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Solutions for Circular Economy

– with a focus on plastics and textiles  Pool 2 second call


Application Deadline:
May 28, 2024, at 12:00 (noon)

Project duration:
Minimum 1 year. Projects must end before 31/03-2027

Total budget available: 
DKK 11.900.000.

Amount to be applied for:
Minimum DKK 500.000, Maximum DKK 11.900.000.

1. Background about the Innomissions and Trace

– Partnership and roadmap



This call text relates to Trace (Innomission 4), Circular Economy with a focus on Plastics and Textiles, which is also referred to as the Trace Partnership.

Denmark is committed to acting on and reducing climate changes and has set goals to: 

70% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Denmark by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050, strengthen the environment and nature, and contribute to increased competitiveness of the Danish businesses and industries.

To fulfill these goals, four missions (also referred to as Innomissions) have been created as stated in the “Green solutions of the future - Strategy for investments in green research, technology, and innovation” and the Research Reserve agreement for 2021: 

Mission 1: INNO-CCUS collection and storage or use of CO2

Mission 2: Mission GreenFuels – Green fuels for transport and industry

Mission 3: AgriFoodTure – Climate and environmentally friendly agriculture

Mission 4: Trace: Circular economy with a focus on plastics and textiles

The goal for Mission 4/Trace is to contribute to Denmark achieving the national climate targets in the areas of plastics and textiles by 2050. We want to create a research and open innovation partnership, where private and public companies and knowledge institutions interact with the rest of society and the most talented national and international researchers develop tools and processes to convert traditional linear production/economy/ consumption into circular solutions. 

Our ambitious partnership collaborates across the entire value chain from public and private companies to knowledge institutions, and authorities, to facilitate the transition towards circular economy. The partnership is mission-oriented and create value through knowledge sharing, open innovation, co-creation, and collaboration.

Three workstreams provide the backbone of the roadmap activities and have the following success criteria:  

Plastics: Bringing end-of-use plastic back into high-quality use (>100,000 tons) Lifting material out of incineration (>80,000 tons) viable alternatives to virgin & fossil materials (>1000 jobs in emerging industry) Building capabilities to support high value recycling & reuse, but also for functional value utilization of other components enclosed in plastic

Textile; Less returns longer use phases and more value creation of products for better circularity. Less production waste, production closer to market with more flexibility to market needs, less deadstock in retail, and more agile and user-led market strategies for circularity. Export of insights and know-how. Improvement of design strategies for longer use phases and better circularity, first steps of decoupling more virgin resources from the economic model. More transparency of value chains and more insight into reselling markets and tendencies. New techs for sorting and fiber recovery for full circularity.

Common: Ability to sort mixed plastic and textiles will allow for a joint collection system; Reducing material consumption from a more sustainable healthcare sector; Development of circular textile value chains with considerable effects on maintaining and expanding Danish employment along the textiles value chain; Full-scale implementation and scale-up of reuse/recycling system for mattresses.

For information on current partners and for an overview of existing projects (see section 10).

2. What is called for?

– Partnership and roadmap

The Trace partnership invites ambitious, multi-disciplinary consortia to submit proposals for research and innovation projects. The project outcome is expected to advance the circular economy and solve part of the societal challenges towards 2030 and 2050 outlined in the revised roadmap, roadmap and partnership plan (see section 10).

The projects should create high impact and value regardless of the type of project outcome, i.e. new knowledge needs to be disseminated, improved and new processes, systems, products, or solutions need to come closer to market. Circular business models and way to market strategies should valorize the project outcome. The projects must create societal and/or economic value enabling sustainable transformation related to Circular Economy focused on plastics and/or textiles within Danish public organizations, private companies and with customers/in society, e.g. engaging citizens and/or involving civil society organizations, state, regions, and municipalities. The impact of the project results must be assessed from a 2030 or 2050 perspective and support the Trace roadmap. 

To be considered, a project should comprise active partners in both the project’s design, the realization of the project and the operational implementation of results from the project. Furthermore, it should be scalable. Relevant collaborations must also be considered across organizations– including SME & start-ups, research institutions and public institutions. Collaboration with international partners and with SME’s - and start-ups is encouraged. 

We are calling for projects addressing research and innovation themes within Circular Economy focused on plastics or textiles. See the Revised Roadmap and the Trace roadmap.

The following themes within Circular Economy with focus on Plastics and Textiles are A. mandatory and B. encouraged: 

  1. systemic approach is mandatory 

A systemic approach is essential for the realization of a circular economy for textiles and plastics and the Trace partnership goals. Collaboration, co-creation, new ecosystem and open innovation across the value-chains for plastic and textiles is key. This requires different competences and involves key stakeholders, such as researchers from different disciplines, representatives from civil society, private and public organizations – including SMEs and start-ups. While this approach must be applied within individual projects, the new Pool 2 call 2 projects are intended to complement, explore, and enable synergies with the existing and other new projects in the Trace Partnership.


