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Deadline: May 6, 2021  
- 105 days

 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Energy Efficiency
 Intelligent Energy
 Renewable Energy
 Digital Economy
 Digital Society

Announcement of Call for Proposals 

The Joint Programming Platform Smart Energy Systems (JPP SES) in collaboration with the global initiative Mission Innovation is pleased to announce the Joint Call 2020 ("MICall20") on digital transformation for green energy transition. Together with the supporting activities "Validation Network with Living Labs and Testbeds” and "Associated Partner Network with Digital Platform Providers”, the launch of this Joint Call completes the successful start of the JPP SES Focus Initiative on digitalisation of the energy system ("EnerDigit”). The aim is to support transnational research and innovation activities unleashing the potential of digital transformation for a sustainable energy society. The total available budget for the Joint Call 2020 ("MICall20") exceeds € 25 Mio (including co-funding from the European Commission). The Joint Call 2020 has been launched on 14 December 2020. 

The Joint Call 2020 flyer will be available here soon. 

All call related information will be released on this webpage, it will be updated in the course of the call processes.

Digital transformation for green energy transition


By accelerating the implementation, adaption and knowledge creation of digital solutions in energy systems and networks, this call supports the following objectives:

  • Advance the green energy transition in all sectors of the energy system while ensuring security of supply
  • Shaping new transnational business and investment opportunities by sector coupling and development of new value chains in innovative and cost-effective energy solutions, thereby creating new employment opportunities and contributing to the development of an environmentally sustainable financial growth
  • Ensuring social sustainability and coherence with digitalisation in other sectors in the progression of the green energy transition

Overall objectives

  • Increase the development and uptake of latest digital innovation and solutions in the energy domain
  • facilitate well established open and harmonised marketplaces that better connect the ICT and the energy domain
  • improve knowledge and awareness for policy makers, regulators and utilities on digital solutions

Indicative Call procedure timings

 Proposal phase
 Call opens 
14 December 2020 

Deadline for compulsory registration of interest 
17 February 2021 

Full proposal submission deadline 
06 May 2021 

Selection phase Project selection 
November 2021 

Project phase 
Project start date  
Before 15 June 2022


Project proposals must be submitted electronically. More information about the call and the online Electronic Submission System can be found at the ERA-Net SES website: Joint Call 2020.



Transforming the global landscape of energy supply and solutions towards a decarbonised, secure and resilient energy system will need holistic system solutions incorporating technologies that can be replicated and scaled. The goals of the Paris Agreement may still be achievable but will require more ambitious and faster emission reductions on a global scale.

Together with the Mission Innovation initiative, the European Union is working to accelerate global clean energy innovation to make clean energy available for all. As part of this global effort, the European Union has the ambition to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent, as presented in the European Green Deal by President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission. This is not only motivated by the climate change, but also by an economical ambition of being in the lead in circular economy and clean technologies. The global race against climate change is also a race to secure financial stability in the new, energy economy.


Digital technologies, as deployed in a broad range of business and media applications on a global basis, are tools that may enable energy systems around the world to be more connected, intelligent, efficient and reliable, and by including renewable energy sources, also to be more sustainable. The digital transformation is therefore expected to have wide effects on the future design of energy systems. At the same time, as a lot of the required ICT- technology for this transformation has already been developed and come far in transforming other sectors of society, it ́s important that the development in the energy sector efficiently harness the existing knowledge and technologies while developing the new solutions for the energy system. Finally, while digitalisation can bring many positive effects, it can also make energy systems more vulnerable. It remains to be discovered how this evolution will affect the energy transition and how we can ensure that the effects contribute to increased sustainability.



The overall aim of the Joint Call 2020 is to support transnational research and innovation activities, unleashing the potential of digital transformation for a sustainable energy society. By accelerating the implementation, adaption and knowledge creation of digital solutions also in energy systems and networks, this call supports the following objectives:

  • Advance the green energy transition in all sectors of the energy system while ensur- ing security of supply

  • Shaping new transnational business and investment opportunities by sector coupling and development of new value chains in innovative and cost-effective energy solutions, thereby creating new employment opportunities and contributing to the development of an environmentally sustainable financial growth

  • Ensuring social sustainability and coherence with digitalisation in other sectors in the progression of the green energy transition

    Projects answering to this call are expected to address key challenges and opportunities relating to one or more of the abovementioned objectives. This may include aspects related to (however not limited to):

