Call for proposals 2021 - A Digitised, Resource-Efficient And Resilient Industry 2021 HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01 Open!

Objectives

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following expected impact of Cluster 4:

  • Industrial leadership and increased autonomy in key strategic value chains with security of supply in raw materials, achieved through breakthrough technologies in areas of industrial alliances, dynamic industrial innovation ecosystems and advanced solutions for substitution, resource and energy efficiency, effective reuse and recycling and clean primary production of raw materials, including critical raw materials, and leadership in the circular economy.

The COVID-19 crisis has shown that global competitiveness and resilience are two sides of the same coin[[Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021 (COM/2020/575 final)

]]. Resilience is about more than the ability to withstand and cope with shocks; it is an opportunity to undergo transitions in a sustainable and fair way. As the EU gears up to becoming a climate-neutral, circular and competitive economy by 2050, resilience will require paying attention to new vulnerabilities as entire sectors undergo deep transformations while creating opportunities for Europe’s industry to develop its own markets, products and services which boost competitiveness.

Research and innovation will be fundamental to spur industrial leadership and enhanced resilience. It will support the modernisation of traditional industrial models while developing novel technologies, business models and processes. This can enhance the flexibility of the EU’s industrial base, and increase its resilience by reducing EU dependencies on third countries for critical raw materials and technologies.

In the first Work Programme, topics under Destination 2 ‘Increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilient industry’ will tackle missing segments in strategic areas and value chains, to strengthen the EU’s industrial base and boost its competitiveness and open strategic autonomy. In addition, it will explore how increased circularity has the potential to increase the open strategic autonomy of EU industry through the more efficient use of resources and secondary raw materials.

This will be achieved through R&I activities focusing on four areas key for the resilience of EU industry:

  • Raw materials: The EU is highly dependent on a few third countries for the (critical) raw materials it needs for strategic value chains (including e-mobility, batteries, renewable energies, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, dual-use and digital applications). In a context where demand is set to increase[[ For example, demand for rare earths used in permanent magnets, e.g. for electric vehicles, digital technologies or wind generators, could increase tenfold by 2050. See the Commission Communication “Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability”, COM(2020) 474 final.]], these will remain, more than ever, a vital prerequisite for both Europe’s open strategic autonomy and a successful transition to a climate-neutral and circular economy. Responding to the Critical Raw Materials action plan R&I activities will tackle the vulnerabilities in the entire EU raw materials value chain, from sustainable and responsible exploration, extraction, processing, recycling, contributing to building the EU knowledge base of primary and secondary raw materials and ensuring secure, sustainable and responsible access to (critical) raw materials.
  • Advanced materials that are sustainable by design are needed to meet the challenges of climate neutrality, transition to a circular economy and a zero-pollution Europe, as well as broader benefits in many different applications. While chemical and related materials production is expected to double globally by 2030, this will largely take place outside Europe[[By 2030, China will likely account for more than half of global production, the EU and US for only one quarter of production (Mid-Century Vision report, Cefic, 2019, and International Energy Agency)]]. To overcome its reliance on imports of basic chemicals and related materials, Europe needs to strengthen its capacity to produce and use chemicals in a sustainable and competitive way. In addition, it is necessary to continue work on an ecosystem, based on open innovation test beds (OITBs), which enables the rapid development, uptake and commercialisation of advanced materials. All actions should be guided by sustainable-by-design principles, i.e. environmental and health safety, circularity and functionality.
  • Circular value chains: to complement the circular technologies in Destination 1, further technological and non-technological elements (such as business models and the traceability of products) are necessary in the transition to novel low-emission and circular industrial value chains.
  • Preparedness of businesses/smes/startups: European companies, and in particular SMEs, have shown a chronic lagging behind the US and China in the uptake of new, and especially digital, technologies.[[ See ATI reports from US and China about technology performance: China:https://ati.ec.europa.eu/reports/international-reports/report-china-technological-capacities-and-key-policy-measures; and US: https://ati.ec.europa.eu/reports/international-reports/report-united-states-america-technological-capacities-and-key-policy ]]

To achieve these wider effects, unprecedented investments in re- and upskilling are central to supporting the green and digital transitions, enhancing innovation and growth potential, fostering economic and social resilience and ensuring quality employment and social inclusion. This is why activities planned under Destination 6 “A human-centred and ethical development of digital and industrial technologies” will also contribute to the objectives of a more resilient industrial base. Further, as industrial leadership and resilience are two sides of the same coin, activities targeting industrial leadership are a key factor in the EU’s long-term industrial resilience. This is why activities supported under Destination 1 ‘Climate neutral, circular and digitised production’ and Destination 3 ‘World leading data and computing technologies’ that further ensure Europe’s productivity growth and competitiveness are also key to safeguarding its open strategic autonomy and resilience.

In addition, activities beyond R&I investments will be needed, in particular in terms of synergies with the European Innovation Council and Pillar III of Horizon Europe given the strong role of SMEs in the development of the innovations planned. Synergies will also be sought to access blended funding and finance from other EU programmes notably under InvestEU; testing and deployment activities under the Digital Europe Programme (DEP); links to the EIT (Raw Materials and Digital KICs); links with the Single Market programme to promote entrepreneurship and the creation and growth of companies and links to the thematic smart specialisation platform on industrial modernisation.

