Why does research and innovation on soils matter?

Research is crucial to better understand, monitor and measure the specific effects of agricultural and forestry activities on soils.

Additional knowledge is needed on the long-term processes of soil formation, on soil fertility, and how to improve the productive and ecosystem functions of soil by optimising its biological, chemical and physical properties.

Designing ways to increase soil carbon content, enhance soil biodiversity and reduce soil erosion is crucial for food security.

New avenues for soil and crop management are emerging from an increased understanding of the ‘soil-food web’, the complex interactions between plants and soils which support water and nutrient uptake by plants or increase resistance against pests and diseases.

Knowledge and tools developed through research and innovation can help to progress soil-enhancing production systems and advance the role of livestock in soil management. Research efforts serve to enhance the function of soils as carbon and nitrogen sinks, thereby supporting the role of agriculture and forestry in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as combating desertification and land degradation.

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon 2020

    Calls for proposals related to soils are spread across numerous schemes in Horizon 2020. This page lists them and explains how you can apply.

  • European agricultural fund for rural development

    The rural development policy supports innovation through a range of interventions, including the European innovation partnership for agriculture (EIP-AGRI).

  • LIFE programme

    Some soil related calls may be found in this programme.

Collaboration and jobs

Projects and results

Scientific publications, tools and databases

  • Scientific publications 

    Scientific publications produced by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).

  • Scientific research tools and databases

    The Commission's Joint Research Centre compiles databases and develops software and modelling tools.

  • EU Open Data Portal 

    Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions. All data is free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

  • OpenAIRE

    You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE.

  • Copernicus

    Access to agriculture data from the Copernicus programme.

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