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3rd Joint Call for Transnational RDD Projects on Smart Grids
Date de clôture : 14 nov. 2017  

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ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus is an initiative of 21 European countries and regions. The overall goal of ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus is to support knowledge sharing between European smart grids initiatives by promoting and financing joint projects. This document is an invitation to respond to the 2017 joint transnational call for Smart Grids projects in Europe. The total available budget is 8.5 Mio €.


Call launch

14 September 2017


ERA-Net SG+ 3rd Call Announcement and Launch Events

8 June Bucharest, Romania
3-5 October Amsterdam, The Netherlands
12 July, 14 September, 12 October online web events


Compulsory advisory period

14 September – 14 November 2017


Proposal deadline

14 November 2017, 14:00 CET


Preliminary national/regional eligibility check

27 November 2017


Change of ineligible partner deadline

1 February 2018, 14:00 CET


Second preliminary national/regional eligibility check

8 February 2018


Deadline funding decision feedback

4 May 2018


Expected project start

1 July 2018 – 1 December 2018


Project proposals must be submitted electronically. More information, about the call and the online Electronic Submission System, can be found at the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus website:



The vision for smart grids in Europe is to create an electric power system that integrates renewable energies and enables flexible consumer and production technologies. This can help to shape an electricity grid with a high security of supply, coupled with low greenhouse gas emissions, at an affordable price. Our aim is to support the development of the technologies, market designs and customer adoptions that are necessary to reach this goal.

The ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus will advance the integration of smart grids system technologies, stakeholder adoption and market processes to help Europe make progress towards achieving its short-term 2020, medium-term 2035 and long-term 2050 energy targets. Cross-sectorial and interdisciplinary system innovation will be essential to realising these targets.



ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus will promote piloting and demonstration in the field of smart grids. Projects shall develop technologies, systems and solutions that make it possible for energy systems to supply, host and utilize up to 100% renewable energy. This includes solutions within new local energy communities as well as through the integration of various regional and local energy systems into a larger pan-European energy system. Focus will be given to validation, scale-up and replication. The three research layers of Stakeholder/Adoption, Marketplace and Technology (see section 3.1) should be an integrated part of this focus. The aim is to push solutions to meet Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs, see definitions in Annex C) 5-6 to TRLs 6-7.

The main challenges are:

  1. Enablinganincreasedflexibilityofthepowersystemtocopewiththegrowing share of intermittent, variable and decentralised renewable generation and managing the complex interactions between large energy stakeholders and local/regional energy stakeholders.

  2. Increasing network capacity to support increased generation and transmission resulting from renewables and to strengthen the internal energy market.

ERA-Net SG+ | 2017 call text

3. Providing information, services, market architectures and privacy guarantees to support open markets for energy products and services, whilst facilitating the active participation of customers.

The scope and ambition are defined based on:

▪ The existing European roadmaps and implementation plans concerning smart grids, i.e.:

  • o The ETIP SNET Research and Innovation Roadmap 2017-26.
  • o ENTSO-E Roadmap 2017-2026 (Research, Development & Innovation Roadmap 2017–2026) 1
  • o ENTSO-E R&D Implementation Plan 2016-2018 2
  • o The Smart Grids Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) 2035 with its Priorities defined by the European Technology Platform Smart Grids, also considering necessary updates according to the Integrated Roadmap, GRID+ and Mapping and Gap Analysis EEGI Member States Initiative 2012.

▪ The EC communication on a European Energy Union i.e.:

  • o COM(2015)80 final, ENERGY UNION PACKAGE, A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy
  • o COM(2016) 860 final, Clean Energy For All Europeans
  • o COM(2016) 864 final, Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN

PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on common rules for the internal market in electricity

  • ▪  Existing national/regional smart grids demonstration (e.g. transfer of results, new developments/demonstrations, scalability, replicability, interoperability and validation). This can relate to previous background material on European smart grids projects and the areas of interest for transnational cooperation identified in the preparation process of the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus initiative3.

  • ▪  Adhering and/or demonstrating applicability to the Three-Layer Research Model described below (section 3.1).

  • ▪  The transnational added value of European smart grids projects. 3.1 Three-Layer Research Model

To move towards a common energy system in Europe, is necessary to link the energy technology research and development to the organisation of the energy market and to learn more about how to overcome barriers built into communities 

and societies. The essential innovations that need to be achieved are divided into three layers:


  • ▪  Goal: overcome barriers to widespread user adoption.

