Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) aspects of the Clean-Energy Transition

Topic identifier: LC-SC3-CC-1-2018-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
07 May 2019
Deadline: 27 August 2019 17:00:00

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
15 May 2018
Deadline: 06 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Secure, clean and efficient energy
Topic Updates
  • 20 December 2018 10:34

    Please note that the latest information on results (Flash Call Info)  for topics  LC-SC3-NZE-1-2018,CE-SC3-NZE-2-2018,LC-SC3-NZE-3-2018,LC-SC3-CC-1-2018-2019-2020,LC-SC3-CC-2-2018,LC-SC3-CC-5-2018,LC-SC3-CC-6-2018

    can be found in the "Additional Documents" section of the relevant topics.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The clean-energy transition doesn't just pose technological and scientific challenges; it also requires a better understanding of cross-cutting issues related to socioeconomic, gender, sociocultural, and socio-political issues. Addressing these issues will help to devise more effective ways of involving citizens and to better understand energy-related views and attitudes, ultimately leading to greater social acceptability as well as more durable governance arrangements and socioeconomic benefits.


In 2018, proposals should be submitted under the theme "Social innovation in the energy sector" and in 2019 under the theme "Challenges facing carbon-intensive regions". They should address one or several of the questions listed under the respective sub-topics below. All proposals should adopt a comparative perspective, with case studies or data from at least three European Union Member States or Associated Countries.


Social innovation[1] in the energy sector: The energy transition has given rise to various forms of social innovation, such as the emergence of energy cooperatives or that of energy "prosumers" consuming but also producing energy. Urban areas have emerged as major hubs for these trends, given the close proximity between citizens, businesses and institutions, facilitating linkages between sectors and the emergence of new business and service models, as well as associated governance arrangements. These issues need to be studied in more detail, with a particular focus on the following questions:

  • What characterizes successful examples of social innovation in the energy sector?
  • What enabling conditions facilitate social innovation in the energy sector and how can it be encouraged? What factors work against it?
  • In what way does social innovation contribute to the preservation of livelihoods and the development of new business and service models in the energy sector?
  • In what way does social innovation contribute to making energy more secure, sustainable and affordable? Does social innovation lead to greater competitiveness and if so, how?
  • Under what conditions does social innovation lead to greater acceptance of the transition towards a low-carbon energy system?


Challenges facing carbon-intensive regions: The transition to a low-carbon energy system and economy poses particular challenges for regions that are still heavily dependent on fossil-fuel-based industries or the extraction of fossil fuels themselves ("coal and carbon-intensive regions"). At the same time, this transition offers major opportunities for developing new lines of business and for increasing the competitiveness of structurally weak regions. Focusing on the past 5-10 years up to the present, particular attention should be focused on the following issues:

  • What are the principal socio-economic challenges facing coal and carbon-intensive regions today and what effect have these had on livelihoods and the sustainability of local and regional economies?
  • What coping strategies have emerged in recent years? What are the principal differences between regions that are coping well and those that are not?
  • To what extent have coal and carbon-intensive regions experienced outward migration in recent years and in what way has this affected their social and demographic composition?
  • What effect, if any, have these changes had on the rise of populism and of anti-democratic attitudes in the regions concerned?

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

The proposed research will:

  • provide a better understanding of socioeconomic, gender, sociocultural, and socio-political factors and their interrelations with technological, regulatory, and investment-related aspects, in support of the goals of the Energy Union and particularly its research and innovation pillar;[2]
  • yield practical recommendations for using the potential of social innovation to further the goals of the Energy Union, namely, to make Europe's energy system more secure, sustainable, competitive, and affordable for Europe's citizens;
  • yield practical recommendations for addressing the challenges of the clean-energy transition for Europe's coal and carbon-intensive regions, including socioeconomic and political ones.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
International cooperation

[1]Social innovations are defined "as new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations. In other words they are innovations that are not only good for society but also enhance society’s capacity to act. See, Empowering people, driving change, Bureau of European Advisers (BEPA), Brussels (2011), p. 33.

[2]As expressed in the "Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation" Communication (COM [2016] 763)

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.

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.

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):

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.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy 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.


Additional documents

  • Flash Call Info en

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