Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Innovative and sustainable materials solutions for the substitution of critical raw materials in the electric power system

Topic identifier: NMBP-03-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
15 October 2015
2nd stage Deadline:
08 December 2015 17:00:00
24 May 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The ambition of the European Union to achieve a secure, competitive and sustainable energy system by 2050 has become a priority. The electric power system will play a pivotal role in the overall energy mix, with particular challenges to achieve a balance between electricity supply, conversion, transport and use of energy. Critical raw materials[1] (CRM) can become a bottleneck to the supply-chain of the different technologies used in the electric power system with implications for materials demand under different scenarios described in the EU Energy Roadmap 2050.

Even if recycling rates for some of these materials could be optimised to the highest possible extent, the overall increasing demand for CRM urges the roll-out of substitution-based solutions within the next decade.

This specific challenge is covered by the Priority Area “Substitution of raw materials” of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials.


Proposals should deliver innovative, sustainable and cost effective materials solutions for the substitution of (i) heavy rare earth elements used in permanent magnets; and/or (ii) CRM used in energy storage applications; and/or (iii) CRM used in catalysts for applications to generate electricity; and/or (iv) CRM in materials used in photovoltaic cells. Substitution of CRM in electronics or lighting applications is excluded.

In order to ensure the industrial relevance and impact of the research efforts, the cost effectiveness and commercial exploitation potential of the proposed solutions compared to state-of-the-art solutions currently available on the market should be convincingly assessed in the proposal. The sustainability of the materials solutions should be analysed through a life-cycle assessment. Recycling/reuse should be addressed.

Where relevant, proposals should contribute to the "Expert network on critical raw materials". Refer to the part on 'Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials' of this Work Programme, topic SC5-15a-2016.

The implementation of this topic is intended to start at TRL 3 and target TRL 5.

In line with the objectives of the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation according to the current rules of participation is encouraged, in particular with Japan[2]. The quality of the international cooperation will be reflected in the evaluation of the proposal, under the criteria 'Excellence' and 'Impact'.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 5 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:
  • A strongly reduced or completely eliminated CRM content in the proposed solution(s) while keeping up or improving the materials performance levels as specified in the relevant parts of the SET-Plan Integrated Roadmap and its Annexes, available at
  • A risk mitigation strategy from future bottlenecks in the material supply-chain of energy technologies used in the electric power system;
  • Contribute to achieving the objectives of the EIP on Raw Materials, In particular, a substantial contribution to the demonstration of substitutes in targeted applications of critical raw materials.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation

[1]The 2014 revision of the list of critical raw materials for the EU can be found at

[2]Co-funding opportunities from the Japan Science and Technology Agency exist for Japanese partners. For more information, please consult

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

    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).
    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.


    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme , with the following exceptions:

    For single-stage and second-stage evaluations, 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.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except that proposals will be ranked on the basis of individual scores for the Impact criterion before the Excellence criterion.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except, when comparing ex aequo proposals of different topics, the proposals will be ranked first according to the position in the topic ranked lists

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

    Information on the outcome of two-stage evaluation:
          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.

    for the type of action under this topic

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

    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.

    must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 

    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.

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Cross-cutting activities (Focus Areas)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes


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