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TOPIC : Raw materials policy support actions for the circular economy

Topic identifier: CE-SC5-08-2018-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Connecting economic and environmental gains - the Circular Econonmy (CE)

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
07 November 2017
Deadline: 27 February 2018 17:00:00

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
14 November 2018
Deadline: 19 February 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:

In order to secure the sustainable access to primary and secondary raw materials, including metals, industrial minerals, construction raw materials, wood, and particularly Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) for the EU economy, there is a need to tackle a number of specific non-technological challenges at local, regional, national, EU and global levels.

Illegal shipments of waste, both within the EU and to non-EU countries, and poor recycling have adverse effects on human health and the environment, create unfair competition for law abiding operators and give rise to the loss of valuable resources in the case of poor or no treatment. However, port authorities and enforcement authorities have limited resources to control the ever increasing amount of material shipped and this without blocking normal traffic. In addition, at the moment there is no distinction in customs codes between “new goods” and “second hand goods” which implies that illegal waste shipments are often disguised as “second hand goods”.

Currently, at most only one third of waste wood is recycled, the rest being landfilled or incinerated and there are great differences between Member States in wood recycling performance. Increasing production costs combined with stagnating product prices in recent years have put pressure on the profit margins of the EU woodworking industries, mostly dominated by SMEs. There is a need for higher resource efficiency and increased use of recycled wood in wood processing that can provide measurable improvements in company profitability.

Requirements for responsible sourcing in the raw materials value chain have recently been strengthened in one aspect by the new EU Conflict Minerals legislation. However, the need for the industry to engage in responsible sourcing and responsible business conduct and to perform relevant due diligence goes beyond legislative obligations – it is rooted in the growing expectations of consumers, civil society, governments and procurement managers (buyers). While it is very difficult for individual operators to meet such expectations due to the limited availability of the necessary information, downstream industries increasingly require all operators in their supply chain to address risks by performing due diligence. Responsible sourcing of raw materials is becoming a new business reality; in the short term it may offer a competitive advantage to frontrunners and in the long term, it could become a necessary "license to operate" and, given the global character of today's supply chains, it is also a way to be integrated in global supply chains.


All actions should contribute to building the EU knowledge base of primary and secondary raw materials (EC Raw Materials Information System – RMIS[1]).

In support of the EIP on Raw Materials actions should envisage clustering activities with other relevant selected projects for cross-projects co-operation, consultations and joint activities on cross-cutting issues and share of results as well as participating in joint meetings and communication events. To this end proposals should foresee a dedicated work package and/or task, and earmark the appropriate resources accordingly.

Actions should address only one of the following sub-topics[2]:

a) Voluntary scheme for certification of treatment facilities for key types of wastes (2018): Actions should develop and launch a voluntary scheme for certification – including verification – of treatment facilities for key types of waste/recyclates containing significant amounts of critical raw materials (e.g. electronic waste and/or waste batteries). The scheme should integrate measurable and verifiable minimum quality standards and a verification procedure based on traceability through the supply chain from collection to end-processing. Participation of relevant stakeholders – including waste holders, dealers, brokers and operators of treatment facilities – from the conception phase of the scheme should be ensured. Full compliance with applicable WTO rules and with the rules and principles of the Basel Convention should be ensured, and existing certification schemes for waste should be taken into account.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged.

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

b) Resource efficiency in wood processing, recovery and recycling (2018): Actions should identify, assess and document existing practices in a representative set of EU Member States/Associated Countries and possibly third countries, and create a network to widely disseminate and transfer good practices covering both issues: resource-efficient wood processing and wood waste recycling. Resource-efficient wood processing in the woodworking sector should improve companies' operational performance and hence the EU sector's overall competitiveness. Quality-oriented and cost-efficient wood waste collection systems, sorting and recycling, and design solutions should facilitate increased wood recycling together with increased product quality and market acceptance of recovered wood in new products. Involvement of relevant stakeholders across value chains is necessary, including wood processing industries, research & innovation institutes, woodworking products end-users, municipalities and other parties dealing with wood waste collection, sorting and recycling. Actions should also assess trade-offs between wood waste use for material and energy. This assessment should be based on life cycle analysis and all sustainability pillars, and consider impacts on sustainable forest operations and ecosystems integrity (for all major EU forest regions) and impacts of intra-EU trade[3]. Proposals should include the participation of industrial SMEs, as far as possible.

