The European Parliament gave its consent to additional €200 million for Horizon 2020, the current EU research and innovation funding programme, by adopting a compromise on the mid-term review of the EU budget, reached with the EU Member States on 7 March. The final and formal approval of the Council of the EU is expected in the coming weeks. The €200 million top-up for Horizon 2020 is part of additional means amounting to €6 billion that will help the EU tackle urgent challenges such as the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “This is a very valuable deal that will allow the Commission to direct additional funding into key areas, such as boosting market-creating innovation as well as supporting excellent research, the sharing of big data and bridging the innovation divide between the countries in Europe.”
A part of the €200 million Horizon 2020 top-up, €50 million, was already adopted through the 2017 voted budget. The breakdown of the additional funding follows proportionally the Commission’s proposal of October 2016:
- €50 million for the European Research Council (of which €16.7 million were already included in the 2017 budget)
- €55 million for Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation part of Horizon 2020 (of which €16.7 million were already included in the 2017 budget)
- €50 million for the European Innovation Council (on the RTD budget line Innovation in SMEs)
- €45 million for High Performance Computers, under Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies part of Horizon 2020 (of which €16.7 million were already included in the 2017 budget)
The European Commission has today selected 189 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 26 countries for a total of €8.7 million of funding under the latest round of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. The funding – €50,000 per recipient – will finance feasibility studies for new products.
The SMEs can also ask for up to three days of free business coaching. Among the projects receiving funding are a technology to turn residue from the wheat milling process into biodegradable packaging, a robotic inspection and cleaning system for solar panels, a low energy technology to capture CO2 from gasses, and a cost-reducing train maintenance system for early detection of wheel defects.
Since the launch of the programme on 1 January 2014, 1473 SMEs have been selected under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument. The SME instrument is implemented through one continuously open call with cut-offs four times a year. The funding is €50,000 under Phase 1 and up to €2,5 million under Phase 2. The next cut-off for Phase 1 is 3 May 2016.
For more information, please visit the EC’s webpage.Read More
On 2nd of December, the European Commission presented a new Circular Economy Package to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy, which will boost global competitiveness, foster economic growth and generate new jobs. According to the EC, the proposed actions contribute to “closing the loop” of product lifecycles through greater recycling and reuse, bringing benefits to both the economy and the environment.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: “Our planet and our economy cannot survive if we continue with the ‘take, make, use and throw away’ approach. We need to retain precious resources and fully exploit all the economic value within them. The circular economy is about reducing waste and protecting the environment, but it is also about a profound transformation of the way our entire economy works. By rethinking the way we produce, work and buy we can generate new opportunities and create new jobs. With today’s package, we are delivering the comprehensive framework that will truly enable this change to happen. It sets a credible and ambitious path for better waste management in Europe with supportive actions that cover the full product cycle. This mix of smart regulation and incentives at EU level will help businesses and consumers, as well as national and local authorities, to drive this transformation.”
The Circular Economy Package gives a clear signal to economic operators that the EU is using all the tools available to transform its economy, opening the way to new business opportunities and boosting competitiveness. The broad measures for changing the full product lifecycle go beyond a narrow focus on the end-of-life stage and underline the Commission’s clear ambition to transform the EU economy and deliver results. Innovative and more efficient ways of producing and consuming should increasingly emerge as a result of the incentives we are putting in place. The circular economy has the potential to create many jobs in Europe, while preserving precious and increasingly scarce resources, reducing environmental impacts of resource use and injecting new value into waste products. Sectoral measures are also set out, as well as quality standards for secondary raw materials. Key actions adopted on 2nd of December or to be carried out under the current Commission’s mandate include:
- Funding of over €650 million under Horizon 2020 and €5.5 billion under the structural funds;
- Actions to reduce food wasteincluding a common measurement methodology, improved date marking, and tools to meet the global Sustainable Development Goal to halve food waste by 2030;
- Development of quality standards for secondary raw materialsto increase the confidence of operators in the single market;
- Measures in the Ecodesign working plan for 2015-2017to promote reparability, durability and recyclability of products, in addition to energy efficiency;
- Arevised Regulation on fertilisers, to facilitate the recognition of organic and waste-based fertilisers in the single market and support the role of bio-nutrients;
- A strategy on plastics in the circular economy, addressing issues of recyclability, biodegradability, the presence of hazardous substances in plastics, and the Sustainable Development Goals target for significantly reducing marine litter;
- A series of actions on water reuseincluding a legislative proposal on minimum requirements for the reuse of wastewater.
Additional information is available in the EC’s press release.Read More
141 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 24 countries have been selected for funding in the latest round of Horizon2020 SME Instrument, for Phase 1. For each project, the participants will receive € 50,000 to finance feasibility studies for new products that can disrupt the market. They can also ask for up to three days of business coaching. The European Commission received 1873 proposals under Phase 1 by 17 September 2015, the third cut-off date for this year.
Italian SMEs were particularly successful with 30 beneficiaries accepted for funding, followed by firms from Spain (24) and the UK (15). Since the launch of the programme on 1st January 2014, 1099 SMEs have been selected under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument.
