Summary of the implementation of the activities of the Action Plan towards Circular Bioeconomy in Romania

The instrument in the focus of the BIOREGIO project in Romania is the Regional Operational Programme, ROP 2014-2020 Axis 1, Specific Objective 1.1 - Increasing innovation in companies by supporting innovation and technology transfer entities in the areas of smart specialization . The instrument had an initial budget allocation of 200 mil. Euros, that was reduced to around 100 mil.  After the first call that was closed in April 2019, very few applications were received and most of them were rejected. 

In Romania, "bioeconomy: developing circular economy” is officially funded as a smart specialization area. Source: Pexels

The action plan towards bio-based circular economy in Romania includes a review of the funding instrument and relaunching of calls.  Early in 2020, the guides for applicants were changed and many of the measures included in the action plan were implemented. 

Two new calls were opened on 13 June 2020, and “bioeconomy: developing circular economy” is officially funded as a smart specialization area. Call 1A is on the first-come-first-served basis, in order to speed up the contracting process, with a 5.4 mil. budget allocation for South Muntenia Region.

In March 2020 a new “Proof of Concept” instrument for SMEs was published for public consultation, with improved and simplified funding conditions.

At the same time, the next programming period 2021-2027 is under preparation and lots of programming documents were published for public consultation. A screening of project ideas was also carried out. Following these consultations, the first draft of the next ROP was published on 5 June 2020, and Priority Axis 1 – “A competitive region through innovation, digitalization and dynamic enterprises” includes a dedicated action to “Support innovation in circular economy”. 

All these developments bring hope that bio-based circular economy will be largely supported through the ROP and other funding instruments in Romania in the coming years.