EU funding for innovation via the Circular Economy: useful information


The Circular Economy is expected to be one of the main issues to discuss in EU funding: as a consequence, many growth opportunities for all SMEs with sustainable development projects are open. 

In this article we give an overview of such opportunities and how to get funding for this.

What is the Circular Economy? 


According to the definition by Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Circular Economy is:

“A generic term to define an economy that can be regenerated itself. In a circular economy we distinguish between technical and biological cycles: biological ones, reintegrated in biosphere, and technical ones, designed to be virtualized and restored without entering the biosphere.” 

It’s not only a green approach: this is about radically shifting from a linear economic model, based on the pattern “take-make-waste” to a model of production and consumption that involves share, loan, reuse, redistribute and recycle of existing materials and products as long as possible. Once a product has ended its cycle, its materials can safely re-enter the economic cycle.

It’s clear that, in this scenario, the renewable energies and the sustainable technologies have a crucial role: this is why the EU is investing important resources in sustainability, as early as this year.

Innovation and sustainability 


What are, in practice, the European projects linked to the Circular Economy? 

One of the most interesting programs is Horizon 2020 (we have already been talking about it earlier), that provides funds for 5 billion Euros to develop sustainable projects. 

One of the leading strands is climate: Horizon 2020 allocates a total amount of one billion Euros for every project aiming at turning current economy into a more efficient and sustainable one following the Paris agreement and the SDGs. Therefore we talk about circular economy with a wide range of applications: raw materials, water treatment, natural resources protection, etc. 

A total amount of 2 billion is allocated for innovation projects related to the topic: “Health and demographic change”: access to health care, population aging, cost improvement for health care. 

2,2 billion are allocated for innovation projects in the energy field: we are talking about renewable energies, Smart Energy Systems, Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS).


How to have access to funding 


We can include in the definition of Circular Economy, all the innovation projects that have as a consequence a more efficient and maximized use of resources: many companies can fall within this definition and can therefore get substantial funding, above all in the phase of market entry. 

Have access to EU funding programs such as Horizon 2020 requires a significant effort.

It’s crucial to know the bureaucracy of the European Commission, how to draft a business plan and to manage – and submit – an innovation project in the correct way, in English and without losing the final goal. 

If a company has a true interest in benefiting from EU funding, the most convenient way is to rely on an expert with specific competencies in European projects planning and project management.

Would you like further information about EU funding for projects of Circular Economy?


Contact me to arrange a meeting: I will be delighted to answer any questions you may have!



Sara Canella

Sara Canella

EU Funding & Marketing

I am a freelance consultant specialized in applying for and managing European funding for companies and start-ups active in the field of research and innovation.

My work includes the creation of business plans, development plans and marketing plans aiming at applying for European calls for proposals.

My objective is to provide companies active in innovation with some concrete tools to start their projects and with my know-how to convert them into real business opportunities.