The results for the second phase of the SME Instrument, where companies get funding up to € 2.5 million to make their products ready for the market, will follow around mid-November 2015.
Source and more information on the Horizon 2020 website of the European Commission.Read More
The final version of the Horizon 2020 2016-2017 research plan was adopted the previous week and is now available via the H2020 participant portal. The European Commission will boost competitiveness, by investing almost €16 billion in research and innovation projects in the next two years under Horizon 2020.
In line with Commissioner Moedas’ strategic priorities, “Open Science, Open Innovation, Open to the World,” the new Work Programme offers funding opportunities through a range of calls for proposals, public procurements and other actions covering nearly 600 topics. The main emphasis is on large scale pilots with a cross-sectorial approach.
WssTP has made a thorough analysis of all available H2020 2016-2017 Work Programmes and has identified 94 calls with a potential link to water. A brief overview of these water-relevant calls has become available to all WssTP members through the platform’s online networking tool, WssTP Observatory.
For further information, please contact Durk Krol.Read More
The ACQUEAU Open Call dates are:
Project Outline deadline: 15 October 2015
Full Project Proposal deadline: 27 November 2015
Label assessment: mid-December 2015
Open Call process
ACQUEAU Open Call is a two-stage submission and evaluation process. It delivers the EUREKA ∑! label and thus facilitates access to national funding in ACQUEAU participating countries. The Call is open to any project idea in the context of the water cycle and the Blue Book. Check here the eligibility criteria.
Partner search for ACQUEAU call
ACQUEAU supports water stakeholders in building up their project consortium. Currently, some organizations are looking for an international partner in order to apply to Acqueau Open Call. You can find the list of companies looking for project partners here.
For more information on how to apply, please visit ACQUEAU’s website.Read More
On 1st June 2015, the LIFE programme launched two calls for proposals, underlining its commitment to supporting projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change.
The 2015 call for action grants for the LIFE programme covers proposals for both environment and climate action sub-programmes. The total budget for project action grants for this call is €240 811 337. Of this amount, €184 141 337 has been allocated to project action grants for the sub-programme for environment and €56 670 000 has been allocated to the sub-programme for climate action. At least 55% of the environment allocation will be dedicated to projects supporting the conservation of nature and biodiversity.
The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) is responsible for managing the call for traditional projects and capacity building projects for the environment sub-programme and traditional projects for the climate action sub-programme. Traditional projects include best-practice, demonstration, pilot or information, awareness and dissemination projects. These are funded under one of three strands for the environment sub-programme (LIFE nature & biodiversity, LIFE environment & resource efficiency and LIFE environmental governance and information). For the sub-programme for climate action, traditional project strands are LIFE climate change mitigation, LIFE climate change adaptation and LIFE climate governance & information.
Capacity building projects are designed to provide financial support to activities required to build the capacity of Member States, including national or regional LIFE contact points, with a view to enabling more effective participation in the LIFE programme.
The three other new project types introduced under LIFE 2015-2020 are integrated projects, technical assistance projects and preparatory projects. For the sub-programme for environment these are managed by DG Environment’s LIFE Unit. DG CLIMA manages integrated, technical assistance, preparatory and capacity building projects for the sub-programme for climate action.
Public bodies, private commercial organisations and private non-commercial organisations (including NGOs) registered in the EU are eligible to apply for LIFE action grants.
For further information, application forms and guidance documents, please visit the call’s page.Read More
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Taking nanofiltration to the next level[/quote]
The EU-funded research project CeraWater with eight (inter-)national partners has developed honeycomb-like ceramic nanofiltration (NF) membranes with anti-fouling coating for the application in water treatment and process technology. The project now successfully came to an end. Marcus Weyd from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany was the project coordinator. Marcus, why was there the need for a project like CeraWater?
The main idea of CeraWater was to increase the efficiency of water treatment processes by using large membrane elements, focussing on drinking water treatment as well as treatment of industrial wastewaters. Core idea was the development and application of filter elements with a strongly enlarged area, which is an improvement compared to the use of small areas because the investment costs can be reduced strongly. The production of ceramic filter elements is a personnel intensive process. Each filter element has to be extruded, dried, sintered and coated by several layers. After each layer the elements have to be dried and treated again. Therefore, the use of large scale elements reduces handling costs and helps making thermal treatment steps more efficient by better use of kiln capacity. For the development of large scale elements all manufacturing steps have to be adjusted and optimized. We looked on all steps of membrane manufacturing, the extrusion of larger ceramic membrane supports, the sintering of large membrane supports, the coating of the elements and the mass transfer through these elements and their application.
Why did you focus on ceramic membranes instead of e.g. polymeric?
Ceramic membranes offer advantages in terms of higher permeate fluxes and better chemicals stability. The latter is of special interest for membrane cleaning and the application of the membrane with aggressive wastewaters. Furthermore, ceramic membranes offer considerably higher lifetimes.
What were you hoping to achieve with this project and what are your main outcomes?
