European Calls

There are regular Photonics Calls for Proposals published by the European Commission. The Photonics21 community is the dedicated body to define the European call topics for photonics.

Current European Photonics Calls separated by different clusters:

 

Cluster 4: Digital, Industry and Space

 

1. Quantum sensing technologies for market uptake (IA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 27. January 2022

Expected Outcome:

Proposal results are expected to contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • A host of mature quantum sensing technologies and devices (TRL 6-7) in many different application sectors, with the goal of establishing a reliable, efficient supply chain including first standardisation and calibration efforts for rapid market uptake.

Scope:

Proposals should address the development of relatively mature quantum sensing technologies and single or network-operating devices that have the potential to find a broad range of new applications in transportation, precise localisation, health, security, telecommunications, energy, electronics industry, construction, mining, prospection, and much more.

Proposals should demonstrate advanced prototypes of such sensing technologies that provide an unprecedented level of precision and stability, making new types of sensing, imaging and analysis possible. For rapid market uptake, they should target miniaturised, integrated, transportable quantum sensors and provide first plans for their further industrialisation through enhanced cost efficiency and user operability at higher TRL.

In order to achieve the above, proposals should include relevant actors from the whole value chain (from materials to devices and to system integration aspects). They may also include, wherever relevant, activities and actors from metrology institutes that would provide measurement methods and/or standards, including for the development of quality assurance methods and for standardisation of the targeted quantum sensing technologies.

Finally, proposals should also cover: (i) any additional support they may receive from relevant national, or regional programmes and initiatives; and (ii) contribution to the governance and overall coordination of the Quantum Technologies Flagship initiative. They should also contribute to spreading excellence across Europe; for example, through the involvement of Widening Countries.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 4-5 and achieve TRL 6-7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

2. End-to-end satellite communication systems and associated services (RIA)

Open: 2. November 2021

Deadline: 16. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

The expected outcomes of this topic will enable flexible end-to-end satellite communication system (including both space and ground segment) with high productivity and growing data and service requirements. Security aspects should be considered in all targeted developments. Competitiveness will be strengthened by providing growing capacity per system, as well as flexibility and agility to face uncertainties and market evolutions and improving system availability and latency to deliver high-quality experience to end-users.

Projects are expected to contribute to one or several of the following outcomes:

  • Capture 50% of global accessible Telecom satellite market by 2028.
  • Showcasing a secure, flexible and competitive end-to-end-system aiming a ground demonstrator by 2026/27.
  • Full inclusion and utilisation of satellite communication in 5G/6G network
  • Short to mid-term disruptive development and maturation of key technologies (up to TRL6) for high performance and secure communication systems.
  • Support the EU space policy and end-to-end secure communication by paving the way for the deployment of a future EU secure and global quantum satellite communication capacity.
  • Contribute to EU non-dependence for the development of quantum communication technology in space.
  • Enhance the TRL to 5-6 of the components necessary to build a quantum satellite communication capacity using EU technology in preparation of an IOD/V.

This will contribute to developing, deploying global space-based services applications and data and contribute to fostering the EU's space sector competitiveness, as stated in the expected impact of this destination.

Scope:

The areas of R&I, which needs to be addressed to tackle the above-mentioned expected outcomes are:

  1. R&I on secure quantum communications through the development of components for quantum satellite communication systems as well as of space technology components and systems necessary for Quantum Key Distributions (QKD), e.g. space compatible Quantum Random Number Generators (QRNG), single or entangled photon sources, decoy state systems, associated electronics, systems for key management and storage, single photon detectors and super accurate pointing mechanisms, protocols and standards, quantum specific on-board computers as well as novel user authentication mechanisms. This area also includes the tools necessary to simulate, control and monitor the space quantum information networks, development and/or use of testbeds or any other system used to recreate or simulate the space environment to test quantum satellite communications technology components.
  2.  R&I on ground segment, infrastructures, protocols, development of virtual network and application functions as well as networks including end-user terminals and equipment considering the handling of a range of new needs (e.g. introduced by satellite constellations, increasing data rates, flexible ultra-high throughput satellites, higher on-board and on-ground-autonomy, millimetre wavelength communication in Q/V, W-band), providing scalable and resilient solutions while reducing costs.

