In a more circular economy, the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and waste is minimized. Circular economy will help protect businesses against scarcity and volatile prices, as well as create new business opportunities with more efficient ways of producing and consuming. Therefore, it is an essential contribution to the EU’s efforts to develop a sustainable, efficient and competitive economy and it also contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production).


The EU has a fundamental role in supporting it, ensuring a right regulatory framework in the single market and informing economic operators and society. More precisely, the European Commission adopted an action plan in 2015 to promote the transition towards circular economy. This plan identified 5 priority sectors (plastics, food waste, critical raw materials, construction and demolition, biomass and bio-based materials) and the transition was funded by European Structural and Investment FundsHorizon 2020, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), and the LIFE programme.


Nowadays, all these actions have been delivered or are being implemented. Yet, much is still needed to scale up action at EU level and globally. That is why circular economy is also going to be present in Horizon Europe through usual calls, missions & partnerships of its second pillar “Global Challenges & Industrial Competitiveness” offering:

  • 15 billion euros to Digital and Industry actions
  • 15 billion euros to Climate, Energy and Mobility
  • 10 billion euros to Food and Natural Resources


Contribute to a more responsible society and a more united market rewarding startups answering the materials obsolescence and scarcity problems, offering disruptive ideas and innovative solutions to the UN and EC targets on digitalization, low carbon efficiency, sustainable consumption, etc.


The most important eligibility criteria are the following:

  • Innovation/Technology
  • Business Model
  • Customer Value Proposition
  • Scalability and Market Reach
  • Social Clauses: job generated, gender policy, social inclusion, collaboration with NGOs, trainees program.
  • European Dimension: participation in European funded projects, partnership or agreements with other European partners.