Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Bringing to market more energy efficient and integrated data centres

Topic identifier: EE-20-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
26 July 2016
Deadline: 19 January 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Updates
  • 13 January 2017 09:34

    From 1 January 2017 Switzerland is associated to the whole Horizon 2020 programme. From that date onwards Swiss participants are automatically eligible for funding and may count towards the minimum number of participants required for a project. For more information please see the relevant Note on the Participant Portal:


  • 27 July 2016 10:30

    Work Programme 2016-17 Revision (European Commission Decision C(2016)4614 of 25 July 2016)

    Call 2017: The single budget line for topics EE-01-2017: Waste heat recovery from urban facilities and re-use to increase energy efficiency of district or individual heating and cooling systems, EE-04-2017: New heating and cooling solutions using low grade sources of thermal energy; and EE-20-2017 Bringing to market more energy efficient and integrated data centres has been divided in 2 separate budget lines. Topics EE-01-2017 and EE-04-2017 have a single budget line of 16.0 EUR million and topic EE-20-2017 has a single budget line of 6.0 EUR million.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Following the increasing demand for cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, dematerialization of documents and other ICT services, the demand for ICT processing is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Data centres should become more energy efficient and should maximise integration of renewable energy sources. Intermittent renewable energy sources need to be combined with energy storage (electricity or cold/heat) to ensure efficient and secure energy management in data centres. In addition, existing and new data centres should be better integrated into the various energy grids (electricity and/or heat) in order to turn their energy use and waste into a benefit for the whole energy system. Previous research activities in this area have identified a wide array of innovative solutions and concepts. However, further research and development activities are needed to bring them to the market. Speeding up the time-to-market of these promising solutions is the main challenge under this topic.


Innovation Actions are needed to increase the energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy sources and integration of data centres in the energy system. Proposals should cover several following areas: innovative and energy efficient cooling solutions, waste heat reuse, geographical and temporal workload balance, integration of local and remote renewable energy sources, integration in smart grids, integration with district heating/cooling networks, integration of power backup system in the grid and use of heat pumps for efficient use of waste heat etc. Proposals should include the development of business models to trade heat, cold, electricity or energy security and storage. Proposals should build upon the results of previous projects such as the ones funded under the FP7-Smartcities Call 2013 (namely RenewIT, DC4Cities, Dolfin, Genic, GreenDataNet, GEYSER). Proposals should focus on new and existing data centres (indicatively from 500 kW to 1 MW IT load).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 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:

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below (wherever possible, use quantified indicators and targets):

  • Bring data centre specific innovative energy efficiency technologies and solutions, already developed by research projects, to market faster and cheaper.
  • Reaching a Power Usage Effectiveness[1] of up to 1.2.
  • Achieve a high share of the data centre energy consumption covered by sustainable energy resources.

[1]Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a measure of how efficiently a computer data centre uses energy; PUE=total facility energy/IT equipment energy

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, India, Japan, 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:

    Innovation Action:
    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template (the call specific templates must be downloaded from the electronic 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:

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Secure, clean and efficient energy
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme 
Additional documents

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