• EU’s Horizon 2020 has launched a €1 billion call to back research and innovation projects including in the space of clean, affordable and secure energy
  • Projects need to fall in 1 of the 8 thematic areas and 2 horizontal areas to qualify for the award
  • Some of the topics covered under thematic areas include renewable hydrogen, innovative land based and offshore renewable energy technologies and their integration into the energy system, green airports and ports

Under its research & development (R&D) program Horizon 2020, the European Commission (EC) has issued a call for €1 billion ($1.2 billion) to be awarded to green research and innovation projects which will encourage the continent’s recovery from COVID-19 crisis. It is the last and biggest call under Horizon 2020, the EC said.

Projects expecting to be funded under this call must deliver results with tangible benefits in 10 areas, and includes opportunities for international cooperation in addressing the needs of less-developed nations, particularly in Africa, the commission stated.

The Horizon 2020 Green Deal Call includes 2 horizontal areas namely strengthening knowledge and empowering citizens and 8 following thematic areas:

  1. Increasing climate ambition
  2. Clean, affordable and secure energy
  3. Industry for a clean and circular economy
  4. Energy and resource efficient buildings
  5. Sustainable and smart mobility
  6. Farm to fork
  7. Biodiversity and ecosystems
  8. Zero-pollution, toxic-free environments

Renewable hydrogen, innovative land based and offshore renewable energy technologies and their integration into the energy system, green airports and ports are some of the topics covered in the thematic areas.

Interested project proposals will be accepted till January 26, 2021 with a deadline for those selected to start in autumn 2021. Details about the call are available on the commission’s website.

“With innovation at its heart, this investment will accelerate a just and sustainable transition to a climate-neutral Europe by 2050,” said Mariya Gabriel, European Union (EU) Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “As we do not want anyone left behind in this systemic transformation, we call for specific actions to engage with citizens in novel ways and improve societal relevance and impact.”

Horizon 2020 has been the biggest research and innovation program of the EU to date with close to €80 billion ($94 billion) of funding available over a 7-year period from 2014 to 2020, which is separate from the private sector investment it helps to mobilize. This program will now be succeeded by Horizon Europe for which the EC aims to have around €100 billion ($117 billion) reserved for research and innovation.

In July 2020, the EC also launched a €10 billion Innovation Fund to support innovative low-carbon technologies with €1 billion available under a first call for proposals (see EU Call For Proposals Under Innovation Fund).

In March 2020, the President Ursula von der Leyen led EC officially tabled the proposal for the European Green Deal recommending 2050 as the year for the continent to target its carbon neutral status (see Final European Green Deal Proposal Presented).

Recently, the EC presented to the European Parliament and the Council a plan to lower EU’s GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels intended to act as a stepping stone to the 2050 climate neutrality goal. Once approved, it will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by the end of 2020. The current GHG emissions lowering goal for the continent is 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.