Skip to main content

CIrCular Economy platfoRm for eurOpeaN priorities strategic agEnda

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CICERONE (CIrCular Economy platfoRm for eurOpeaN priorities strategic agEnda)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-03-31

The European Commission's package in Circular Economy has triggered an explosion of initiatives in Europe. Public funding is the key source of financing for Circular Economy Research & Innovation programmes: 70% are financed at national level, 18% at regional and 8% at European level.

However, national strategies are partly contradictive throughout Europe, leading to fragmentation and lack of alignment on priorities for the circular economy. It has thus become more and more evident that we need a more integrative approach to meet this challenge.

CICERONE's objective was to build a platform to increase the uptake of circular economy joint programming for research innovation, increasing collaboration and co-creation between public authorities, bringing together hundreds of stakeholders across national, regional and local governments to jointly tackle the circular economy transition needed to reach net-zero carbon emissions, and meet the targets set in the Paris Agreement and EU Green Deal. The project and platform promote a systemic approach across sectors, levers and territories, reflected in the new Research & Innovation Agenda on Circular Economy. By tackling the challenge in a collaborative way, CICERONE aims to move away from single-point interventions to promote joint programming with a systemic approach at heart. In doing so, the project will increase the sustainability of the circular economy transition, expanding public funding for circular economy to education, policy, behaviour and community activation.
Based on an initial benchmark of circular economy R&I programmes, the CICERONE project successfully built a coordination mechanism for circular economy research & innovation including strategic priorities and a platform to operationalise joint programming. To do so, the following activities were carried out:

1. Assess and benchmark the current performance of circular economy research & innovation funding in Europe, to better understand challenges, gaps, opportunities and best practices:
- Development of a common definition of circular economy
- Definition of a methodology and criteria to assess performance of funding
- Performance of a gaps and synergies analysis
- Benchmark of the European state of the art against the international landscape

2. Establish an efficient and inclusive mechanism to jointly define and prioritise circular economy research & innovation priorities at European scale – translated into the EU Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda:
- Delivery of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) on circular economy, including research & innovation priorities and four joint programmes.
- Definition of a mechanism for the contant update of the SRIA
- Publication of the first SRIA update following the COVID-19 pandemic
- Ex-ante quantitative impact assessment of the SRIA

3. Build and test a lasting organisation and pathways to reach the desired impact, translated into a joint programming platform for programme owners:
- Definition of the value proposition for the future joint programming platform
- Development of the business model and core services for the platform in collaboration with stakeholders
- Governance model scenarios were proposed for the operationalisation of the platform
- Capacity building tools were produced, including a policy toolkit and Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for programme owners
- Development of a short-term implementation plan to pursue the platform post project

The above activities were supported by a stakeholder engagement and communications strategy, resulting in the delivery of:
- A stakeholder engagement strategy and plan including consultation & event calendars and key messages
- Development of online consultations, surveys and phone interview processes to collect feedback from stakeholders
- Three stakeholder workshops, resulting in a total of 314 participants
- Delivery of the CICERONE final conference, attracting 218 attendees
- Dissemination of the SRIA (print and digital)
- Call for Declaration of Intent from programme owners to contribute to the platform activities (33 collected at the end of the project)
- Development of key communications tools to support outreach for the project and its mission, including a website, flyers, factsheets, video, roll-up banner, newsletter, LinkedIn page and Twitter accounts
The strategic coordination of European Circular Economy R&I will result in an aligned approach between EU member states on key priorities and targets for the circular economy transition. Moreover, the platform has created a space for more co-creation and knowledge sharing, generating value from best practices between programmes owners to ensure circular economy programme development is more efficient.

Through the analysis of funding programmes for Circular Economy in Europe and beyond, the project has explored the role policy can play to support innovation for a Circular Economy transition in Europe, with a specific focus on challenges and key success factor. This, in turn, provides guidance to programme owners on best practices in the development of circular economy joint programmes, and enabled the project to build a demand-driven joint programming platform to bridge existing gaps.

To support implementation of joint programmes, the Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda (SRIA) provides stakeholders with a key document outlining priority themes and innovation areas for the efficient transition to a circular economy in Europe, as well as pre-defined joint programmes around specific challenge areas. The SRIA will in turn help overcome the current fragmentation of Circular Economy funds in Europe, ensuring a more effective and efficient allocation of funds across the European territory. This will result in job creation, in the development of new innovations, increased systemic approach to circular transition, and in strengthening the resilience of the EU economy.

Finally, the development of the platform, including a business model, a governance and a legal model, a capacity building strategy, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for POs and a policy toolkit, will support stakeholders in the implementation of joint programming across borders and sectors in Europe. Several socio-economic and wider societal impacts will be achieved: establishing a network of POs in Circular Economy programming; orchestration of joint Research & Innovation initiatives, higher social and environmental impacts of Research and Innovation initiatives.

Through the above activities the project successfully demonstrated the need for a coordination mechanism for CE programming, positioning itself as a backbone for the efficient design of systemic circular economy transition programmes.
Project logo