/Raw Materials and Circular Societies Prize

Raw Materials and Circular Societies Prize

Supporting novel business ideas to boost the transition from Linear to Circular Economy in Europe

The application process is closed.

The World Bank estimates the amount of municipal solid waste will increase from 1.3 to 2.2 billion tons per year by 2025, with most of this increase coming from cities in developing nations. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in the consumer goods sector alone about 80 percent of the USD 3.2 trillion value is irrecoverably lost annually. The linear take-make-waste industrial model is no longer viable in the face of rapid population growth, resource constraints, climate change, urbanisation, water insecurity and other trends. A more regenerative model offers a viable opportunity to successfully tackle environmental priorities through innovative business models stimulating competitiveness, and development. (Greenbiz)

New business models that foster repairing, reuse and sharing, are an essential part of the circular economy, specifically in European cities, where on the one hand most of the material- and energy throughput occurs and on the other, innovative solutions can be rolled out best due to the inherent characteristics of the urban form (i.e. large availability of materials, high population density and urban consumption patterns).

The main objective of the Raw Materials and Circular Society Prize will be to support the implementation of new ideas for these business models.

Raw Materials and Circular Societies Prize is a part of the Raw Materials and Circular Societies Lighthouse. The competition is organised by EIT RawMaterials in collaboration with ICLEI and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

Topics of interest

This call is specifically focused on ideas for “new” business models supporting the efficient implementation of the Circular Economy in Europe.

Ideas in the following themes are expected:

  • Products and services designed to fit within a circular economy (so easy to maintain, share, repair, upgrade, reuse or recycle, use of biomaterials, durability customisation) for the Automotive, Clean Energy and Electronics Sectors
  • New tools/methodologies to support circular design for products and services
  • Digital Products Passport to improve disassembly, material and component reuse, recycling and materials reporting, as well as innovative business models

Raw Materials and Circular Societies Prize Award

The support scheme will be as follows:

  • Financial award of EUR 10.000 lump sum for the winner in the theme Products and services designed to fit within a circular economy for the Automotive, Clean Energy and Electronics Sectors
  • Financial award of EUR 10.000 lump sum for the winner in the theme New tools/methodologies to support circular design for products and services
  • Financial award of EUR 10.000 lump sum for the winner in the theme Digital Products Passport to improve disassembly, material and component reuse, recycling and materials reporting, as well as innovative business models

Additionally, prize laureates will receive support to access EIT RawMaterials Entrepreneurship programmes.

How it works

The application procedure is the following:

  1. Online application: Applicants must present by 15 June 2021 an online application form and a 2-page idea description where they should illustrate: the problems they address (market needs), technological solution, novelty, team composition and expertise, estimate time to market.
  2. First screening phase performed by an expert panel composed by EIT RawMaterials, ICLEI, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) to assess the alignment of the application with the underlying objectives of the challenge: the 5 best applications passing this screening will be invited to pitch their idea to the Jury. Notification to shortlisted candidates will be sent during July 2021.
  3. Pitching contest: shortlisted candidates will pitch to the Jury panel composed of experts from EIT RawMaterials, ICLEI, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). The jury panel will rank the pitched ideas according to the evaluation criteria described in the next section. The pitching ceremony will be held in October 2021 (venue and exact date to be communicated later to selected candidates).

If there are less than 5 applications, there will not be a pre-selection phase: all the applications will pass directly to the pitching contest (Phase 3).

The pre-selection panel and jury usually have a different composition, but jury members may participate in the pre-selection panel.

Who can apply

The Raw Materials and Circular Societies Prize Call 2021 is open to any legal entity (including natural persons) or group of legal entities established in an EU Member State or in a country associated to Horizon Europe.

Typically, the following entities may apply:

  1. SMEs having innovation projects relevant to the challenge topics defined above;
  2. Start-up or spin-off companies at least registered at the time of the application;
  3. Natural persons or groups of natural persons resident in an EU Member State.

In case of joint applications by a group of participants, the participants must appoint a ‘lead participant’ to represent them towards EIT RawMaterials. The participants will be jointly responsible and must all fulfil and respect the conditions set out in these Rules of the Prize Call. Applications must be submitted by the (lead) participant.

Award criteria

Each application will be scored based on the criteria and guidelines listed below:

  • Circularity impact: The innovations should clearly demonstrate a connection to material circularity as well as how they contribute to increasing the share of secondary materials and reduce the use of virgin materials. A demonstration of emission reduction through the innovations is evaluated positively.
  • Technical excellence, IP status: The innovation should be relevant to the topics (mentioned in section 1.2 in Terms & Conditions). Strong IP protection/potential protection will be positively evaluated if relevant to the proposed idea.
  • Market needs & replicability/business models: Large market size and customer willingness to buy are positively evaluated (e.g. initial discussion with potential customer(s)). The innovation should also be clearly replicable in different European regions.
  • Quality of the team: Capability is of the utmost importance since execution is key. Team members should show relevant expertise and track records.
  • Quality of the development roadmap: A roadmap with clear milestones and estimate efforts will be evaluated.


  • Deadline for submitting business ideas: 15 June 2021 at 23:59 CET
  • Selection of ideas and notification of acceptance/rejection: mid-September 2021
  • Preparation for pitching contest: from 15 September 2021 until 26 October 2021
  • Pitching session and Award ceremony: 26 October 2021 (exact date and location to be communicated in due course)

Further information

  • For EIT RawMaterials, please contact your nearest Innovation Hub.
  • For support on this Prize application, please contact Lorena Jurado or Théo Berthet, Business Development Managers at EIT RawMaterials.
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