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TOPIC : Preparatory Actions for new FET Flagships

Topic identifier: FETFLAG-01-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
31 October 2017
2nd stage Deadline:
20 February 2018 17:00:00
18 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Excellent Science
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Future and Emerging Technologies
Topic Updates
  • 03 December 2018 17:54

    CALL RESULTS -  SECOND STAGE OF Topic  FETFLAG-01-2018 - call H2020-FETFLAG-2018-2020

    Published: 27 October 2017
    Deadline of the second stage: 18 September 2018 17:00:00
    Available budget: EUR 6 Million

    In accordance with General Annex H of the Work Programme, the evaluation of the second-stage proposals was made looking at the criteria ‘excellence’, ‘impact’ and 'quality and efficiency of the implementation'. The threshold for the excellent and impact criteria was 4 and for the 'quality and efficiency of the implementation' criterion was 3.

    Topic: FETFLAG-01-2018 (stage 2)
    Topic Short name: Preparatory Actions for new FET Flagships
    Overall Threshold :10
    The results of the evaluation of the second stage of this call are as follow:
    Number of proposals submitted (including proposals transferred from or to other calls):16 of the 17 successful proposals from stage 1 were submitted to stage 2.
    Number of inadmissible proposals: 0 
    Number of ineligible proposals: 0
    Number of above-threshold proposals: 12

    Total budget requested for above-threshold proposals: 11.968.043, 75€

    We recently informed the applicants about the evaluation results for their proposals.
    For questions, please contact the
       Research Enquiry Service

  • 31 May 2018 16:41

    An overview of the evaluation results (called 'Call Flash Info') of the topic FETFLAG-01-2018 call is now available under the section Topic conditions and documents - additional documents.

    As foreseen in the work programme with regards to two stage calls, the 17 proposals invited for stage 2 in this call ensures a reasonable success rate (around 1:3) for stage 2. 
    Based on the assessment of the proposals submitted to this call and positively evaluated in stage 1, the Commission recommends for stage 2:
    • To clearly explain the technical progress that needs to be made and the bottlenecks that have to be resolved in order to achieve the envisaged impact;
    • To clearly describe how the proposed Flagship would be integrated into the European research ecosystem.

    Applicants are also reminded that for stage 2:
    • A specific template for stage 2 proposal is available on the call page;
    • The page limit for CSA is 50 pages for the first three sections of the technical annex (see work programme and proposal template for details);
    • The stage 2 proposal will be assessed on all aspects of the three evaluation criteria (excellence, impact and implementation).

  • 26 February 2018 10:13

    A total of 33 proposals were submitted in response to this call

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

FET Flagships are science- and technology-driven, large-scale, multidisciplinary research initiatives built around a visionary unifying goal. They tackle grand science and technology (S&T) challenges requiring cooperation among a range of disciplines, communities and programmes. FET Flagships should provide a strong and broad basis for future innovation and economic exploitation, as well as novel benefits for society of a potential high impact. The overarching nature and magnitude implies that they can only be realised through a collaborative, long-term sustained cooperation effort. This topic aims at launching Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) to prepare new candidate FET Flagships.


Proposals should contain a description of a potential FET Flagship and how this is to be matured over the course of the preparatory action into a more complete blueprint.

Firstly, proposals should describe the FET Flagship initiative they propose to further develop through this preparatory action, by specifically addressing the following three key issues:

  • What makes this a FET Flagship: what is the unifying goal, the grand S&T challenge and the underlying vision; why is this a grand challenge and what makes it a "game-changer"; what are its main goals and objectives; and what are the technologies, including digital technologies, that it would advance.
  • Impact (why it is good for Europe): will it bring major impact on economy and society as well as on science and technology; why and how is it relevant for the European industry; how does it build on existing scientific excellence in Europe; what is its innovation potential that would benefit Europe's economy and/or society; how would it uniquely position Europe with respect to relevant developments and initiatives existing in other regions in the world.
  • Integration and European added value: is it well positioned to address its grand S&T challenge in terms of large-scale integration across disciplines and the involvement of relevant stakeholders from academia, industry and society at large; does critical mass in terms of research excellence and industrial capabilities exist in Europe needed to address the challenge; what is the estimated scale of the effort required to reach the objectives and how long will it take to do so; and, are there similar initiatives existing at regional, national or European level and what is the added value of such an effort.