Proposal should address only one area. To ensure a balanced portfolio covering the two areas described above, grants will be awarded to applications not only in order of ranking but at least also to one proposal that is the highest ranked within each area, provided that the applications attain all thresholds.

Proposals are expected to promote cooperation between different actors (industry, SMEs and research institutions) and consider opportunities to quickly turn technological innovation into commercial space usage.

Proposals under this topic should explore synergies and be complementary to already funded actions in the context of technology development at component level. In particular, the topics: Critical Space Technologies for European non-dependence (H2020 SPACE-10-TEC-2018-2020, COMPET-1-2014-2015-2016-2017), satellite communication technologies and high speed data chain (H2020 COMPET-2-2016, COMPET-3-2017, SPACE-15-TEC-2018, SPACE-29-TEC-2020). Furthermore, activities should be complementary to national activities and activities funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), while contributing to EU non-dependence.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Unless otherwise agreed with the granting authority, beneficiaries must ensure that none of the entities that participate as affiliated entities, associated partners or subcontractors are established in countries which are not eligible countries or target countries set out in the call conditions or are controlled by such countries or entities from such countries.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL5-6 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information in the Call Website

 

3. Quantum technologies for space gravimetry (RIA)

Open: 2. November 2021

Deadline: 16. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

  • Support the EU space policy and the green deal by paving the way for the deployment of a future EU Earth observation mission making use of quantum gravimetry
  • Ensure EU non-dependence for the development of capacities leading to the availability of quantum space gravimetry
  • Enhance the TRL of all (critical) components necessary to build quantum gravimetry for space

These outcomes will contribute to securing the autonomy of supply for critical technologies and equipment, and fostering the EU's space sector competitiveness, in line with the Expected Impact of the destination.

Proposals must address all the above-mentioned, expected outcomes.

Scope:

The scope of this topic is the development of EU technologies and components for a space quantum gravimeter or gradiometer (this may include hybrid sensors, relying both on quantum and classical technologies) and which will lead to the development of an Engineering Model and its potential qualification for a pathfinder mission.

The enhancement of the TRL up to TRL5 for cold atom interferometry (including Bose-Einstein Condensates) components is a key objective of this call. The scope also covers the development of software simulation tools to analyse the different gravimetry mission concepts linked to these sensors or processing and analysis of the sensor data. This also includes the development and/or use of testbeds such as the Einstein elevator or any other system used to recreate or simulate the space environment (including airborne testing) to test quantum gravimeters technology components.

The priority for this topic is the development of the technology leading to the deployment of a pathfinder mission based on cold atom interferometry demonstrating the gravimetric performance.

The proposals should answer the whole scope of this topic.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

4. Advanced multi-sensing systems (Photonics Partnership) (RIA)

Open: 21. December 2021

Deadline: 5. April 2022

Expected Outcome:

Proposals results are expected to contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • Next generation multi-sensing photonic and electronic systems with increased integration of new functionalities, decreased size and cost-effective manufacturing.
  • Supporting a European open strategic autonomy in key integration and packaging technologies and related manufacturing value chains.
  • Sensing devices and components allowing for reaching the new green deal objectives through enabling high levels of reuse/repair/repurpose, recovery and recycling of waste and materials or helping to reduce overall power consumption of a system by at least a factor of 2.
  • Reinforcing European industrial leadership in high performance multi-sensing systems and components for sectors such as healthcare and well-being, environmental monitoring and protection, transport and automated driving, manufacturing, aerospace and security.

Scope:

The proposals will enable breakthroughs in sensor systems by combining component development, system integration, packaging and cost-effective manufacturing processes. They should propose innovative approaches capable of acquiring, processing and interpreting vast amounts of sensory input data, where relevant, while reducing significantly overall energy consumption.

Whenever justified, a modular approach with interchangeable components operating in a platform environment should be favoured. The sensing functionality should build on technologies related to light and include integration with microelectronics or micro-nano-mechanical, micro-fluidic, magnetic, radio frequency or bio-chemical technologies where appropriate.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership for Photonics.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

5. Advanced characterisation methodologies to assess and predict the health and environmental risks of nanomaterials (RIA)

Open: 21. December 2021

Deadline: 5. April 2022

Expected Outcome:

