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About the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative

Launched by the EU as part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) focuses on implementing the circular economy across Europe’s cities and regions.  

The EU’s transition to a circular economy will reduce pressure on natural resources and create sustainable growth and jobs. It will also help achieve the 2050 climate neutrality target set out in the European Green Deal. Europe’s cities and regions are best placed to drive this transition, with many already drawing up their own plans.  

The CCRI aims to increase synergies among projects and initiatives, disseminate relevant knowledge, and give greater visibility to best practices. Combining technical and financial support, it offers comprehensive support to stakeholders across Europe’s cities and regions.


Find out more

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DG RTD CCRI
Pilot and Fellow applications now being assessed!

We would like to thank all stakeholders who expressed their interest in becoming a CCRI Pilot or Fellow.  

We received over 100 applications under the recent call for expression of interest. Applicants include a combination of cities, regions and territorial clusters from a wide range of territories across 28 countries, including EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. 

Once selected, Pilots and Fellows will have opportunities to build capacity, expand their networks, collaborate with other stakeholders, access and exchange information and knowledge, and increase the visibility of their territory and its activities.  

Our team is now evaluating the applications and will communicate the results in July 2022. Watch this space! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below is a selection of the most commonly asked questions about the CCRI.
If you have a question that is not answered here, you are welcome to contact our Helpdesk at helpdesk@circular-cities-and-regions.eu

What is the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative?

The Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) is part of the new European Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in March 2020 and will focus on the implementation of Circular Systemic Solutions (CSS) at local and regional scale. The CCRI will also provide a local contribution to the implementation of the European Green Deal and the European bioeconomy strategy

 

The CCRI aims to support Europe’s green transition by boosting circularity at local and regional level. In order to build capacity and drive economic growth, it works to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing between EU cities and regions. The CCRI also aims to boost innovation and upscaling, which are essential for making the circular economy more widespread and mainstream. Delivering concrete solutions can prove challenging, given that economic sectors, value chains and services vary greatly across Europe’s cities and regions. The CCRI, therefore, aims to share replicable best practices to help cities and regions find concrete CSS that suit their own needs. The CCRI Coordination and Support Office is responsible for the implementation of the CCRI and offers support from 2022 until 2025. 

 

Find more information on the CCRI.  

What makes this Circular Cities and Regions Initiative unique?

The Circular Cities and Region Initiative (CCRI) offers at least 30 cities, regions and territorial clusters the opportunity to access an exceptional network of circular economy stakeholders that focus on the implementation of the green transition on local and regional scale. A number of factors make this a unique opportunity. 

  • An international team of circular economy experts at the CCRI Coordination and Support Office offer practical and tailor-made support to speed up circular economy implementation in your city or region. They provide first-hand support on effective ways to turn circular economy into a daily reality for citizens, employers, private companies, industries and public service providers in your city or region. 

  • Other front-running cities and regions share their knowledge and evidence-based insights in the field of circular economy policy and regulations, circular awareness and acceptance, circular technologies, and innovative business models. 

  • You learn about a multitude of initiatives and projects and get acquainted with both public and private actors engaged in testing tools, implementing plans, developing knowledge and identifying best practices to achieve the circular economy transition in Europe. 

  • You gain first-hand information about upcoming funding opportunities. These opportunities include €200 million for circular economy demonstration projects focusing on experimentation and at least €40 million for project development assistance with investment proposals applying for project development grants from Horizon Europe and Circular Economy Technical Assistance Facility grants from the European Investment Bank. While the demonstration grants are for experimental projects, the project development assistance targets mature initiatives at the beginning of their investment phase, speeding up the full-scale roll-out of these circular activities. Furthermore, you receive non-financial assistance from collaborating organisations, such as the European Investment Bank’s Circular City Centre and the Programme on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Is the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative open to everyone?

The call for expression of interest for Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) Pilots and Fellows is open to cities, regions and territorial clusters from the 27 EU Member States and the Horizon 2020 Associated Countries: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. 

By answering a set of questions, applicants will be expected to demonstrate their level of advancement and commitment to the transition to a circular economy as well as their willingness to network and share knowledge with peers and partners. 

Cities or regions that are already part of another EU initiative in the field of circular economy which provides them with knowledge or other type of non-financial support can apply to become a Pilot or Fellow of the CCRI. Cities and regions that have already received EU funding for a similar activity that the CCRI Coordination and Support Office will provide, will not be eligible for becoming a Pilot or Fellow. This is done to avoid double funding or duplication of projects. 

What is the CCRI Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO)?

The Circular Cities and Regions Initiative Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO) is at the heart of the overall CCRI and the main coordinating body for its activities. The CCRI-CSO is a multidisciplinary team of experts in the field of circular economy, providing practical and tailor-made support to a group of circular cities, regions and territorial clusters to overcome circular economy gaps. 

