Research & Innovation - Participant Portal

TOPIC : Testing and breeding for sustainability and resilience in crops

Topic identifier: SFS-03-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
27 October 2015
2nd stage Deadline:
17 February 2016 17:00:00
13 September 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Agriculture is facing major challenges such as the need to improve resource use efficiency, reduce dependency on external inputs and cope with more variable climatic conditions. The farming sector is increasingly expected to produce “more with less” and to move towards more sustainable practices. Breeders need to consider more systematically characteristics that respond to these demands and contribute to crop resilience, particularly to increasing biotic and abiotic stresses. Similarly, criteria and methods for testing the value of cultivation of new varieties need to further evolve to capture better the performance of new varieties in conditions associated with sustainable and more variable farming practices.


Proposed work will help to identify crop characteristics and "sustainability criteria" that are associated with the capacity of new varieties to yield under more variable conditions and under more sustainable crop management practices (e.g. with regard to the use of fertiliser, water or plant protection products). Work will serve to develop methods and tools to integrate sustainability criteria in the testing and evaluation of new varieties taking into account a range of agro-ecological environments, soil types and on-farm conditions. Furthermore, work will advance the development of field based phenotyping tools and protocols to increase robustness of testing methods and allow better prediction of Gene x Environment interactions.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Activities will support the introduction of new varieties that are “fit for purpose” as regards meeting demands for high(er) yields but also to show greater robustness and adaptability to changing conditions, in particular varying levels of biotic and abiotic stresses (including decreasing levels of external inputs). This will benefit the introduction of plant properties that respond to new challenges and demands while also taking into account growers' economic returns. More specifically, activities will contribute to

  • a better understanding of crop-specific characteristics underpinning efficiency, tolerance and resilience to more challenging climatic and production environments
  • the development of experimental designs, methodologies and tools to improve capture and prediction of the sustainability profile of new varieties
  • improving information and recommendations on variety performance available to growers
  • the use of better adapted and more adaptable varieties

In the longer term, the availability and use of more robust and "sustainability-proof" varieties are expected to support changes in agricultural practices, i.e. enable the farming sector to remain productive while using resources and external inputs more efficiently. Results will also boost innovation in the breeding sector through the delivery of new varieties with clearly demonstrable advantages.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong & Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme
    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme [, with the following exceptions]:

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

    Information on the outcome of two-stage evaluation:
          For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
          For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement
  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.
  8. Additional documents
Additional documents

Download all documents
(EN only, incl. the additional docs.)

  • H2020-SFS-2016-2 first stage Flash info en
  • Generalised feedback en

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