Secondly, proposals should describe how the activities of the preparatory action will involve stakeholders over the course of up to 12 months (indicative), to arrive at a complete design and description of a candidate FET Flagship initiative. Specifically, they should describe the proposed activities for further developing the Flagship's unifying goal and its underlying S&T roadmap; attracting industry's endorsement and participation; further developing their consortium and its governance structure and attracting large public support.

Proposals should consider multidisciplinary aspects, including where relevant social sciences and humanities. They must also describe a clear strategy for dissemination and citizen engagement; and, in close cooperation with other proposals for preparatory actions that will be selected from this call, jointly organise and participate in an event addressing stakeholders including scientific communities, policy makers and the wider public and aiming at disseminating the main objectives and findings of the actions.

At the end of the action, the design and description of the candidate Flagship should include the following elements:

  • A consolidated vision based on a well-defined unifying goal articulated in terms of S&T objectives and of its targeted impact on economy and society.
  • A strategic long-term research roadmap, showing how the unifying goal can be realised and what the major milestones are, situating the Flagship in the global landscape and demonstrating a credible path towards societal impact, technology development, innovation and exploitation.
  • A blueprint for the Flagship's implementation setting out the overall collaboration and S&T framework, the identification of necessary competencies and resources including infrastructure aspects, and openness of the initiative.
  • An effective scientific leadership and governance structure based on lessons learned from the present Flagships, describing the coordination and decision-making structures of the Flagship, the role of industry and the relations with Member States and countries associated with Horizon 2020, with the Commission and with the relevant funding agencies and national research initiatives.
  • Support from and involvement of industry, giving a view on avenues for exploitation and further strengthening of European industry in the global landscape, including stimulating the emergence and growth of innovative value chains.
  • An approach to address responsible research and innovation, in particular aspects such as education, gender aspects and societal, ethical and legal implications.

Proposals for candidate FET Flagships must target a visionary unifying goal within one of the following three main areas: ICT and Connected Society; Health and Life Sciences; or Energy, Environment and Climate change. They should present a multidisciplinary approach that brings together the relevant communities to address their unifying goal. Proposals must clearly specify which of the three areas they target. In each of these areas at least one and at most two proposals for Flagship preparatory actions will be selected for funding.

(1) ICT and Connected Society

The proposal should address any of the following sub-areas in part or in whole:

  • Smart Materials and Nanoscale Engineering: Novel nano-engineered materials and systems with properties enabling the design and manufacturing of radically new ICT components and devices creating disruptive technologies and market opportunities, for example in energy efficiency, data processing, smart manufacturing, smart interfaces, nano-bio devices, etc.
  • Robotics, Interfaces and Artificial Intelligence: a new generation of robotics technologies including soft and flexible robotics, bio-inspired robotics, new approaches to human-machine interaction and cooperation, cognition and artificial intelligence, giving rise to much smarter systems performing sophisticated functions opening radically new opportunities to address societal and economic challenges.
  • ICT for Social Interaction and Culture: new ICT technologies and approaches for empowering deep social interactions across diverse cultures, languages, goals, values, etc.; for understanding large-scale complex socio-technical systems and their interactions, interdependencies and evolutions and avenues for exploiting this understanding; and/or for collecting, preserving, studying and promoting Europe's unique cultural heritage and exploiting these to achieve major societal or economic benefits.

(2) Health and the Life Sciences

The proposal should address any of the following sub-areas in part or in whole:

  • Disruptive technologies to Revolutionise Healthcare: New technologies and approaches aiming at a paradigm shift in the field of individualised prevention, prediction and treatment of diseases. This includes among others bioinformatics and modelling approaches to use patients' genetic expression patterns, metabolism and derived systems; novel and innovative nano-medicine approaches (e.g. technologies for novel sensors and imaging, organ-on-a-chip and bio-electronic medicine, drug delivery, …); network medicine; neuro-prosthetic technologies; regenerative medicine and biofabrication techniques to reprogram or replace human cells, tissues and whole organs and to integrate these in functioning body systems.
  • Understanding Life by Exploring the Genome and the Cell: Novel technologies and approaches that enable a paradigm shift in studying and understanding the foundational building blocks of life, for example the functioning of the cell, and of cells within organisms, including structure and dynamics, and the full multi-omics (genome/epigenome/proteome/metabolome/connectome etc.) and their interactions. This will open up radically new opportunities such as developing novel nano-bio devices and technologies, advanced screening methods and analytical and morphological technologies, advanced therapies and contribute to the understanding of biological processes and pathological mechanisms.

