Research & Innovation - Participant Portal

TOPIC : Organic breeding – Increasing the competitiveness of the organic breeding and farming sectors

Topic identifier: SFS-07-2016-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
04 October 2016
2nd stage Deadline:
14 February 2017 17:00:00
13 September 2017 17:00:00

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned 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:

The availability of organic seeds and varieties is an economic and technical challenge for organic producers. The current EU regulation requires that seed and propagation material used in organic farming is produced organically. However, it is estimated that more than 95% of organic production is based on crop varieties that were bred for the conventional sector and consequently lack important traits required under organic and low-input production conditions. As a consequence, there is a system of derogations to deal with the lack of organic seeds on the market. Significant seed multiplication and breeding efforts are needed to increase the availability of organic seeds not only to meet legislative requirements but also to improve the performance of the sector through varieties which are better suited to specific conditions of organic farming.


Proposals will involve a range of measures to increase the availability of organic seeds, develop a comprehensive breeding strategy and initiate the breeding of varieties which are suited for organic farming. They will provide a detailed view of the current situation in EU Member States as regards the availability and registration of seeds as well as opportunities and constraints to organic breeding and seed market development. Proposals will develop solutions in response to the gaps and bottlenecks identified. Furthermore, work will include identifying relevant (combinations of) traits suited to organic farming conditions, as well as testing existing varieties for organic production, and boost breeding activities for the organic sector. Proposed work will be based on partnerships between the breeding, farming and research sectors and fall under the concept of the multi-actor approach[1]. Particular attention will be given to demonstration, testing and training activities in particular in EU Member States where the organic sector is less developed and has particular needs. The topic is open to all types of organic farming systems (e.g. arable farming, horticulture including aromatic and herbs, fruit trees, grasslands, mixed) in various geographical and pedo-climatic and conditions. Selected projects will be requested to work together closely in particular with a view to developing information tools.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 8 million in 2016 and of up to EUR 6 million in 2017 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 contribute significantly to improving the availability and quality of seeds for organic farming, and thus achieving the regulatory 100% organic seed target. They will contribute to:

  • increased transparency in the EU organic seed market;
  • improved access to a wider pool of high-quality seeds for the organic farming sector;
  • more harmonised registration approaches for organic seed in the EU;
  • efficient seed multiplication methods and breeding approache;s
  • the availability of tools and resources for pre-breeding and breeding;
  • implementation of legislative requirements.

In the medium to longer term, activities will help to increase competitiveness of the organic breeding and farming sectors throughout Europe and beyond. They will foster low-input agriculture, sustainability of farming practices and quality of products which meet consumer expectations. Conventional systems will also benefit from varieties which are better adapted to lower resource inputs and are more resilient to variable environmental conditions.

[1]See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part.

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 China, 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

    9. Please note that the topic SFS-7  will open again on 4/10/2016 with the deadline of 14/02/2017, subject to the final decision on 2017 budget appropriations.

Additional documents

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

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

Submission Service

To access the Electronic Submission Service of the topic, please select the type of action that is most relevant to your proposal from the list below and click on the 'Start Submission' button. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation you will be linked to the correct entry point.

To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

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