Call launched in the field of circularity: the transition to a circular carbon system

A mission-driven call under the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC)

4 September 2020

NWO has launched a call for proposals on ‘Circularity: the transition to a circular carbon system’. The focus of the call is to come to societally supported solutions that contribute to a CO2 emission reduction throughout the entire value chain. The thematic focus is on circular plastics and organic resources. The deadline for submitting pre-proposals is 26 January 2021 and for full applications 25 May 2021.

The Climate Agreement sets us the enormous task of working towards a completely CO2-free electricity system by 2050. The call for proposals is aimed at stimulating research into new processes and techniques that make it possible to use more efficiently and, above all, differently and better. and thus contribute to a CO2 emission reduction.

Thematic focus

  • Circular plastics
    Various challenges have been formulated, including a new conceptual framework for waste, closed cycles, recyclable blends, sensors and measurement methods, chemical recycling.
  • Organic resources
    Various challenges have been formulated, including unravelling the genetic basis of biochemical and biophysical processes, carbon partitioning - carbon distribution in the plant (lipids, carboproteins), efficient photosynthesis, seaweed production and solid biomass as a construction material.

Innovative technological research should be interwoven with socio-economic research. Integrating technological and societal innovation at an early stage will contribute more effectively to realising the transition agenda. The acceptance and adoption of technical innovations determines the ultimate impact on our world.

Call for proposals

This call for proposals falls under a mission line within the research programme of the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC). A budget of 5 million euros is available for this call for proposals. A minimum of 750,000 euros and a maximum of 1.5 million euros can be requested for a project.

The call falls within the Mission for Energy Transition of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and within the Integral Knowledge and Innovation Agendas (KIAs) for Climate and Energy, Circular Economy and Agriculture, Water, Food.

The deadline for submitting pre-proposals is 26 January 2021 and the deadline for full applications is 25 May 2021.

Research brings solutions closer

Climate change, cyber security, ageing: our society faces a number of major challenges. These challenges call for breakthrough innovative solutions with impact. This offers economic opportunities for public and private parties to jointly develop innovative solutions to social issues. The contribution of scientific and practice-oriented research is indispensable here. In addition to societal impact, it also focuses on economic and scientific impact.

NWO is investing in programmes of considerable size so that a real difference can be made. In order to tackle the challenges posed, NWO initiates collaborations, establishes connections between scientists, private and public parties and NWO encourages exploring new avenues. Bringing the different parties together will create new consortia and innovative research. In NWO's view, the chances of the intended changes and their impact are greatest when interdisciplinary research is sought in which cooperation is established with relevant knowledge institutions, public and private partners, including small and medium-sized enterprises. Partners make a substantial contribution to the research in money (in cash) and support (in kind).


Every year, NWO makes over one hundred million euros available for fundamental and practice-oriented research, carried out by scientists in collaboration with companies. NWO's financial contribution is secured in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023, in which knowledge institutions, the business community, governments and other public parties jointly invest in innovation. This funding is in line with the cabinet's mission-driven top sectors and innovation policy.

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Source: NWO