Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Webs of Innovation Value Chains and Openings for RRI

Topic identifier: SwafS-12-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
12 April 2017
Deadline: 31 August 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Science with and for Society
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Work Programme Part: Science with and for Society
Topic Updates
  • 30 August 2017 14:41

    Following technical issues with the IT system for a short period on 30/08/17, the deadline for the 2017 topics for H2020-SWAFS-2016-17 is extended by 24 hours until 31/08/17 at 17:00:00 Brussels local time.

  • 08 June 2017 08:58

    New Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the H2020-SwafS-2016-17 call (Science with and for Society), notably the 2017 topics, are published and accessible under the section 'Topic conditions and documents', '8. Additional documents'.

  • 12 May 2017 16:41

    As the topic foresees the possibility of financial support to third parties, a specific section (section 4.3, 'Financial support to third parties') is included in part B of the proposal template available in the submission system.

  • 31 March 2017 08:58

    Given that there will be an update of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016-17 (adoption planned in April), the opening of the H2020-SwafS-2016-17 call (all topics) is postponed to 4 May 2017.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The challenge is to model and better understand the dynamics of the complex webs of innovation value chains and the openings they offer for RRI. The key idea is that of crisscrossing 'innovation value chains'. Innovations and prototypes, business-to-business products and final products move from one organization (entity) to another and are transformed in the process, value is added in the transactions and appropriated. Third-party actors are involved such as standardization bodies and insurance companies, but also, and increasingly, NGOs. While there is a direction to the eventual product flows, initiatives may emerge anywhere, there is no simple linearity (cf. the chain-link model of innovation) and, even more, no beginning nor end (cf. circular economy). Chains can change, split, be re-arranged, crisscross, and co-evolve with changing business models. In general, industry and service structures consist of webs of crisscrossing chains, forming broader structures, consisting of more than the traditional economic actors. There are uncertainties involved in the evolution of these webs, e.g. with the promise of large-area polymeric semi-conducting materials that can be printed. Will the key driver of the eventual chains in this domain be the materials manufacturers, the printing companies, or the various application sectors?


Given this perspective, the key point of the present topic is that there are openings for RRI in these webs of chains, building on what is there already and/or inserting it if there is an opportunity. Thus, this action shall start with the economic world rather than see RRI as only impinging on it from the outside. It draws on the theme of exploration of intermediaries and boundary spanners, but creates additional focus, as underlined here below by the questions and issues that could be addressed under this topic..

The experience with stage-gate approaches[1] in R&D and product development, as practiced within a few firms, has been taken up by some Member States as a framework for their approach to RRI, and applied in a few cases. What could be explored is whether stage-gate processes could be applied across organisations in an innovation chain, and create openings to include RRI not just in the assessments during the 'gate', but also during the 'stage', to anticipate on the eventual assessment.

When novelties (new options) are introduced, articulated and taken up, chains can shift and split (for example in additive manufacturing, and in the uses of mobile telephony) and new chains may emerge. This can just happen, but increasingly, actors try to anticipate and influence what happens to serve their interests, or otherwise pursue desirable goals. There is joint strategy articulation, occasionally supported by Constructive Technology Assessment, road mapping, and indications and narratives to monitor performance in a forward-looking manner, as in notions like technological readiness. There are openings here, for example by adding 'societal readiness' levels to technological readiness levels, and making sure that ‘societal readiness’ has pro-active elements, and is not just another term for 'societal acceptability'.

More generally, the reference to responsibility that is part of RRI is not about retrospective responsibility, as in accountability and liability, but about prospective responsibility, with its expectation, perhaps obligation, to do well. The requirement can be seen as a call ‘to show an honest effort’. This phrase has been used to assess technology forcing measures (as in the California air pollution legislation). One opening for RRI would then be to operationalise it as 'an honest effort' to achieve desirable outcomes in innovation chains and eventual product-value chains, responding to societal values.

This illustration of possible openings for RRI becoming visible through the perspective of webs of crisscrossing and shifting/emerging chains, is not exhaustive. It shows, though, that it is a generative perspective. It can also contribute to other parts of Horizon 2020. For example, questions about the role of SMEs, or of small-holder farmers, can be explored by inquiring into their functioning in present and emerging webs of crisscrossing chains. 'Open innovation' can become more than a fashionable catchword, at the same time making operational how RRI fits in.

This action will show, and induce, relevant change, without having to go through definitional exercises about RRI first, because the thrust is to go for 'openings to do better'. Rather than ‘growth’ per se, often defined in terms of competition only, the result will be higher quality outcomes and better jobs ('better technology in a better society').

To address this specific challenge, proposals should have a wide geographical coverage. It is therefore expected that consortia would include at least entities from 10 different Member States or Associated Countries, although smaller consortia will also be eligible and may be selected.

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

This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

Expected Impact:

The development of a model and a better understanding of the webs of Innovation Value Chains will set a stronger knowledge base for policy orientations regarding innovation. This will facilitate the dissemination and integration of good RRI practices thanks to the identification of 'openings' for RRI. This action will strengthen the SWAFS knowledge base, but also promote institutional changes in Research Funding (RFO) and Research Performing Organizations (RPO), as well as in and across organisations involved in innovation and its embedding in society.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Science


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, IndiaJapan, 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.

  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 As the topic foresees the possibility of financial support to third parties, a specific section (section 4.3, 'Financial support to third parties') is included in part B of the proposal template available in the submission system.
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 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.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  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.
    - 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:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) H2020-SwafS-2016-17

H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Science with and for society

H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes


Additional documents

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