In 2022, the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) – whose origins in the European Coal and Steel Community are at the roots of modern European unity – will celebrate its 20th anniversary and enter a new era under its revised legal basis, with an increased budget for research activities.
The European Union’s legislators increased the RFCS budget by 175%, giving the programme a stable annual income and linking funding unequivocally to the objectives of the European Green Deal. 40 million EUR annually will finance collaborative research. 71 million EUR will go to research for breakthrough technologies - leading to near-zero-carbon steelmaking – as well as research projects to manage the just transition of formerly operating coal mines or coal mines in the process of closure, in line with the Just Transition Mechanism.
This new RFCS legal basis entering into force in 2022 will give a profound modernisation of the programme while the delegation of its management to the European Research Executive Agency (REA) will foster a further alignment with other EU funding streams.
To mark the occasion, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG R&I) and the European Research Executive Agency (REA) will jointly co-host, together with the coal and steel communities, a high-level two-day event in Brussels on 21 and 22 March 2022, with the first day dedicated to steel and the second to coal.
The two-fold event will have five main objectives:
- To reflect, in the context of the EU’s strategic priorities, on the changing remit and the intended impacts of RFCS funding, and on what this means for the near future of the programme. Specifically, to explore how the new RFCS can support the EU coal and steel industries in their transition to carbon neutrality.
- To illustrate and to discuss the main practical elements of this transition, including the new RCFS 2022 calls for proposals for steel, e.g. Big Ticket on steel in the Clean Steel Partnership, and the Big Ticket on coal, in the context of the Just Transition Mechanism. Possible synergies with other programmes will be also addressed.
- To highlight RFCS success stories and to take stock of the key technological breakthroughs likely to generate long-term impacts.
- To offer a robust information exchange platform between the European Commission and established and new RFCS stakeholders, including the European coal and steel industries, to ensure full take up of funding opportunities.
- Whilst stakeholder-driven, the event aims to increase awareness of the importance of the transition of European coal and steel well beyond the participant communities, among a wide range of stakeholders in the European Green Deal.
The summit will gather the relevant services of the European Commission:
DG R&I, REA, DG REGIO, DG GROW, DG ENV, DG CLIMA and DG ENER.
From the private side, Eurofer, ESTEP, Euracoal, the Coal Advisory Group (CAG) and the Steel Advisory Group (SAG) will actively contribute and mobilise their communities to ensure the success of the event.
Both days will start with a high-level policy session in the morning, followed by a panel discussion of specific topics and success stories. Following keynote speeches and debate, the morning panels aim to highlight project examples of best practices and existing open issues, and how this has fed into the revised nature of RFCS calls that start in 2022.
This includes the Big Ticket calls and related programmes and partnerships.
A roundtable discussion will aim to summarise ‘top ten’ future actions for each sector, aiming to draft a way forward report from the event, to further engage policymakers and stakeholders in the continued modernisation of RFCS. Finally, the event will feature a stakeholder-led information exchange session in the afternoon – facilitated by Eurofer, ESTEP, Euracoal – including an overview of the new applicable rules and of possible synergies.
The event which is designed to include interaction with participants in all its sections.
Given the uncertain health situation, the event is planned in a hybrid virtual-physical format, with some 100-150 participants, including speakers, attending in-person in Brussels, and a broad audience of registered online participants.
- Publication date
- 21 January 2022
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation