New public call for science and business innovations in the area of circular economy

April 22, 2024
UNDP Serbia

Belgrade, 22 April 2024, World Earth Day – With the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a new public call for cooperation between science and businesses in developing and implementing innovative solutions to reduce waste or transform waste into new raw materials. The aim of this public call is to contribute to a more efficient use of resources and energy and better waste management, and consequently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental protection. 

The call is aimed at scientific and research institutions and innovation centres that are working or will work with private and public companies on solutions for circular economy. At least ten of the best proposals will receive support in the amount of USD 10,000 each. Further information on the call criteria and how to apply can be found here.

In the previous cycles of the public call, 25 circular innovations were supported with the total amount of USD 250,000. Today’s event showcased the creators of circular economy solutions in the construction industry. They presented their solutions to manufacture concrete slabs out of waste ash from thermal plants, concrete blocks out of recycled Styrofoam and ash, construction material out of textile waste, and interior design material out of waste glass.

Dušan Čarkić, Assistant Minister of Environmental Protection, said that the transition to circular economy requires a systematic approach and constant reliance on research, innovation and digitalisation, as well as the networking of all stakeholders and their long-term cooperation. 

“In the last two years, in cooperation with UNDP, the Ministry of Environmental Protection supported the cooperation between scientific and research institutions and businesses by awarding 25 circular vouchers for innovative ideas. Many ideas from previous calls show that this cooperation is only getting started. We hope that the new call will be well received and inspirational, and that we’ll award many good ideas,” Čarkić said. 

The event also included a presentation of the Guidelines on Construction and Demolition Waste Management, developed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to make it easier for companies and investors to implement the recently adopted Regulation that governs this area. 

“To accelerate the transition to circular economy in Serbia, we will keep supporting the scientific and research institutions and the private sector to work together and turn innovations into profitable business solutions. The development and implementation of their ideas will help us accelerate the green transition in Serbia, boost economic growth, and improve the quality of the environment to the benefit of all,” said Fabrizio Andreuzzi, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Serbia.  

He reminded the innovators to apply with their circular economy ideas for the permanently open Challenge Call for Proposals for Innovative Solutions for the Green Transition of the Serbian Economy within the project “EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia”.  

At the event, the audience had the opportunity to watch the session of the 8th World Circular Economy Forum, called “Built environment perspectives: Global to Oceania”. The participants also shared their impressions of Serbia’s presentation at WCEF, which took place in Brussels from 15 to 18 April. In Brussels, the Serbian delegation presented over 60 innovations in the area of circular economy, implemented thanks to the support of the European Union, the Government of Switzerland and GEF, within two initiatives that UNDP is implementing in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection: “EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia” and “Reducing the carbon footprint of local communities by applying the principles of the circular economy in the Republic of Serbia – Circular Communities”.

UNDP Serbia