Proposals funded under this topic will form part of the
demonstration projects for the implementation of the European
Commission’s Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) and must be
carried out in close cooperation and coordination with it. The CCRI is part of the new Circular Economy Action Plan and aims to support the implementation of circular economy solutions at local and regional scale. The CCRI will be implemented in the coming months: https://ec.europa.eu/research/environment/index.cfm?pg=circular.
proposal is expected to implement and demonstrate circular systemic
solutions for the territorial deployment of the circular economy
(including the circular bioeconomy) in one ‘circular territorial
A ‘circular territorial
cluster’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘cluster’) is a socio‑economic and
environmental system composed of all relevant actors and dimensions
to implement, demonstrate and facilitate the replication of at least
one circular systemic solution (hereinafter referred to as ‘systemic
solution’). In this context, a systemic solution is
a cross-sectoral demonstration project for the territorial deployment
of a circular and climate-neutral economy. Examples of relevant actors
for a cluster are: public administrations and utilities; private sector
services and industries, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs),
scientific and innovator communities; financial intermediaries; civil
society, including citizens and non-governmental organisations and
philanthropy. National governments could also play an important role in providing support to the implementation of these systemic solutions. Each
cluster should include a geographically cohesive territory (e.g. a
group of neighbouring urban, peri-urban and rural areas, not necessarily
limited by administrative or national borders) or territories, linked by a systemic solution. The composition and dimension of a cluster should be clearly defined and justified in the proposal.
Ideally each cluster should have a Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) in which the proposed systemic solution is embedded.
is essential that the systemic solutions implemented demonstrate the
role of the territorial circular economy to reconcile our economies and
human activities with the planetary boundaries and to respond to
citizens’ needs in the wake of systemic crisis such as climate change,
pollution, waste generation, biodiversity loss and the adverse
socio-economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The
systemic solutions implemented should increase resilience and provide
concrete options for socio-economic recovery as well as generating sustainable
and inclusive growth in their clusters. Sustainability, regeneration of
ecosystems, inclusiveness and social justice should be at the core of
each systemic solution. Particular attention should be given to avoid
social, gender and intergenerational inequalities. Potential
distributional effects of moving from a linear towards a circular
economy should also be addressed in order to produce just and fair
outcomes, to boost urban and regional economies and create jobs.
systemic solutions implemented should address economic, social and
environmental dimensions of the transition towards a circular economy
and include science, technology and governance components. They should
demonstrate circular governance models and support the active
participation of all relevant actors in each cluster. These systemic solutions should
prove the effectiveness and sustainability of circular business models.
They should support a sustainable and effective symbiosis within and
between economic sectors, foster cooperation along and/or across value
chains and increase the integration between production, services and consumption.
is essential that the systemic solutions implemented address the major
challenge of effectively applying the circular economy concept beyond
resource management and recovery in the waste and water sectors. It is
essential that systemic solutions, and the economic sectors involved in
selected and based on a detailed analysis of the cluster’s
socio-economic needs to be addressed, circular potential to be
exploited, challenges to be tackled and, when feasible, smart
specialisation priorities. The selection of economic sectors in each cluster should be clearly defined and justified in
the proposals and, when relevant, it should take into account
international dimensions with regards to value and supply chains. In
addition, thought should be given to the importance of the new Circular
Economy Action Plan key product value chains - batteries and vehicles,
electronics and ICT, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and
buildings, food, water and nutrients - to the economy of Europe as well
as delivering on Green Deal objectives.
solutions implemented should also help to create critical mass for
public and private investments and public procurement pull for new
solutions, and should contribute to overcoming market failures. They
could test public-private partnership models, interregional cooperation
mechanisms and multilevel funding synergies useful for de-risking
business investments. They should improve consumers’ understanding and
acceptance of circular and climate-neutral services and products. Proposals
should also explore synergies with other funds, including Cohesion
Policy funds, the Just Transition Fund and InvestEU, hereby showing
pathways to market uptake.
solutions implemented could include criteria and elements of eco-design,
industrial symbiosis and industrial ecology. They could promote the role of ecosystems services and nature-based solutions in the circular and climate-neutral economy. They should promote the use of natural capital accounting into business strategy and decision making.
The systemic solutions implemented should facilitate technology deployment, including digital technologies. Systemic
solutions should also facilitate the industrial exploitation of the
already demonstrated research results and, when relevant, contribute
towards connecting SMEs to the value chains of larger companies.
Systemic solutions should ensure the sustainable circular use and valorisation of local resources. Special
attention should be dedicated to more efficient and sustainable
businesses, processes and value chains promoting zero-waste solutions and recycling quality, increasing products’ function recovery and reuse, using secondary raw materials (including critical raw materials) and valorising local bio-based feedstock.
is essential that the systemic solutions implemented also involve one
or more community‑based innovation schemes, such as local repairing
schemes for products. These schemes are expected to promote circular
social practices and address environmental, behavioural and
cultural aspects of the territorial transition towards a circular
economy. The systemic solutions implemented are expected to include
specific training for local actors and education services for local communities.
Each systemic solution should identify, analyse and when relevant, quantify the economic, social and environmental benefits and challenges related to its implementation and demonstration in its respective cluster.
It should include the monitoring and evaluation of the cluster’s
transition towards a circular economy, identify its strengths and
weaknesses as well as their causes. It should analyse regulatory
obstacles and drivers and provide clear and precise policy
recommendations to improve circular economy related
EU and national/local regulation (including, when relevant, inputs on
standardisation and certification). It should analyse the effectiveness
of the available financial schemes for territorial circular solutions
and propose concrete options for their improvement. Environmental
externalities should be addressed and life cycle assessment (LCA) should
be included in each systemic solution. Benchmark cost and environmental
footprint of each systemic solution should be compared with equivalent
linear solutions. The information and data collected and the knowledge gathered by the projects under this topic must be shared with the CCRI. CCRI will ensure a wider dissemination among policy-makers and stakeholders not involved in these proposals.
It is crucial that the systemic solutions implemented and their business models have a high replicability and scalability potential. This is fundamental to facilitate the replication of circular solutions in other areas.
It is essential that proposals dedicate resources to engage in cooperation
with other circular territorial clusters funded under this topic and to
transfer relevant information and good practices to policy-makers and
stakeholders not involved in the proposals. Actions should contribute to
the open access to information on circular systemic solutions across
Europe. Setting up twinning exercises between the clusters could be an
efficient way to facilitate the exchange of experiences and expand to
new activities along and across value chains. The cooperation and
coordination between projects and clusters under this topic and their
dissemination activities must be carried out in close cooperation and
coordination with the CCRI.
essential that proposals ensure complementarity and cooperation with
existing relevant European projects and initiatives on the circular
economy and the circular bioeconomy, with special reference to the local
and regional scale, and avoid overlapping and repetitions.
The technology readiness level (TRL) of each circular solution should be within the 6-7 range at
the end of the project. Each proposal should clearly state the starting
and end TRL of the key technology, processes and value chains targeted
in the project.