Skip to main content Skip to footer

Innovative Solutions for Circular Infrastructure

Pool 3 total budget DKK 43.142.562


Application Deadline: June 21, 2024 at 12:00 (noon) THE CALL IS CLOSED BY JUNE 21.

Project duration: Minimum 1 year. Projects must end before 31/3-2027 

Total budget for this call: DKK 43.142.562. Amount to be applied for:
Minimum DKK 10.000.000. Maximum DKK 43.142.562 

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

Theme 1 supports projects with the purpose of closing roadmap gaps by establishing a Circular Infrastructure in Denmark. Trace will invest in cross-sectorial research and innovation projects that can create novel solutions to issues and 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 go-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/or 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, private companies, research institutions and public institutions. Collaboration with international partners and with SME’s - and start-ups is encouraged.

A 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 plastics and textiles is key. This requires different competencies 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 3 ´Solution’ projects are intended to complement, explore and enable synergies with the existing projects in the Trace Partnership.

We are calling for projects addressing the following research and innovation theme within Circular Economy focused on plastics and/or textiles, see the Revised Roadmap and the Trace roadmap:

Innovative Solutions for Circular Infrastructure
We are looking for research and innovation projects which analyze the current situation, the challenges related hereto and support and deliver a circular infrastructure in the fields of plastics and/or textiles. 

Focus on the systemic approach is mandatory when applying for Theme 1. In addition, focus on one or more of the below sub themes (ST) is encouraged:

ST1: Shared facilities: Addressing the need for supporting local and small-scale and larger public or private initiatives, that can benefit from sharing facilities for producing, storing, disseminating, sorting, repairing, reselling, repurposing, or recycling or other similar activities. 

ST2: Towards Industry 4.0 and circular economy by developing and integrating intelligent digital technologies and platforms into manufacturing, industrial processes, value-chains, logistics, infrastructure and/or transport 

ST3: Networks for knowledge-sharing/network-based initiatives: Establishment of networks for facilitating the sharing of recent and existing knowledge from research, legislation and practices and experiences, covering the Trace roadmap value chain of 1) materials knowledge- and innovation, 2) production and design, 3) systems and services, or 4) recovery strategies.

ST4: Collaborative business models (CBMs): multi-stakeholder projects supportive of more circular resource flows and collaborative business models with the purpose of breaking down barriers of silo sectors or isolated initiatives.

ST5: Activation and inclusion of civil society organizations facilitating and/or operating within the framework of resource efficiency and circularity.

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 which is part of the Trace partnership. A Trace Partnership Participant can invite new organizations to join the Trace Partnership via project participation in pool 3. Eligible organizations are research institutions or private/public institutions in or outside Denmark, directly involved in the project activities. Any legal entity in or outside DK, directly involved in the project activities, is eligible to apply to participate in and receive funding from Trace. The legal entity acting as main applicant should have a Danish CVR number.

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

4. What can be applied for?

Total budget for this call: DKK 43.142.562. Amount to be applied for: Minimum DKK 10.000.000. Maximum DKK 43.142.562

Trace covers a maximum of 75 % of the project's total cost. Applicants must ensure that each partner follow the rules for maximum investment 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 organizations
  • Have a secured co-financing of at least 25%   
  • Be aligned with the purpose of pool 3 described in the Trace revised roadmap, the roadmap, and the partnership plan.
  • Meet the mandatory requirements of a systemic approach
  • Include at least one organization that is part of the Trace partnership.

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?

Total budget for this call: DKK 43.142.562. Amount to be applied for: Minimum DKK 10.000.000. Maximum DKK 43.142.562.

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 in Filkassen: March 2024 

Deadline for application: June 21, 2024, at 12:00 (noon)

Expected response date: Fall 2024

Expected earliest project start date: 1st quarter of 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 is provided in 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 experts

Applicants will receive the external evaluation via E-mail. Within 10 working days applicants must provide consultation responses and submit their response via filkassen. 

Members of the Partnership Board are likely, through the interests of their places of employment or association, to have conflicts of interest in relation to individual proposals. Members must declare which proposals they have conflicts of interests in relation to.   

Members will not take part in deliberations or decisions about proposals for which they have conflicts of interest.

The Partnership Director, employed by the Partnership Association which is not a beneficiary of the funding under consideration, has neither personally nor through her place of employment, any conflicts of interest in relation to the selection of projects for funding. 

Based on draft motivations recommended by the Partnership Director for funding or rejection of funding, for each proposal as well as the available budget, the Partnership Board comes to a reasoned decisions regarding funding or rejection of funding for each proposal.

In case the partnership board cannot muster a required number of non-conflicted members, the Partnership Director in collaboration with two or more non-conflicted members of Board of Directors or the Advisory Group will make the final decision regarding funding or rejection of proposal.  

Letter of Rejections/Letter of Acceptance
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 E-mail. Letter of acceptance will be sent to the applications selected for funding via E-mail.

10. Application content, guidance and documents

Pool 3 proposals should include the following information and appendixes. 

Application and Budget (mandatory)

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.


Trace has not yet received the contract from the Innovation Fund Denmark regarding the Trace Solution call. In case of unexpected changes in the contract, Trace may need to delay the application deadline and thereby the response date. In the unlikely event that fundamental changes have been made to the contract, Trace reserves the right to withdraw the Trace Solution call text and announce a new one as soon as possible thereafter.