Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : ERA-NET Cofund: Public-Public Partnerships in the bioeconomy

Topic identifier: SFS-19-2016-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: ERA-NET-Cofund ERA-NET Cofund
Opening date:
04 October 2016
Deadline: 14 February 2017 17:00:00

Types of action: ERA-NET-Cofund ERA-NET Cofund
Opening date:
27 October 2015
Deadline: 17 February 2016 17:00:00

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

Agriculture and the agri-food sector are integral parts of the economy and society in Europe. They are subject to multiple external pressures, such as rising demand for food, feed, fuel and fibres, globalisation, environmental changes and public health considerations. They are also constrained by physical limits such as the availability of land and water. Demand for animal food products and competition for natural resources are expected to increase. This implies that agriculture and agri-food sector will need to become more efficient and sustainable.


Proposals should address one or more of the following issues (A) to (C) for 2016 and (D) to (E) for 2017 and should clearly indicate to which one they refer.

A. [2016] Organic farming and food production

Scope: In recent years the organic market in the EU, driven by steadily increasing demand, has developed significantly (EUR 19.7 billion with a 9% growth rate in 2011). While demand for organic products tends to exceed production, during the last decade, the number of organic producers and the surface area under organic production have grown rapidly. Every year, 500,000 hectares of agricultural land in the EU are converted to organic farming. In the period 2000-2012, the total organic area increased by 6.7% a year on average, reaching an estimated 9.6 million hectares, or 5.4% of the EU’s total utilised agricultural area. Organic aquaculture is also growing fast following the introduction of EU rules in 2009. The overall aim is to improve jobs and growth in the organic sector by improving organic farming and food chains and, consolidating funding for transnational research and innovation activities. This ERA-NET Cofund is a follow-up to CORE Organic I (FP6) and CORE Organic 2 (FP7). At a policy development level, this is in line with the Commission Communication on the action plan for organic production in the European Union, the existing regulations in the organic sector and the Commission proposal for a new regulation on organic production (COM(2014)180) as it will increase the innovative capacity of the sector if certain exemptions are phased out.

Expected Impact: More sustainable agricultural production systems, food processing and food value chains through the further development of organic products and fulfilment of the rising demand for organic products, support for the Common Agricultural Policy and organic farming regulations and other relevant policy areas, e.g. health, trade and jobs. More specifically, projects developed under the proposed Cofund action will: i) improve the production potential under organic regulations; ii) improve the sustainability of agricultural production; iii) improve animal welfare and resource efficiency; and iv) link up to innovation needs of European Innovation Partnership operational groups.

B. [2016] Sustainable food production and consumption

Scope: Achieving a sustainable food supply that incorporates new food processing technologies and that is supported by consumer acceptance, is an innovation priority for the food industry and civil society organisations. A SUSFOOD (“SUStainable FOOD production and consumption”) ERA-NET Cofund will seek to increase collaboration and coordination on national research into the sustainability of food production and consumption, with the main focus on the food supply chain beyond the farm gate. The 7th Framework Programme (FP7) experience has shown that there is still potential to organize and implement calls for proposals on this issue with excellent chances of a good rate of return on the money invested. The Commission's national consultations, held in 16 European countries, show there is a common desire to continue efforts to keep food sustainability high on the research and innovation agenda. There is also a willingness to provide the necessary funding. Proposals should take into consideration (and can build on previous) EU-funded activities in this field.

Expected Impact: Innovation in food processing technologies; redesign of input, waste and side flow strategies to increase resource efficiency and provide added value in food products and processing, manufacture etc.; interdisciplinary research approach to innovation in food products and use of new raw materials for food products; harmonisation of the methods and metrics for the integrated assessment of the sustainability of food products and food patterns; link between stakeholders and food systems; greater understanding of consumer behaviour and food choices; integration of information systems for personalized, sustainable choices.

C. [2016] A knowledge platform for the intestinal microbiome

Scope: For many years it has been known that the composition and function of the intestinal microbiome affect the conversion and availability of some dietary components. There is a growing body of evidence on complex host-diet-microbiota interactions, highlighting the need to consider these interconnections as a triad that will define the success of dietary interventions and European policies. Importantly, there is mounting evidence to suggest that the intestinal microbiome affects both gut and systemic health. Specifically, diet-related variations in the gut microbiota have been linked to a variety of non-communicable chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and auto-immune, brain and cardiovascular diseases.

