Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : A joint plant breeding programme to decrease the EU's and China's dependency on protein imports

Topic identifier: SFS-44-2016
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:

Legume crops are a critical source of plant-based proteins for people and animals. To date, however, they have not featured high on public or private sector research agendas. The EU and China are facing similar challenges, as both lack sources of protein and are increasingly dependent on protein imports for food and animal feed. In recent years (mainly due to continuous population growth and urbanisation), China has imported increasing volumes of soybeans, reaching 60 million tonnes in 2013 (corresponding to 60% of world market trade). This unique situation for a commodity will have important consequences on the equilibrium of the global market and might affect prices in the near future if imports increase further, as indicated by most recent long-term projections. The EU and China therefore have a common interest in cooperating on long-term strategies to develop sustainable alternatives to protein imports with a view to reducing their dependency and helping to stabilise the world market.


Proposals will develop efficient long-term breeding strategies to improve diversification, crop productivity and stability, and the protein quality of (grain and forage) legume crops for human and animal food. Activities will seek to broaden the genetic base of legume crops for breeding purposes, analyse relevant and untapped genetic material and explore the scope for increased exchanges between the EU and China via mutual access to gene banks through open databases. Proposals will test plant performance (phenotyping) of a wide range of legume species and varieties in various geographic (climatic) and environmental situations in the EU and China, taking into account climate-change scenarios. Activities will identify species and varieties suited to a number of specific agro-ecological conditions: specific attention should be given to identifying resistance to combinations of biotic and abiotic stresses (including heat and drought stress tolerance). Proposals will make use of a wide range of breeding tools and methods available in the EU and China.

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 properly. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Contributions for Chinese participants will come in addition and will be made available by China.

Expected Impact:
  • reduce overall long-term dependence of European and Chinese agricultural systems on protein imports;
  • enlarged range of genetic resources of legume crops available for use in breeding programmes;
  • enhanced common methods, tools and technologies for the characterisation and evaluation of new genetic resources;
  • improve mutual access to genetic resources;
  • new varieties adapted to local conditions in order to increase the overall productivity and quality of legume crops that should benefit both conventional and organic agriculture; and
  • new varieties adapted to biotic and abiotic stresses in the context of climate change.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation

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. This topic participates per default in the open access to research data pilot which aims to improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data generated by projects:
  • The pilot applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available for open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan (to be provided within six months after the project start).
  • Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they are part of the Pilot, and will not be penalised for opting out of the Pilot.
  • Projects can at any stage opt-out of the pilot.
  • 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 inH2020 Online Manual.

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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