Proposals will first describe how to define a common research and innovation agenda (i.e. an ECRIA) between national activities in areas identified in the SET Integrated Roadmap. The agenda will consist of a limited number of research topics related to an integration aspect of the energy system[[Examples of suitable topics could be: energy invertors, controllers and storage solutions to modulate supply from renewable sources; emergent forms of energy conversion (e.g. power to gas); interfaces between pro-active consumers and the grid; integration of different energy sources, delivery carriers, means of storage and usage modes; district storage. This is a non-exhaustive list.]] which could benefit from European-wide cooperation. Some topics will be supported by national funding and others by EU funding.
In addition, the scope of the ECRIA will have to be focused on a limited number of clear deliverables, where short-term progress and a clear European added-value can be demonstrated and achieved by pulling research efforts together.
Research activities included in an ECRIA should focus on TRLs 2 to 5 (please see part G of the General Annexes).
a) National funding. Topics supported by national funding will bring together research activities at different stages of development:
- Recently-completed[[Less than two years since the official project end date.]] research projects for which the dissemination of results can contribute to the objectives of the ECRIA.
- Ongoing research projects of participating eligible entities related to the topics included in the ECRIA.
- Commitment to future research activities related to the topics included in the ECRIA.
Activities supported either by institutional funding or resulting from competitive national calls can be included.
b) EU funding. The requested EU contribution shall be used to launch new research activities grouped under new topics. The EU contribution can also be used to fund the necessary coordination required to ensure that research activities are carried out in a transnational and multidisciplinary manner. Coordination costs should be kept to a minimum, and the EU contribution should be mainly used to fund research activities.
For new activities supported by the EU, eligible costs can be claimed in the same manner as for any other Research and Innovation Action under Horizon 2020.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution of up to EUR 2.5 million (which is expected to correspond to the equivalent national funding amount already committed would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.
To ensure their completeness, proposals must:
- Provide details of all the national funding contributed and committed to the ECRIA which leverages the EU contribution, in the form of details of the funds received by the respective participants for the recently-completed and ongoing projects included in the ECRIA, as well as for any other contributions in kind (e.g. human resources, use of existing research facilities). Details of the funding committed to future research activities related to ECRIA should be included.
- Include a clear common research and innovation agenda covering at least the next three years. The agenda shall include a clear and detailed description of the expected outputs and outcomes.
- Demonstrate how the programming schedule of the national resources incorporated to the ECRIA underpins the common agenda.
- Provide a description of the governance that will be put in place to implement the ECRIA. Governance should be kept as simple as possible and, where possible, it should make use of pre-existing governance structures.
The above elements will be taken into consideration in the evaluation of the quality and efficiency of the implementation criterion.
In addition, proposals should foresee:
- Activities to lay the foundations for long-lasting future co-operation by building a transnational critical mass in the funded research areas.
- Exchange of researchers to facilitate co-operation
- Shared use of existing research facilities, models and databases.
In view of the profound changes being made to our energy system, there is a crucial need to support and encourage the coordination and convergence of national and EU efforts in addressing research and innovation activities.
The SET Integrated Roadmap[[https://setis.ec.europa.eu/system/files/Towards%20an%20Integrated%20Roadmap_0.pdf]] provides a blueprint for how to achieve this convergence. In particular, it identifies priority areas in which Member States and/or Associated Countries are ready to elaborate and define common research and innovation agendas, and priority areas in which they are ready to set up joint projects or programmes.
This initiative aims at supporting joint activities based on European Common Research and Innovation Agendas (ECRIAs). ECRIAs will bring together on a European scale ongoing and future national efforts, so that national activities and their results in areas of significant complexity and importance can be better exploited. This will develop a critical mass of knowledge in sectors which are crucial to achieving the intended energy transition.
First, ECRIAs will support the development of the common research and innovation agendas of the SET Integrated Roadmap, thus contributing to objectives of the Energy Union and the European Research Area.
This new ECRIA model will then develop a critical mass of research capacity in Europe, specifically addressing certain complex integration aspects of the energy system. This capacity, which does not exist yet, is crucial if Europe wants to complete successfully its energy transition in the long term. ECRIAs target the coordination of national efforts in order to develop synergies and improve the impact of public investment in emergent sectors.
Proposals should give priority to the following, which will be taken into consideration during evaluation under the impact criterion:
- Addressing the complexity of the integration of the energy system by targeting specific and limited aspects of the current problems where significant short-term progress can be achieved by integrating multidisciplinary research activities.
- Identifying gaps within national programmes/activities in order to decide the content of the new topics that will be supported by the EU contribution.
- Demonstrating the coherence of the different elements brought together and the added value of the choices made to deliver on the objectives in the most efficient and timely way possible.