Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : ERA-NET Co-Fund Enhanced cooperation in Digitalisation of Energy Systems and Networks

Topic identifier: LC-SC3-ES-9-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: ERA-NET-Cofund ERA-NET Cofund
Opening date:
14 November 2018
Deadline: 27 August 2019 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 Description
Specific Challenge:

Beyond direct efficiency gains and cost savings, digitalization holds the potential to catalyse fundamental, system-wide changes in Energy Systems and Networks. As digitalisation advances, a highly and cross-sectoral interconnected system of energy systems and infrastructures can emerge, with increasing opportunities for integration of renewables and efficient energy management. Electricity is likely to be the first energy sector impacted, digitisation enabling stronger connections to the heating and cooling sector, in particular in buildings and the mobility sector.

Digitalisation can also foster enhanced the participation of stakeholders in local, regional and European value chains. Local communities and prosumers may gradually begin to leverage the opportunities for their involvement in energy communities and energy transactions and boost European innovation and businesses.

In order to achieve this, energy stakeholders must work hand in hand with highly innovative newcomers and lateral thinkers that have a “digital mindset” (e.g.: the block chain community) and also integrate the know-how and experience from other sectors. The approach should also engage potential customers such as infrastructure operators, local industries or communities and end-users in value chains from the local and regional up to the European and global levels.

Therefore, support is needed for the development of future digital platforms, applications and business which maximize benefits for European citizens while incentivising a sustainable, secure and resilient energy system where data protection is guaranteed. Coordinated transnational Research, Demonstration and Innovation actions has the potential to make a large impact.


Proposals should coordinate national (or regional) energy and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) research, demonstration and innovation programs and pool the necessary financial resources with a view to implementing joint calls for proposals resulting in grants to third parties with EU co-funding in this area.

The scope of activities should include

  • The establishment of transnational innovation ecosystems for technology, systems and services that support designing, implementing and testing technical and business services for the future energy systems, building on available ICT platforms and tools; these should enable the participation of SME's and start-ups and develop scalable, customizable and replicable solutions applicable from local through interregional and up to global level.
  • The coordination and linking of living labs[1] that facilitate the development and testing of prototypes, bringing innovative solutions from TRL4 (proof of concept) to TRL7. This shall enable the sharing of development and test facilities, allowing testing with hundreds of nodes representing real life operating conditions including failures, behaviour and misuse of the solution, as well as gaining experiences for the design of new market and business models.
  • Connect networks of procurers in different countries and regions, which gather potential buyers and users of the solutions at an early stage, in order to help to understand the needs and requirements for more and more software dominated solutions.
  • Activities to connect start-ups and investors to reflect on market driven applications.
  • Establish methodologies and transnational process chains in conformance with European standards, such as SGAM/M490 and ISO/TR 28380, to implement and achieve interoperability of electronic data exchanges in heterogeneous energy-related ICT systems.
  • Coordinate their work with NRA's, ENTSO-E, the DSO organisations and other stakeholders and take into account, build on, and work with Digitisation of Energy projects, funded under the following topics:
    1. LC-SC3-ES-5-2018-2020: TSO – DSO – Consumer: Large-scale demonstrations of innovative grid services through demand response, storage and small-scale (RES) generation
    2. DT-ICT-11-2019: Big data solutions for energy;
    3. DT-ICT-10-2018: Interoperable and smart homes and grids;
    4. SU-DS04-2018-2020: Cybersecurity in the Electrical Power and Energy System (EPES): an armour against cyber and privacy attacks;
    5. LC-SC3-EE-13-2018-2019-2020: Enabling next-generation of smart energy services valorising energy efficiency and flexibility at demand-side as energy resource.

Proposals should make use of state of the art innovation methodology (such as co-creation, design thinking, policy lab) to the community of solution designers to ensure high quality and highly dynamic communication between involved stakeholder groups. Proposals should include the set-up of a knowledge platform and promote transnational mutual learning.

Requirements in terms of funding rates for the ERA-NET Co-fund instrument can be found in the General Annexes of the work programme.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution in the range of EUR 10 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:

Overall, proposals are expected to enhance the collaboration of regional and national ICT and energy programs and their stakeholder communities, to leverage associated research and innovation / development funds and existing tools and outcomes from former European initiatives like e.g. the Internet of Energy projects FINSENY[2] and FINESCE[3] and contribute to the objectives of SET-Plan Action 4 on 'Increasing the resilience and security of the energy system'[4]. Proposals should also contribute to develop need driven implementation environments on regional and local levels.

More specifically, proposals are expected to:

  • Accelerate the development of transnational innovation ecosystems, promote the engagement of innovative SME's and start-ups in digital energy systems and solutions, contribute to create new business opportunities, growth and jobs in European regions;
  • Foster the emergence of transnational initiatives and living labs, rationalise the use of test facilities, produce robust approaches to the use of digital systems;
  • Activate networks of procurers so as to reach the critical mass needed to develop global solutions that can be customised to local / regional needs;
  • Emulate local innovation forces and close to market thinking of start-ups and investors;
  • Promote the development of interoperable solutions enabling wider impact and use of applications, systems and services.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

This activity directly aimed at supporting public-public partnerships with Member States and associated countries, technology platforms with industrial partners and earth observation networksis excluded from the delegation to INEA and will be implemented by the Commission services.

Cross-cutting Priorities:


[1]A living lab is a user-centered, open-innovation ecosystem often operating in a territorial context (e.g. city, agglomeration, region), integrating concurrent research and innovation processes (co-creation), potentially relying on a public-private-people partnership.




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.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

ERA-NET Cofund:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
MGA ERA-NET Cofund - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement
Thematic clusters of previous ERA-NET projects
Practical guidance how to organise ERA-NET joint calls

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
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

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To access the Electronic Sumission Service, please click on the submission-button next to the type of action that corresponds to your proposal. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation, you will be linked to the correct entry point.

To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action ERA-NET Cofund [ERA-NET-Cofund]
Topic ERA-NET Co-Fund Enhanced cooperation in Digitalisation of Energy Systems and Networks - LC-SC3-ES-9-2019
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