• Social sustainability

o gender and diversity aspects of digitalization in the energy system such as artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning and the effect of gender and diversity biased data and socio- economic sustainability on digitalization from a gender and diversity perspective

o privacy, ownership, and integrity
o solutions to overcome energy poverty and foster inclusion of all

societal groups into the energy transition • Energy and ICT infrastructure

o Next generation energy network technologies including electricity systems with DC grid technologies at all voltage levels

o Future thermal grid systems including low temperature heating and cooling grids

o Data platforms/APIs, interoperability, and standardisation
o Resilience, cyber security (vulnerabilities, failures, risks) and

data security

o Internet of things (IoT), 5G, smart buildings, smart metering, sensors and automation, including adaptation of consumer behaviour and automated consumption planning

o inclusion of energy system relevant sectors such as transport and mobility or farming

o Resource efficiency (including energy), also of ICT itself

o Artificialintelligence/machinelearning

• Energy marketplaces, business models and communication
o Sector coupling of traditional energy actors to stakeholders and partners in

other domains such as agriculture, mobility or production enterprises o Energy management and services

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o Big data and management of big data from different sources (planning tools, management tools, market platforms, smart meters, social medias, etc.)



Each project answering to the Joint Call 2020 should identify and address critical challenges in the digitalisation process towards a green energy society. Projects are strongly encouraged to involve “need-owners” 1 and relevant stakeholders in all project phases to maximise market acceptance and uptake within the development of technologies and solutions.

The project consortia applying for the Joint Call 2020 are asked to elaborate on:

Identification of challenges for digitalisation of energy systems and networks and their “need-owner(s)”
• Description of processes and methodologies for identifying critical needs, in

collaboration with the most significant “need-owner(s)” and other stakeholders. Such “need-owners” may include infrastructure operators, local industries or communities and end-users in value chains from the local and regional, up to the European and global levels. Projects are encouraged to engage with all relevant parts of the value chain for the developed solution.

Description of RDD activities and co-creation of solutions

  • Description of activities in the fields of research, development and demonstration and/or real environment testing.

  • Description of chosen processes and methods for collaboration between project partners, “need-owner(s)” and other stakeholders.

  • Description of how “need-owner(s)” and relevant stakeholders (such as technology and service providers, innovators, start-ups, end-users and communities) should participate in the planned solutions development, demonstration and transfer activities to ensure that the viewpoints, knowledge and expertise of the “need- owner(s)” and relevant stakeholders are involved in all solution development stages. Project teams are expected to include partners from different parts of society with a “digital” and close to market mindset in transnational collaboration, to develop scalable, customizable and replicable solutions. Coordinating and linking research activities with living labs2 may facilitate the development and field- testing of prototypes. Projects are also encouraged to engage with digital platform providers (DPPs)3 to enhance access to existing data, software, service, and business platforms and increase the market readiness level of the project solutions. ERA-Net SES operates an information and matchmaking platform where interested parties can link to LLs and DPPs and include them in their development plans in various ways.

3. Scaling up, replication and dissemination strategy

  • Description of the potential for subsequent scaling up, replication and

    transferability of solutions, including description on how to achieve market- readiness (TRL 8-9) for the solutions developed during the project. While solutions may be developed for the concrete needs in a specific region, projects should also keep larger scale markets of solutions and technologies in mind. High flexibility and adaptability of developed solutions will increase the applicability on the global markets.

  • Description of IPR, knowledge sharing and publication of results, including open data strategies, identifying solution synergies and plans for developing next steps.

  • The opportunities for creating policy briefs and guides or other deliverables in the framework of the ERA-Net SES Knowledge Community should also be considered. Projects supported by ERA-Net SES consortium partners are expected to actively participate in knowledge sharing and learning as organised by the ERA-Net SES Knowledge Community. The activities will encourage collaboration with other projects resulting from this call, previous calls, additional

    experts and associated partners (see section 5.2).

    Proposals that intend to develop digital services should, as far as feasible, use existing digital platforms4, rather than expend project resources to develop their own. The ERA-Net SES matchmaking platform displays a set of pre-selected digital platform providers (DPP) that are committed to support project development and implementation.

    The proposal must demonstrate added value from the international cooperation, in compari- son to national projects, which should be evident in the layout and execution of the work packages. The work plan must show real cooperation and project outputs are expected to provide benefits to all partner countries. Synergies with other relevant national or international projects, current and concluded, should be described in the project proposals.

5.1 Project requirements

The following criteria apply for project proposals in the Joint Call 2020:

• Transnationality:
Consortia must include at least two independent legal entities applying for funding from two different countries (whereof at least two partners from the EC and/or EEA region) of the funding agencies participating in the Joint Call 2020.
The number of partners per consortium is not limited, but the manageability of the consortium must be demonstrated (efficient consortia of 5-8 partners for medium- sized projects with total budget in a range of 1-2 Mio € are typical, but this does not exclude smaller/larger projects). The involvement of more than two countries will be

3 DPPs as enablers of software solutions will be asked to develop a portfolio of offers to RDD projects from DPPs with free and/or limited access to platform solutions, e.g. cloud available services or results from previous projects and describe available platform solutions for project applicants and innovation stakeholders. DPPs can be included into the development phase of RDD projects project development phase by giving input into what (IT) requirements projects need to meet when developing their solutions. They may support project in product and services development and after the project support bringing the solutions into practice.


