30/05/2016

A shout out to all Circular Economy Innovators

You can now make an Innovation Deal with the EU!

European 1st Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas launch an initiative to reduce barriers to innovation in the circular economy. How does it work?

The Innovation Deals, [https://ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-deals/index.cfm] aim to help circular economy innovators with promising solutions to overcome regulatory challenges to bringing their ideas to market.

Partnerships can now express their interest to contribute to the EU's Circular Economy Action Plan and - if selected, benefit from access to a close cooperation framework bringing together national, local and EU regulatory bodies to help navigate regulatory requirements. Especially in the Circular Economy, legislation and rules form obstacles for solutions: for example, once output is classified as waste, it is legally not allowed to re-use it as input for an other industrial process. The Innovation Deals build on evidence from Member States that almost two-thirds of the perceived regulatory barriers currently preventing innovators from bringing their ideas to the market can be overcome through explanations or clearer interpretation of specific regulations by public authorities. By looking at concrete cases we can focus on unintended obstacles that may be generated by EU legislation or through its implementation by national governments. The scheme takes the form of voluntary guidance and cooperation between innovators, stakeholders, regulatory authorities and the Commission and does not provide project funding.

Frans Timmermans said: "Today's launch of the Innovation Deals shows a new way of working which brings together our circular economy and better regulation goals. We are testing a new way of giving practical and pragmatic support to a small number of innovators who want to bring valuable projects to market in Europe for the benefit of our citizens and our environment. Addressing regulatory barriers and providing regulatory certainty is essential to keep Europe at the cutting edge of the green economy."

Carlos Moedas said: "Europe has a wealth of innovators with brilliant solutions to societal and environmental challenges. It is important to help innovators to work with us to pin-point what they perceive to be regulatory barriers to innovation. Then we can collaborate at all levels, national, local and EU, to find solutions and ensure European innovation succeeds."

The call for expressions of interest will be open until 15 September 2016. Any innovator or group of innovators seeking to introduce a circular economy-related product or service to the market can apply to participate in an Innovation Deal by setting out the regulatory obstacles they are struggling to overcome. The Commission has established criteria to rank the proposals, applicants will be asked to outline their innovations and identify where they think EU regulatory frameworks are causing a blockage in getting their innovation to market. Up to 5 expressions of interest will be selected, and up to 10 other projects coming from Horizon 2020 Circular Economy funding can be added to that number. The implementation of the selected deals will start in January 2017. The Commission does not provide any funding for the implementation of these projects, which are based on a practical cooperation model. Further information is available online.

Author: Audrie van Veen is expert in Europe & Innovation. As European Strategist, Audrie advises the Amsterdam Economic Board about innovative regional development. Find more of her blogs (in Dutch and English) on www.europeanology.eu.

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