Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Bee health and sustainable pollination

Topic identifier: SFS-16-2017
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
  • 19 December 2017 10:43

    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 11:42


    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 16:01

    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 16:26

    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:

Bees (including managed and wild bees, social and solitary bees) are subject to numerous pressures in the modern world, in particular loss of habitats which affects their nutrition, exposure to various chemicals (including an array of agrochemicals) and various pathogens. Stressors do not necessarily act in isolation, but in combination, and their effects in isolation or interactions may differ between geographical areas and be more or less severe in different bee species. Regulatory measures in place and beekeeping or agricultural practices do not currently address or prevent the possible effect of such complex interactions. Understanding interactions of multiple stressors constitutes a major scientific challenge, since testing and control in natural conditions is required. Our understanding of the underlying mechanisms and how to interpret them to discern trends and understand the biology of a healthy bee population/colony and its interaction with the stress factors is still limited. Previous and on-going EU projects have sought to shed some light in particular areas. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the EU reference laboratory (EURL) for bee health are addressing more focused aspects of a holistic risk assessment of multiple stressors in honeybees in the MUST-B project.

Our ability to understand and mitigate the bee health stressors is still limited and so is our capacity to ensure healthy bee populations, sustainable beekeeping and the provision of adequate pollination services in the EU. To move forward, several research topics still need to be addressed. The assessment of potentially harmful effects of chemicals (e.g. agrochemicals and veterinary medicinal products) or mixtures of chemicals and its interactions with other stressors and the monitoring of bees and pollination services to detect and assess long term effects still needs to be addressed.


While developing synergies with ongoing activities at EU level, the research will focus on hazard identification for managed and wild bees, social and solitary bees, focusing mainly on exposure and risk characterisation of mixtures of chemicals for bee health. It will take into account the presence or absence of main pathogens, notably Varroa destructor, Nosema spp, American Foulbrood, DWV, and will develop molecular markers using omics technologies. Moreover, it will also take into account the aspect of nutrition and its interplay with the other two stress factors since it has been shown that quality of diet plays an important role in bee health.

The level of contamination in relevant bee matrices (nectar, pollen, royal jelly and beeswax for social bees) and environmental compartments (e.g. on flowering plants and in the nest of bees, whether managed or wild) will be determined. The driving factors and processes leading to such contamination, and their relative and synergistic contribution to final contamination levels and its impact on bee health will be systematically identified. Data on food intake in bees for exposure assessment by ingestion and to understand their effects versus potential residues on environment should also be generated.

The toxicological effect (whether additive, synergistic or antagonistic) of the most commonly found chemical compounds in agriculture in the EU (e.g. pesticides, veterinary medicinal products, other contaminants) will be investigated. A range of representative bee types (honeybee subspecies and bumblebee and solitary bee species) will be considered. Bees of different life stages (larvae and adults) genders and casts (including queens) will be tested. Adverse (lethal, chronic and sublethal) effects, including potential buffer/compensation effects at colony/population level, will be assessed. Work will include, as necessary, development and validation of relevant test protocols. Data on toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics in bees will be generated. Full dose-response relationships will be made to derive bee toxicological thresholds considering species specific sensitivity distributions. Finally, omics data will be developed and validated in the field to provide further insights on species sensitivity at the molecular level and ultimately to determine markers of chemical and pathogen exposure/effects to be used in monitoring plans.

Projects should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[1]. The projects should ensure appropriate dissemination to the breeding and professional sectors and other relevant stakeholders to facilitate uptake of results. There should be cooperation as appropriate with relevant initiatives, e.g. in the context of MUST-B, and other funded projects in this field, e.g. those selected under SFS-28-2017.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 9 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:
  • Filling gaps of knowledge on hazards, focusing mainly on (chronic and sub) lethal effects of mixtures of chemicals on both healthy and infected bees at population and/or colony levels, while also taking into account the aspect of bee nutrition and its effect on bee health.
  • Provide science- based protocols for improvement of bee regulatory testing schemes.
  • Contribute to the consolidation of validated monitoring plans on bee health with the development and use of molecular markers.
  • Contribute to sustainable pollination and sustainable beekeeping.

[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 AustraliaBrazil, 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


  1. 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.

  2. 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

  • SFS-2017-2 first stage flash info en
  • SFS-17-2017-Generalised Feedback_EN en
  • SFS-2017-2 second stage flash call info_en.pdf en

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