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Research and innovation
News article3 February 2023Directorate-General for Research and Innovation3 min read

New Research Fund for Coal and Steel calls: EUR 165 million for research in support of the European Green Deal and Just Transition

On 2 February, two new Big Tickets calls open as part of the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) programme.

The Big Tickets Call for Steel has a budget of EUR 130 million. It covers pilots and demonstrators for breakthroughs in clean steel making technologies such as carbon capture storage and usage, process intensification, and CO2 neutral iron ore reduction.

The Big Tickets Call for Coal has a budget of EUR 34.5 million. It includes pilots and demonstrators supporting the re-purposing of closed coal mines such as mine, water or land monitoring. Also covered are the treatment and restoration of waste and spoil, the energy recovery and the monitoring of methane emissions, and materials recycling, including recovery of critical raw materials.

To find out more and apply for the calls please visit the Funding and Tender portal. The application deadline is 4 May 2023.

The Big Tickets calls, part of the RFCS programme, target large projects at high technology readiness levels. They support the necessary technology-to-market transition and transformation that will drive a disruptive reduction of steel industry emissions leading towards clean steelmaking. They will also help the coal sector towards a sustainable transition during the phase out of coal, in line with the Just Transition.

The Big Tickets calls build directly on previous research funded by the RFCS, as for instance the Green Steel for Europe and RECOVERY projects.


The Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) is the EU funding programme supporting research and demonstration projects in the coal and steel sectors. Every year, the RFCS supports projects, whose beneficiaries are universities, research centres, and private companies.

The RFCS programme has the following research objectives:

  • For coal, it supports the just transition of the coal sector and regions; improving health and safety and minimise the environmental impacts of coalmines in transition
  • For steel it contributes to new, sustainable and low-carbon steelmaking and finishing processes; advanced steel grades and applications; conservation of resources, protection of the environment and circular economy; and management of work force and working conditions

The RFCS programme is contributing to the Clean Steel Partnership recently launched in Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027), and it is fundamental for the European steel industry. It will help the transformation of this strategic sector towards the green, digital and circular economy. Moreover, it will also contribute to the European steel industry becoming even more competitive globally, in a sustainable way. The RFCS programme is also crucial for the coal sector in order that, during the phase out of coal, the coal regions in transition will not be left behind.

On 19 July 2021, the EU adopted the new RFCS legal basis. This modernisation enables the fund to use a portion of the assets of the European Steel and Coal Community (ECSC) in liquidation during 2021-27 in order to provide EUR 111 million RFCS funding annually. This will finance research on breakthrough technologies leading to near-zero-carbon steelmaking, and research projects on managing the just transition of former coal mines or coal mines in the process of closure, and their related infrastructure, in line with the Just Transition Mechanism.

Below are examples of two projects that are being funded by the 2021 RFCS annual call:

The project DissHEAT, with 5 partners and EU budget of EUR 560 000 has been selected for funding under the 2021 RFCS Annual call and it is expected to elevate and promote the knowledge related to heating technology research to achieve emission minimisation and process optimisation. This is a research field of paramount importance for the European steel industry related to The European Green Deal, the Paris agreement and the large amount of fuel and energy carriers used to reheat steel. Almost half the industrial energy used in Europe is used in thermal processing plants, especially industrial furnaces, which corresponded to an energy consumption of 1650 TWh/yr. The industrial furnaces on the metal working side are responsible for about 6-8% of the total consumption of industrial furnaces amounting to 99-132TWh/yr. This project will bring forward and promote a large amount of EU/RFCS/ECSC projects innovations and knowledge that has reached a smaller audience than it deserves and scale-up the important outcomes of those projects to reach various stakeholders from industry, suppliers, policymakers, and research.

WINTER is a RFCS-funded project with a budget of almost EUR 500 000, selected under the 2021 RFCS Annual call. The project aims to develop a web interactive platform for the management of coal regions in transition to provide guidance and facilitate stakeholder engagement.

More Information

Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS)

Funding & Tenders portal

Green Steel for Europe

Recovery Project


Publication date
3 February 2023
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation