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Enzymes for more environment-friendly consumer products


Proposals should address the development of novel or improved enzyme(s) for the processing and/or the formulation of one or more of the following consumer products: washing agents, textiles, personal care products, cosmetics and nutraceuticals. The approach could involve bioprospecting or the exploitation of existing databases. Activities should include assessment of the environmental impact of the developed approach. They should aim at a strong improvement of environmental performance, against the state of the art, linked to enzyme functionality. In line with the principles of Responsible Research and Innovation, close research collaboration with all relevant stakeholders is needed to ensure future industrial implementation and market uptake.

Proposals should:

  • involve the development of an efficient production system of the enzyme(s) in question, together with downstream processes and methods for enzyme formulation and inclusion in the consumer product(s);
  • (where they concern the development of enzyme-containing consumer products) cover the management of safety aspects, including appropriate risk assessment;
  • combine the development of the targeted enzyme(s) with the development of generic platform technologies with a view to faster transition from lab to market. This should be based on an interdisciplinary approach and could involve: novel technologies and methods such as the screening, design, creation or optimisation of novel high-performance enzymes as well as computational methods and tools for effective big-data analysis.

Cooperation with other selected proposals under this topic is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting an EU contribution of around EUR 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

It has been demonstrated that the unique selectivity and catalytic activity of enzymes gives them significant potential to support sustainability, reduce environmental pollution, lower processing costs and enhance product performance and functionalities. Growing environmental concerns have contributed to the rapid growth in the market for enzymes and their use in various industrial and speciality applications. Enzymes find application in the processing phase and in the formulation of consumer products such as washing agents, textiles, personal care, cosmetics or nutraceuticals.

The specific challenge is to expand the use of enzymes to respond to the steadily growing demand for greener consumer products, combining economic competitiveness and greater sustainability.


short/medium term

  • broaden the range of enzymes used in the production or formulation of consumer products;
  • reduce the environmental impact of those consumer products;
  • improve the overall sustainability and innovation capacity of the bio-based sector through the use of innovative enzymes;
  • develop strategies to speed up the transition from lab to market for the development of enzyme-based innovation, on the basis of closer and interdisciplinary cooperation;
  • deliver results in a form that allows for efficient feedback into policymaking in research, innovation and technology, in particular in the 2018 EU bioeconomy strategy;
  • raise awareness and create a better framework for systemic innovation and uptake through broad stakeholder engagement; and

medium/long term

  • enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of European industry, including the biotechnology and consumer products sectors.