Innovative, systemic zero-pollution solutions to protect health, environment and natural resources from persistent and mobile chemicals

Innovative, systemic zero-pollution solutions to protect health, environment and natural resources from persistent and mobile chemicals

Available Funding: 
€ 40,000,000

Pollution from persistent and mobile chemicals is often a systemic problem, as it is driven by factors closely related to the prevailing ways of production and consumption and is reinforced by missing appropriate technical solutions, including (bio)remediation and monitoring techniques for the environment (including the marine environment). These chemicals also pose challenges for regulatory authorities to develop or enforce effective policies.


Taking into account latest policy needs and developments, this call topic aims at establishing new knowledge, exploring the feasibility of new or improved technologies and demonstrating innovative solutions to protect health, environment and natural resources from persistent and mobile chemicals. Selected projects are expected to advance our knowledge on health impacts and environmental effects and to address and preferably prevent a specific pollution problem involving contamination of environmental resources (such as soil, sediments, air, food and drinking water). The solutions developed should lead to cost-effective prevention, monitoring and to, as a last resort, mitigation or elimination of the issues (e.g. mitigation or remediation efforts in particularly affected geographic areas). They should also lead to better understanding of environmental fate and help proactively prevent negative impacts from persistent and mobile chemicals (and, where relevant, their precursors) on humans and the environment. The projects may include appropriate technologies, business, governance and social innovation aspects and the demonstration of innovative solutions in a relevant environment (TRL 4-6). In particular, projects may consider analytical methods and monitoring, enabling to quantify entire groups of persistent and mobile chemicals in food, soil or drinking water. This would allow achieving a higher level of consumer protection, as such grouping methods are essential for regulating groups of harmful substances that have similar structures. 

The successful projects should target persistent and mobile chemicals and include elements (one or several), such as 

  • gain insight to the uses, sources and environmental fate of persistent and mobile chemicals 
  • development of new cost-effective high-resolution methods to analyse and model the presence of persistent and mobile chemicals in products/materials and in different media; 
  • environmental and human (bio)monitoring of persistent and mobile chemicals;
  • gathering of toxicity and toxico-kinetic information (including animal-free approaches such as in vitro and in silicoapproaches) in order to allow characterising risks to human health and ecosystems, including at low environmental levels and combined/cumulative exposure; 
  • detection and identification of specific pollution problems and their sources
  • research and development of (bio)remediation technologies of soil and water (including sources of drinking water) contaminated by persistent and mobile substances and their precursors; 
  • development and improvement of models to predict and assess long-term trends and risks for persistent mobile substances and propose preventive solutions 
  • development of best practices for the management and treatment of waste, soil and water containing persistent and mobile substances, in line with the ambitions of the Circular Economy Action Plan.

Proposed solutions should be suitable for real life challenges, environmentally sustainable, cost-effective and easily implementable to encourage their uptake. Therefore, close consultation or collaboration with potential end-users of the expected results during the project lifetime is recommended.

Expected Impact:

  • Provide a foundation for prevention and mitigation solutions based on better understanding the sources and distribution of the targeted chemicals, access to models of their environmental fate and degradation pathways and improved understanding of relevance for human and environmental health of the problem of emerging and persistent pollution;
  • Provide solutions and support decision making for addressing large-scale diffuse contamination of water and soil with persistent and mobile chemicals (including for combinations of pollutants) in an integrated manner;
  • Contribute to achieving a toxic-free environment through solutions for better load reduction, (bio)remediation and detection technologies, including real time monitoring approaches;
  • Improve risk assessment to facilitate optimal risk management and preventive solutions;
  • Support policy development, regulatory action and risk communication with FAIR data of regulatory relevance; 
  • Support actions deriving from several EU documents on persistent and mobile chemicals, the upcoming Zero Pollution Action Plan and the aims of the new Circular Economy Action Plan to minimise the presence of substances that pose problems to human and environmental health.
Eligible Applicants: 

Eligible countries 

Described in Annex A of the Work Programme. A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.

Project Length: 

The call opens 22/09/2020 and the deadline for submission is 26/01/2021.

Participants will be informed on the outcome of the evaluation 5 months from the deadline for submission.

For more Information: 

For more information please access the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme webpage here.