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On this page, you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the CCRI. Click on a theme to expand the list of questions. If you cannot find what you are looking for, contact the CCRI Helpdesk at helpdesk@circular-cities-and-regions.eu  

What is the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI)?

The CCRI is a collaboration and support scheme of the European Commission, launched by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation as part of the European Circular Economy Action Plan 2020. The CCRI aims to support Europe’s green transition by boosting circularity at local and regional levels. It focuses on the implementation of Circular Systemic Solutions across Europe’s cities and regions. The CCRI therefore provides a local contribution to the implementation of the European Green Deal and the European Bioeconomy Strategy. 

In order to build capacity and drive economic growth, it works to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing between cities and regions in the EU and the Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. The CCRI also aims to boost innovation and upscaling, which are essential for making the circular economy more widespread and mainstream.  

Funded by the European Commission, the CCRI Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO) is responsible for facilitating the overall coordination and implementation of the initiative. 

Find out more about the CCRI.

What support is provided to the CCRI community?

The objective of the CCRI is to provide comprehensive support over the whole life cycle of urban and regional circular economy initiatives. 

The CCRI combines knowledge sharing with both financial and technical support, including: 

  • financial support to demonstration projects (through Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe grants: estimated €200 million over six years); 

  • financial support for project development assistance (PDA) and technical assistance services for investments in circular economy at local and regional scale, delivered through PDA grants from Horizon Europe and the future Circular Economy Technical Assistance Facility from the European Investment Bank (EIB) (estimated €40-50 million); 

  • cooperation and support by the CCRI Coordination and Support Office; 

  • further assistance (non-financial, e.g. advisory services, support on circular economy governance, promotion of good practices) from collaborating organisations, such as the EIB Circular City Centre (C3), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ‘Programme on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions’, as well as the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform and many other CCRI Associated Partners.  


Furthermore, the CCRI is a collaborative initiative providing contacts to a wide community of stakeholders working on circular economy implementation in Europe.  

What makes the CCRI unique?

The CCRI is unique by nature of its architecture. It is a unique, multi-stakeholder collaborationand support scheme. The CCRI assists stakeholders across Europe’s cities and regions, including regional and local authorities, industry representatives, research and technology organisations, and civil society. Combining technical and financial support, it provides comprehensive support over the whole life cycle of local and regional circular economy initiatives.  

In order to build capacity and drive economic growth, the CCRI works to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing between EU cities and regions. It also aims to boost innovation and upscaling, which are essential for making the circular economy more widespread and mainstream.  

The CCRI also combines this knowledge sharing with financial and technical support. 

What is a Circular Economy Action Plan?

A Circular Economy Action Plan is a strategic document for the implementation of the circular economy in a city, region or territorial cluster. A Circular Economy Action Plan can include several Circular Systemic Solutions

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 projects are holistic and seek to achieve minimal trade-offs. They are systemic in the sense that they involve different actors and value chains, potentially involving more than one level of government and governance, address a variety of circularity issues, and consider all causal factors that may enable or hinder a transition toward the circular economy at local level.

A Circular Systemic Solution is systemic also in its impacts and outcomes, addressing and involving economic, social and environmental aspects. 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 is a Circular Economy Investment Plan?

A Circular Economy Investment Plan identifies concrete investment opportunities to implement the respective Circular Systemic Solution(s) and Circular Economy Action Plan.

What is the CCRI Coordination and Support Office?

Funded by the European Commission, the CCRI Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO) is at the heart of the overall CCRI. The CCRI-CSO is responsible for facilitating the implementation of the CCRI and is the main coordinating body for its activities.

The CCRI-CSO is made of an international, multidisciplinary team of experts in the field of circular economy offering practical, tailor-made support to speed up circular economy implementation in cities and regions. 

What kind of support does the CCRI Coordination and Support Office offer?

The CCRI offers support to the CCRI community. 

Furthermore, the CCRI Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO) assists CCRI Pilots and Fellows and is responsible for:  

  • supporting cooperation, synergies and complementarities between the CCRI Pilots and Fellows, CCRI Projects, Associated Partners and other relevant stakeholders; 

  • assisting the CCRI Pilot cities and regions with the development of their Circular Systemic Solutions, as well as supporting good practice exchange and upscaling; 

  • analysing the main research and innovation gaps, but also the main (policy, technical, regulatory) barriers and drivers to circular economy transition at local and regional scale, and providing policy recommendations to overcome them; 

  • presenting lessons learned from CCRI-CSO activities for further dissemination, communication and awareness-raising activities. 

