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TOPIC : Boosting the efficiency of photosynthesis (RIA)

Topic identifier: BIOTEC-02-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
DeadlineModel:
Planned opening date:
two-stage
16 October 2018
Deadline:
2nd stage Deadline:
22 January 2019 17:00:00
03 September 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Agricultural productivity that does not keep up with the current population increase, the growing demand for biomass production (as feedstock for biofuels) and the nonstop rise of global CO2 emissions with its consequences for climate change, are all circumstances that make it urgent to increase the yield of biomass. Indeed, increased agricultural yield efficiency can have huge impacts in a society driven by the bio-economy.

Plants use photosynthesis to grow, converting energy from the sun into storable carbohydrates. Chloroplasts are the minute energy factories in the plant leaves that absorb the sun’s energy, release oxygen into the air and use hydrogen plus CO2 to make the compounds that plants need to grow. Biotechnology has succeeded in the engineering of nuclear and chloroplasts genomes for the production of enzymes, raw materials and building blocks for the chemical industry. However, research to increase the efficiency of the enzymes that drive photosynthesis has not yet produced the desired results. Currently available ground-breaking and disruptive technologies coupled with the integration of knowledge from diverse scientific disciplines have the potential to propose new solutions to boost the efficiency of photosynthesis.

Scope:

Proposals should work towards the optimisation of photosynthesis by capitalising on multidisciplinary approaches, such as functional genomics, systems biology, metabolic modelling, enzyme engineering, computational biology, synthetic biology, directed evolution and gene editing techniques.

Proposals should work with plants or algae and deal with any of the biological components underlying the diversity of photosynthesis. Proposals can involve new strategies to engineer the chloroplast genome, new strategies to engineer relevant enzymes, the development of metabolic models that contribute to a higher understanding of the properties of photosynthesis, among others.

Proposals should cover at least one of the following:

  • new tools improving the performance of the catalytic enzymes involved in photosynthesis;
  • new tools to increase the rate of CO2-fixation;
  • engineered enzymes for novel CO2-fixation pathways.

Proposals should include Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) elements regarding the technologies used and the environmental and socio-economic impact of the expected output.

Proposals submitted under this topic should include actions designed to facilitate cooperation with other projects; to enhance user involvement; and to ensure the accessibility and reusability of data produced in the course of the project.

Activities should start at TRL 3 and achieve TRL 5 at the end of the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 6 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • A strategy based on the new resources to obtain an enhanced photosynthetic efficiency of at least 10% under diverse environmental conditions;
  • A detailed and accurate research and innovation roadmap to attain higher photosynthetic performance for applicable results in the field by 2030.

Relevant indicators and metrics, with baseline values, should be clearly stated in the proposal.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
Open Innovation

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.

The following exceptions apply:

The threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

Under 3 (a) Proposals are first ranked in separate lists according to the topics against which they were submitted (‘topic ranked lists’). When comparing ex aequo proposals from different topics, proposals having a higher position in their respective 'topic ranked list' will be considered to have a higher priority in the overall ranked list.
Under 3 (b) For all topics and types of action, the prioritisation will be done first on the basis of the score for Impact, and then on that for Excellence.

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

 

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

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.

 

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) WP 2018-20
5ii. Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology 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

 

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