Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Building a future science and education system fit to deliver to practice

Topic identifier: RUR-13-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
04 October 2016
2nd stage Deadline:
14 February 2017 17:00:00
13 September 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Updates
  • 18 December 2017 16:47

    Letters informing on the results of the second stage 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);

  • 14 June 2017 11:10


    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.


  • 24 May 2017 15:54

    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);

  • 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:

Transition towards more sustainable agriculture, forestry, food and bio-based value chains, equipped to face the challenges ahead, requires a renewal and strengthening of the technical and soft skills of all concerned. Along with ensuring delivery of peer-reviewed output from practice-oriented research, this will contribute to an efficient and interactive agricultural knowledge and innovation system (AKIS).

In 2010, 71% of European farm managers were operating on the basis of practical experience only. Education levels vary greatly depending on country, farm manager's age and gender, or farm structures, and this can hamper innovation. As the proportion of farmers with secondary and tertiary education rises, education will play an increasing role in farmers' capacity to co-create and implement new techniques and practices, anticipate and adapt to legislative, policy, market and environmental changes, design innovative ways of marketing their products and take part in interactive innovation systems and networks. New production processes and new types of supply chain in the wood, food and bio-based industry sectors also create a business demand for new skills. On the science side, there may be a shortage of researchers and capacities in fields of science of crucial importance for sustainable agriculture which are under-developed or unattractive in Europe.

While basic research remains necessary, a crucial challenge is also to remove bottlenecks to the delivery of practice-oriented research to end-users. Current research evaluation systems are based mainly on scientific publications and give little incentive, appreciation or reward to scientists willing to invest in practice-oriented research. Some front-runners are engaging in new ways of rating such research activities that deserve to be assessed, applied to agriculture and may be upscaled to a wider range of research providers and funding bodies.


Proposals will involve the production of a challenge- and foresight-based inventory of skills that will be needed in agriculture, forestry and related value chains, covering primary producers, advisors, industry, businesses and scientists. Proposals will review how current science, education and training systems in a wide and varied range of EU Member States (and possibly third countries) cater for these needs, seeking to draft roadmaps for the improvement of curricula, learning methods and long-term interaction between education, science and economic players. Particular attention should be paid to soft (e.g. entrepreneurial, intermediation and communication) skills in particular for farmers, advisors and researchers, and technical skills related to new practices or processes and sustainability requirements in scientific fields of importance for the future. Needs should be differentiated in the light of the variety of farming systems, current trends in structural change, emerging business models in farming and subsequent value chains and geographical conditions. Proposals should analyse how education and training systems could improve, in particular by attracting more farmers and other players to engage in sufficient education and lifelong learning and by ensuring that these systems are fit for purpose and permanently updated. Piloting of new curricula and training methods in some of the participating institutions could be considered. The effectiveness of existing EU policy instruments on education and training in this area should also be assessed and improvements proposed. Proposals will take into account relevant EU initiatives to ensure potential synergies (e.g. Erasmus+, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, Knowledge and Innovation Community Food for Future, etc.).

Furthermore, proposals should develop an operational system for encouraging and measuring performance and reviewing outputs of interactive innovation and practice-oriented research, with a view to improving their effective delivery and the uptake of best practices from the field. They should build on front-running initiatives and assess different options currently being tested in the EU or elsewhere (e.g. the EIP-AGRI common format). Activities should deliver practical methodologies and criteria for i) measuring performance of research providers and projects with regard to their outputs for practice; and ii) translating academic knowledge into practical knowledge easily understandable by end-users. To this end, proposals should develop a peer-review system for research outputs ready-made for delivery to farmers and foresters, exploring all components required to operate such a system.

Proposals should build on the analysis to make further policy recommendations on how to develop education, training and science in the future. Proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[1] and be highly participatory, involving specialised education bodies, farming/forestry sector representatives and advisors from the outset of project development to maximise bottom-up elaboration and final uptake of project results. It may be useful to involve authorities in charge of curriculum development and measuring research impact. Communication and dissemination activities should reach out far beyond the consortium to improve the uptake of research results.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 7 million allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

This action should improve the performance of science and education systems and their benefits for agricultural and forestry sectors and related industries. The following impacts are expected:

  • a shared inventory of the skills needed for a transition to more competitive and sustainable agriculture and related value chains, serving as a basis for continuous and longer-term cooperation between education bodies across Europe, leading to intensified exchanges and regular updates of the inventory;
  • improved technical and soft skills for farmers, foresters, advisors, industry employees and scientists, translating into better farm management, increased competitiveness, sustainability and resilience to environmental, climate and market changes;
  • greater awareness of gaps in research capacities and specific fields of science of crucial importance for sustainable agriculture;
  • increased efficiency of agricultural knowledge and innovation systems in the EU thanks to i) improved linkages between education, science and economic players, ii) enhanced capacity of players to interact with one another, and iii) contribution to an institutional shift towards better recognition and rewarding of practice-oriented research;
  • improved quality and usefulness of research outputs for the immediate use by farmers, foresters or value-chain businesses, thanks to a peer-review system leading to an improved implementation of research results by end-users and an innovative agricultural sector; and
  • recommendations for improved policies for education, agriculture, research and innovation at European, national and regional levels.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation
Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]See definition of '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.

    Information on the outcome of two-stage evaluation:
          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. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

  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.


  1. Additional documents


Additional documents

  • RUR-2017-2 first stage flash info en
  • RUR-03-2017-Generalised Feedback_EN en
  • RUR-2017-2 second stage flash info en

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