Does the CCRI Coordination and Support Office provide funding?

No, the CCRI Coordination and Support Office does not provide direct funding to projects or participants. However, the Pilots and Fellows participating in the CCRI gain first-hand information about funding opportunities and are able to use the initiative as a stepping stone to participate in the wider CCRI ecosystem, which also includes funding. 

There are numerous funding opportunities - also open to cities, regions or territorial clusters that were not selected as Pilots or Fellows - to accelerate their circular economy transition. In the period 2020-2025 they include €200 million for circular economy demonstration projects focusing on experimentation. They also include at least €40 million for project development assistance with investment proposals applying for project development grants from Horizon Europe and the future 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 rollout of these circular activities. 

Further information is available on the EU Funding and Tenders Portal

Is the CCRI open to everyone?

The CCRI community is open to every city, region or territorial cluster who wants to progress in the field of circular economy. The community can benefit from mutual learning and gain insights on different knowledge domains within the field of circular economy implementation. Knowledge and lessons learned from CCRI activities are shared through different channels (including the website and the newsletter) and many events. We therefore invite all interested stakeholders to keep an eye out for further opportunities to get involved via our newsletter and our social media accounts. 

The CCRI Coordination and Support Office also provides more tailor-made support to Pilots and Fellows.

Join the CCRI community by subscribing to the CCRI newsletter through the CCRI website.  

Follow us on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.

Why does the CCRI target cities, regions and territorial clusters in particular?

The CCRI targets cities, regions and territorial clusters because they operate at the governance level closest to Europe’s citizens and are therefore the most promising laboratories for territorial innovation and socio-economic transformation. They have an excellent overview of their local or regional ecosystem, gathering various circular economy stakeholders and representing industry, research and technology organisations and civil society in their territory.  

This makes cities, regions and territorial clusters exceptional stakeholders to drive change towards a sustainable, regenerative, inclusive and just circular economy. These stakeholders therefore make up the main target group of the CCRI to speed up the circular economy transition in Europe.  

How can I become part of the CCRI community?

Cities, regions and territorial clusters from the 27 EU Member States and the Horizon 2020 Associated Countries can become part of the CCRI community in many ways. 

In general, every city, region or territorial cluster can be part of the CCRI community by taking part in the CCRI’s activities, regularly checking out the CCRI website and subscribing to the CCRI newsletter.  

The newsletter informs subscribers about relevant CCRI activities, including events, and shares the expertise, know-how, good practices, and relevant knowledge collected by the CCRI Coordination and Support Office, Pilots, Fellows, CCRI Projects, and Associated Partners.  

Another good way to keep up to date is via the CCRI website, the dedicated LinkedIn page or the EU Science and Innovation Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Furthermore, cities, regions and territorial clusters who have been selected as Pilots have direct access to the CCRI-CSO’s support.  

Cities, regions and territorial clusters who have been selected as Fellows engage in the multi-stakeholder learning process of the CCRI. Fellows do not receive direct support from the CCRI-CSO but cooperate and exchange with the Pilots and other stakeholder groups. The CCRI-CSO collects relevant knowledge and lessons learned from their activities for further dissemination, communication and awareness-raising activities.  

Subscribe to the CCRI newsletter via the CCRI website.

Follow us on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.

Find out more about the support provided to CCRI Pilots and Fellows under the relevant FAQ.

How were the CCRI Pilots and Fellows selected?

The CCRI Coordination and Support Office launched an open call for expression of interest in March 2022. Cities, regions and territorial clusters who complied with the eligibility criteria were able to apply for the call until 13 May 2022. The evaluation of the submitted applications was based on the following set of criteria: 
 

  1. Level of understanding of circular economy: This criterion covered a mix of the demonstrated level of impact, the demonstrated level of involvement or leadership in circular economy activities, and the focus and potentiality of the proposed Circular Systemic Solutions. 

  1. Capability of collaborative learning: This criterion covered both the demonstrated level of ability to work in close cooperation with local or regional stakeholders to define and implement the proposed Circular Systemic Solutions, and the demonstrated level of interest in mutual policy learning.  

  1. Ambition: The level of ambition demonstrated by the advancement of planning, ideas and activities on how to increase circularity as well as the demonstrated commitment in implementing Circular Systemic Solutions with high potential and impact.  


