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European Research Executive Agency

Research Fund for Coal and Steel – How to apply

Steps for applying

To apply for funding under the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS), you need to follow these steps:

  1. Every year, the European Commission publishes calls for proposals setting out the programme’s research objectives and priorities for coal and steel. The RFCS follows a bottom-up approach. This means that within these research objectives, applicants are free to choose any relevant specific area for their project.
  2. For most calls for proposals you must apply as a team of partner organisations from different EU countries.
    To apply, you must create a profile in the Funding & tenders portal. Then you select the call for proposals you want to apply for and use the online form on that page to build and submit your proposal before the deadline.
  3. After the deadline, the REA organises an evaluation with independent specialists in the field. These experts check and evaluate each proposal against defined criteria.
    Coal and Steel Committee (COSCO)
    The ranking list of admissible projects is presented to the Coal and Steel Committee of Member States representatives for approval.
    The European Commission adopts a decision on the successful projects that will be funded, within the available budget.
    We then inform the applicants of the successful proposals.
  4. Once the successful proposals are selected, we draw up a grant agreement with the project partners (‘the beneficiaries’). The grant agreement specifies the project’s research and innovation activities, duration and budget, the EU's contribution, all rights and obligations and more.
    Generally, the parties sign the grant agreement within 9 months from the deadline for submission and within 3 months from the information to the applicants.

Types of projects

The Research Fund for Coal and Steel funds different types of collaborative projects including:

  • Research projects covering investigative or experimental work to establish new knowledge or explore new or improved products, production processes or services. The EU funding covers up to 60% of the project costs.
  • Pilot and demonstration projects:
    Pilot projects develop, construct and operate an installation to examine the potential for putting theoretical or laboratory results into practice. Demonstration projects construct or operate an industrial-scale installation, to gather all the technical and economic data needed for a commercial exploitation of the technology.
    The EU funding covers up to 50% of the project costs.
  • Accompanying measures promote the use of the gained knowledge including the organisation of dedicated workshops or conferences in connection with RFCS projects or priorities. The EU funding covers up to 100% of the project costs.

Please consult the calls for proposals for a full and detailed explanation of the different types of projects.

Support for applicants

If you have questions about EU research funding and the validation of participants:

The Research Enquiry Service can help you with questions on EU funding for research and innovation.

They also answer enquiries on the validation of project participants. If you are already registered in the Funding & tenders portal, please contact the Central Validation Service through the Participant Register, by using the ‘Messages’ function in your Participant Identification Code (PIC) account.

If you would like to see previously funded projects and their results:

Please consult:

If you have questions about the application process:

Please consult the Online Manual published on the Funding and tenders portal for guidance on the application process, the grant signature and grant management.

You can also watch the recording of the webinar “The Funding & tenders Portal for beginners”.

If you encounter technical issues:

For IT-related questions on the application through the Funding & tenders portal, please contact the IT help desk.