H2020/Green Deal: Liste des thèmes ouverts dans le cadre de l'appel européen

1 January 2021

Horizon 2020 update – European Green Deal call


The “European Green Deal” call: Rationale and main characteristics


With the European Green Deal Communication1, the new Commission placed at the centre of its priorities the need to take immediate and drastic actions to fight climate change and to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. The need for immediate and drastic actions against climate change, has also been explicitly acknowledged by the leaders of the EU Member States who, in the conclusions of the European Council of 17-18 October 2019 state: “The existential threat posed by climate change requires enhanced ambition and increased climate action by the EU and at global level.”

In this context, the Commission announced in its Communication on the European Green Deal Investment Plan2 the launching of a new call in support of the European Green Deal thus demonstrating the contribution of research and innovation to this central priority of the new Commission. The call will be part of the Horizon 2020 work programme for 2020, with an estimated budget of the order of EUR 1 billion. The budget will come primarily from third countries’ contributions and the recent increase in Horizon 2020 budget. This dedicated Call will address directly the main priorities of the Green Deal and will establish a pathway for additional, related research and innovation initiatives in the context of Horizon Europe.

The proposed call is different in structure and approach from previous Horizon 2020 calls. It seeks to respond to the urgency of the current situation and the ambition of the new Commission. It will seek to demonstrate the key ability of R&I to provide concrete solutions addressing the 8 European Green Deal work streams, within a relatively short time frame.


At the same time, transition to sustainability must be understood as a process engaging society and aim at ‘leaving nobody behind’. In addition therefore to technology development and demonstration, experimentation and social innovation for new ways to engage civil society and empower consumers to make more sustainable choices should also be supported.


The call will propose a clear ‘impact focussed’ approach supporting the development of ideas into pilot applications and demonstration projects, innovative products, experiments and approaches able to show their value in practice and be ready for further scale-up. To this end, it is necessary to gather a critical mass of resources and efforts around a small number of ‘thematic’ topics, directly relevant to the European Green Deal objectives, the importance of which can be easily recognised by society at large.


The design of these topics should ideally take into account the 4 levers of sustainability transformations mentioned in the UN-Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 ‘The future is now–Science for achieving sustainable development’ which is also mentioned in the Council Conclusions of December 10th. These are:


Science and technology


Economy and finance

Individual and collective action


Therefore, in addition to scientific and technological development, issues of governance, economy and market, social innovation, behavioural and cultural aspects become important elements of integrated proposed actions that could provide solutions to the citizens’ concerns and the main societal problems linked to the necessary transitions over the next years.


In order to further re-inforce the societal engagement in the necessary transitions, in addition to embedding these aspects into the individual ‘thematic’ topics, new ways for societal, consumer and individual mobilisation and engagement can be further explored in a separate section that would support dedicated activities across the various thematic areas.


Climate action requires naturally additional R&I efforts that extend beyond innovative solutions at a relatively mature state of development. Despite significant progress in our understanding of the complex issues linked to climate change and sustainability over the past few decades, it is important to further improve our relevant knowledge. In addition to pilot applications and demonstration projects which will be main objective of the ‘thematic’ topics, the call will therefore contain dedicated topics aiming precisely to strengthen the European knowledge base, adopting a longer-term perspective while also acting as a bridge to Horizon Europe.


Given the ambition of the Commission to establish the EU as a global leader in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy and society, international cooperation aspects are important. In this context, International Cooperation aspects should be addressed (where appropriate) within the individual thematic topics. In parallel, a dedicated topic might be established to encourage international cooperation, specifically in relation to target regions (for example, Africa or G20) mentioned in the European Green Deal Communication.


In summary, the main part of the call would comprise 8 sections (with 1-2 ‘thematic’ topics each) that reflect directly the 8 work streams of the European Green Deal. In addition to these 8 areas which form the centre of the Call, the latter will also contain 2 supporting sections that will complement the strong impact focus of innovative solutions and demonstration actions of the thematic areas, with activities targeted to support the European Green Deal through a longer term approach aiming to improve our knowledge with respect to climate action and sustainability issues as well as about societal, consumer and individual mobilisation and engagement issues. As mentioned above, depending on the international cooperation content of the 8 thematic areas, a separate international cooperation topic may also be included.

For the majority of the ‘thematic’ topics, the most appropriate implementation instrument would be Innovation Actions around R&I solutions that have already reached a good level of maturity, although other types of action (such as RIA and CSA) could also be used in a complementary way. Topics should aim at systemic solutions and would therefore require the participation of stakeholders like civil society, administrations or state funded foundations that do not participate often in research and innovation projects. A tentative structure of the call is shown in the following section.

Call design and proposed structure


The areas of the European Green Deal


The starting point for this call is the European Green Deal. It is therefore useful to briefly refer to the main priority areas of the respective Communication before describing the proposed structure of the Call. The European Green Deal identifies 8 main areas for action:


Increasing the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050


Under this area, the Commission, in line with the long term vision for climate neutrality set in the ‘Clean Planet for all’ Communication,3 spells out the need to address both climate mitigation (by proposing increased targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction) and climate adaptation (by preparing a more ambitious EU strategy) and proposes specific courses of action for a number of policy instruments including the first European Climate Law that was adopted by the Commission on 4 March 2020