  • ▪  Research targets: people, community, stakeholders, society, industry. Please note; it is important that the stakeholders are clearly identified,

    and there should be a clear strategy for how to engage them.

  • ▪  Typical topics: innovation and transition, consumer acceptance, prosumer interaction, education, policy, retail, community, society, human behaviour, privacy, business modelling methods, social

    research, etc.

  • ▪  Necessity for transnational cooperation: practices are different all over

    Europe and essential experiences can be gained through this diversity (comparisons, similarities, differences, etc.). Such cooperation will comprise findings sharing on, for instance, typical observed behaviours.


    ▪ Goal: create solutions for energy market participants to leverage smart resources across national borders and participate in changing energy market structures.

  • ▪  Research targets: goods and services. Please note; the methodologies for researching market related issues should be clearly identified in terms of the type of data that needs to be collected, how it will be collected, and how it will be analysed.

  • ▪  Typical topics: retail market and interfaces, business modelling methods, standards, abolition of barriers between European countries, prosumer interaction, forecast, demand side management, integration of microgrids, flexibility, integration of small scale operators in local energy systems, energy exchange with neighbours, economic research, etc.

  • ▪  Necessity for transnational cooperation: smart technologies create stability challenges in all countries and divergent solutions lead to market failure at the borders. Such cooperation will comprise several projects by transnational consortia on convergent issues and different aspects of future energy market structures.


  • ▪  Goals:

    • o Develop innovative technological concepts for sustainable
    • energy systems (Low TRL).
    • o BringthesesolutionstowardsatransnationalProofofConcept
    • and possibly Demonstration (Medium TRL).
    • o The new technological concepts should preferably be
    • accompanied by studies of technology adoption and/or business models to reveal the potential of and possible barriers for the innovative technologies in question. In this way, the goals of the adoption and marketplace layers can be related to the technological layer in an interdisciplinary and integrated approach.
  • ▪  Research targets: (energy and ICT) technology.

  • ▪  Typical topics: energy storage, ICT aspects, balancing, HVDC, power

    quality, integration of microgrids, standards, security, energy exchange with neighbours, integration of renewable energy sources, power system planning – balancing local energy systems and centralised large scale energy production, big data, etc.

  • ▪ Necessity for transnational cooperation:
    • o It integrates a wider range of requirements to a technical
    • solution that leads to better scalability and transferability.
    • o Transnational consortia have a better chance to disseminate their findings to a wider audience. Transnational cooperation
    • can open wider markets for innovative technologies.

Please note that the methodologies and approaches to study the layers included in the project should be clearly defined. The work plan and deliverables should reflect all included layers and the potential interconnections between them. For projects covering more than one layer, interdisciplinary teams including partners and/or experts with different backgrounds (e.g. economics, market design, management, social sciences, technology) may be of great value for the project. It is also important that the risk assessments for the projects fully consider all layers involved in the project, not only potential technological aspects.


The ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus initiative will prefer projects that cover more than one of these three research layers. Projects covering stakeholder/adoption and/or marketplace layers as well, will be given priority over single layer projects. Projects should therefore clearly state goals for the stakeholder/adoption and marketplace layers in relation to technological issues.


3.2 Knowledge Community

The ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus Coordination implements advanced and innovative follow-up, monitoring and transfer activities to create an ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus Knowledge Community. It is organised by the ERA-Net SG+ Support Team.

The goal of the Knowledge Community is to enable knowledge exchange between the projects and with international experts to prevent duplication of efforts. The Knowledge Community aim to present state-of-the-art knowledge and discussions in the field of Smart Grids to establish ERA-Net SG+ as a hub and voice for all information related to national/regional Smart Grids RDD. To this end, the Knowledge Community will link experts of ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus projects and actors of other smart grids projects. It will also provide connections to policy makers, stakeholder organisations, SMEs and academia from outside the ERA-Net SG+ community.

The Knowledge Community refers to the European knowledge base (e.g. findings, resources and expertise from the European SET-Plan Initiative, The European Smart Grids Taskforce, The Grid+ Storage Project, the Future Internet PPP, the SEN/CENELEC/ETSI working group or the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) etc.). It will offer knowledge to aid policy makers, program managers/owners, EU level representatives and stakeholders in making strategic decisions.

