Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Sustainable harvesting of marine biological resources

Topic identifier: LC-BG-03-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
31 October 2017
2nd stage Deadline:
13 February 2018 17:00:00
11 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 28 May 2018 17:19



    The generalised feedback, resulting after the 1st stage evaluation of this topic, is published on this page. To download the document, just expand the "Topic conditions and documents" area (i.e. click on '+ More'), scroll down until "Additional documents" and the generalised feedback can be downloaded in pdf.

  • 22 May 2018 19:08


    Letters informing on the results of the evaluation are being sent to applicants.




    Under the tab 'Topic conditions and documents' the following document is available in section 8. "Additional documents":
    ◦An overview of the evaluation results (Flash Call Information);


  • 05 March 2018 11:42

    An overview of the number of proposals submitted is now available under the ‘Topic conditions & documents’ section on the topic page.

  • 11 December 2017 17:13

    Under the point "5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA)" of the "Topic Conditions" area, the 1st stage proposal template is now embedded in the general template.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

In the search for new biological resources, a large unexploited biomass has been identified in the mesopelagic zone (water column between 200 and 1000 m). This largely unknown zone includes micro-organisms, copepods, krill and plankton feeding fish that are lower in the food chain, as well as squids and other higher trophic level fish. This zone is known to play a significant role in the global carbon cycle, where the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide would be ~50% higher without its activities. If exploited at sustainable levels, without impacting upon biodiversity and compromising the oceans' role in climate regulation, this biomass could be used to produce more high quality ingredients (proteins with high nutritional value and polyunsaturated fatty acids) for human food chain (which includes farmed animals), to decrease the fishing pressure on overexploited species of higher trophic levels and potentially discover and to develop new bio-based products, including pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. This requires a holistic assessment of this globally important marine ecosystem and an understanding of the mechanisms controlling its biomass and its significant role in the global carbon cycle through the reduction of atmospheric CO2. It also requires development of new monitoring and management tools able to weight the costs and benefits of the exploitation of these marine biological resources.


Activities shall provide data, information and knowledge on the potential role of mesopelagic micro- and macro-organisms for human food chain and other bio-based products and processes. While preserving biodiversity and enhancing resilience to climate change and mitigation. They shall address issues such as food safety (with regards to risks linked to emerging marine toxins), fisheries management, fishing techniques, processing (on-board and on-shore) and consumer acceptance and marketing. Impacts of fishing and climate change on the mesopelagic populations and the wider ecosystem, including biodiversity, natural food webs and greenhouse gas sequestration shall be assessed. They shall also address the potential of mesopelagic resources including micro-organisms for marine biotechnological applications. An ecosystem-based approach to exploitation for food and other bio-based products and processes, as well as cost-effective and environmentally sustainable resource management tools shall be developed. Inclusion of societal actors and stakeholders during the whole research and innovation process shall allow for better alignment of both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society. Activities undertaken as part of this interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial project shall build on previous knowledge produced in EU Framework Programme projects and contribute to creating jobs, reinforcing capacity building and improving the professional skills and competences of those working within relevant blue economy sectors. The interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial nature of the project shall also apply to training activities contributing to improving the professional skills and competencies supporting the creation of new jobs in the blue economy. Proposals shall fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[1] and allow for adequate involvement of SMEs.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be adequately addressed. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

In line with the EU Blue Growth Strategy, the EU Common Fisheries Policy, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the EU International Ocean Governance Communication, the EU Communication for a Sustainable European Future, the EU Bioeconomy Strategy, the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the EU Food 2030[2] process for food and nutrition security, activities shall:

In the short term:

  • Increase the knowledge of mesopelagic zone ecosystems.
  • Contribute to the UN SDG 14 targets to effectively regulate marine harvesting and to sustainably manage and protect marine ecosystems, including by strengthening their resilience, and to take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans by 2020; further strengthen the knowledge base to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement of 2015, COP22 and UN SDG 13.
  • Contribute to preserve the ecological functioning of the mesopelagic zone in line with the EU targets of halting the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2020 and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems.
  • Contribute to the preservation of processes regulating climate and to the mitigation of impacts of climate change.
  • Foster innovation for food and nutrition security and other bio-based value chains, biodiversity preservation and climate resilience.

In the medium term:

  • Contribute to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources (UN SDG 14).
  • Contribute to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, by 2030 (UN SDG 12) ensuring that fishing has no significant adverse impacts on species and ecosystems (EU Biodiversity Strategy).
  • Create management tools to ensure that nutritious seafood is available, accessible and affordable for all while conserving natural resources and contributing to climate change mitigation (UN SDG 2).
  • Contribute to improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy.
  • Contribute to the creation of jobs and growth in the fishing and processing sector as well as in the marine biotech sector particularly in coastal areas.
  • Contribute to policymaking in research, innovation and technology.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation
Blue Growth
Socio-economic science and humanities

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

[2]European Research and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security, SWD(2016)319.

Topic conditions and documents

Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
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. See the information in the Online Manual.


Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.



  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
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.

Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

Additional requirements:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
9. Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

Additional documents

  • H2020-BG-2018-2-second stage flash call info en
  • H2020-BG-2018-1-single stage flash call info en
  • Generalised_Feedback_BG_08 en en

Submission Service

No submission system is open for this topic.

Get support

H2020 Online Manual your online guide on the procedures from proposal submission to managing your grant.

Participant Portal FAQ – Submission of proposals.

National Contact Points (NCP) - 
contact your NCP for further assistance.

Research Enquiry Service
– ask questions about any aspect of European research in general and the EU Research Framework Programmes in particular.

Enterprise Europe Network
– contact your EEN national contact for advice to businesses with special focus on SMEs. The support includes guidance on the EU research funding.

IT Helpdesk
- contact the Participant Portal IT helpdesk for questions such as forgotten passwords, access rights and roles, technical aspects of submission of proposals, etc.

– for compliance with ethical issues, see the Participant Portal and Science and Society Portal

European IPR Helpdesk
assists you on intellectual property issues

Partner Search Services
help you find a partner organisation for your proposal