In line with the European Green Deal objectives, research and innovation activities should comply with the ‘do no significant harm’ principle[[as per Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 2020/852 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (EU Taxonomy Regulation)]]. Compliance needs to be assessed both for activities carried out during the course of the project as well as the expected life cycle impact of the innovation at a commercialisation stage (where relevant). The robustness of the compliance must be customised to the envisaged TRL of the project. In this regard, the potential harm of Innovation Actions contributing to the European Green Deal will be monitored throughout the project duration.

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilience industry, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:

  • Resilient, sustainable and secure (critical) raw materials value chains for EU industrial ecosystems, in support of the twin green and digital transformations.
  • New sustainable-by-design materials with enhanced functionalities and applications in a wide range of industrial processes and consumer products.
  • Leadership in producing materials that provide solutions for clean, toxic/pollutant free environment, decarbonising industry, and safeguarding civil infrastructures.
  • Leadership in circular economy that strengthens cross-sectorial cooperation along the value chain and enable SMEs to transform their activities and business models.
  • Increased adoption of key digital and enabling technologies in industrial value chains and strategic sectors, paying particular attention to SMEs and start-ups.

Much of the research and innovation supported under this Destination may serve as a cradle for the New European Bauhaus: this is about designing sustainable ways of living, situated at the crossroads between art, culture, social inclusion, science and technology. This includes R&I on manufacturing, construction, advanced materials and the circular economy approaches.

Business cases and exploitation strategies for industrialisation: This section applies only to those topics in this Destination, for which proposals should demonstrate the expected impact by including a business case and exploitation strategy for industrialisation.

The business case should demonstrate the expected impact of the proposal in terms of enhanced market opportunities for the participants and enhanced manufacturing capacities in the EU, in the short to medium term. It should describe the targeted market(s); estimated market size in the EU and globally; user and customer needs; and demonstrate that the solutions will match the market and user needs in a cost-effective manner; and describe the expected market position and competitive advantage.

The exploitation strategy should identify obstacles, requirements and necessary actions involved in reaching higher TRLs, for example: matching value chains, enhancing product robustness; securing industrial integrators; and user acceptance.

For TRLs 7-8, a credible strategy to achieve future full-scale manufacturing in the EU is expected, indicating the commitments of the industrial partners after the end of the project.

Activities beyond R&I investments will be needed to realise the expected impacts: these include the further development of skills and competencies (also via the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, in particular EIT Manufacturing); and the use of financial products under the InvestEU Fund for further commercialisation of R&I outcomes.

Where relevant, in the context of skills, it is recommended to develop training material to endow workers with the right skillset in order to support the uptake and deployment of new innovative products, services, and processes developed in the different projects. This material should be tested and be scalable, and can potentially be up-scaled through the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). This will help the European labour force to close the skill gaps in the relevant sectors and occupational groups and improve employment and social levels across the EU and associated countries.

Actions

This call covers the following topics:

  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-01: Ensuring circularity of composite materials (Processes4Planet Partnership) (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-03: Identifying future availability of secondary raw materials (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-04: Developing climate-neutral and circular raw materials (IA) (HORIZON-IA - HORIZON Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-05: Building EU-Africa partnerships on sustainable raw materials value chains (CSA) (HORIZON-CSA - HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-06: Innovation for responsible EU sourcing of primary raw materials, the foundation of the Green Deal (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-07: Building innovative value chains from raw materials to sustainable products (IA) (HORIZON-IA - HORIZON Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-08: Establishing EU led international community on safe- and sustainable-by-design materials to support embedding sustainability criteria over the life cycle of products and processes (CSA) (HORIZON-CSA - HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-09: Promote Europe's availability, affordability, sustainability and security of supply of essential chemicals and materials (IA) (HORIZON-IA - HORIZON Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-10: Paving the way to an increased share of recycled plastics in added value products (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-11: Safe- and sustainable-by-design polymeric materials (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-12: Safe- and sustainable-by-design metallic coatings and engineered surfaces (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-14: Development of more energy efficient electrically heated catalytic reactors (IA) (HORIZON-IA - HORIZON Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-16: Creation of an innovation community for solar fuels and chemicals (CSA) (HORIZON-CSA - HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-17: Advanced materials for hydrogen storage (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-20: Antimicrobial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Nanocoatings (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-25: Biomaterials database for Health Applications (CSA) (HORIZON-CSA - HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-26: Sustainable Industry Commons (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-27: Innovation Radar, Tech Due Diligence and Venture Building for strategic digital technologies (CSA) (HORIZON-CSA - HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-28: Re-opening industrial sites preparatory action – Promoting a sustainable strategy for Europe’s industrial future (CSA) (HORIZON-CSA - HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-29: 'Innovate to transform' support for SME's sustainability transition (CSA) (HORIZON-CSA - HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions)
  • HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01-31: European Technological and Social Innovation Factory (RIA) (HORIZON-RIA - HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions)

European community funding

The Community provisional funding available for the call for proposals is:

  • 355,20 Million EUR (Global Budget)

All the important deadlines

  • 23 September 2021 - 14 hours ago (Deadline for the presentation of proposals)

Further information about the call

Official webpage of the call

Useful documents

  • Work Program (Legal base)

Organisations eligible to participate

Opened to the following bodies or institutes with legal status established in the covered areas:

  • Any legal organisation

Covered areas

Bodies or institutes must have their registered legal seat in one of the countries taking part in the Programme which are:

  • European Union (EU)

Directorate-Generale responsible

Directorate-General for Research

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