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Sectors: Waste management Water Industry Bioeconomy Energy

InvestCEC - Supporting the transition towards circular economy in European cities and regions: Development of a replicable model for local circular economy projects

Updated on 21.05.2024

With 75 % of the EU’s citizens living in urban areas, the potential of circular economy for European cities is clear. However, one of the main issues hindering a widespread deployment is that, compared with industrialised economies, investors often perceive circular economy business cases as risky, often because the business models are poorly described or understood. InvestCEC will develop a replicable model for the implementation of circular economy projects in cities and regions across Europe, while taking into account all relevant stakeholders. Specifically, the model will address the city and region’s needs, support entrepreneurs to make their circular economy solution investment ready and include the investment programme set up and management. The model viability will be then demonstrated in the city of Klagenfurt, Austria as a test case. InvestCEC will also develop a platform for the stakeholders involved in a circular economy project to communicate, exchange information, as well as monitor the project and its progress. A tailored replication plan including replication materials and replication activities will be established in order to encourage the replication of the model in other local and regional settings across Europe. Alongside the model’s development and demonstration, the project will carry out prospective activities and implement measures to support the transition towards circular economy, including policy-related work, information exchange events, marketplace of circular economy solutions, and additional resources, tools and guidelines for the use of all stakeholders.

Topic ID: HORIZON-CL6-2022-CIRCBIO-01-01: Circular Cities and Regions Initiative’s project development assistance (CCRI-PDA)
Grant agreement ID: 101 082 131
Countries: Austria, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Israel
Start and end date: 01.11.2022 - 31.10.2025
Budget: 1 961 575 EUR
Type of action: Coordination and support action (CSA)

Leading organisation/partner

Enspire Science Ltd.

Cities involved


Regions involved

Carinthia, Austria

Scope and objectives

Demonstration objectives:

  1. develop a replicable model for implementing circular economy projects in cities and regions;
  2. attract investments for the project in the city of Klagenfurt, Austria;
  3. create an interactive platform for investors, entrepreneurs, cities and citizens collaborating in a circular economy project.


Capacity-building objectives:

  1. develop and implement measures to raise investors and regional authorities’ awareness of opportunities presented by circular economy, their economic potential and their financial viability, ultimately increasing their confidence in circular economy projects;
  2. develop and deliver capacity-building activities to facilitate the transition to circular cities.

Key deliverables

  • Report on a model for initiation and implementation of circular economy projects (M6, final at M30):
    • Report on the progress in the demonstration of the model, including timing, relevant materials, challenges and solutions, final consequences and potential next steps. This will include the financial, technological, strategical support measures and actions provided by InvestCEC to make projects investment ready.
  • Model and tools for urban/regional circular economy projects (M12, final at M36):
    • The complete model, including a description of the model and guidelines for the implementation of the different stages, replication materials for each stage (e.g. template for needs definition for the first stage, template for interested entrepreneurs to describe their offered solution for the second stage, guidelines for preparing business case and business plans for the third stage, guidelines on applying the model's investment programme for stage four).
  • Replication plan for investment model at national and European level (M6):
    • A plan outlining the replication materials and replication activities that will be carried out in the project. Specifically, it will include details about the planning and development of the guidebook and national and European replication manuals, and additional replication material and activities (e.g. networking activities) at Austrian and European level.
  • Circular economy investments – financial barriers and potential measures to address them (M12):
    • Report on the identified financial, investment-related barriers to the transition towards circular economy in cities and regions, and selected measures to overcome such challenges.
  • Midterm and final policy recommendation brief (M18, M32):
    • Policy recommendation reports, outlining InvestCEC's experience-based advice for policy-makers to promote the transition towards circular economy at the city/region level. The final brief (M32) will include a White Paper explaining the current barriers to circular investment in cities and regions and recommending EU policy actions which could accelerate deployment.

Description of future collaboration with CCRI-CSO

By disseminating the results and outputs presented above to the CCRI community in webinars, events and through communication channels that the CCRI apply. Additionally, the support services provided by the project can be used to support the CCRI community – we will invite other projects, fellows and pilots to use them. We also envisage that we may consult with other members of the CCRI should we come across issues that require expertise or experience of other CCRI community member.

CCRI relevant material

  • Replication manuals and resources;
  • a White Paper explaining the current barriers to circular investment in cities and regions and recommending EU policy actions which could accelerate deployment;
  • measures to address main barriers and challenges that decelerate the transition towards circular economy in cities and regions.

Financial schemes

1. Investment model – private and public investments;

2. funding opportunities at the EU, national and regional level.

Environmental outcomes of circular economy solutions

Utilisation of waste to produce energy-efficient and circular use of resources.

Social outcomes of circular economy solutions

  • Transition towards CE and bioeconomy in cities and regions across Europe through developing and demonstrating a replicable CE projects model;
  • creating a sustainable, safe and inclusive living spaces for citizens through the advancement of circularity in urban/regional settings and the involvement of all relevant actors (e.g. cities/regions, investors, entrepreneurs, policy-makers and citizens).

Economic outcomes of circular economy solutions

  • Increased European resource independency and efficiency through advancement of CE solutions;
  • enhanced European competitiveness in the field of CE and bioeconomy technologies.


  • Greenovate! Europe 
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