Gut microbiota analysis and modulation is a new and rapidly developing research area. However, the causal relationship between diet, gut microbiota and human health is still poorly understood. These studies may provide new strategies for health promotion and disease prevention, development of healthy ingredients and foods bearing health claims as well as probiotics and prebiotics based on functional analysis of genomic and metagenomic data. There is a need for joint research activities relating to the intestinal microbiome, particularly to share and integrate existing data, investigate the 'cause and effect' relationship between changes in microbiota composition and disease (including the role of human genetics), to identify the main dietary components that lead to functional changes in gut microbial composition, as well as to standardise methods and study designs to analyse and understand the human diet-gut microbiota interaction.

Expected Impact: This ERA-NET Cofund should generate new knowledge to support health maintenance, prevention strategies and/or new treatments. It should shed light on the human diet-gut microbiota interaction in relation to health and disease. It should also create a knowledge base for intervention studies aimed at promoting health and/or preventing the onset/development of non-communicable chronic disease through diet-dependent modulation of the intestinal microbiota.

D. [2017] Sustainable crop production

Scope: To pool resources and know-how to develop and test solutions for sustainable crop production, including areas such as breeding, nutrient recycling and soil-plant-atmosphere interactions, plant health and protection, management practices and the added value of agricultural products.

Expected Impact: Activities will contribute to developing cropping systems with improved performance in terms of reduced environmental impacts, resource-use efficiency and product quality. This will help the farming sector adapt to changes expected to result e.g. from emerging resource scarcity, environmental variation, demography, consumer preferences, and global trade.

E. [2017] Innovative forest-based bioeconomy

Scope: Forests cover more than 40 % of the EU's landmass and are instrumental in a number of key policy areas. The forest-based sector provides income for 16 million owners, supports 3-4 million jobs in rural areas, represents some 8% of the EU's total manufacturing value; removes the equivalent of approximately 9 % of greenhouse gases emitted by other parts of the economy; and provides for a wide range of other social, economic and ecological services. The proposed Cofund action will promote increased innovation and competitiveness of the forest-based sector in Europe and support its transformation from a resource-intensive to a knowledge-intensive, productive, resource-efficient and resilient sector. Sustainability and modernisation of forestry systems and downstream value chains including innovative business concepts and production technologies will be needed to develop the forestry sector and the European bioeconomy, of which forestry accounts for a large share. Basic and applied research, close-to-market research and innovation actions are all envisaged. The scope spans all forest-based value chains, from forest vitality and sustainability of forestry production systems to efficiency in supplying forest-based goods (wood and non-wood) and services.

Expected Impact: Enhanced resilience of forest ecosystems and forestry production systems to natural disturbances (including pests and diseases), connected to watershed and landscape management; sustainable provision of forest biomass for the European bioeconomy, ecosystem services and non-wood forest products; development of new sustainable and resource-efficient value chains and consolidation of the existing ones; development of new knowledge and processes to support major transitions and innovations in the forest-based sector, supporting business development in rural areas and industrial development, in crucial sectors such as forest-based industries (traditional and emerging branches), construction, transport and energy; increased resource efficiency (e.g. water, energy) and climate change mitigation (carbon sequestration in forest and wood-based products); and contribution to the implementation of key EU policy areas such as rural development, biodiversity, climate change, industrial policy, circular economy and bioeconomy.

Expected Impact:
  • Improve coordination and reduce the overlap between national and EU funding in relevant fields of research;
  • achieve a critical mass and ensure better use of limited resources in fields of mutual interest;
  • share good practice on implementing research programmes;
  • promote transnational collaboration and new knowledge generation and innovation;
  • involve small and medium-sized business in transnational projects, if appropriate, to enhance innovation.
  • map on-going research activities (where appropriate);
  • establish a network of research activities carried out at national and regional level, including a mutual opening of national and regional research programmes (where appropriate).
Cross-cutting Priorities:


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 China, 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:


    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form

    H2020 MGA ERANET Cofund - 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.


  1. 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

  • H2020-SFS-2017-1-single stage flash call info en

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