Besides these criteria, diversity and inclusiveness, including territorial typology and geographical balance, were also taken into account for the group composition of both Pilots and Fellows. 

What are CCRI Pilots?

The CCRI Pilots are a selection of 12 cities and regions with high circularity potential. They receive tailored support from the CCRI Coordination and Support Office for the development of their Circular Economy Action Plans and Circular Economy Investment Plans, and the implementation of their Circular Systemic Solutions.  


Find out more about Pilots & Fellows.

What are CCRI Fellows?

The CCRI Fellows are a selection of 25 circular cities, regions and territorial clusters at different levels of implementation of the circular economy transition, but with a strong interest in sharing and expanding their knowledge. They cooperate and exchange with the Pilots and other stakeholder groups and participate in dedicated capacity-building and peer-learning activities, including thematic working groups and webinars. The CCRI Coordination and Support Office collects relevant knowledge and lessons learned from their activities for further dissemination, communication, and awareness-raising activities.

Find out more about Pilots & Fellows.

What are CCRI Projects?

CCRI Projects are research and innovation projects, funded by the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe, which are generating innovative knowledge, creating specific skills and demonstrating systemic solutions that contribute to providing support to cities and regions for implementing their Circular Systemic Solutions on a local and regional scale. They support knowledge sharing and help link the CCRI to relevant circular economy initiatives and stakeholders. 

CCRI Projects are programmes and include, for example: 

  1. Demonstration projects supporting the demonstration and deployment of innovative Circular Systemic Solutions at local and regional level, such as: EcoeFISHent, Agro2Circular, FRONTSH1P, CIRCULAR FOAM, TREASoURcE and SYSCHEMIQ.  

  1. Project development assistance projects which provide project promoters with the technical, economic and legal expertise needed for developing circular economy investments, such as: HOOP, BIOBOOST, RESOURCE, InvestCEC, DEFINITE-CCRI, DECISO and CircularInvest.  

  1. Other cross-cutting projects, such as BIOMODEL4REGIONS, ROBIN and P2GreeN, focusing on broader themes, for instance governance models.  


CCRI Projects contribute to the Pilots and Fellows’ implementation of Circular Systemic Solutions in different ways, for instance by sharing analyses of their research results and demonstrated solutions, as well as through project development assistance and dissemination of relevant knowledge in this policy area. 

What are CCRI Associated Partners?

The CCRI works with a limited number of Associated Partners, including: 

  • initiatives implemented, supported and/or managed by the European Commission (or other EU institutions); 

  • organisations, foundations and institutions (different from the EU institutions) implementing projects, services and initiatives.  


Their activities are relevant for the implementation of the CCRI’s activities, complementing the role of the CCRI Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO) and bringing added value to the CCRI scheme by providing valuable input about circular economy that can be transferred to Pilots and Fellows.  


The CCRI-CSO cooperates with the Associated Partners in communicating and spreading relevant knowledge for circular cities and regions. Together, they foster synergies between organisations and various initiatives, especially when supporting Pilots and Fellows. The Associated Partners also provide additional networking channels for the initiative. 

What is a territorial cluster?

A territorial cluster is a socio‑economic, geographical and environmental system composed of all relevant actors and including at least one public authority. This cluster is ready to implement, demonstrate and facilitate the replication of at least one Circular Systemic Solution in a specific territory. 

What are the benefits of getting involved in the CCRI?

The CCRI is open to any European city, region and territorial cluster interested in learning more about the circular economy at local and regional level. 

There are many reasons for cities, regions and territorial clusters to get involved: 

  • Facilitated knowledge sharing with other front-running cities and regions through various events.  

  • Easily actionable guidance for the development and implementation of Circular Economy Action Plans and Circular Systemic Solutions, including the respective Circular Economy Investment Plans, through the CCRI Methodology.  

  • Quick access to relevant resources to address knowledge or capacity gaps, for example, case studies and other relevant knowledge categories (via the support materials section of the CCRI website). 

  • First-hand information about upcoming funding opportunities.  

  • Facilitated evaluation and monitoring of the implementation process of a Circular Systemic Solution through a dedicated self-assessment tool. 

  • Greater opportunities for cooperation with and support from partner initiatives and organisations.  

  • Increased visibility for commitments and actions.  


Additional support is provided to cities, regions and territorial clusters selected as CCRI Pilots and Fellows. 


