Innovation Deals for a Circular Economy

Innovation Deals for a Circular Economy

What is an Innovation Deal?

Speed holds the key to an innovative society. Innovation Deals (IDs) will allow innovators to swiftly address legislative obstacles, shortening the time between moment of inspiration and market uptake.

Innovation Deals take the form of voluntary cooperation between the EU, innovators, and national, regional and local authorities.

The European Commission does not fund the preparation or implementation of IDs. No requests for funding of an Innovation Deal will be accepted.

The main aim of an Innovation Deal

The objective of an Innovation Deal is an in-depth understanding and clarification of how an EU rule or regulation applies. If a rule or regulation is confirmed as an obstacle to innovations that could bring wider societal benefits, the Deal will make it visible and feed into possible further action.

The Innovation Deals platform will neither jeopardise nor compromise any environmental, social or competition principles, existing standards, or national legislation. The Deals will be an innovation in how the Commission works, helping to form a more modern and responsive administration in line with the Commission's Better Regulation Agenda.

Invitation to submit expressions of interest

The Commission will launch a pilot phase and call for Expressions of Interest focused on Innovation Deals for a Circular Economy; details will be published in late spring. Up to five Expressions of Interest will be selected and will become Innovation Deals. Moreover, up to ten Deals may origin through the Horizon 2020 Calls CIRC-01 and CIRC-02 (Work Programme 2016/2017 under Industry 2000 in the Circular Economy). 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. 

Successful applications

The chosen innovations will:

  • be effective in achieving EU policy objectives in the area of the Circular Economy (e.g. innovative ways to achieve waste recycling targets);
  • currently have limited or no market access;
  • be genuinely new innovations.

More about Innovation Deals

The Commission Communication "Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the circular economy"introduces the concept of innovation deals as «a pilot approach to help innovators facing regulatory obstacles (e.g. ambiguous legal provisions), by setting up agreements with stakeholders and public authorities».

The Innovation Deals are also mentioned in the Staff Working Document of the Better Regulations for innovation-driven investment at EU level)  PDF icon 843 KB .

The Innovation Deals are inspired by the "Green Deal" Programme of the Government of the Netherlands, where a large number of Green Deals are proving to be successful in supporting the national Green Growth policy by providing regulatory clarity for innovative solutions.

Based on: 

New Innovation Deals to Reduce Barriers to Innovation and Boost Circular Economy

Brussels, 26 May 2016

Innovation Deals, a new pilot scheme launched by the European Commission today, aim to help innovators with promising solutions to environmental issues to navigate regulatory challenges to bringing their ideas to market.

In an open invitation published today for expressions of interest the Commission is seeking projects with strong potential to contribute to the EU's Circular Economy Action Plan. The selected projects will benefit from access to a close cooperation framework bringing together national, local and EU regulatory bodies to help navigate regulatory requirements. This pilot is intended to support innovative ideas for maintaining the value of products, materials and resources in the economy.

The initiative was introduced in the margins of the Competitiveness Council meeting today by Frans Timmermans, the Commission's First Vice-President, and Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

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 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.

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 will rank the proposals based on clearly defined criteria and will select up to five Expressions of Interest to become Innovation Deals. 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.