European Commission Directorate-General for International Partnerships (EuropeAid HQ)

RFCS-2023 Steel Research Projects

Last update: Jul 4, 2024 Last update: Jul 4, 2024


Location:EU 27EU 27
Contracting Authority Type:Development Institution
Budget: EUR 20,500,000
Award ceiling:N/A
Award floor:N/A
Sector:Environment & NRM, Industry, Commerce & Services, Research
Eligible applicants:Academic Institutions, Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs)
Eligible nationalities:EU 27, Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, ... See more EU 27, Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, French Polynesia, French Southern Territory, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Turks and Caicos, Wallis and Futuna
Date posted: Jun 15, 2023

Attachments 12


Call updates

Feb 13, 2024 4:35:58 PM

The results of the evaluation are as follows:

Number of proposals submitted: 84
RFCS-2023-01 Coal: 23
RFCS-2023-02 Steel: 61

Number of inadmissible proposals: 0
Number of ineligible proposals: 0

Number of above-threshold proposals: 49
RFCS-2023-01 Coal: 10
RFCS-2023-02 Steel: 39

Number of proposals suggested for funding: 27
RFCS-2023-01 Coal: 6
RFCS-2023-02 Steel: 21

Total maximum grant amount: EUR 39.796.326
RFCS-2023-01 Coal: EUR 10.643.743
RFCS-2023-02 Steel: EUR 29.152.583

The applicants were informed on 9 February 2024 about the evaluation results for their proposals.


Sep 25, 2023 11:17:43 AM

On 20 September 2023, the call RFCS-2023 for Coal and Steel closed at 17:00.
In response to this call, 84 proposals were submitted for a total requested EU contribution of 140 MEUR distributed as follows:
- 24 proposals submitted for Coal for total requested EU contribution of 40 MEUR
- 60 proposals submitted for Steel for a total requested EU contribution of 100 MEUR.

Jun 15, 2023 12:00:01 AM

The submission session is now available for: RFCS-2023-02-RPJ(RFCS-PJG)

RFCS-2023 Steel Research Projects


Programme: Research Fund for Coal & Steel (RFCS)
Call: RFCS-2023 (RFCS-2023)
Type of action: RFCS-PJG RFCS Project Grants
Type of MGA: RFCS Action Grant Budget-Based [RFCS-AG]
Deadline model: single-stage
Opening date: 15 June 2023
Deadline date: 20 September 2023 17:00:00 Brussels time

Research objectives for steel ( Council Decision 2008/376/EC amended by Council Decision EU 2021/1094 )

Article 8 New, sustainable and low-carbon steelmaking and finishing processes

Research and technological development shall aim to develop, demonstrate and improve near-zero-carbon steel production processes with a view to raising product quality and increasing productivity. Substantially reducing emissions, energy consumption, the carbon footprint and other environmental impacts, as well as conserving resources, shall form an integral part of the activities sought. Research projects shall address one or more of the following areas:

(a) new and improved breakthrough near-zero-carbon iron- and steel-making processes and operations, with particular attention to carbon direct avoidance or smart carbon usage, or both;

(b) steel process and process chain optimisation (including the reduction and pre-reduction of iron-ore, iron- and steel-making, processes based on recycled scrap melting, secondary metallurgy, casting, rolling, finishing and coating operations) via instrumentation, detection of properties of intermediate and final products, modelling, control and automation, including digitalisation, application of big data, artificial intelligence and any other advanced technologies;

(c) steel process integration and process efficiency in near-zero-carbon steel production;

(d) maintenance and reliability of steel production tools;

(e) techniques for increasing recyclability, recycling and reuse of steel and developing a circular economy;

(f) techniques for increasing the energy efficiency of steel production by recovery of waste heat, prevention of energy losses, hybrid heating techniques and energy management solutions;

(g) innovative technologies and solutions for the iron- and steel-making processes promoting cross-sector activities, demonstration projects integrating zero-carbon energy production or contributing to a clean hydrogen economy.

Article 9 Advanced steel grades and applications

Research and technological development shall focus on meeting the requirements of steel users to develop new near-zero-carbon products and on creating new market opportunities while reducing emissions and environmental impacts. In the context of the technologies referred to in Article 8, research projects shall address one or more of the following areas, with the objective of delivering near-zero-carbon and sustainable steel production processes in the Union:

(a) new advanced steel grades;

(b) improvement of steel properties such as mechanical and physical properties, suitability for further processing, suitability for various applications and various working conditions;

(c) prolonging service life, in particular by improving the resistance of steels and steel structures to heat and corrosion, mechanical and thermal fatigue and other deteriorating effects;

(d) predictive simulation models on microstructures, mechanical properties and production processes;

(e) technologies relating to the forming, welding and joining of steel and other materials;

(f) standardisation of testing and evaluation methods;

(g) high-performance steels for applications like mobility, including sustainability, eco-design methods, retrofitting, lightweight design and safety solutions.

Article 10 Conservation of resources, protection of the environment and circular economy

In both steel production and steel utilisation, the conservation of resources, the preservation of ecosystems, the transition to a circular economy and safety issues shall form an integral part of the research and technological development work. Research projects shall address one or more of the following areas:

(a) techniques for recycling obsolete steel and by-product from various sources and improvement of the quality of steel scrap;

(b) treatment of waste and recovery of valuable secondary raw materials, including slags, inside and outside the steel plant;

(c) pollution control and protection of the environment in and around the workplace and the steel plant (gaseous, solid or liquid emissions, water management, noise, odours, dust, etc.);

(d) design of steel grades and assembled structures to facilitate the easy recovery of steel for recycling or reuse;

(e) utilisation of process gases and elimination of waste gases emissions from steel production;

(f) life cycle assessment and life cycle thinking concerning steel production and use.

Article 10a Management of work force and working conditions

Research projects shall address one or more of the following areas:

(a) developing and disseminating competencies to keep pace with new near-zero-carbon steel production processes, such as digitalisation, and to reflect the principle of lifelong learning;

(b) improving working conditions, including health, safety and ergonomics in and around the workplace.

Expected Impact:
The European Green Deal Communication, presented by the European Commission in December 2019, is the European growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use.

The Communication also states that all Union actions and policies should pull together to help the Union achieve a successful and just transition towards a sustainable future.

Within the European Green Deal objectives, applicants to the RFCS Steel topics should consider the following elements when preparing their proposals:

Energy-intensive industries, such as steel [...] are indispensable to Europe’s economy, as they supply several key value chains. The decarbonisation and modernisation of this sector is essential.
The Commission will support clean steel breakthrough technologies leading to a zero-carbon steel making process by 2030.

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