The development of reliable and practical tools to ensure the safe and sustainable use of nanomaterials has not kept pace with the rapid commercialization of nanotechnology-enabled products. The dynamic nature of many nanomaterials in complex environmental matrices is recognized as a major challenge for their detection, quantification and characterization. Consequently, there is an urgent need to establish appropriate methods for cost-efficient assessment and prediction of the health and environmental effects of nanomaterials, providing better decision criteria, based on quantitative rather than qualitative information and taking into account the full life cycle of a material. Proposal results are expected to contribute to several of the following expected outcomes:

  • Develop high-resolution imaging methods for quantification and characterization of nanomaterials (e.g. nanoplastics) in complex matrices and determinations of their transformations in such environments.
  • Increase availability of validated protocols to advance both nanosafety studies and material characterization.
  • Ensure appropriate control experiments and more realistic in vitro models to address current gaps in nanotoxicology.
  • Deliver reliable data and improved data reporting guidelines, supported by computational modelling, in order to allow the development of grouping and read across methods. Make use of open access database and using standards for data documentation (e.g. CHADA).
  • Develop harmonized standardized test methods that can be used in a regulatory framework including test hazard assessment, biodegradability and sustainability for advanced nanomaterials.
  • Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of materials and product development by reducing costs and time for product design, time-to-market and regulatory compliance

Scope:

  • Develop advanced characterization tools and methods for nanomaterials industry to enhance the design and development stages of advanced materials and products contributing to less waste and emissions while improving process quality in line with Life Cycle Assessment framework;
  • Develop new in vitro models and tests to assess nanotoxicology;
  • Include use cases to validate and demonstrate the approach(es) in industrial settings and involve comprehensive analysis and measurement of process and handling release scenarios and exposure measurements;
  • Propose the validated methods to standardization bodies such as ISO or OECD for development of standards, test guidance or a guidance document;
  • Demonstrate connectivity with H2020 nanosafety projects and leverage the extensive experience from relevant initiatives. Cooperation with EU funded projects under Industry Commons and other similar initiatives for interoperability and data documentation should be addressed;

In line with the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation, international cooperation is encouraged.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 3 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

International Cooperation

Find further information in the Call Website

 

Cluster 1: Health

 

1. Personalised blueprint of chronic inflammation in health-to-disease transition (RIA)

Open: 6. October 2021

Deadline: 21. April 2022

Expected Outcome:

This topic aims at supporting activities that are enabling or contributing to one or several expected impacts of destination 1 "Staying healthy in a rapidly changing society". To that end, proposals under this topic should aim for delivering results that are directed, tailored towards and contributing to several of the following expected outcomes:

  • Researchers and medical professionals understand the chronic inflammation factors triggering the health-to-disease transition and subsequently provide optimal counselling to citizens for improving their health.
  • Health care professionals have access to and employ objective health indicators of chronic inflammation for monitoring the health status, establishing personalised prevention measures and improving the health outcomes for citizens.
  • Health care professionals have the scientific evidence and understanding of health-to-disease transition to develop and use improved guidelines for personalised prevention strategies to tackle chronic diseases.
  • Citizens are better informed to actively manage their own health, have the tools to maintain their healthy status, improve their health and reduce their risk for developing chronic diseases.

Scope:

Personalised approaches for disease prevention seek to determine the predisposition to disease and deliver timely and targeted prevention measures. Understanding the risk factors that trigger the health-to-disease transition is essential for delivering personalized prevention measures or reducing the burden of chronic diseases.

A large body of clinical evidence has accumulated over the past decade demonstrating that chronic inflammation is a process implicated in chronic diseases/disorders. Inflammatory response is a physiological process helping the body to heal against harmful entities, but when dysregulated it could lead to unresolved chronic local or systemic inflammation. The later in combination with the person's genotype, phenotype, medical history, nutritional and well-being status, life-style and/or occupational/environmental/life stressors is likely to be involved in driving the health-to-disease transition, leading to the onset of chronic diseases.

Proposals should be of multidisciplinary nature involving all relevant stakeholders and may cover several different stages in the continuum of the innovation path (from translational research to validation of the findings in human studies etc.), as relevant.

Proposals are expected to develop and implement data-driven, personalised approaches to identify the drivers of chronic inflammation that may determine the transition from health to pre-symptomatic and early stages of chronic diseases/disorders. The topic does not exclude any diseases/disorders. The human studies and human data utilised/generated should be compatible to an age range as representative as possible to the pre-disease phase and onset of the disease to be studied, in order to boost the fast translation of the research results into proof-of-concept studies.