The Support Team will further implement an interactive, formative evaluation process where the projects’ results are assessed against state-of-the-art knowledge and through which the projects get the opportunity to monitor their progress and

The ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus initiative will prefer projects that cover more than one of these three research layers. Projects covering stakeholder/adoption and/or marketplace layers as well, will be given priority over single layer projects. Projects should therefore clearly state goals for the stakeholder/adoption and marketplace layers in relation to technological issues. results. The evaluation will emphasise the importance of interoperability, scalability and replicability of the results. It may also aid the deployment of the solutions on a national and European level.


The Knowledge Community is an integral part of the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus concept. It is therefore important that applicants fully consider this concept and its content when formulating the project proposal.


Applicants for this call should be aware that they will be expected to participate in the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus Knowledge Community (see Standard Work Package, Annex D). Cooperation and facilitation in the above-mentioned activities are mandatory for all projects funded by the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus. The final organisation and execution of the abovementioned activities will be the result of an iterative process between the Support Team and each funded project, as applicable. The project proposal (see section 6.1) should include the mandatory work package that implements these activities (see Annex D). In the design of their own dissemination and exploitation strategies, projects should consider potential synergies with and contributions to the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus Knowledge Community.



The following eligibility criterion apply for project proposals in the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus call:

• Project must be transnational by nature, involving at least two independent entities and from at least two different countries of the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus partners4.

It is mandatory that each project partners contact their respective national/regional contact points during the advisory period.

The Knowledge Community is an integral part of the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus concept. It is therefore important that applicants fully consider this concept and its content when formulating the project proposal.

National/regional eligibility criteria are additional and separate to the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus eligibility criteria given above.

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



The ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus partners have established a set of desirable characteristics for project proposals. It is important that the projects incorporate the three layers described in Ch. 3.1 in the four typical project types outlined below. Please note that these characteristics are non-binding examples of possible approaches to project proposals, and are constructed as guidance to applicants. They constitute neither eligibility nor evaluation criteria.

  1. Meta-analysis, cross-cutting issues of existing demonstration projects

    Projects may perform validation of different approaches to existing demonstration projects that are analysed by meta-analysis, interdisciplinary approaches and through collaboration between partners from corresponding market segments (horizontal cooperation).

    Characteristics: Scalability, replicability and validation of demonstrated solutions for a case scenario(s) where a specific technology or concept is investigated, e.g. issues related to security aspects. It is desirable to have at least five demonstration projects and three ERA-Net partner countries/regions involved.

  2. Comparative validation of technologies and concepts of existing demonstrations
    Projects may involve a case study where different approaches to the utilisation of a specific technology or concept is investigated. This can be performed by comparing and analysing the technology or concept with respect to economic, technical, scaling-up, replication, and user-acceptance aspects.

    Characteristics: Existing technologies and concepts (e.g. smart voltage regulation in distribution grids with high penetration of PV panels, building to grid concepts, integration of local energy systems with existing power grid etc.) from different environments and demonstration projects are validated jointly in the consortium. It is desirable to have at least two ERA-Net partner countries/regions involved, and at least three demonstration projects involved.

3. New demonstration project

Projects may present a new demonstration, building on other existing demonstration projects, i.e. development, validation and demonstration in a new demonstration environment and/or site by using replication.

Characteristics: Technologies and concepts are demonstrated or validated for the first time by using the elaborated and experienced setting of an existing demonstration project in a new industrial environment. Alternatively, technologies and concepts from an existing project are replicated in a new environment. Demonstration of new concepts for local energy communities are also of interest.

It is desirable to have at least one existing demonstration project and two or more ERA-Net partner countries/regions involved. Demonstrations of market business models, technologies’ acceptance and adoption induction models is just as needed as demonstration of technological solutions. All models shall preferably be developed in close interconnection.

4. Further development of technologies and concepts

Projects may build on the outcomes, developments and validations of existing demonstration projects, or further development of smart grids technologies from the current state of play.

Characteristics: Improvement, reengineering, scaling-up etc. Outcomes are ideally demonstrated or validated in the elaborated and experienced setting of an existing demonstration project in a new industrial environment. It is desirable to have at least one existing demonstration project and two or more ERA-Net partner countries/regions involved. It would be preferred if the demonstration project also include consumer adoption and/or business model development.

Projects may typically include R&D, technology development, demonstration and dissemination activities, performed by different partners from e.g. research, grid operators and industry, located in different countries/regions. Thus, it is crucial for applicants to ensure eligibility and available funding schemes for the different activities and partners with the respective national/regional funding agencies (see Annex A for contact information and a brief overview of requirements).

