About this good practice
The Regional Operational Programme of Centro region of Portugal for 2014-2020 (Centro 2020) is particularly oriented towards the reinforcement of companies’ competitiveness and jobs creation, promoting a knowledge-based economy and intensifying the knowledge transfer between the scientific and technological system and the regional economic base. As for Circular Economy (CE), although it is a transversal and broad concept, its development depends on knowledge and innovation activities, which are mainly supported by Thematic Objectives 1 and 3 of Centro 2020.
In the context of the Interreg Europe project REPLACE, CCDRC assumed the goal of including CE assessment criteria in the merit evaluation process of a Regional Operational Programme call, within TO1, that was launched in 2021. In the context of the strategic impact assessment, project promoters were asked to demonstrate their alignment with the regional Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3), as well as their contribution to the CE transition, according to a table that was made available as an Annex to the call text. This table was based on the one proposed by SCREEN (an H2020 project in which CCDRC also participated), and contemplated the following criteria: Circular design; New production processes using “secondary raw materials”; Re-Use, Re-Manufacturing, Refurbishment, Repair; Waste reduction; Industrial symbiosis; Project promoting waste recycling; Net energy balance; Reduction of emissions; and Net balance of jobs.
No financial resources were specifically mobilised for the process of inclusion of CE assessment criteria in the Regional Operational Call.
Evidence of success
From the total number of proposals that were submitted, the majority of proposals were considered to be aligned with at least 1 relevant criterion for the transition to a CE. At the end of the evaluation process, it was possible to confirm that the inclusion of Circular Economy assessment criteria played a role in the determination of the projects’ ranking.
Potential for learning or transfer
After its launch, CCDRC assumed the ambition of monitoring the implementation of the projects in order to collect insights on what could be improved in the assessment of projects’ contribution to the CE transition (since this was the first time that CE assessment criteria were used for the scoring of project proposals within the overall context of the Portuguese Partnership Agreement). More precisely, CCDRC wishes to draw conclusions on the added value of using CE assessment criteria in the evaluation of investment project’s merit and deliver insights for the preparation of the programming period 2021-2027 – as CE will continue to be one of the main strategic frameworks for our regional development and our upcoming ROP. Overall, with the launch of this TO1 call through Centro 2020 (CENTRO-45-2021-30), this good practice could pave the way for some discussions on upcoming instruments in the context of the next Programming Period and for other Operational Programmes within Europe.