The Commission considers that for this sub-topic, proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to 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.

c) Responsible sourcing of raw materials in global value chains (2019): Actions should create a global business and stakeholder platform for exchange of information and the promotion of responsible sourcing and responsible business conduct involving a network of key international experts and stakeholders. The aim is to engage governmental and corporate partners from the EU/Associated Countries and third countries in developing a globally acceptable concept of a responsible sourcing in minerals and metals value chains.

The platform should develop ideas for creating incentives for responsible sourcing in raw materials value chains, strengthen EU outreach to third countries to promote the concept in intergovernmental forums and to establish responsible sourcing in EU business practice. Interaction with other related existing platforms, networks and initiatives is encouraged. Actions should consider the relevant aspects related to environmental sustainability.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged, particularly with partners from advanced countries using raw materials[2].

The Commission considers that for this sub-topic, proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to 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.

Expected Impact:

The project results are expected to contribute to:

sub-topic a)

  • achieving the objectives and the implementation of both the Raw Materials Initiative[5] and the EIP on Raw Materials, in particular in terms of strengthening the enforcement of the Waste Shipment Regulation and improving access to critical raw materials (CRMs);
  • increased recovery rates in the EU as regards key types of waste/recyclates containing significant amounts of CRMs;
  • in the longer term, reduced EU dependency on imports of CRMs;
  • creating added value and new jobs in metallurgy, equipment manufacturing and/or downstream industries;
  • improving the environmental (control of emissions, residues, effluents), health and safety performance of operations throughout the whole life cycle;

sub-topic b)

  • achieving the objectives and the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy[6], Circular Economy Action Plan and the EIP on Raw Materials on resource-efficient use of resources;
  • improving knowledge and conditions for efficient wood processing when compared to the state of the art, resulting in increased competitiveness of the EU woodworking industries;
  • increased wood waste recycling across the EU (including from furniture, construction and demolition, packaging, household) and increased acceptance in the use of secondary wood;
  • better informed decision-making at EU, national and local levels in the private and public sectors on wood recycling and resource efficiency; and improved knowledge of EU stakeholders about proposed solutions, including authorities involved in wood recycling;
  • in the medium and long term, creating added value and new jobs and increasing the overall competitiveness of the EU woodworking industries and related value-chains through an uptake of resource-, water- and energy-efficient solutions;

sub-topic c)

  • achieving the objectives of both the Raw Materials Initiative[5] and the EIP on Raw Materials in terms of the access and responsible sourcing of raw materials;
  • improved awareness of consumers/corporates and improved perception of responsible sourcing as a source of competitive advantage through more responsible sourcing and responsible business conduct initiatives with regards to raw materials;
  • increased visibility of responsible sourcing in global political agenda-setting and emergence of a globally accepted definition of responsible sourcing.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation
International cooperation
Socio-economic science and humanities


[2]Proposals should pay attention to the specific call conditions for this topic

[3]For example, country grouping applied by Forest Europe or other equivalent methodology

[4]Proposals should pay attention to the specific call conditions for this topic




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.

Specific eligibility and admissibility conditions apply to this topic: 

In addition to the minimum number of participants set out in the General Annexes, proposals addressing sub-topic c) shall include at least one participant from third countries.

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.

Specific evaluation procedure apply to this topic:

Grants will be awarded to proposals according to the ranking list. However, in order to ensure a balanced portfolio of supported actions, at least the highest-ranked proposal per sub-topic will be funded provided that it attains all thresholds.

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):

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Proposal templates are available after entering the submission tool below.
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
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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Type of Action Coordination & support action [CSA]
Topic Raw materials policy support actions for the circular economy - CE-SC5-08-2018-2019-2020
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