Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Teaming up for good: Exploiting the benefits of species diversity in cropping systems

Topic identifier: SFS-02-2016
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:

Diversity is recognised as a key factor element for adaptation of crops to more variable environments (including climate and management). In this context increasing attention is being paid to associations/mixtures of species and to their potential for stabilising yields and reducing losses caused by weeds, plant diseases and abiotic stresses. For example, crop mixtures have shown good potential for managing disease and insect outbreaks or controlling weeds. Associations of annual and perennial crops have shown particular resilience against abiotic stresses such as drought. There is a need for a better understanding of synergistic plant/crop interactions and how these can be used more systematically in breeding and management.


Activities will help to unravel the mechanisms underlying beneficial plant interactions in cropping systems and lead to a better understanding of the dynamics between plants and their biotic and abiotic environments. Proposals will turn this knowledge into practical applications for breeding and crop management taking into account the corresponding changes in agronomic and breeding practices. Activities should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[1] and ensure that appropriate account is taken of scientific, farming, agronomic and breeding expertise throughout the work with due attention to participatory and demonstration activities: All types of crop production and farming systems (e.g. arable farming, horticulture, grassland, fruit trees, agro-forestry), and diverse pedo-climatic conditions in Europe can be covered. Work proposed shall benefit both conventional and organic agriculture. International cooperation is encouraged wherever it adds value to achieving the objectives of the proposed work.

Selected projects will liaise closely with complementary activities funded under topic RUR-6 on crop diversification systems in the Rural Renaissance call.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 5 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 support the adoption of productive and resilient agricultural systems which capitalise on the benefits of high plant species diversity. This overall goal will be achieved by

  • scientifically supported and field tested evidence on the mechanisms underpinning beneficial crop associations and their effects on crop performance and product quality;
  • increasing farmers' and breeders' knowledge of potential benefits of 'plant teams' (e.g. with regard to resource facilitation, pest and disease restriction/control);
  • promoting diversity-rich crop management practices;
  • increasing the availability of plant varieties suited for inclusion in crop associations and mixtures including traditional varieties.

In the longer term, results will support yield stability and diversification in the primary sector, increase resilience against environmental fluctuations and support healthier diets. They may also enhance ecosystem services associated with increased agro-biodiversity.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation

[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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