4 E.g. data platforms, software platforms, ledger technologies, etc.

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encouraged. Consortia also need to be balanced between countries both in terms of number of partners and distribution of budget; such that all project partners contribute to and benefit from an equitable and balanced cooperation. Requested funding for one partner may not exceed 70% of the total requested funding budget.

If partners in the consortium are found ineligible for funding by the involved funding agencies, the minimum number of participating countries must be met, regardless of the provided “fallback strategy”.

  • “Fallback strategy”:
    Consortia with three or more participating countries involved are required to offer a “fallback strategy” for cases in which one or some of the involved funding agencies considers the project as ineligible. The “fallback strategy” must be part of the risk assessment of the proposal and should be structured as follows:

    o Scenario A: Project partners from country A are not eligible: The project can still be implemented, because...

    o Scenario B: Project partners from country B are not eligible: The project cannot be implemented anymore because...

    o Etc.

    The “fallback strategy” should clearly explain how the project could be executed without the ineligible partner(s) in question and without the sought funds of the partner(s).
    If the project proposal does not pass the national/regional eligibility check in one country/region and there is no “fallback strategy” provided for this case, the project will not be considered for funding and will not be forwarded to the evaluation phase. Furthermore, please consider that the project proposal needs to pass the national/regional eligibility check in at least two participating countries.

    If, however, the consortia cannot foresee how the project can be executed without all partners in the proposal, then a “fallback strategy” may be omitted.
    The “fallback strategy” will be evaluated by the independent expert panel in cases where a partner is found ineligible during the evaluation phase. The “fallback strategy” is not applicable during the selection phase and in cases where national/regional funding has been exhausted.

  • TRL level:
    Projects should develop digital energy system solutions, including demonstration of solution(s) or a timely roadmap for the latter. Projects should address solutions within Technology Readiness Level 4 – 8 (TRL - see definitions in Annex E). Activities with lower TRL levels may be included if they contribute to the higher project goal. Projects may expand on results from and connect to ongoing or recently finished demonstration projects (utilise test infrastructure, utilise knowledge, cooperation of key demos, transfer of results, establishment of new business activity, etc.). They however must show complementary and added value, avoiding duplication. Projects should develop new solutions with the potential to become best practice within a few years after the end of the project.

  • Three-Layer Research Model:
    The Three-Layer Research Model encompassing Stakeholder/Adoption, Goods and services and Technology (see Annex A) should be implemented in the project proposal. This normally includes considering business models, market strategies and consumer needs and engage private and public stakeholders in co-creation eco- systems. Projects are encouraged to incorporate all three layers of the model in their project application.

  • Equality and diversity perspectives:
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Project proposals should consider and include equality and diversity perspectives related not only to gender, but also ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, physical abilities, political beliefs, geography etc. throughout the project. Proposals should therefore be gender balanced, especially among the personnel mentioned in the proposal to be primarily responsible for carrying out the research and/or innovation activities. In addition to equality amongst the project participants, diversity perspectives should also be included as an integrated part of the project research. Adoption and success of new energy solutions in local communities, and in society in general, requires careful consideration of the prosumer and end user’s needs. To be able to evaluate the highly variable consumer needs and to inspire the most creative and effective solutions, the composition of a successful project consortium should ideally reflect the diversity in society.

  • Climate impact of project implementation:
    Projects should describe how the execution of the project will be performed with minimal climate impact while still maintaining high impact and efficiency in transnational collaboration.

  • Project duration
    Projects are required to start before 15 June 2022 and must be completed (including all reporting) by 15 June 2025. The maximum duration of a project should be 36 months (limited to national/regional specific requirements). The minimum allowed duration of a project is 24 months.

    Project proposals should refer to:

• existing reference architecture models and common standards5 as they exist.

Please consider that the Joint Call 2020 Call Management may discard applications given the following conditions:

  • incomplete proposals where substantial parts of the application are missing

  • submissions submitted after the deadline or without using the Electronic Submission System

  • if the proposal does not fulfil the transnationality requirement

    Discarded applications will not be forwarded to eligibility checks or expert evaluation.

National/regional eligibility criteria must be respected in addition to the Joint Call 2020 project requirements.

A summary of national/regional eligibility requirements is provided under Annex B. It is essential that applicants familiarise themselves with their respective funding agency’s rules. It is mandatory that they contact their respective national/regional contact points during the advisory period for clarifications prior to submitting a full project proposal.

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