Interested stakeholders who are not participating as Pilots or Fellows may also be able to participate in CCRI events. Make sure you keep an eye on the CCRI website to stay up to date on opportunities and activities via the CCRI’s collaborating partners. 

What is the cost of participation?

Participation in the CCRI is based on a voluntary commitment and is free of charge.  


However, CCRI Pilots and Fellows are required to engage in various activities and take a more active part in the process of collaborating and sharing knowledge. You can find more information in the questions ‘What kind of engagement is expected from the Pilots?’ and ‘What kind of engagement is expected from the Fellows?’. 

What support do the Pilots benefit from?

CCRI Pilots benefit from: 
 

  • Tailored support from circular economy experts: The CCRI Coordination and Support Office (CCRI-CSO) is made of a multidisciplinary team of experts in the field of circular economy. This team supports the Pilots in developing, implementing and improving Circular Economy Action Plans, Circular Economy Investment Plans and Circular Systemic Solutions. The CCRI-CSO has also developed a dedicated CCRI Methodology, which provides the CCRI community with step-by-step guidance to speed up circular economy implementation. 

  • Facilitated monitoring and self-assessment: The CCRI-CSO also provides the Pilots with guidance to improve their capacity to monitor circular projects and therefore follow their progress in the transition, thanks to a dedicated self-assessment tool (under development). 

  • Knowledge sharing: The CCRI-CSO facilitates the exchange of knowledge and good practices between Pilots and with Fellows, in particular through dedicated thematic working groups on specific circular economy macro-areas, practices and implementation.  

What kind of engagement is expected from the Pilots?

CCRI Pilots commit to: 
 

  • developing, implementing and improving Circular Economy Actions Plans, Circular Systemic Solutions and/or Circular Economy Investment Plans with the support of the CCRI Coordination and Support Office. 

  • sharing experiences with the other members of the Pilot Group and Fellows, CCRI Projects, Associated Partners and other stakeholders not directly involved in this initiative.  

  • participating in the CCRI’s activities. 


They agree to play a flagship role in providing concrete examples and successful solutions on how to accelerate the deployment of Circular Systemic Solutions on a local and regional scale. 

What support do the CCRI Fellows benefit from?

In contrast to CCRI Pilots, CCRI Fellows receive no direct support or technical guidance. However, they can benefit from the following: 
 

  • Facilitated capacity building and peer learning: Easy access to various tools and resources to address knowledge or capacity gaps, plus opportunities to participate in grouped activities (for example webinars and thematic working groups) to exchange knowledge and good practices with the Pilots and other Fellows. 

  • First-hand information: Access to a wealth of relevant information, including stakeholder mapping, repository of key publications and reports, regular updates on relevant events and calls, tailored to their interests. 

  • Enlarged community and collaboration opportunities: Expand their network, gain connections in peer-to-peer learning processes with the Pilots, and identify relevant partners. 

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

What kind of engagement is expected from CCRI Fellows?

CCRI Fellows commit to contributing by sharing good practices and knowledge with the Pilots and other Fellows. They also commit to actively: 
 

  • following developments of the Pilot Group; 

  • exchanging information and experience with the CCRI community; 

  • cooperating with the Pilots. 

What is the CCRI Helpdesk?

The CCRI Helpdesk is one of the key services of the CCRI Coordination and Support Office. It aims to resolve all queries coming from the entire CCRI community. 

How can I get in touch with the CCRI Helpdesk?

You can contact the CCRI Helpdesk in the following ways: 
 

  • Website: You will find a contact form on the CCRI Helpdesk section of the CCRI website, which will allow you to submit any questions you have directly to our Helpdesk team. 

  • Email: You can also directly email us at helpdesk@circular-cities-and-regions.eu

  • Social media: You can get in touch with us via our social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

  • Telephone: If you would prefer to speak to one of the members of our Helpdesk team, you can give us a call on +32 2 503 35 54 (from 09:00 to 18:00 CET, Monday to Friday). 

What are the opening hours of the CCRI Helpdesk?

You can reach the CCRI Helpdesk from 09:00 to 18:00 CET, Monday to Friday. 

Does the CCRI Helpdesk provide support for applicants applying to Horizon Europe calls related to the CCRI?

As it is established through a framework contract with the European Commission, the CCRI Coordination and Support Office cannot give inputs for or support applicants with the European Commission’s call for proposals. 


As the CCRI Coordination and Support Office cannot provide this, the CCRI Helpdesk will refer you directly to the European Commission’s helpdesk.