Horizon 2020
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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Aquatic Resources

Aquatic resources
Seas and oceans, lakes and rivers were the cradle of primordial life. The preservation of these sensitive water resources and their biodiversity is crucial to human existence.

One of the main features of living aquatic resources is that they are renewable and their sustainable exploitation relies on an in-depth understanding of the aquatic ecosystems.
Our overall objective is to sustainably exploit and manage aquatic living resources to maximise the social and economic benefits from Europe's oceans and seas.

This includes the need to:

  • optimise the sustainable contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security, in the context of the global economy, and to reduce the Union's heavy dependence on seafood imports and
  • optimise and to boost marine biotechnologies to fuel "blue" growth.

In line with current policy frameworks, research activities will underpin the ecosystem approach to the management and exploitation of natural resources, and the 'greening' of the sectors involved.

Competitive and environmentally-friendly fisheries

Sound scientific knowledge is required to support the scientific advice process - which is the basis of European fisheries policies - and to promote the necessary fishery sector adaptation under the new Common Fisheries Policy.
The application of an ecosystem-approach to fisheries management requires an in-depth understanding of marine biology, genetics and dynamics of fish populations as well as the role of key species in the ecosystems.

The comprehensive research effort will improve understanding of what makes marine ecosystems healthy and productive. It will also help to assess, evaluate and mitigate the impact of fisheries on marine ecosystems (including the deep sea). Research should lead to innovative solutions for the "greening" of the fisheries sector, including monitoring of fisheries activities and adaptation to new markets. Research should address the social aspects of the seafood sector, essential to the cohesion of the social fabric in the European coastal areas.

Competitive and environmentally-friendly European aquaculture

Aquaculture has a large potential for the development of healthy, safe and competitive food products, as well as for environmental services and energy production.
Research efforts are particularly needed for the domestication of some species (established and new species), on interactions with the environment, on health and nutrition of farmed aquatic organisms and on reproduction and breeding, which are among the main obstacles to the sustainable development of European aquaculture.
In addition, research should address the social aspects of the seafood sector, which is essential for the cohesion of the social fabric in the European coastal areas.

Boosting marine innovation through biotechnology

More than 90% of the marine biodiversity remains unexplored, offering a huge potential for the discovery of new species and applications in the field of marine biotechnologies, which is expected to generate a 10% annual growth for this sector. Support will be given to exploration and exploitation of the large potential of marine biodiversity and aquatic biomass to bring new innovative processes, products and services on the markets.

Cross-cutting marine & maritime research

Oceans cover 71% of the planet's surface and cater for human necessities such as food and energy. The need for rapid technological progress in working offshore in ever-deeper waters and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting from what the oceans have to offer, have opened up an opportunity for blue growth with the aim of harnessing the huge potential of Europe's oceans, seas and coasts for jobs and growth.
Cross-cutting marine and maritime scientific and technological knowledge will be addressed to unlock the potential of the seas and oceans across the range of marine and maritime industries, while protecting the environment and adapting to climate change.

Search for funding opportunities related to aquaculture in the Participant Portal.



From 27/06/2016 - 02:00 to 29/06/2016 - 02:00
Charlemagne building, Rue de la loi 170, Brussels,

Participate in the Brussels InfoWeek on Horizon 2020 Societal challenge 2 calls for 2017 which will take place on 27-29 June 2016. Learn about the calls and topics, update yourselves on relevant past research outcomes and meet partners in the brokerage event. Read more


07/11/2014 - 17:10

Plants are able to sense different parameters like the gravitational field, electrical fields or chemicals gradients. This huge amount of information could be made intelligible for surprising purposes. Read more

07/11/2014 - 15:51

Scientists in Italy are working on creating robots that mimic the properties of plant roots, including the capacity for growth. They believe the potential future applications are not just the stuff of science-fiction. Read more

27/05/2014 - 17:51

This short video animation will guide you through the first steps you will need to take to apply to Horizon 2020. Read more


29/04/2016 - 02:00

The European Union and Canada are strengthening their scientific collaboration in order to better understand and protect the Atlantic Ocean, and to sustainably use its resources. Read more

02/02/2016 - 12:40

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on a new research and innovation initiative for sustainable food production and improved water management in the Mediterranean area. PRIMA, the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area, will involve both EU and non-EU Mediterranean states. It will reinforce international cooperation in research and innovation to address the food and water-related challenges that are critical to the region's sustainable development. Read more

27/10/2015 - 17:10

Registration is now open for the Infoday on Societal Challenge 2 calls 2016, which will take place on 25/11/2015 in Brussels. Registration will close on 13 November, or earlier if the event gets fully booked. Read more

Featured Projects

29/09/2015 - 17:33

Could creatures of the deep help treat disease and keep us looking young? A team of EU-funded researchers thinks so. To overcome current bottlenecks in taking marine-derived biomolecules from discovery to exploitation, researchers will assess the potential of animals such as sponges, soft corals and tunicates. Read more

06/08/2015 - 11:47

Aquaculture is making a vital contribution to feeding the world’s growing population. A project involving one African and several European partners has developed new water purification technologies that remove the nitrogen present in effluent from water used in fish farms. They are likely to reduce the costs and environmental impact of aquaculture waste water. Read more

30/06/2015 - 02:00

An EU-funded project has developed a forecasting model for biotoxic algal blooms. The project aimed at providing aquaculture farmers early warnings of approaching dangerous ‘phytoplankton’ – allowing them to take effective action to keep fish and shellfish from algae-induced contamination – and protect their livelihoods. Read more


12/04/2016 - 12:57

For Horizon 2020, the Commission has a legal obligation to monitor continually and systematically its implementation, to report annually and to disseminate the results of this monitoring. The first Annual Monitoring Report under Horizon 2020 is a comprehensive publication encompassing the analysis of Horizon 2020 through its calls closed in 2014 Read more

25/09/2015 - 17:40

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s biggest ever programme for research and innovation, and it has got off to an excellent start. This brochure presents information on the first 100 calls for proposals that closed by 1 December 2014. Read more

24/09/2015 - 20:03

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever. Almost €80 billion of funding is available over seven years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private and national public investment that this money will attract. This publication presents the full set of Key Performance and Cross-Cutting Issues Indicators for Horizon 2020, including those for the European Institute of Technology and EURATOM. Read more

Press Release

13/10/2015 - 18:51

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: "Research and innovation are the engines of Europe's progress and vital to addressing today's new pressing challenges like immigration, climate change, clean energy and healthy societies. Over the next two years, €16 billion from Horizon 2020 will support Europe's top scientific efforts, making the difference to citizens' lives." Read more

05/02/2015 - 16:40

With the support of the European Research Council (ERC) "Proof of Concept" grants, 59 researchers in Europe will now get the chance to turn their inventions into viable products. Read more