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Knowledge category: Funding and financing

HORIZON-CL6-2023-CircBio-02-1-two-stage: Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI)’s circular systemic solutions

Updated on 03.03.2023

This Horizon Europe call supports the implementation of the CCRI. Successful proposals will help deliver solutions to implement the European Green Deal, the circular economy action plan and the bioeconomy strategy, supporting the transition to a sustainable, regenerative, inclusive and just circular economy at local and regional scale and boosting interregional and cross-border cooperation.

Financial entity: European Commission
Contact: via contact form

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

Proposals funded under this topic will form part of the demonstration projects for the implementation of the CCRI, therefore this call has direct relevance for CCRI activities and the implementation of circular systemic solutions at the local and regional scale. Proposals are expected to provide policymakers, public and private investors and local communities with concrete, demonstrated examples of circular systemic solutions.

In this context, a circular systemic solution is defined as a demonstration project for deploying a circular and climate-neutral economy at urban and/or regional scale, involving key stakeholders and, ideally, addressing more than one product value chain. Proposals are expected to implement and demonstrate at large scale circular systemic solutions for the deployment of the circular economy (including the circular bioeconomy) in cities and regions (or groupings of cities and regions). They should form part of the implementation of the CCRI and be carried out in close coordination and cooperation with the CCRI Coordination and Support Office.

The implemented circular systemic solutions 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 innovative technologies and novel governance and business models, and support the active participation of all relevant actors in cities, regions or their groupings.

Examples of relevant actors include:

  • public administrations (national/regional/local authorities) and utilities (public/private companies);
  • private sector services and industries, including start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • research infrastructures, scientific and innovator communities, including incubators and accelerators;
  • financial intermediaries with a focus on environmental and social impact;
  • venture capitalists and business angels;
  • civil society, including citizens; and
  • non-governmental organisations and philanthropy.

More information about other requirements for circular systemic solutions can be found in the call text.

Applicant criteria

This topic is open to any legal entity based in EU Member States and associated countries; often cooperation between at least three parties from three different countries is required (at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State and at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries).

The activities in the project are expected to achieve technology readiness level 6-8 by the end of the project. Proposals funded under this topic, and their circular systemic solutions, must form part of the demonstration projects for the implementation of the CCRI. This means that proposals must cooperate with the CCRI and its Coordination and Support Office by means of sharing knowledge and experiences developed during the implementation and demonstration of the circular systemic solutions. Proposals must also participate in the CCRI’s events.

For more information, please see the work programme, call text and call documents.

Eligible projects/themes

The implemented circular systemic solutions should ideally address more than one of the key product value chains set out in the new circular economy action plan (batteries and vehicles; electronics and ICT; packaging; plastics; textiles; construction and buildings; food, water and nutrients).

The circular systemic solutions may also include nature-based solutions. Circular systemic solutions and the economic sectors involved in them should be selected and based on a detailed analysis of the city, region or grouping’s socio-economic and environmental needs to be addressed, circular potential to be exploited, and challenges to be tackled.

Overall, a successful proposal is expected to contribute to the Horizon Europe Destination ‘Circular economy and bioeconomy sectors (2023/24)’. This destination and its topics target climate-neutrality, zero pollution, and fair and just circular and bioeconomy transitions.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • significantly increased circularity, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and where relevant increased carbon removals, in product value chains, and efficient valorisation of local resources in cities, regions or their groupings;
  • creation of business opportunities and jobs in the circular economy at urban and/or regional scale;
  • increased uptake and participation of citizens in circular and climate-neutral practices;
  • enhanced knowledge transfer between the cities, regions or their groupings involved in the proposals financed under this topic and other cities and regions in EU Member States and Associated Countries;
  • more effective widespread uptake and easier replication, scalability and visibility of circular systemic solutions and hence multiplication of their economic, social and environmental benefits;
  • contribution to achieving the policy targets of the European Green Deal, circular economy action plan, EU bioeconomy strategy and the European industrial strategy at local, regional, national, European and international levels.

Amount of funding

The total indicative budget for the topic is €58 million. The indicative number of grants is six.

Application process

  1. The European Commission publishes the call for proposals on the Funding and Tenders Portal.
  2. The call is open for a typical period of around five months, during which applicants can submit their proposal.
  3. Horizon Europe calls can be single or two-stage application processes. In this case, the call is a two-stage process. The first stage involves a simplified proposal of max. 10 pages, including only excellence and impact sections. The second-stage application requires a structured proposal of max. 45 pages to be filled in, including objectives and innovation approach (excellence), tangible impacts that can be achieved through the project (impact) and the project planning and tasks (quality). These documents are to be uploaded to the portal in pdf format alongside administrative information on the beneficiaries, affiliated entities or others, to be filled in on the portal. All participants need to possess a Participant Identification Code (PIC number, a 9-digit number registered on ECAS). For more information, please see the work programme and the call documents.
  4. Proposals submitted within the deadline will be evaluated by experts against evaluation criteria.
  5. Winning proposals will be invited to sign a grant agreement with the Commission.


Planned opening date: 22 December 2022

First-stage deadline: 28 March 2023, 17.00 Brussels time

Second-stage deadline: 26 September 2023, 17.00 Brussels time

Financing type

Grants & subsidies

Territories involved

Rural areas

<5 000


large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

Metropolitan areas

large metropolitan area >1.5 million, metropolitan area 1.5 million-500 000



predominantly urban regions, intermediate and predominantly rural regions, refer to TERCET typology NUTS 3 region

Intra-territorial areas

Industrial zones

Agricultural zones

Brown field zones

Coastal areas

Mountain areas


Cross-border areas


Water areas


e.g. commercial, residential, service, industrial

Type of action

Innovation action (IA)