Proposals should develop personalised diagnosis and/or prevention strategies linked to chronic systemic/local inflammation and assess the effects of different types of interventions and/or their combinations i.e. pharmacological, non-pharmacological, nutritional supplements, diet and life-style modifications, as relevant. Sex and gender differences should be investigated, wherever relevant.

The proposals should address several of the following areas:

  • Integrate state-of-the-art knowledge and data from suitable human studies (i.e. medical/clinical, well-being, life-style etc.) to identify actionable factors linking chronic systemic and/or local inflammation to the health-to-disease transition. Take stock of omics (i.e. genomics, metabolomics, nutrigenomics, microbiomics etc.), of dynamic measurements of the health and well-being status, and of data-driven analytical tools in order to identify biomarkers and other health indicators linked to the health-to-disease transition.
  • Understand at the systems-level the human biology and physiology underlying chronic inflammation in connection to the tissues/organ dysregulation, organ cross-talk and homeostasis breakdown triggering the health-to-disease transition, taking into account the person's genotype, phenotype, medical history, nutritional and well-being status, life-style and/or occupational/environmental/life stressors.
  • Develop and deploy robust sensors, devices and/or mobile apps and other innovative technologies to monitor dynamically the individual's health status and to identify objective indicators of chronic inflammation correlative to the health-to-disease transition.
  • Implement proof-of-concept human studies to assess the beneficial effect of diverse prevention and/or interventions strategies with the aim to demonstrate improved health outcomes.
  • Test suitable interventions with the aim to demonstrate the reduction and/or reversion of the pre-disease state linked to chronic systemic and/or local inflammation.

Proposals should adopt a patient-centred approach to inform and empower patients, promote a culture of dialogue and openness between health professionals, patients and their families, and unleash the potential for social innovation.

The proposals should adhere to the FAIR[1] data principles and adopt wherever relevant, data standards and data sharing/access good practices developed by existing European health research infrastructures.

All projects funded under this topic are strongly encouraged to participate in networking and joint activities, as appropriate. These networking and joint activities could, for example, involve the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. This could also involve networking and joint activities with projects funded under other clusters and pillars of Horizon Europe, or other EU programmes, as appropriate. Therefore, proposals are expected to include a budget for the attendance to regular joint meetings and may consider to cover the costs of any other potential joint activities without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities at this stage. The details of these joint activities will be defined during the grant agreement preparation phase. In this regard, the Commission may take on the role of facilitator for networking and exchanges, including with relevant stakeholders, if appropriate.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Social Innovation
Socio-economic science and humanities
EOSC and FAIR data

[1]FAIR data are data, which meet principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability.

Find further information on the Call Website

Cluster 5: Climate, Energy and Mobility

 

1. Novel tandem, high efficiency Photovoltaic technologies targeting low cost production with earth abundant materials (RIA)

Open: 24. June 2021

Deadline: 5. January 2021

Expected Outcome:

Photovoltaic power generation is pivotal in the transition to a clean energy system and the achievement of the zero-emissions target. To that end, it is important to enhance affordability, security of supply and sustainability of PV technologies along with further efficiency improvements. Consequently, project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Demonstrate tandem technologies for efficiencies beyond the single-junction Shockley–Queisser limit (~29%).
  • Increase the potential of tandem technologies with earth abundant materials for mass production at low manufacturing cost.
  • Minimise the impact of PV on landscape and environment by increasing its energy yield/m2.
  • Contribute towards establishing a solid European innovation base and a competitive, continuous and coherent PV value chain.

Scope:

Tandem-junction cell architectures present a path towards higher module efficiencies over single-junction designs, because of the ability to absorb more efficiently the different wavelength regions of the solar spectrum by means of separate devices (monolithically integrated and bonded/mechanically stacked). This enables surpassing the limiting efficiency of single-junction Si (~29%), which has neared its theoretical limit. As module costs drop, balance-of-systems costs dominate the cost of PV installations, and gains in efficiency could influence more the overall system costs, the energy yield/m2 and hence the land use or the integration potential of the technology. The aim is to develop tandem cells and modules that will reach efficiencies >30%, offer the same lifetime and degradation rate as standard crystalline panels at only marginally higher cost, creating thus a viable economic pathway for commercialisation of these technologies.