We were aiming at improving the efficiency of water treatment using ceramic nanofiltration membranes by the improvement of membrane properties and optimized process parameters and we reached that aim. There are three main results to mention. First of all, we developed ceramic nanofiltration elements with a strongly enlarged membrane area. By the help of these membrane elements investment cost for membranes and for stainless steel membrane modules, that house the membranes, can be strongly decreased. Furthermore, especially for large scale applications, plant design can be simplified because fewer modules have to be installed and maintained.
Our second main result is the effective anti-fouling-coating on these ceramic membranes. The anti-fouling coating makes the life of filtration easier. In membrane processes membrane fouling effects caused by components of the feed mixture lead to a decrease of membrane performance, especially membrane flux. Then the membranes have to be cleaned by physical and chemical processes. The developed anti-fouling coating helps to reduce the negative influence of the feed components, leading to higher and more constant permeate fluxes and a reduced demand for membrane cleaning. For me personally I am very happy that the anti-fouling coating was successfully developed also on membranes of larger geometry. This allows us to go on in the development of those membrane since the results of membrane characterization and testing show that the developed membranes have very similar properties as smaller geometries, which means that the efficiency per membrane area stays constant.
And last but not least, we applied the results and knowledge of membrane economics and ecological data for selected processes and therefore gained more knowledge on membrane usability, properties and performance in various applications. Within the project, membrane processes using the new membranes were successfully developed and evaluated in crucial (but exemplary) fields of application processes in these media.
Are there any other success stories?
The combination of the nanofiltration coating with large membrane sizes increases efficiency in terms of investment costs and plant space. A NF-membrane layer inside of a honeycomb geometry HCNF2a is not described in literature and is a worldwide new development, according to our knowledge.
Also, in CeraWater, a unique combination was further developed, the combination of real ceramic nanofiltration membrane layers on membrane supports of large membrane area. In this case this means membrane pore sizes below 1 nm, so only 3 to 4 water molecules fit geometrically in the diameter of a membrane pore. These small pores allow the purification of water by a physical treatment process without using chemical additives. Next to bacteria and viruses also macromolecules are easily removed from the liquid treat. So far there is only one producer of this kind of product worldwide, this company is a partner of CeraWater.
What are the potential fields of applications for your research results?
We aimed at drinking water treatment and the treatment of different industrial waste waters.
In case of drinking water treatment the water quality can be improved by the help of the membrane process and in some cases several treatment steps can be substituted by the ceramic NF-process. Due to the flexibility of the membrane steps this technology is also of interest for smaller treatment plants. Further improvements in terms of membrane area per element and permeate flux will make the technology advantageous for large scale water purification systems. The field of application in the waste and process water sector is very broad. Fields of application can for example be found where high chemical and/or stability of the membrane material is required, a very sharp separation of molecules by the membranes is necessary or a recycling of value products can be established by the physical filtration process.
How was the cooperation between the partners within the project?
It was very good. CeraWater consisted of a quite small consortium of only eight partners. Some of the partners knew each other from earlier projects and some entered a new community. The cooperation was very reliable and it got faster and more intensive during the project lifetime. During the final project meeting almost all partners announced that they would like to go on with the development. There are no follow-up projects planned so far but we will definitively go on with the topic and hope for further fruitful cooperation with CeraWater partners in the near future.Read More
Following ACQUEAU workshop and the Brokerage session held in Helsinki in mid-March, ACQUEAU has announced the launch of its new OPEN CALL for projects. The scope of the open call is stated in ACQUEAU Blue Book. Here are the 9 technological areas:
- Water resources
- Water treatment
- Water distribution
- Customer requirements
- Water and agriculture
- Water and Industry
- Urban drainage and wastewater collection
- Wastewater treatment
Proposals must involve at least two partners from two different participating countries and have a strong market and exploitation orientation.
Project Outline Deadline: 15 May 2015
Full Project Proposal Deadline: 3 July 2015
Label Assessment: Mid-July 2015
For more information, please visit ACQUEAU’s website.Read More
The ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2014 was launched in 2014 in support of the Water JPI. It is funded by the EC under Horizon 2020.
WaterWorks2014 aims at tackling European water challenges through the development of transnational and trans-disciplinary research and innovation actions. WaterWorks2014 addresses the specific challenge of integrating the efforts and Strategic Agendas of many European Water Research and Innovation Funding Organisations.
Proposals are invited on the topic Research and Innovation for Developing Technological Solutions and Services:
- for Water Treatment, Reuse, Recycling and Desalination;
- for Water Resources Management;
- to Mitigate Impacts of Extreme Events (Floods and Droughts) at Catchment Scale.
A WaterWorks2014 Twitter Info-day (@WaterJPI – #WaterWorks14) has been scheduled for Wednesday 15th April 2015 from 14.00 to 16.00 (CET) to support all participants and interested subjects in the application procedure.
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1st Stage – Deadline for Submission of Pre-Proposals – 4 May 2015, 17h00 (CET)
2nd Stage – Deadline for Submission of Full Proposals – 14 September 2015, 17h00 (CET)
For more information, please visit Water JPI’s website.Read More