The CCRI-CSO will support 10 Pilots (cities, regions and territorial clusters) to improve their Circular Economy Action Plans and Circular Economy Investment Plans, focusing on the implementation of their Circular Systemic Solutions. The CCRI-CSO will furthermore facilitate cooperation, synergies and complementarities between these cities, regions and territorial clusters. A second group − the Fellows, made up of 20 cities, regions and territorial clusters − will cooperate and exchange with the Pilots and other stakeholder groups. The CCRI-CSO will collect relevant knowledge and lessons learned from their activities for further dissemination, communication, and awareness-raising activities. 

Pilots and Fellows will be selected after a call for expression of interest launched on 21 March 2022, which is open for application until 29 April 2022. 

Learn more about the call for expression of interest

Find more information on the Pilots and Fellows

What is a Circular Systemic Solution?

A Circular Systemic Solution is a project aiming to achieve an overall net sustainability added value in a local context by applying innovative circular models. These actions are holistic and seek to achieve minimal trade-offs. They are systemic in a sense that they involve different actors and value chains, address a variety of circularity issues, and consider all causal factors that may enable or hinder a transition towards circular economy at the local level. Circular Systemic Solutions should address the major challenge of effectively applying the circular economy concept beyond resource management and recovery in the waste and water sectors. 

What support will the cities, regions and territorial clusters selected as Pilots benefit from?

By participating as a Pilot city, region or territorial cluster in the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI), showcasing the high circular potential of your front-running ecosystem, you will benefit from: 

  • Tailored guidance: The CCRI Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO) will support the Pilots in developing, implementing and improving Circular Economy Action Plans, Circular Systemic Solutions and Circular Economy Investment Plans. 

  • Monitoring: The CCRI-CSO will also provide the Pilots with guidance to improve their capacity to monitor circular projects and, therefore, follow their progress in the transition thanks to the Self-Assessment Tool that will be developed within the CCRI. 

  • Knowledge sharing on financial and technical support, including: 

    •  financial support for demonstration projects from Horizon Europe (€200 million over six years); 

    • financial support for project development assistance with investment proposals (€40−50 million, depending on needs, delivered through project development assistance grants from Horizon Europe and Circular Economy Technical Assistance Facility grants from the European Investment Bank); 

    • non-financial assistance from collaborating organisations, such as the European Investment Bank’s Circular City Centre and the Programme on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 

What is in it for you? 

  • receive support with the analysis of the current stage of development of your Circular Systemic Solution(s); 

  • receive support to identify leverage points and engage relevant stakeholders needed to design, implement or scale up Circular Systemic Solution(s); 

  • meet your specific technical and human capacity needs by participating in dedicated thematic working groups on specific circular economy macro-areas; 

  • get in touch with a wider network of CCRI stakeholders to address your specific and territorial circular economy implementation needs; 

  • interact with and learn from the experiences of over 30 cities, regions and industrial clusters implementing their own circular economy strategies; 

  • have access to relevant knowledge in the field of circular economy practice and implementation; 

  • develop, improve and widen the scope of your Circular Systemic Solution(s) based on lessons learned from other European territories; 

  • contribute to the wider adoption of circular economy approaches in cities, regions and territorial clusters around Europe by sharing your experiences and learning from practical evidence; 

  • get access to tools to autonomously develop your Circular Systemic Solution(s), either by developing or refining a Circular Economy Action Plan and Circular Economy Investment Plan; 

  • use collaboration as a stepping stone to access further funding for demonstration projects and project development assistance, related to the CCRI. 

What support will the cities, regions and territorial clusters selected as Fellows benefit from?

By participating as a Fellow, you can improve your circular economy starting position by learning from the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) network and twinning with front-runners, peers and knowledge providers. Fellow cities, regions and territorial clusters receive no direct support or technical guidance, but will have first-hand access to: 

  • Capacity building: Access tools and resources to address knowledge or capacity gaps (for example, webinars and training materials). 

  • Information: Gain access to a wealth of relevant information, including stakeholder mapping, repository of key publications and reports. You will receive user-friendly thematic news, events and calls, tailored to your interests. 

  • Enlarged community and collaboration opportunities: Expand your network, exchange knowledge and identify relevant partners. 

  • Increased visibility: Enjoy more visibility for your organisation through the dissemination activities of the CCRI Coordination and Support Office, which will share updates related to your activities.  

What is in it for you? 

  • participate in all CCRI Coordination and Support Office webinars and one thematic working group; 

  • play an observer role and learn from the knowledge sharing processes; 

  • share knowledge and gain connections in peer-to-peer learning processes with the Pilots.