Project volumes are individual for each unique project proposal, and should be relevant to the proposed action and specific project demands. The expected (typical) volume of total costs for projects is between €1 000 000 to €10 000 000, and expected (typical) volume of total requested funding from the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus partners is between €500 000 to €4 000 000.



6.1 Call procedure

The call procedure has four steps; the proposal phase, the proposal adjustment and clearing phase, the evaluation phase and the selection phase. During the proposal phase, there will be a compulsory advisory period where the applicants are obliged to seek support and guidance from their respective agencies regarding their project proposals. This is to ensure suitability of the projects with respect to national/regional requirements.

During the proposal adjustment and clearing phase, projects that are found to be ineligible due to partners within the project may change this partner to become eligible for funding. A partner change may not introduce changes in the scope of the project or introduce major budgetary changes.

Projects that are found eligible during the first or second preliminary eligibility check, will be forwarded to the evaluation phase. In this phase, the project proposals will be submitted to a trans-national evaluation and a full national/regional evaluation of eligibility. The project proposal should include all necessary information and documentation, as well as any information needed to fulfil national/regional requirements. If these requirements are not met, the project proposal will not pass the evaluation phase. The different steps are described in more detail in the following sections (6.1.1–6.1.4). Nordic Energy Research, in cooperation with NordForsk, is facilitating the call process on behalf of the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus partners.



Proposal phase

ERA-Net Smart Grid Plus call open

14 September 2017

Compulsory advisory period

14 September – 14 November 2017


Proposal adjustment and clearing phase

Deadline project proposal

14 November 2017, 14:00 CET

Preliminary national/regional eligibility check

27 November 2017

Deadline change of project partner

1 February 2018, 14:00 CET


Evaluation phase

Second preliminary national/regional eligibility check

8 February 2018

Transnational expert evaluation and national/regional eligibility check

February – April 2018


Selection phase

Decision communicated to applicants

4 May 2018


Project phase

Project start date

1 July 2018 – 1 December 2018


Applications and any supporting documents must be in English and submitted via the Electronic Submission System, available on the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus website ( A text and page limit is set within the Electronic Submission System, and applicants are advised to include information only directly relevant to this call to preserve focus, structure and clarity in the application.

All project applications are managed and submitted through the central ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus Electronic Submission System available at, apart from specific national/regional documentation requirements (see box under section 6.1.3 and Annex A).

6.1.1 Project proposals

The project proposal phase opens on 14 September 2017. The deadline for submission of the project proposals is 14 November 2017 at 14:00 CET.

Please note that some national/regional funding agencies may require additional documentation from the project partners according to national/regional regulations. These should not be submitted in the central ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus Electronic Submission System, but directly to the relevant funding agency through their national/regional submission system (if applicable). Please consult your national/regional funding agency regarding this issue during the advisory  periods. It is the responsibility of each individual project partner to ensure that all the necessary documents are submitted on time to the appropriate recipient.

6.1.2 Advisory period

There will be an advisory period during the proposal submission period (14 September – 14 November, 2017). The applicants may receive feedback from their individual national/regional funding agency in terms of scope, eligibility and desirability of the project proposal. This will give the project partners the opportunity to revise their proposal, expand or contract its scope, re-evaluate the participating partners and obtain necessary national/regional funding agency requirements information. Thereby the quality and success rate of the project proposals may be increased.

The national/regional contact point will also provide information on the national/regional requirements for the project proposals. Such a requirement may be that a relevant project partner(s) must also submit a full national/regional proposal (i.e. in the national/regional funding agencies’ submission system and language, adhering to national/regional regulations). Each project partner is responsible for the preparation and submission of all required reports according to their respective national/regional funding agency’s eligibility rules. The advice given by the funding agencies to the project partners is non-binding. The advice provided does not engage the funding agencies with respect to acceptance or rejection of the full project proposal.

Only consortia that have contacted their respective national/regional funding agencies during the advisory period are eligible to submit a full project proposal.

6.1.3 Evaluation and eligibility process

The evaluation criteria are built upon three main criteria: a. Excellence.

b. Impact.

c. Quality and efficiency of the implementation.
For a more detailed explanation of each criterion, please see Annex B. No preference is given to projects with partners from numerous different countries/regions. Different project types require different amounts and types of partners (industry, academia etc.). The roles and activities of each partner within a project consortium should clearly add value to the objectives of the proposed project. Manageability of the consortium is key and must be demonstrated.

