Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Novel public policies, business models and mechanisms for the sustainable supply of and payment for forest ecosystem services

Topic identifier: RUR-05-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
04 October 2016
Deadline: 14 February 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Updates
  • 11 January 2017 16:41

    As of 1st January 2017, Switzerland is associated to the whole Horizon 2020 programme instead of the previous partial association. More information on this matter can be found here.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Regional differences with respect to the forest management systems implemented and long production cycles characterise the forestry sector in the EU. Forests generally provide for a range of goods and services, some valued by existing markets (i.e. wood and non-wood products), others not. Of the latter, some are "public goods" (i.e. they are non-excludable (everyone benefits from them) and are not subject to consumption rivalry), such as carbon sequestration and landscape, while others are "common-pool resources" (i.e. they are non-excludable goods but subject to competition in use), such as recreation or water supply. The regulatory framework is divided into forest polices and forest-related policies (e.g. rural development, climate, biodiversity, and energy) which are not necessarily mutually reinforcing. The responsibility for forest policies ranges from EU level (monitoring, protection, land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) reporting, etc.) to Member State or federal state level (inventory, planning, management, etc.). If the policy or market fails – a recognised threat – the undesired outcome is suboptimal provision of ecosystem services. The sustainable provision of ecosystem services therefore requires policy coordination, and the use of novel policies, business models and mechanisms, while taking into account the production of wood and non-wood forest products. Several EU Member States, with the help of the European Commission, are currently mapping and assessing the state of forest (and other) ecosystems and their services in their respective national territories as part of the 'Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) exercise. There is now significant scope to capitalise on these efforts and for greater implementation of the knowledge they have generated in practice.


Proposals should aim to develop novel public policies, business models and mechanisms to "internalise" the proven socio-economic value of forest ecosystem services ("externalities") and contribute to their sustainable supply, with proper consideration given to the multifunctional role of EU forests. Proposals should consider the holistic basket of economic, socio-cultural, recreational and environmental services, from both the supply and demand side, and the trade-offs between them. They should aim to close the gap between academic work, associated policy recommendations, and practice on the ground, and help achieve public acceptability. The role of active forest management, which incurs reduced income and/or higher investment, needs to be emphasised. Specifically, there is a need to develop mechanisms for the payment of ecosystem services at the appropriate level of forest management and administration. The pilot testing of the proposed mechanisms, which may combine public policy tools with business models, is encouraged. Proposals should include contributions from the social sciences and humanities, fall under the concept of the "multi-actor approach"[1] and seek public engagement with regard to the groups of stakeholders included in the consortia and the proposed business models/mechanisms.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission or selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Proposals should show how some, or all, of the following impacts will be achieved:

  • Enhanced coordination in policy making together with the development of novel policies and business processes, translated into increased incentives for forest owners/administrators to sustainably supply essential ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, water regulation, soil and nutrient regulation, landscape and recreation, while maintaining production of wood and non-wood forest products.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

[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 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

    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.

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

Innovation Action:

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.

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.

Open access to research data

The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.
Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.
Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.
Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs.
Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement

Further information on the Open Research Data Pilot is made available in the H2020 Online Manual.


8.  Additional documents

Additional documents

  • H2020-RUR-2017-1-single stage flash call info en

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