Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Solutions to multiple and combined stresses in crop production

Topic identifier: SFS-01-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
27 October 2015
2nd stage Deadline:
17 February 2016 17:00:00
13 September 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Water, soil quality and nutrients are key determinants of plant growth and crop productivity. With supplies of these inputs becoming increasingly variable and scarce, improvements in water use efficiency (WUE) and nutrient use efficiency (NUE) are of particular importance for both plant breeding and crop management, as are issues of yield stability.


Proposals will lay the ground for a better understanding and management of highly dynamic processes of combined abiotic variations and their effects on crops. More specifically, activities will establish how combined water and nutrient stresses act upon plants taking into account complex interactions between plants/roots, soils and below ground biodiversity. Knowledge of these basic processes should be linked to overall system resource- use efficiency in crops on the basis of a thorough understanding of the interplay between crop genetics, crop management and the environment. Findings will be applied to the development and testing of strategies and tools for soil, water and crop management. Also, they will serve to identify (combinations of) above- and below-ground traits associated with improved plant performance under restricted water and nutrient availability to develop crop breeding strategies and tools.

Proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[1] to ensure that knowledge and needs from various sectors including farming are brought together. The topic is open to all types of crop production and farming systems (e.g. arable farming, horticulture, grassland, fruit trees, agro-forestry) and should benefit both conventional and organic agriculture in various pedo-climatic conditions.

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

Expected Impact:

Activities will enhance our capacity to deal with multiple abiotic stresses in cropping systems. More specifically project outputs will serve to

  • reveal how different combinations of water and nutrient stresses interact and impact on crops, in particular on agriculturally important traits;
  • increase the range of farm-level crop management strategies and tools to respond better to variable levels of water and nutrient supply;
  • support breeding strategies and tools to develop crops that can adapt better to water and nutrient stresses and ensure high product quality;
  • identify combinations of genotypes and management practices suited to increase water and nutrient use efficiency of crops (this could include exploiting the natural variation e.g. in traditional crops).

More generally and in the long term, outputs and results will help to increase the resilience of crop production in more variable environments and ultimately secure productivity. They will also contribute to optimising water use and reducing nutrient losses in agricultural systems, thereby also reducing the environmental impact of agricultural activities, in particular with regard to water quality.

[1]See definition of the '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 [, with the following exceptions]:

    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, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 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.
  8. Additional documents


Additional documents

  • H2020-SFS-2016-2 second stage Flash info en
  • H2020-SFS-2016-2 first stage Flash info en
  • Generalised feedback en

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