencing different impacts in both emerging and industrialized countries, including the possible integration of passengers and freight flows. Research on the crowd-sourcing of logistics would benefit from international collaboration, partly to compare the development of the phenomenon in different markets, but also to explore whether it can be extended to long-haul / cross border freight delivery, taking in consideration economic, regulatory and security constraints.
  • Assess the impact of emerging technologies in other sectors than freight transport (e.g. Blockchain, Industry 4.0, 5G, 3D printing, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's)) on the logistics operational system, and identify the potential development paths that lead to the optimal exploitation of their positive effect.
  • Collect best case models and develop decision support systems aimed at helping public authorities and private companies to determine the most likely scenarios and to promote a higher level of collaboration between the different stakeholders, including new emerging ones.
  • Consideration of aspects of governance, privacy and cybersecurity of and with regard to cargo.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

In line with the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation[1], international cooperation is encouraged. In particular proposals should consider cooperation with projects or partners from the US, Japan, Canada, China, Latin America.

In particular, proposals should foresee twinning with entities participating in projects funded by US DOT to exchange knowledge and experience and exploit synergies.

Expected Impact:

Main impact from the R&I activities should be the improved integration of the European transport network (both hard – TEN-T – and soft – logistics and IT) with the global network, through the sustainable development of the transport nodes likely to benefit from the emergence of new trade routes and harmonised platforms and new and revised 'nodes', also in support of the sustainable development of new logistics routes and their link with national/regional markets. Better understanding of the impact of emerging technologies on freight flow and subsequent guidelines to optimize vehicle, infrastructure and operation accordingly. Facilitate the development of disadvantaged regions and their inclusion into the international trading system. Better understanding of links between technological development, trade and geopolitics. Research should be validated in a selected number of case studies through pilot demonstration, trials and testing involving service providers and end-users.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation


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 (two-stage call):
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. 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       
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


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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To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Research and Innovation action [RIA]
Topic InCo Flagship on Integrated multimodal, low-emission freight transport systems and logistics - MG-2-9-2019
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