SFS-27-2017: Permanent grassland – farming systems and policies
Specific Challenge: Permanent grasslands are associated with high biodiversity and the delivery of a wide range of ecosystem services (e.g. carbon sequestration, water quality, flood and erosion control). Permanent grassland is closely linked to the competitiveness of ruminant-based farming systems, but its maintenance is under threat, especially in areas where intensified farming systems or practices are feasible, but also in remote and high-mountain areas where it may be abandoned. Whether natural, semi-natural or agriculturally improved, long-term grasslands provide more ecosystem goods and services than short-term grasslands. The continuity and permanence of grasslands is key to ensuring the conservation of biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services. There is an urgent need to recognise and add value to the multiple ecological functions of grasslands. In turn, this requires the generation of a wide range of data to characterise and benchmark sustainable farming systems based on permanent grassland, taking into consideration the various socio-economic and pedo-climatic conditions in Europe.
- Deadline: 14.02.2017
- Call Date: 04.10.2016
Proposals should develop integrated approaches for permanent grassland management which are cost-effective, environmentally sound and easily manageable. Synergies and trade-offs between productivity, biodiversity and continuity of the delivery of ecosystem services will be analysed in different contexts of intensification. Projects will develop farm-level decision support tools for the management of permanent grassland so as to enhance biomass production (for ruminant and/or innovative uses and markets) and the delivery of ecosystem services to society. Aspects of livestock health and welfare shall be given due consideration.
Activities will include the collection of relevant data to monitor, benchmark and analyse the performance of farming systems in terms of productivity, carbon sequestration, socio-economics, biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services. Proposals will develop and stratify farm networks reflecting relevant European pedo-climatic and socio-economic conditions and involve experimental stations, experimental farms and commercial farms to produce references and identify innovative approaches. Proposals could possibly use instrumented farm platforms to compare different forms of grassland management in order to determine the value of permanent grasslands as providers of food and other ecosystem services. Projects are expected to cover both conventional and organic sectors.
On the basis of the farm network output, work will help in the assessment of the effect of various grassland policies on biodiversity and delivery of ecosystem services. Taking into consideration the importance and the diversity of grasslands in Europe, this policy analysis could also be extended to relevant third countries. Innovative approaches to creating, maintaining and restoring permanent grassland should be proposed at the appropriate territorial scale. Proposals should develop agri-environmental indicators (including soil carbon content) on grasslands and grassland-based systems as a basis for better recognition of the ecosystem goods and services that permanent grasslands can provide.
Proposals will use transdisciplinary research methods and should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach', involving the farming sector with a view to generating cross-fertilisation and co-ownership.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. The duration of the project should take into consideration the need to coordinate and implement farm networks.
- benchmarking of grassland outputs based on local and regional site conditions across Europe;
- provision of farm-level tools for the management of permanent grasslands taking into account environmental, economic and social dimensions;
- enhanced cooperation and knowledge exchange;
- improved policy instruments for the conservation of biodiversity and delivery of identified ecosystem services provided by permanent grasslands and appropriate incentives to reduce conflict between productivity objectives in primary production, biodiversity conservation and the delivery of such services;
- integrated scientific support for relevant EU policies (e.g. CAP, WFD, CC objectives);
- strengthening of transdisciplinary research and long-lasting implementation of the results obtained through the implementation of the multi-actor approach.
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.
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).
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.
3.1 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
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.
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
- 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.
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
- H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction
- H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy
- H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation
- H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
- Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment
- Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
- Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme
The deadline for the second stage is 13 September 2017.