The proposal should address all of the following:

  • Develop novel concepts based on earth abundant materials that optimise PV cell and module architecture, increase durability, decrease losses and target very high efficiencies, taking also into consideration specific applications.
  • Employ simple, scalable and low cost processing techniques; deliver proof-of-concept for equipment development to support novel layer deposition.
  • Ensure compliance with the relevant standards at laboratory scale, also considering the specific applications targeted.
  • Perform device/module real –life (under actual outdoor operating conditions) characterisation for reliability and energy yield assessment.
  • Perform a life cycle analysis to bring evidence of the lower environmental impact, better resource efficiency than current commercial PV technologies, and circularity potential.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information in the Call Website

 

2. Stable high-performance Perovskite Photovoltaics (RIA)

Open: 2. September 2021

Deadline: 23. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

Photovoltaic power generation is pivotal in the transition to a clean energy system and the achievement of the zero-emissions target. To that end, it is important to enhance affordability, security of supply and sustainability of PV technologies along with further efficiency improvements. Consequently, project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Increase the efficiency and stability and minimise the environmental impact of Perovskite PV.
  • Enlarge with bandgap tuneable perovskites and corresponding device architectures the integration and application possibilities of PV technology.
  • Increase the potential for commercialisation of perovskite PV, creating a competitive technological know-how for the European PV industrial base.

Scope:

Perovskite PV are welcomed as an emerging technology for solar energy conversion, as today they afford high power conversion efficiency (PCE), higher than 25%. At the same time, perovskite semiconductors are based on abundant and low-cost starting materials and can be processed using simple and economic methods. The tuneable bandgap of the perovskite materials opens a lot of applications in a wide range of optoelectronic devices, even beyond solar cells. To ensure however economic feasibility and competitive levelized cost of electricity, the technology should offer long-term stability alongside high power conversion efficiency to match the reliability of silicon-wafer-based modules (the lifetime expectation for a PV module in a power plant is 20–25 years). At present, the long-term stability of lead halide perovskite modules does not meet this target and improvements are hampered by a lack of understanding of the cell and module failure modes. In addition to the intrinsic cell stability issues of perovskite PV, the usage of lead and scaling-up are the main challenges towards bringing perovskite technologies to the market.

The proposal should address all of the following:

  • Research and resolve the degradation issues/mechanisms encountered from material to module and produce stable and highly efficient perovskite PV architectures/modules by optimizing the constituent materials, the architecture of the cell, the interfaces, the interconnections between cells, the environment conditions during the fabrication steps of cells and modules, the encapsulation of cells and modules, etc.
  • Propose new device concepts and new materials (improved lead-halide perovskites or Pb-free perovskite analogues) to deal with any toxicity issues.
  • Ensure compliance with the relevant protocols (ISOS) at laboratory scale.
  • Develop adequate stability assessment methods/measurements; propose and perform device/module real –life (under actual outdoor operating conditions) characterisation for reliability and energy yield assessment.
  • Identify environmental "hotspots" and how to address them. Perform a life cycle analysis (including decommissioning and disposal) to bring evidence of the low environmental impact, better resource efficiency than current commercial PV technologies, and circularity potential.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find futher information on the Call Website

 

3. Demonstration pilot lines for alternative and innovative PV technologies (Novel c-Si tandem, thin film tandem, bifacial, CPV, etc.) (IA)

Open: 2. September 2021

Deadline: 23. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

Photovoltaic power generation is pivotal in the transition to a clean energy system and the achievement of the zero-emissions target. To that end, it is important to enhance affordability, security of supply and sustainability of PV technologies along with further efficiency improvements. To insure security of supply, retaining the whole value chain in Europe is essential; technology de-risking is a necessary step towards this direction. Consequently, project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Promote a considerable pipeline of new and advanced versions of existing technologies from lab to fab production, enabling robust continued performance increase, opening up new applications and facilitating further cost reduction.
  • Reinforce the European PV value chain, support local companies to develop and sell differentiated and high value PV products and create local jobs.
  • Demonstrate the feasibility and cost-competiveness of the novel PV technologies.
  • Contribute towards establishing a solid European innovation base.
  • Enable and facilitate large-scale deployment of PV and generation of renewable electricity.
  • Minimise the impact of PV on landscape and environment by increasing its energy yield/m2.

Scope:

Net-zero scenarios modelled by the JRC[1] show that Europe needs to install up to 600 GW PV generation capacity by 2030 and over 1 TW by 2050 to reach its climate and energy objectives. The European market will grow 10-15% per year and reach close to 80 GW by 2030. In this race, Europe has a unique opportunity to develop and deploy new generation PV modules. A considerable number of new and advanced/innovative technologies is in the pipeline but the concrete application on pilot manufacturing lines is lagging behind. The aim is therefore to advance those technologies that offer the potential for much higher efficiency and/or higher energy yield, the same lifetime and degradation rate and comparable cost to standard crystalline technologies, opening-up possibilities for largescale 4.0 factories to drive down costs, allowing large relocation of production to Europe.

The proposal should address all of the following:

  • Develop and demonstrate at pilot line level innovative or alternative and advanced versions of existing PV technologies: the pilot lines should show the feasibility and cost-competitiveness of industrial production of cells and modules.
  • Develop corresponding manufacturing equipment.
  • Implement Industry 4.0 concepts.
  • Test and validate the performance characteristics of manufactured products (efficiency, durability, reliability, etc.).
  • Demonstrate a business case for manufacturing plants of individual output capacity in the GW range and a market introduction strategy.
  • Address the following related aspects: lower environmental impact, better resource efficiency than current commercial renewable technologies, circularity potential (including recycling and sustainability by design).
  • Document all demonstrators fully and transparently to ensure replicability and up scaling, to assist future planning decisions.

The proposal should involve multidisciplinary consortia including industrial partners.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

[1]https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2020.109836

Find further information on the Call Website

 

4. Advanced manufacturing of Integrated PV (IA)

Open: 14. October 2021

Deadline: 26. April 2022

Expected Outcome:

Photovoltaic power generation is pivotal in the transition to a clean energy system and the achievement of the zero-emissions target. To that end, it is important to enhance affordability, sustainability and exploit the modularity and synergies of application of PV technologies. Consequently, project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Demonstrate that automated manufacturing of integrated photovoltaics (IPV) can deliver cost competitive products assuming both the function of energy generators and of structural elements.
  • Reinforce the European PV value chain, support local companies to develop and sell differentiated IPV products and create local jobs.
  • Enable and facilitate large-scale integration of PV in buildings in line with the concept of "positive energy buildings", in infrastructure, transport, agriculture, etc.
  • Minimise the impact of PV on landscape and environment exploiting its modularity and synergies of use.

Scope:

"Integrated PV" stands for photovoltaics that are embedded into components fulfilling other functions. The most well-known and developed application currently is Building Integrated PV (BIPV), in which PV is integral part of construction elements (tiles, façades, cladding, ...) and assembled to constitute a system replacing a conventional building envelope solution. However, other Integrated PV (IPV) solutions are markedly emerging, for example in infrastructure (IIPV), in the automotive industry (VIPV), in agriculture, etc. In addition to the overall PV goal of lowering the LCOE, IPV applications can bring the extra value of decentralized, point-of-use electricity generation and simultaneously fulfil another function such as of a roofing, facade or sound barrier. Progressively developing and having the potential for a world-wide market with huge opportunities for the European industry, manufacturing of customized IPV in series production concept needs to be developed to bring down the cost of Integrated PV allowing for largescale production and use.

  • The proposal should address all of the following:
  • Demonstrate at pilot line level flexible automated manufacturing for:
    • differentiated product design (format, different thicknesses of substrate and variations in the solar cell matrix, encapsulation material, front sheet, etc.) respecting freedom of design and aesthetics for various applications;
    • integration of advanced robust techniques for inline process and quality control;
    • equipment design easily adaptable to rapidly emerging novel cell and module technologies;
  • high product efficiency and durability at competitive costs, in conformity with codes and standards of integrated photovoltaics (IPV) use.
  • Implement Industry 4.0 concepts.
  • Demonstrate a business case and a market introduction strategy.
  • Facilitate the 'renovation wave' by establishing an active collaboration between the PV sector and the building industry for seamless industrial construction/renovation workflows.
  • Address the following related aspects: low environmental impact, resource efficiency and circularity potential.

The proposal should involve multidisciplinary consortia including industrial partners.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

Cluster 6: Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment

 

1. Innovative solutions to prevent adulteration of food bearing quality labels: focus on organic food and geographical indications (IA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

The farm to fork strategy aims to accelerate the transition to sustainable farming and food systems by, inter alia, promoting the growth of organic farming with a view to achieve the target of at least 25% of the EU's agricultural land under organic farming by 2030. Moreover, the strategy envisages the strengthening of geographical indications (GIs), by including specific sustainability criteria, where appropriate. One of the strategy's main priorities is to combat food fraud along the food supply chain. The successful proposals should therefore contribute to preventing food fraud of products with quality labels, in particular organic and GIs. In this way, they should facilitate progress towards the strategy's challenging target for organic farming and strengthen the GIs scheme.

Projects results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • a wider use of new and improved tools and field-deployable methods and approaches for rapid and cost-effective verification of claims related to food products of plant and animal origin with quality labels, in particular organic and GIs;
  • unlocked potential of new technologies and other innovative approaches (e.g., business models) fit for farmers and food businesses (especially small-scale farmers and small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs)) as well as policymakers, which cost-effectively enable traceability and transparency along the supply chains of quality labelled food, in particular those with organic and GIs labels;
  • improved functioning and effectiveness of the control systems in Member States and Associated Counties and the EU's legislative framework for organic and GI food products;
  • increased data availability, interoperability and use, and improved analytical capacity for enhanced traceability and transparency along the supply chains of quality labelled food, in particular organic and GIs;
  • well-informed decision-making by farmers, food businesses and policymakers to improve climate, environmental, economic and social sustainability along the supply chains of quality labelled food, in particular organic and GIs.

Scope:

Quality labelled food products, such as organic and GIs, are generally more expensive than their counterparts. Therefore, foods with such quality labels are particularly prone to fraud. Illegal practices can considerably harm the quality schemes, as they can undermine consumer confidence, thus damaging the farmers and food businesses who respect the rules. The main challenge is that it is difficult for consumers and operators across supply chains to visually distinguish genuine from false organic or GI products. Traditional methods of determining food quality are time consuming and usually require special laboratory analyses, which are often costly and may not be sufficient to guarantee a product's authenticity and traceability. In addition, as organic and GI food supply chains become more complex, the need to ensure product traceability and transparency along the entire chain increases. Existing traceability and control systems help track products throughout the food supply chain and improve transparency. However, the organic and GI sectors rapidly change due to, for example, widespread use of e-commerce, and given the expected growth of these sectors, the risk of fraud may increase. Therefore, it is important to continuously innovate and upgrade the approaches to prevent fraudulent practices. Diverse new technologies and other innovative solutions (e.g., business models; participatory certification; local, short or mid-tier supply chains; etc.), are emerging to improve the authentication and traceability of quality labelled food products, in particular those with organic and GI labels, as well as to increase transparency of supply chains, thereby contributing to combating fraud. These innovative solutions need to be developed/improved, tested, demonstrated and deployed.

Proposals should investigate the current fraud practices affecting quality labelled food products, in particular organic and GI, and analyse the root causes/drivers of these practices and obstacles and ways to eradicate them. Based on these insights and building on the state-of-the-art in research and innovation, proposals should develop/improve, test, demonstrate and pilot promising innovative low-cost methods, tools and approaches to authenticate and/or trace quality labelled food products, especially organic and GIs, as well as to improve transparency of their supply chains from farm to fork. They should explore the potential of various technological and non-technological innovative solutions (e.g., digital (such as photonics, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, internet of things (IoT), machine learning, etc.), new business models (in particular involving and suitable for small-scale farmers and SMEs), suitable reference materials, rapid and field-deployable, non-destructive testing methods, technologies to improve cybersecurity, etc.), and their combinations. The heterogeneity of products and sectors, as well as the diversity of supply chains and contexts should be taken into account. Proposals should also investigate the barriers and incentives to scaling up the use of the innovative solutions as well as assess the positive and negative impacts on the different operations and actors in the organic and GI food value chains, particular attention should be paid to small-scale farmers, SMEs and consumers, as well as the control systems used in Member States and Associated Countries. Proposals should also develop a system to increase availability of and access to relevant data, promote data harmonisation and improve the ways in which data are stored. In addition, they should explore ways to advance the analysis, use, interoperability and security of data to enhance fair transparency and support better decision-making, to improve sustainability along organic and GI food supply chains.