The evaluation and eligibility process comprises four steps, which are explained in detail below.

1. Preliminary national/regional eligibility checks

This is the first step of the evaluation and eligibility process. The agencies will inform their respective applicants of the result of the discussions. The project applicants will be given the opportunity to exchange ineligible project partners by the 1st February.

A new preliminary national/regional eligibility check of the performed partner changes will be performed on the 8th February. Projects that are found eligible after this second check will be forwarded to the evaluation phase.

2. Transnational evaluation of the project proposals

In the evaluation phase a panel of at least three independent experts will evaluate each project proposal, based solely on the evaluation criteria specific to the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus (see Annex B). Each independent expert will first individually evaluate the assigned project proposals. Afterwards, the experts will meet to form a consensus evaluation. This process will be overseen by an independent observer. The consensus evaluation will result in a ranked list of project proposals.

All evaluators and observers selected are required to declare their independence to the projects to avoid conflict of interest. They must adhere to the confidentiality conditions of the evaluation process.

3. Final national/regional evaluation

The projects will be considered on a national/regional basis, governed by national/regional funding agency regulations. The national/regional funding agencies will evaluate the proposal based on the eligibility criteria (section 4. ‘Eligibility’) and, if necessary, the evaluation criteria (Annex B), in conjunction with specific national/regional requirements. Ineligible project proposals will not be considered for funding and will not go through to the selection phase.

4. ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus selection and outcome

The final step of the evaluation process is a joint meeting of the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus consortium to select projects for funding according to the ranked list from the independent experts. The ranked list will not be available for the funding agencies prior to the fulfilment of the national eligibility checks. The outcome will be reported to the applicants by the 4th May 2018.

6.1.4 Confidentiality

Handling of project proposals and any information relating to them will be kept confidential in accordance with the applicable national/regional regulations. Project proposals will not be used for any purpose other than the evaluation of the applications, funding decisions and monitoring of the projects.

6.2 Consortia

Partners from countries that are not members of ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus (see list of funding partners under section 6.3 ‘Funding arrangements’) are encouraged to join a project consortium as additional partners. However, these additional partners must finance their activities from other sources, as each ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus funding agency will only fund partners from their own country/region.

The project partners are required to sign a consortium agreement to agree on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and other relevant issues dealing with responsibilities within the project and exploitation of results. Thereby, they ensure that these are not in conflict with the regulations of the relevant national/regional funding agencies. Model consortium agreements can be found at

6.3 Funding arrangements

The total funding available for ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus projects amounts to € 8.5 Mio, made up of national/regional budgets.

Funding partners





6.4 Project duration

Projects are required to start between 1 July 2018 and 1 December 2018, and must be completed (including all reporting) by 1 December 2021. The maximum duration of a project is as such 41 months (limited to national/regional specific requirements). The minimum allowed duration of a project is 24 months.

6.5 Project monitoring and expected deliverables

Each project partner will be responsible for the necessary reporting to their funding agency according to national/regional rules. Yearly reports are required to obtain and maintain funding during the lifetime of their portion of the project. Apart from

ERA-Net SG+ | 2017 call text

the national/regional project review, the transnational cooperation aspects will be monitored on the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus level. Any substantial change in an on- going project must be reported immediately to the funding agencies involved. Project partners should be aware that changes may have implications on past, present and planned future funding.

In addition to the national/regional requirements, ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus projects are required to deliver the following:

  1. Participation in and presentation at meetings to report on the status of and results from the project. Detailed requirements for the contribution at these seminars will be specified in due course.

  2. An annual, common interim report. This interim report will be available to the funding organisations involved, but will not be made public. Detailed requirements (e.g. template) for this report will be specified in due course.

  3. A single publishable and public final project report, which describes the activities and outcomes of the work. This should include an exploitation plan that states how the results of the project will be used. Detailed requirements for this report will be specified in due course. An abstract of the main results of the project will also be part of this report. Detailed requirements for the abstract will be specified in due course.

Applicants should be aware of the core ideas of the Knowledge Community and how the Support Team will affect the work and composition of the projects (see section 3.2). Active participation in knowledge-sharing and formative evaluation activities organised by the Support Team must be considered (e.g. in terms of resource allocation) when planning and managing the project work plan, set-up and budget.

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