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Eco-Innovation Programme

The RUN project is co-funded by the EU’s eco-innovation Programme. The programme was introduced in 2008 and aims to provide grants to innovative projects in the environmental sector, in order to promote the launching of sustainable products, services and processes. The grants are meant to help bridge the funding gap between the development of a new product or service and its large-scale commercialisation. The programme focuses on innovative solutions that can be replicated by other economic actors within the EU. The funding thus contributes not only to protecting the environment but also to improving the overall competitiveness of the European economy [1].

Figure 1: Share of Eco-Innovation projects with SME participation 2008-2010 [1]
Figure 1: Share of Eco-Innovation projects with SME participation 2008-2010 [1]

The Executive Agency for Competitiveness & Innovation (EACI), which coordinates the eco-innovation programme, published a report on the results of the programme during its first three years of existence. According to the report 126 projects received a total of 86.8 Mio. € in funding between 2008 and 2010. A majority of eco-innovation projects (70%) had participants of at least two different European countries. 37% of the participants operated in the manufacturing sector, 34% in the environmental services sector and 25% in scientific or technical work [2]. A vast majority of beneficiaries were small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), even though the eco-innovation program is not exclusively geared towards SMEs. The EACI analysed the composition of all consortia established in the first three years of the programme and states that SMEs participated in 93% of them. Only 7% of the funded projects consisted exclusively of large enterprises (s. Figure 1) [1].

Classified as large enterprises by the EU are companies with more than 250 employees, that exceed a specified annual turnover or balance sheet total. The table below shows EU’s categorisation of enterprises. SMEs are further divided into micro-, small- and medium sized enterprises. 

Table 1: EU’s SME definition, [3]

Staff andTurnover [Millionen €] orBalance Sheet total [Millionen €]
Micro-enterprises< 10<= 2<= 2
Small-enterprises< 50<= 10<= 10
Medium-enterprises< 250<= 50<= 43

Project proposals can be submitted for funding annually and should pertain to one of the following five sectors [1]:

  • Materials and Process Recycling
  • Buildings
  • Food and Drink
  • Greening Business
  • Water efficiency, treatment and distribution (since 2011)

These sectors can be adapted in accordance with EU environmental policy (e.g. Water efficiency, treatment and distribution was introduced in 2011).

461 proposals were submitted during the eco-innovation programme’s 2013 call. Out of those, 40 projects were selected for co-funding, including the RUN project. These numbers equate to a probability of success of one in eleven. Table 2 gives an overview of the proposals submitted and selected for funding between 2008 and 2013.

Table 2: Proposals submitted and selected 2008 - 2013

200820092010201120122013
Proposals submitted [4]134202287279284461
Projects selected for co-funding44 [5]45 [6]42 [7]46 [8]45 [9]40 [10]
Figure 2: Share of types of participants in eco-innovation projects selected for co-funding in 2013
Figure 2: Share of types of participants in eco-innovation projects selected for co-funding in 2013
Figure 3: Selected projects per sector in 2013
Figure 3: Selected projects per sector in 2013

The 461 proposals submitted in 2013 were generated by 1518 applicants (enterprises, universities etc.) from 37 European countries. 79% of the consortia consisted of more than one applicant, while the average number of participants was three. 65% of the consortia consisted of applicants from more than one European country [4]

The consortia of the 40 projects that were selected for co-funding include 238 beneficiaries in total. 61% of these are SMEs, 18% are large enterprises and 21% are universities or research institutions (s. fig. 2). Only one consortium does not include any SME [10]

The largest share of the projects selected for co-funding in the 2013 call pertains to the Green Business sector (37%). The following Figure 3 shows the percentage of selected projects per sector.

The RUN project is part of the Green Business sector as well. Within that sector the eco-innovation programme aims to encourage

  • Innovative products, which will reduce environmental impacts and the use of resources
  • Clean production processes 
  • Substitution of scarce materials and increased use of secondary raw materials
  • Innovative reuse and repair services with high ecological benefits.

The RUN consortium includes 8 partners from three different countries, all of them SMEs.

The eco-innovation programme is part of the EU’s ”Competiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)”. CIP aims to support innovation specifically in SMEs and to strengthen their competitiveness on the global market. CIP was initiated in 2007 and ran till 2013 with an overall budget of 3,612 Mio. € [11]. The eco-innovation programme is also one measure of implementing the EU’s Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP). Furthermore the eco-innovation programme was initiated in order to further the overall European environmental policy (“Lisbon Strategy”) and the EU’s environmental directives (e.g. the Waste Framework Directive). 

 

Literature

[1] Analysing and reporting on the results achieved by CIP Eco-Innovation market replication projects, Executive summary, EACI 2013

ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/executive_summary_eco-innovation_results.pdf

[2] Analysing and reporting on the results achieved by CIP Eco-Innovation market replication projects, Final Report, EACI 25 March 2013
ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/report-eco-innovation-results.pdf

[3] What is an SME?
ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/sme-definition/index_en.htm

[4] First overview of the Call 2013 CIP Eco-Innovation, November 2013
ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/first_overview_of_the_call_2013_cip_eco-innovation.pdf

[5] First overview of the Call 2013 CIP Eco-Innovation, November 2013
ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/first_overview_of_the_call_2013_cip_eco-innovation.pdf

[6] First overview of the Call 2013 CIP Eco-Innovation, November 2013
ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/first_overview_of_the_call_2013_cip_eco-innovation.pdf

[7] First overview of the Call 2013 CIP Eco-Innovation, November 2013
ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/first_overview_of_the_call_2013_cip_eco-innovation.pdf

[8] First overview of the Call 2013 CIP Eco-Innovation, November 2013
ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/first_overview_of_the_call_2013_cip_eco-innovation.pdf

[9] First overview of the Call 2013 CIP Eco-Innovation, November 2013
ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/first_overview_of_the_call_2013_cip_eco-innovation.pdf

[10] First overview of the Call 2013 CIP Eco-Innovation, November 2013
ec.europa.eu/environment/eco-innovation/files/docs/publi/first_overview_of_the_call_2013_cip_eco-innovation.pdf

[11] Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)
ec.europa.eu/cip/index_en.htm

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