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How to renew our farming and food systems to feed 9 billion people with nutritious food? How to develop our farms competitiveness, resource-efficiency and resilience in a changing climate? How to boost rural areas sustainable growth potential? These are some of the core questions which projects financed by the newly published Horizon 2020 work programme for 2016-2017 will have to answer. With an unprecedented budget of 560 million Euros for agriculture, forestry and rural research and innovation, Europe intends to boost investment in food systems and rural development. EIP-AGRI members will find most funding opportunities in the calls “sustainable food security" and "rural renaissance". But they will also be able to benefit from calls spread in different parts of Horizon 2020 such as “SME instrument”, “Internet of Things” and “Industry 2020 in the Circular Economy". The new work programme will also give a new boost to the EIP-AGRI with €371 million, spread over 38 topics, dedicated to multi-actor projects which will feed their practical solutions into the network. These projects allow researchers and practitioners to jointly work on innovative solutions that can be applied in the field.
Horizon 2020 is the largest source of public funding for Research and Innovation from the European Commission. The main opportunities for agriculture and forestry in this new Horizon 2020 work programme for 2016-2017 are grouped in three main calls: “Sustainable Food Security”, “Rural Renaissance” and “Bio-based innovation”. The main goals of these calls are to:
The Sustainable Food Security call, for instance, will tackle the challenge of how to feed 9 billion people in a sustainable way. It strongly focuses on climate-smart and environment-smart crop and livestock production systems, and also wants to improve the nutritional added value and the safety of food. The Rural renaissance call will invest in better decision-making, in new business models and in people. The solutions that will be created should help rural areas to have it all: more and better jobs, a better environment, and better social and territorial cohesion. The work programme will also explore opportunities brought by digital revolution by investing in robotics and precision farming as well as in an ambitious 30-million Euro pilot action on smart farming and food systems included in the Internet of Things call.
Horizon 2020 offers the opportunity to find solutions for problems faced by farmers and foresters, by funding projects which jointly involve researchers and practitioners. This new work programme dedicates 371 million Euros to multi-actor projects, spread over 38 topics, including €20 million for thematic networks. The effort is more than doubled compared to the first two years of Horizon 2020.
The idea of a multi-actor approach and thematic networks is to closely involve various actors (farmers and farmers’ groups, foresters, advisers, researchers, enterprises and others) throughout the whole project. This cross-fertilisation of ideas between different actors with complementary knowledge should lead to innovative solutions that are more likely to be applied in the field. All results need to be shared through the EIP-AGRI database, to ensure a wide dissemination.
Horizon 2020 also tries to work across different areas and themes to boost innovation. This is why you may also find relevant opportunities for agriculture and forestry in other parts of the Work Programme than societal challenge 2, such as Greening the economy (Societal Challenge 5) and Circular economy (cross-cutting activities), the SME dedicated call or "Internet of things". The new EIP-AGRI brochure on Horizon 2020 – calls 2016 will help you find your way through the different calls and opportunities for 2016.
All new applications must be made via the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Participant Portal. Deadlines for the submission of proposals are specific to each call. They are indicated in the official work programme.