Development activities related to the circular economy are available through a wide range of research and development projects. It is also possible to get involved in ongoing projects. New circular economy projects can be launched in cooperation with universities. The project experts at the universities are happy to discuss new project ideas and, if necessary, help in the preparation and implementation of joint projects.

The research and development project follows the following pattern:

1. Identifying the project idea

A good idea is often linked to a current theme and/or mega-trend, such as the circular economy and the need to develop the company/community. When implemented, the idea should create something new and thus create added value and knowledge. A good idea can be born in an instant, although it often takes time to develop it into a viable project.

2. Putting together a project organisation

The necessary human resources and implementing partners will be brought together once the development idea has been identified. The project organisation works together to identify suitable funding models for the project, then formulates a project plan for the idea and calculates the budget needed to implement it. Finding suitable project partners can sometimes take a long time. Universities are constantly looking for new project ideas and partners.

3. How to apply for project funding

The project plan and budget are the starting point for applying for funding. Specific conditions attached to funding at this point may affect the priorities, objectives and results of the project. Writing and submitting a funding application to a funder can take a few weeks to a few months, so if the funding application is already open, you may be too late. Submitting a funding application concludes the preparatory phase of a project, which is often done at your own risk. For large international EU projects, it is possible to obtain preparatory support from the Regional Councils or Business Finland.

4. Starting a project

It can often take a few months from the date of application for funding to receive a funding decision. A positive funding decision will start the project and it will be implemented according to the project plan. The duration of R&D projects varies from one to three years, although larger international projects may take longer. The amount of funding allocated to projects varies depending on the financier, the purpose and the objectives. As a general rule, public funders will cover 50-80% of the project costs against documentation. For larger projects, an audit is required, which must also be allocated a share of the project budget. Funding for businesses often takes the form of loans or is counted as business aid, which is governed by EU Commission decisions, among other things.

Circular economy projects are trending.

The combination of circular economy and digitalization has been identified as a significant driver in addressing climate change. It is also expected to generate new job opportunities in Europe and contribute to the economic prosperity of the EU region. Various funding instruments are available to support projects aimed at advancing the circular economy, and their availability continues to expand. The European Union, in particular, has been proactive in developing new financing mechanisms to accelerate the adoption of circular economy practices among businesses operating within its economic jurisdiction. Additionally, the Finnish government provides investment support for initiatives promoting the circular economy.


Kysymyksiä liiketoiminnastasi
  1. Do you have any specific circular economy projects in mind that you would like to implement within your company?
  2. Are you aware of the contacts to approach if you want to collaborate with universities in order to advance?
  3. Are you familiar with the process of seeking funding for your project?
  4. Do you have knowledge about the progression and operational models involved in publicly funded projects?

Best known project platforms

Information on publicly funded research and development projects is collected on the Science and Research web service.
The Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) has also compiled information on chips related to the circular economy on the CIRCWASTE website.
Circular economy projects related to real estate construction can be found on the Green Building Council Finland website.

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