  1. Focus on one or more of the below themes are encouraged:
  • Public/private collaboration and partnerships as a driver of circularity
  • Materials enabling circularity
  • Citizen engagement and involvement of civil society organizations
  • Design for circular economy and for longer product lifetime
  • Data collection, processing, and management advancing or enabling circularity
  • Logistics related to take back  

Assessment criteria
Further information on the prioritizing and assessment of the projects is described in the assessment criteria (see section 10).  For further information about assessment criteria – see below under section 8. The evaluation process is further detailed in section 9

3. Who can apply?

Projects should include at least one organization being part of the Trace partnership. A Trace Partnership Participant can invite new organisations to join the Trace Partnership via project participation in pool 2. Eligible organizations are research institutions or private/public institutions in or outside Denmark, directly involved in the project activities.

Upon final grant agreement, any new organisation will join the Partnership via an accession agreement to the Trace Investment Agreement and Partnership Agreement. 

4. What can be applied for?

The total budget available for this call is 11,9 million DKK. Amount to be applied for: Minimum DKK 500.000. Maximum DKK 11.900.000.

Trace covers a maximum of 67% of the project's total cost. Applicants must ensure that each partner follows the rules for maximum funding rates as detailed in the guidelines for Grand Solutions and InnoMission partnerships (see section 10).

5. What are the general overall criteria?

All projects must: 

  • Include collaboration between academia and public and/or private organisations
  • Have a secured co-financing of at least 33%   
  • Be aligned with the purpose of pool 2 described in the Trace revised roadmap, the roadmap, and the partnership plan (see section 10).

All project participants must participate in relevant Trace partnership activities such as workshops, conferences, contributing to articles, being available for Trace interviews, giving presentations, and other dissemination activities. In addition, you should expect to interact and collaborate with the other Trace funded projects/partners. Hence, you should allocate adequate and sufficient resources and budget for these activities and contributions.  The goal is to explore and exploit synergies as part of the Trace partnership, working jointly towards solutions filling gaps in the Trace roadmap. Furthermore, all projects must apply to all processes and systems implemented by the Trace partnership and must report according to the rules set up in the Investment Agreement by the Innovation Fund Denmark and by the Trace partnership. More information and instructions will be provided by the Trace team. 

The project period can last a minimum of 1 year and must be finalized by March 31, 2027.

6. How much can be applied for?

The total budget available for this call is 11,9 million DKK. Amount to be applied for: Minimum DKK 500.000. Maximum DKK 11.900.000.

The Trace partnership does not accept applications where a successful outcome is dependent on receiving additional funding for further research and development (e.g. projects that involve financing in multiple phases).  

7. Important dates

Call opens: March 2024

Deadline for application: May 28, 2024, at 12:00 (noon) 

Expected response date: Fall 2024

Expected earliest project start date: 1st quarter 2025

8. Assessment criteria

All applications will be evaluated on:

  1. Quality of the idea – the quality of the research and innovation 
  2. Impact – value creation during and after the project 
  3. Quality of execution – efficiency in the project execution and the implementation of the results  
  4. Relevance to the scope and objectives of the Trace Partnership 

An overview of all assessment criteria that form the basis for the assessment of the application for Pool 2 funding for the Trace Partnership is provided (see section 10)

All four criteria are included in the assessment and contribute to the overall assessment. The assessment provided by each evaluator is the reasoned opinion of the evaluator and is not a simple weighted sum of the ratings on the criteria. A project selected for funding cannot have a low rating on any of the four criteria. 

9. Evaluation process

Applications must be submitted via filkassen

Criteria 1-3 will be evaluated by 2-3 review by external experts. Criteria 4 will be evaluated by the Partnership Director. Please beware that criteria 4 is crucial for the evaluation and poor evaluation of this section alone can decide whether the applicant will receive funding or not. 

Before proposals are subjected to review by external experts, the Partnership Director will ensure that the proposals comply with the formal requirements described in the call text. Applications which do not comply with the requirements will receive administrative rejection before subjected to external review. 

Proposals which comply with all formal requirements are assessed by Eureka experts

Applicants will receive the external evaluation via Filkassen. Applicants must provide consultation responses to the evaluation within 10 working days and submit their response via Filkassen. 

Letters of rejection will be sent to applicants who are not selected for funding. The letter will refer to the evaluation criteria and be sent to the applicant via Filkassen.

10. Application content, guidance and documents

Pool 2 proposals should include the following information and appendixes. 

Mandatory appendix 

  • Appendix B - Partner motivation: Describe each partner's key competences and motivation in relation to the project activities. Download template
  • Appendix C - Key persons: Describe the key individuals in the project and include CV's for key persons. Download template 
  • Appendix D – Gantt chart showing the timing of the different work packages. Download template

Additional appendices which may be attached, if deemed relevant 


Link to relevant documents: 

11. Contact info

For questions related to the call text and application documents, please get in touch with the Trace Director Anette Juhl, or Funding Manager Thomas Bay Estrup,

The secretariat cannot provide advice on the specific content of the application, and neither can the Board of Directors.