(3) Energy, Environment and Climate change

The proposal should address any of the following sub-areas in part or in whole:

  • Earth, Climate Change and Natural Resources: New technologies and approaches for high-precision modelling and simulation, including the necessary data integration, that enable an in-depth understanding of the earth, natural hazards and climate change. Their exploitation and use should open up new opportunities for helping to manage/mitigate their effects and impacts on human activity and natural resources in a sustainable way in specific areas such as: agriculture (ensuring food security and sustainable farming), forestry, fisheries, protecting/restoring natural ecosystems, energy supply and demand, etc.
  • Radically new Energy Production, Conversion and Storage devices and systems: Disruptive technologies aiming at a paradigm shift in renewable energy by exploring and exploiting radically new principles and novel materials that can substantially reduce Europe's dependence on fossil fuels and open new industrial opportunities for their exploitation and sustainable development.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1 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:

For the CSA:

  • Fully developed candidate FET Flagship initiatives supported by key stakeholders (e.g., academic research communities, industry, public authorities …).

For the proposed Flagships:

  • Key benefits for economy and society based on significant advances on science and technology. This should be demonstrated by e.g. potential for S&T breakthroughs, industrial support, added value for Europe, potential for increasing European competitiveness, potential for societal benefits, etc.
  • Long-lasting structuring effect on research efforts in Europe, anchor point for international cooperation and the nurturing of talent through the training of a new generation of researchers.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Blue Growth

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. "European Innovation Council (EIC)".


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.

This evaluation will be done in two stages. The proposal for the first stage is maximum 20 pages (part B, only sections 1 and 2 are required at stage 1) and should address the questions what makes this a FET Flagship, what will be the impact on European economy and society, and what is the European added value, following the instructions in the template provided. Only proposals that pass stage 1 will be invited to submit a full proposal.

For the evaluation of the first-stage proposals, only the criteria ‘excellence’ and ‘impact’ will be evaluated and, within these criteria, only the aspects in bold will be considered.


  • Degree of adherence to the FET Flagship concept as specified in the work programme
  • Soundness of the proposed Flagship's vision, scientific concept, quality and pertinence of the objectives and of its targeted technologies and progress beyond the state-of-the-art
  • Existence of excellence and critical mass in Europe to reach the Flagship goals in the long term and extent to which these are considered in the proposed Flagship

Threshold: 4/5


Contributions to the impacts listed under this topic in the work programme:

  • Key benefits for economy and society based on significant advances on science and technology. This should be demonstrated by e.g. potential for S&T breakthroughs, industrial support, added value for Europe, potential for increasing European competitiveness, potential for societal benefits, etc.
  • Long-lasting structuring effect on research efforts in Europe, anchor point for international cooperation and the nurturing of talent through the training of a new generation of researchers.
  • Extent to which the proposed Flagship creates EU added value by making use of complementarities and exploiting synergies, and enhances the overall outcome of regional, national, European and international research programmes.
  • Contribution of the proposed CSA to a fully developed candidate FET Flagship initiative supported by key stakeholders (e.g., academic research communities, industry, public authorities …).
  • Quality of the proposed CSA approach to disseminate the project results, and to attract large public support

Threshold: 4/5

Quality and efficiency of the implementation

  • Quality and effectiveness of the methodology, work plan, and coordination activities of the proposed CSA(including milestones, metrics to monitor progress, and deliverables)
  • Quality and effectiveness of the approach to engage with relevant research initiatives in the Member States and countries associated with Horizon 2020, industry and interdisciplinary research communities, as well as initiatives at European level
  • Appropriateness of the proposed CSA management structures and procedures, including risk management
  • Quality of the Consortium as a whole, including complementarity of the participants and extent to which the consortium as whole brings together the necessary expertise to carry out the tasks foreseen in the CSA
  • Appropriateness of the allocation of tasks and resources, ensuring that all participants have a valid role and adequate resources in the CSA project to fulfil that role

Threshold: 3/5

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: 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 for the second stage of this two stage submission procedure can be accessed via this link
Specific evaluation form will be foreseen for this topic, based on the specific evaluation criteria, scoring and threshold provided in the Work Programme.

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
2. Future and Emerging Technologies (FETs) WP 2018-20
3. 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

Additional documents

  • Call Flash Info en

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