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TOPIC : Microorganism communities for plastics bio-degradation (RIA)

Topic identifier: CE-BIOTEC-05-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Connecting economic and environmental gains - the Circular Economy (CE)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
DeadlineModel:
Planned opening date:
single-stage
16 October 2018
Deadline: 24 April 2019 17:00:00

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

The global market for plastics continues to grow due to their physical properties and benefits such as light weight, reduction of food waste, durability and cost. After being used, plastics should be separated in order to be subject to the most appropriate waste treatment processes. This is increasingly difficult and inefficient due to, for example, consumers' inaccurate identification of the appropriate types of plastics for recycling. Other plastic types, such as polystyrene, can even not be recycled if they have traces of food.

Despite the worldwide efforts for degradation or recycling, large amounts of mixtures of plastics and other polymers end up in landfills or are used for the generation of energy. These methods lead to environmental contamination through the production of CO2 or due to plastics reaching water courses and the sea where they persist and become toxic for the whole food chain. Novel biotechnological approaches should be applied for the sustainable biological degradation of mixtures of recalcitrant and degradable plastics.

Scope:

Proposals will develop environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions for managing the waste of plastics mixtures based on the use of communities of microorganisms with a set of complementary enzymes. The enzymes may be native or engineered using state of the art biotechnologies. The microbial organisms will turn plastic mixtures into chemical constituents facilitating mineralisation, composting of otherwise recalcitrant and toxic polymers and facilitating production of high value products. Polymers such as polystyrene can also be included in the proposals.

Proposals should:

  • produce cocktails of enzymes using communities of microorganisms capable of degrading mixtures of biodegradable and currently non-biodegradable plastics into more basic chemical constituents;
  • use a multidisciplinary approach based on biotechnology;
  • create high value products and valorise mixed plastic waste.

This topic is part of the EU-China flagship initiative on Biotechnology for Environment and Human Health, which will promote substantial coordinated and balanced research and Innovation cooperation between the EU and China. China-based participants have the possibility to apply for funding under the Chinese co-funding mechanism and other Chinese sources[1].

Activities should start at TRL 3 and achieve TRL 5 at the end of the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU up to EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • A combination of microorganisms expressing at least three novel or improved enzymatic activities enabling the degradation of mixtures of plastics;
  • Degradation of at least 20 percent of non-biodegradable plastics found in plastic mixtures. The objective is to include relevant indicators that prove this impact;
  • Identification of the metabolic pathways leading to at least two high added value products that could be sustainably produced in future from plastic mixtures;
  • Description of a sustainable and environmentally friendly pilot system for the degradation of plastic mixtures.

Relevant indicators and metrics, with baseline values, should be clearly stated in the proposal.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation
Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]http://www.nsfc.gov.cn/publish/portal1/

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.

The following exceptions apply:

The threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

Under 3 (a) Proposals are first ranked in separate lists according to the topics against which they were submitted (‘topic ranked lists’). When comparing ex aequo proposals from different topics, proposals having a higher position in their respective 'topic ranked list' will be considered to have a higher priority in the overall ranked list.
Under 3 (b) For all topics and types of action, the prioritisation will be done first on the basis of the score for Impact, and then on that for Excellence.

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.

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
5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) WP 2018-20
5ii. Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology 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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