Financing for industrial hemp innovators in Horizon Europe and CBE-JU

Submitted by Sara Daniotti on 23 June 2022

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The Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU) is a €2 billion partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) that funds projects advancing competitive circular bio-based industries in Europe. The partnership is building on the success of its predecessor, the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), while addressing the current challenges facing the industry.

Aligning with the objectives of the European Green Deal, the European bio-based sector should become more circular and sustainable while remaining competitive on the global market, thus decreasing Europe’s dependency on and accelerate the substitution of non-renewable fossil raw materials. In this context, CBE JU is operating under the rules of Horizon Europe, the EU R&I programme for the 2021-2027 period, to advance a competitive bioeconomy financing research and innovation activities that exploit renewable biological resources into sustainable high-added valued bio-based products.

The general objective of the programme, in line with EU Green Deal, is to produce major contributions to the EU climate targets by:

  • Delivering innovative bio-based solutions and increasing the sustainability and circularity of production and consumption system, paving the way for Europe to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050.
  • Protecting and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem in biobased supply system.
  • Combating pollution and reducing fossil resource dependence, contributing to climate neutrality and zero pollution objective.
  • Deploying a just transition towards a competitive bioeconomy for a sustainable future.

The specific objective of the programme is to strengthen the EU bioeconomy primary sectors of the land and sea and its industries by combining the ‘public’ interests, pursued by the EC, and the ‘private’ interests of bio-based industries. This can happen increasing the competitiveness of the EU economy through job creation, creating better market conditions, balanced regional development and economic cohesion. Equally important is increase climate and environmental performance, removal of barriers, de-risking investment, increasing resource efficiency, improving circular technologies and operations, engaging all actors in the bio-based systems.

Those activities will be carried out in close collaboration between stakeholders along the entire bio-based value chain, including primary production and processing industries, consumer brands, SMEs, research and technology centres and universities.

Who can apply?

All stakeholders of the bio-based industries ecosystem can apply to CBU JU, in fact calls for project proposals are open to any legal entity, be it private or public, for-profit or not-for-profit organisation, including large companies, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), research and technology organisations (RTOs), universities and associations.

Scope of the activities

The CBU JU project finances research and innovation activities focused on production of bio-based chemicals, materials and products, other than biofuels and bioenergy, food and feed (food and feed ingredients and soil nutrients are in the scope), pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

These activities should contribute to local and regional economy, respecting local ecological limits and protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystems services. All supported activities must also demonstrate the potential of bio-based solutions in terms of environmental performance and circularity. According to this principle, activities that enable the conversion of bio-waste, residues and side-streams into added-value circular bio-based solutions are particularly relevant.

To meet these requirements, CBU JU type of actions are:

  • Research and Innovation Actions (RIAs): activities of 'testing', 'demonstrating' and 'piloting', to establish new knowledge or to explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service, or solution. RIAs projects are expected to deliver TRL 3-5 at the end of the project.
  • Innovation Actions (IAs): activities of 'testing', 'demonstrating' and 'piloting' and also aim at scaling up activities from prototype, in a (near to) operational environment, industrial or otherwise, to large-scale product validation and market replication. IAs projects are expected to deliver TRL 6-8 at the end of the project.
  • Flagships: specific type of Innovation Action aiming to support the first application/deployment in the EU market of an innovation that has already been demonstrated but not yet applied/ deployed in the EU market. Flagships projects will need to deliver TRL 8 at the end of the projects.
  • Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) to support dissemination and exploitation of research or innovation projects, raise awareness in specific areas and promote international cooperation with specific regions and/or technological areas.

Industrial hemp opportunities in the CBE JU program

Hemp is a valuable crop for the bioeconomy sector, due to its valuable chemical properties, low environmental impacts, high yield, and wide range of bio-based applications, contributing to the achievement of climate neutrality.

In this context, the HempClub project is organizing an online Working Group to increase the competitiveness of hemp actors by providing application tips and funding opportunities launched by the CBE JU program in June 2022. By presenting the main novelties of the program and success stories funded by the previous BBI programme, the webinar aims at empowering and mobilizing innovators in the industrial hemp sector while creatina new partnering opportunities.

If you are interested to know more about the potential of industrial hemp for the European bioeconomy, sign up and download the webinar programme at the following link:

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