Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Biodiversity in action: across farmland and the value chain

Topic identifier: SFS-01-2018-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017

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

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
16 October 2018
2nd stage Deadline:
23 January 2019 17:00:00
04 September 2019 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 17:40



    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 19:02


    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 11:47

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

  • 11 December 2017 17:08

    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:

Agricultural biodiversity is understood to comprise all components of biological diversity that (i) are of relevance for food and agriculture and all components of biological diversity that (ii) constitute agro-ecosystems. It is the result of highly dynamic interactions between the environment, genetic resources, agricultural practices and historical land management. The various dimensions of agricultural biodiversity play a significant role in conferring stability, resilience and adaptability to farming systems. Below ground biodiversity for example plays a major role in soil nutrient and water cycling, nutrient uptake by plants and in the control of plant diseases. Genetic diversity within species is at the origin of plant development, adaptation to different environments (including climate) and a wide range of properties which cater for diverse needs. The native biodiversity on and around farms is associated with the provision of important ecosystem services beyond farm level.

The way farmers manage their land has immediate effects on domesticated and native biodiversity. Specialised, intensive agriculture has generally resulted in higher productivity at the expense of decreasing levels of biodiversity, partly due to a lack of incentives for farmers to safeguard biodiversity. Ambitions to make diversity a more integral part of farming are reflected in a number of European policies and global commitments[1]. Translating these ambitions into practice will require the necessary know-how and a range of options for optimising the joint delivery of economic, environmental and social services by farming.


Activities will tackle biodiversity from various angles ranging from its supporting functions in agro-ecosystems (e.g. through activities of plant and soil biota), the integration of diversity into farming practices and incentives for wider biodiversity management including native biodiversity. Proposals will consider various temporal and spatial scales when assessing the dynamics of biodiversity and its relationship with farming systems, the surrounding landscapes and throughout value chains.

Proposals should address only one of the following sub-topics:

A. [2018] Small organisms, big effects for plants[2]- Belowground biodiversity interaction with plants (RIA)

Proposals will lay the ground for better understanding and applying the benefits of soil organisms for resource uptake, plant growth, development and health. Activities will explore the processes and interactions between plants and the different plant and soil micro and macro biota. Work will expand knowledge of the impacts of land management on soil biological dynamics and its ecological importance, e.g. for nutrient cycling processes, plant defence mechanisms (i.e. disease prevention/pest control), plant development and growth. Findings on the beneficial effects of functional soil biodiversity for crop production will feed into the development of strategies and tools for sustainable plant/soil management. Proposals should fall under the concept of the ‘multi-actor approach’[3] to ensure that knowledge and needs from various sectors including farming are brought together.

B. [2019] Capitalising on native biodiversity in farmland landscape (RIA)

Proposals will enhance the understanding of the relationship between farm management and native biodiversity in the surrounding landscape, together with the associated ecosystem services. Activities will be developed at different scales and cover different habitats, as well as a diverse range of species (flora and fauna) from having beneficial to adverse effects on agriculture (i.e. from wild plants and wild pollinators to large carnivores). Work will consider both of the contrasting dynamics threatening farmland biodiversity (namely specialisation/intensification and marginalisation/abandonment).

Proposals will support the definition of biodiversity targets at the appropriate scale and design result-based incentives at policy and/or market level taking into account the current regulatory framework. Proposals will look at the synergies between increasing biodiversity awareness/acceptance by farmers and their involvement in the monitoring. They shall develop, test and scale-up existing and new biodiversity indicators taking into account the perspectives of stakeholders and provide integrated information platforms and improved methods.

Work shall build on existing initiatives, provide support for the setting-up of new networks that address biodiversity in farmland landscapes and liaise with relevant European Research Infrastructures such as ANAEE. Proposals should build on the system proposed for in-situ observatories ("Citizen Observatories") and the effective transfer of biodiversity knowledge to farming, research, policy and society. Proposals should fall under the concept of 'multi-actor approach'[3] engaging key stakeholders and experts and ensuring adequate involvement of the farming sector in open source collaboration and data collection covering a wide range of agri-ecosystems. This will include enabling networking on similar issues across Europe. They should also seek contributions from social and economic sciences to cover the broader economic, social, behavioural and environmental issues. Proposals may involve financial support to third parties, particularly for supporting regional/local networks. The proposal will define the process of selecting entities for which financial support will be granted up to EUR 100.000 per party[5] over the project duration.

