The goal of the RFCS

The Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) supports research and innovation projects in the areas of coal and steel.

Every year around €40 million is made available to universities, research centres and private companies to fund projects.

The Commission will propose a revision of the legal basis on the RFCS to enable it to use a portion of the assets of the European Steel and Coal Community in liquidation.

This will help maintain the annual research programme of at least €40 million as well as to enable the funding of large clean steelmaking research and innovation breakthrough projects.

Research activities in the coal sector will focus on regions in transition in line with the principles of the Just Transition Mechanism.

The projects funded by RFCS cover

  • steel production processes
  • optimised utilisation and conservation of resources, energy savings and industrial efficiency improvements
  • health and safety at work
  • environmental protection
  • technologies supporting coal regions in transition
  • emission reductions from steel production

The RFCS and the European Green Deal

The RFCS research programme, is increasing its involvement in tackling climate and environmental-related challenges in line with the European Green Deal, presented by the Commission in December 2019.

One of the key actions in the roadmap annexed to the Communication on the European Green Deal is the proposal to support zero carbon steel-making processes by 2030. 

According to the European Green Deal, "further decarbonising the energy system is critical to reach climate objectives in 2030 and 2050. The decarbonisation of the energy system also entails a rapid phasing out of coal and decarbonising gas."

Energy efficiency must be prioritised.

    How the fund is managed

    The fund is managed by the Commission in cooperation with the following committees and advisory groups.

    • The Coal and Steel Committee (COSCO)
      Composed of representatives of EU countries. Its role is to assist the Commission in the overall management of the fund.
    • The Coal and Steel Advisory Groups (CAG/SAG)
      Composed of technical advisers, appointed by the Commission to serve for a period of 42 months. Their role is to advise the Commission.
      CAG members and group details available on Register of Commission Expert Group and other Similar Entities
      SAG members and group details available on Register of Commission Expert Group and other Similar Entities
    • Technical Groups (TG)
      Composed of technical experts, appointed by the Commission. They support the Commission with monitoring of research/pilot or demonstration projects.
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    How to participate

    The call for proposals for 2020 opens on 16 June 2020. The cut-off date is 15 September 2020, 17.00 Brussels time.

    The rules for participation 2020 are laid out in the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) Information Package 2020.

    The electronic submission system, proposal templates and all other relevant documents can be accessed via the Funding and Tenders Portal.

    The RFCS is looking for highly qualified independent experts to act as evaluators during the next evaluation exercise.

    To enroll as an expert for the RFCS, please register in the database of experts.

    Call for Proposals

    European Parliament Pilot Project 

    On 25 April 2019, the European Commission adopted a financing decision to implement the European Parliament Pilot Project ‘Research on reduction of CO2 emissions in steel production’ (Commission Decision C(2019)3019).

    On 6 November 2019, the project proposal Green Steel for Europe (GREENSTEEL) was awarded. The project started in January 2020 for a total duration of 18 months (1/01/2020 – 30/06/2021). Its consortium comprises 10 partners, coordinated by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). 

    GREENSTEEL has the overall objective of contributing to the sustainable decarbonisation of the steel industry, helping to position the EU as a leading provider of low-carbon products, services and advanced technologies in steelmaking.

    In particular, GREENSTEEL aims to develop a technology roadmap and define mid- and long-term pathways for the decarbonisation of the steel industry; analysing funding options; assessing the economic, social, environmental and industrial leadership impacts of EU policy options; and ensuring the dissemination of results and stakeholder engagement. 

    Project website


    Clean steel - infographic

    Synopsis of RFCS projects 2017-2020

    Research Fund for Coal and Steel monitoring and assessment report

    RFCS legal architecture

    RFCS funded projects

    Steel and coal: A new perspective

    European steel: The wind of change

    The future of European steel

    Smart steel


    For general information about the programme, if you have questions or want to share your views please contact us at: