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Circular Economy Investment Fund Assessment Process

27 Feb 23

The assessment of applications take place weekly for Outline Project Proposals (OPP)

Stage One (OPP)

We aim to confirm the panel decision within 3 weeks of receipt and no longer than 30 working days. For clarification the assessors are scoring against the following project eligibility criteria:

Contribution to the Circular Economy

Projects must actively contribute to the development of the circular economy in Scotland through:

a) demonstrating that the project will result in a carbon saving, leveraging investment, job creation or add value to a ‘waste’ product or material;

b) meeting at least one of the objectives of the Fund (see below).

The type of projects anticipated would include those focussing on: innovative CE business models, remanufacturing, re-use, repair, reprocessing, recycling and innovation in the collection of products and materials;

Project development stage and innovation

Projects must be well advanced along the development pathway. Early-stage research or basic science projects will not be supported. Projects must plan to take a product, model, service, technology or invention towards commercial-scale development. Projects must deliver an innovative solution in the theme or sector where the potential benefit has been demonstrated;
Significant potential for carbon savings 

The project must outline the circular economy benefits of the project, this may be a carbon saving or through adding value to a ‘waste’ product or material. Zero Waste Scotland would like to see wherever possible that projects demonstrate how they will offer significant carbon savings and an estimation of what these will be in tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).


The Circular Economy Investment Fund is open to businesses that are classified as a Small Medium Enterprise (SME).


There are two potential outcomes of the panel decision for an OPP. 

  • Invite applicant to stage two of the process;
  • Not being invited to stage two;
    • Where an applicant has not been invited to stage two we will confirm, in writing, the reasons for this.  Should unsuccessful applicants have the capability to address the reasons then a resubmission may be considered;

 The assessment of applications takes place weekly for OPPs.

Stage Two

There are currently no assessment dates confirmed for 2022.

If you have been invited to make a stage 2 application please contact us at prior to submitting your application.

Please note, once the maximum number of applications have been received, your application may need to be carried over to the next scheduled Panel meeting.  You will be notified if this is the case.

Timescales to complete the stage two application can vary depending on the detail and complexity of the project.  Previous successful applicants have taken as little as a week to complete the application form and appendices with others have taken up to 30 plus days.  Zero Waste Scotland assessors require to have a full application submitted three weeks prior to an assessment panel date to be considered.

From initial application to contract offer can take between 3 - 6 months. 

We aim to confirm the panel decision with applicants as soon as possible and will keep you updated as to the progress following assessment. 

Circular Economy Investment Fund Objectives

  • Stimulate the development and uptake of innovative and resource efficient technologies, products and services to support a circular economy in Scotland;
  • Encourage the collaboration of organisations across value chains, including enterprises and academia, to exploit the opportunities, and confront the challenges, of a circular economy in Scotland;
  • Provide support and capacity building to enable the development and adoption of innovative and creative business models for a circular economy in Scotland;
  • Provide funding for resource efficiency and circular economy projects in Scotland that have demonstrated proof of concept and have the potential for commercial exploitation within five years, to enable them to progress to a stage at which they are attractive to follow-on funders or investors;
  • Achieve significant carbon savings through enabling projects to proceed which contribute towards a resource efficient circular economy in Scotland.