C. [2020] From agrobiodiversity to dynamic value chains

All scopes (A), (B): The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 7 million for A and 8 million for B would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Proposals should include a task to cluster with other projects financed under the same sub-topic.

Expected Impact:

Funded activities will showcase the benefits of agro-biodiversity at various levels and develop solutions and approaches to embed these benefits more effectively into farming practices and policy measures.

In the short to medium term work will

  • expand the agro-ecological knowledge base on the links and dynamics between biodiversity and agricultural production;
  • deliver best practices based on production systems (both conventional and organic) that combine support for biodiversity with value creation;
  • result in improved methods and tools to assess, evaluate and monitor different levels of diversity (genetic, species and ecosystem) as well as the linkages between agro-biodiversity and ecosystem services;
  • define operational biodiversity targets from the field to regional level;
  • deliver strategies and tools for biodiversity focused soil management (scope A);
  • reduce the dependence on external inputs in plant management through effective plant-soil interactions and the use of soil organisms (scope A);
  • develop private and public incentives to foster farmer's delivery of biodiversity as a public good (scope B);
  • generate news sets of harmonised data on native biodiversity in farmland landscapes and contribute to foster a European biodiversity platform and network involving farmers (scope B).

In the longer term funded activities will help to foster the synergies between agricultural production, biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services of local, regional and global relevance. They will allow the farming sector to continue fulfilling its multiple functions under more challenging biotic and abiotic conditions expected in the future, mostly as a result of climate change effects.

Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]See e.g. Common Agricultural Policy, EU Biodiversity Strategy, Convention on Biological Diversity, Sustainable Development Goals and COP 21 Paris Agreement[1] See e.g. Common Agricultural Policy, EU Biodiversity Strategy, Convention on Biological Diversity, Sustainable Development Goals and COP 21 Paris Agreement[1] See e.g. Common Agricultural Policy, EU Biodiversity Strategy, Convention on Biological Diversity, Sustainable Development Goals and COP 21 Paris Agreement

[2]This sub-topic is part of a microbiome cluster. For complementary activities see also SC2 topics SFS-02-2019/20, SFS-03-2018, CE-BG-05-2018/2019 and BG-06-2018 on Marine Microbiomes as SC1 topic SC1-BHC-03-2018

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

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

[5]In line with Article 23 (7) of the Rules for Participation the amount referred to in Article 137 of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded, since this is necessary to achieve the objectives of the action.

Topic conditions and documents

1. 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.


2. 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.


3. Evaluation:

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

4. 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.

5. 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

6. Additional provisions:

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

For grants awarded under sub-topic B action beneficiaries may provide support to third parties as described in part K of the General Annexes of the Work Programme. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. The respective options of Article 15.1 and Article 15.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

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

8. 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

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. See the Online Manual.

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.


Additional documents

  • SFS-2018-2 second stage flash info_en en
  • SFS-2018-2 first stage flash info_en en
  • Generalised_Feedback_LC_SFS_19_2018_2019 en

Partner Search
Organisations are looking for collaborating partners for this topic
View/Edit Partner Search

LEARs, Account Administrators or self-registrants can publish partner requests for open and forthcoming topics after logging into the Participant Portal.

Submission Service

To access the Electronic Sumission Service, please click on the submission-button next to the type of action that corresponds to your proposal. 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.

Type of Action Research and Innovation action [RIA]
Topic Biodiversity in action: across farmland and the value chain - SFS-01-2018-2019-2020
Guidance on proposal submission: H2020 online manual
IT Guidance: IT help

Get support

H2020 Online Manual is your 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 in your national language(s).

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.

Ethics – for compliance with ethical issues, see the Online Manual 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.