Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Efficient recycling processes for plastic containing materials (IA)

Topic identifier: CE-SPIRE-10-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Connecting economic and environmental gains - the Circular Econonmy (CE)

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
31 October 2017
Deadline: 22 February 2018 17:00:00

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

Plastics materials are produced mainly from raw materials of fossil origin (e.g. PE, PP, and PET). A variety of bio-based plastic materials are increasingly available. Plastic materials are used in a wide range of applications because of their properties, versatility, lightweight and price, for example for making lightweight polymer composites to substitute metals and in more traditional applications, such as packaging. The wide use of these materials results in a huge amount of plastic waste. Recycling and redesign of plastics are essential in reusing plastic waste material and avoiding landfill. This also allows utilising plastics as carbon sinks in an optimal way, before using them for energy recovery at the end of life. A major challenge lies in the development of process technologies, utilising plastic waste as starting material (at least in part). A better use of underexploited resource (plastic waste) for the production of added value products (not restricted to plastics but excluding fuels) and process streams would support the circular economy.


Proposals submitted under this topic are expected to cover processes for the production of recyclable materials containing plastics. Aspects to be considered are:

  • Improved energy and resource efficiency. The processes proposed are expected to have a lower environmental footprint compared to the current state of the art for the production of added value products; this should be proved by Life Cycle Assessment as well as Life Cycle Cost to prove the economic viability of the proposed technology;
  • Integration with the relevant value chains, ensuring the secure supply of the raw material streams. In this respect, a clear strategy to involve the relevant actors along the value chain is expected;
  • Process flexibility and ability to utilise waste heterogeneous plastic materials, including plastic composites, as input to allow the recycling and the re-processing of this widely available resource into added value products (excluding fuels). Sustainable raw materials, such as bio-based raw materials and organic waste could also be considered;
  • Key issues related to the quality of the raw (including secondary) material streams should be covered, and in particular the heterogeneity of the waste plastic material, as well as the wide variety of substances contained in plastic materials (e.g. plasticisers, anti-oxidants, etc.). The valorisation of fillers or fibres from composites should also be covered;
  • Quality/specifications of the yielded streams ensuring their usability by downstream industries;
  • Non-technological hurdles, such as regulations and standards, to enable the prompt deployment in industry of the developed concepts and economic indicators (e.g. CAPEX and OPEX).

Demonstration activities, prototypes and pilot implementations in real industrial settings for the concepts proposed are expected.

Proposals submitted under this topic should include actions designed to facilitate cooperation with other projects; to enhance user involvement; and to ensure the accessibility and reusability of data produced in the course of the project.

Activities should start at TRL 5 and achieve TRL 7 at the end of the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 6 and 8 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:
  • More efficient and sustainable chemical process and processing technologies utilising plastic waste as starting material for the production of added value products such as recyclable plastic materials (e.g. composites) and chemicals but excluding fuels);
  • The technologies proposed should provide a decreased utilisation of primary fossil resources in the process industry of at least 30%;
  • The concepts proposed should provide a decrease in CO2 emissions of at least 20%;
  • The concept should utilise at least 70% of waste material including at least 40% of plastic waste;
  • Effective dissemination of major innovation outcomes to the current next generation of employees of the SPIRE sectors, through the development, by education/training experts, of learning resources with flexible usability. These should be ready to be easily integrated in existing curricula and modules for undergraduate level and lifelong learning programmes.

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

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Contractual Public-Private Partnerships (cPPPs)
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.

The following exceptions apply:

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.

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.

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):

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
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

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.


Additional documents

  • Flash Call Information en

Submission Service

No submission system is open for this topic.

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