Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Making European beekeeping healthy and sustainable

Topic identifier: SFS-07-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
31 October 2017
2nd stage Deadline:
13 February 2018 17:00:00
11 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 28 May 2018 17:40



    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.

  • 22 May 2018 19:02


    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);


  • 05 March 2018 11:47

    An overview of the number of proposals submitted is now available under the ‘Topic conditions & documents’ section on the topic page.

  • 11 December 2017 17:08

    Under the point "5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA)" of the "Topic Conditions" area, the 1st stage proposal template is now embedded in the general template.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The outputs of beekeeping can be private goods (e.g. honey production), public goods and services (e.g. pollination of wild flowers) or in-between (e.g. non-contracted pollination of crops). Many initiatives aim to expand knowledge on honeybee colonies and their environment. However, the lack of a holistic approach makes it difficult to use this knowledge to best effect. Key factors for healthy and sustainable European beekeeping are determined by what happens in or around hives but also by wider socioeconomic and ecological conditions. However, much still needs to be learnt about the interactions of stressors affecting honeybees and their relative contribution to colony losses. The EFSA is developing an integrated risk assessment through the Multiple Stressors in Bees (MUST-B) project. As part of the project, the HEALTHY-B initiative provides a toolbox to assess honey bee colony health in a holistic way. This conceptual framework, the Health Status Index, needs further work to become operational. Little is known about how beekeepers assess and overcome the complexity of their business environment and what and how it influences their health management decisions (e.g. to treat against pathogens or not, to continue keeping bees or to quit, to replace lost colonies or not, to use local or introduced subspecies) and what makes them successful, including whether and how healthy colonies result in sustainable beekeeping and pollination. More information is needed on the role of actors other than beekeepers.


Proposals will develop ready-to-use tools for operationalising the 'Health Status Index' developed by EFSA[1] to enable data collection and return to beekeepers, while exploring the various socio-economic and ecological factors beyond bee health to provide comprehensive blueprints of successful business model(s) of European beekeeping. Proposals should also consider issues related to emerging risks or pathogens (e.g. the small hive beetle and the Asian hornet Vespa velutina). Proposals should aim to create an EU platform to collect and share knowledge of science and practice related to honeybees, their environment and agricultural and beekeeping practices, in order to develop and implement an action plan for a coordinated and harmonised approach to the collection of related data and information and to minimise the impact of biotic and abiotic stressors. The proposals should build on past or ongoing EU-funded research (e.g. Bee Health Workbench[2]), and take into account other relevant EU initiatives (e.g. evaluation of the EU's apiculture measures[3], Member State bee monitoring projects), and entities (EFSA, EURL, JRC), as appropriate. Funded activities will include organising and coordinating data sets and standards relating to the environment and agricultural and beekeeping practices relevant to the monitoring of honeybee health and giving all relevant stakeholders access to such information. Work will serve to select the most promising and relevant indicators for bee health that could be developed and/or tested, and validate technologies for monitoring colonies and indicators in an automated or semi-automated way to facilitate standardised and accurate data collection and transfer. The selected project should carry out a pilot study in different representative European countries to test, standardise and validate methods for measuring and reporting selected indicators and factors affecting bee health, making it possible to give appropriate feedback to beekeepers both through dissemination and training and perform statistical analyses of the relative importance of relevant biological, chemical and environmental stressors affecting bee health and their pollination services. A multi-actor approach bringing together beekeepers, bee inspectors, other stakeholders (e.g. plant growers) and scientists (including social scientists) is required[4].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 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:

Funded activities will provide the critical knowledge necessary to understand bee colony health and identify important socio-economic components of sustainable beekeeping. The outputs of the project must contribute to:

  • an EU platform on science and practice in relation to honeybees, their environment and agricultural and beekeeping practices;
  • a pilot toolbox to improve monitoring of honeybee colonies and assessment of the multiple stressors that affect colony health;
  • a better understanding of the management decisions made by beekeepers;
  • potential and viable business models for EU beekeeping, with and without public interventions;
  • support to scientists, risk assessors and policy makers in assessing and managing multiple stressors that affect the sustainability of the EU's apiculture.

More generally, the funded activities will help beekeepers better manage honeybees and contribute to the sustainability of EU beekeeping and related pollination services.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]see related scientific opinion (EFSA, 2016)



[4]See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction of this Work Programme part.

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.

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.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
9. Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation 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

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.


Additional documents

  • SFS-2018-2 second stage flash info_en en
  • SFS-2018-2 first stage flash info_en en
  • Generalised_Feedback_LC_SFS_19_2018_2019 en

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