The innovative solutions should be widely disseminated and recommendations for relevant actors in the public sector and business should be provided. Close involvement and consultation with project advisory board members is recommended. Projects should use the 'multi-actor approach', ensuring adequate involvement of all relevant actors, including input suppliers, farmers and SMEs. Proposals may build on existing research infrastructures, where relevant. Proposals are encouraged to build on past and ongoing EU-funded research and innovation projects, and are strongly encouraged to cluster with upcoming projects under the HORIZON-CL6-2021-FARM2FORK-01-10, HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-11 and HORIZON-CL6-2021-FARM2FORK-01-17 topics. They are also encouraged to cooperate with actors working on related initiatives, including the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality, which provides expertise in food science, authenticity and quality of food supplied in the EU. The possible participation/contribution of the JRC in the project would consist of ensuring that the project deliverables are compatible with and/or improve existing databases and tools used at the European Commission and fostering open access to project results via dissemination through the European Commission Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines. For this topic, the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-8 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Societal Engagement
EOSC and FAIR data
Social Innovation
Socio-economic science and humanities

Find further information on the Call Website

 

2. Effective systems for authenticity and traceability in the food system (RIA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

In line with the European Green Deal priorities and the farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system, the successful proposal will support R&I in improving traceability and combating food fraud along the food supply chain. It will contribute to the transformation of food systems to deliver co-benefits for climate (mitigation and adaptation), environmental sustainability and circularity, dietary shifts, sustainable healthy nutrition and safe food, food poverty reduction and empowerment of communities, and thriving businesses.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • A robust knowledge base of the underlying reasons for/drivers of food fraud (e.g. economic and social) and the extent of food fraud.
  • Innovative strategies and solutions (tools and devices) to prevent fraudulent practices by improving traceability and safeguarding authenticity, and fostering solutions for fraud prevention.
  • Improved assistance to control bodies and authorities in fraud prevention.
  • Improved transparency through digital solutions (such as IoT, artificial intelligence, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies) that meet consumer demand for food transparency, with a focus on demonstrating authenticity of food as a way to reduce food fraud and boost consumer confidence in food origin and quality.
  • Contribution to further development of policies for food authentication and traceability and for fighting food fraud/food crime.
  • Support official control by providing guidance on detection and mitigation of fraudulent practices.

Scope:

To contribute to the goals of the farm to fork strategy, the EU will scale up its fight against food fraud to create a level playing field for operators and strengthen the powers of control and enforcement authorities. The new EU Official Controls Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2017/625) includes key provisions in relation to food fraud. Recently, the issue of food fraud has been thrust into the spotlight and is of increasing concern to society and to the food industry. It can have very different impacts on consumers, ranging from direct health threats (e.g. consumption of toxic adulterants and contaminants) to violation of consumer rights (e.g. mislabelling). With the complexity of the global market and the addition of e-commerce, the safety risks of food fraud are likely to increase. Therefore, there is a constant need for sensitive and accurate authentication methods and innovative traceability methods to prevent food fraud and help the industry and official control authorities. Maintaining the integrity of European foods is vital to protect both consumers and the legitimate producers, industry and retail, and foster consumer confidence in the authenticity of all food products.

Successful proposals are expected to address both areas (area A and area B):

Area A:

  • Take stock and determine the current state-of-the-art, identify gaps, and suggest short-, medium- and long-term strategies for closing gaps in research addressing various aspects of fraud such as societal and economic drivers, fraud opportunities, mitigation and prevention measures.
  • Quantify the economic dimension of the food fraud problem and understand the behaviour of food criminals perpetrating food fraud.
  • Carry out translational research on fraud detection methods to provide the required evidence base for harmonisation and standardisation of methods and harmonisation of strategies for regulatory use.
  • Develop and validate rapid food fraud detection tools and real-time in-situ/on-line analytical methods for testing authenticity and quality.
  • Develop and implement new food fraud detection models (based on data, by applying artificial intelligence techniques) and tracing methods through the use of new and emerging technologies, such as blockchain and smart labelling tools.
  • Build common platforms and tools for sharing information among stakeholders.

Area B:

  • Support the development of an early warning system (EWS) for detection and possible further prevention of fraudulent practices and an efficient use of artificial intelligence, taking into consideration the data protection rules in place.
  • Evaluate the utility of different food-authenticity-related databases existing in Member States and the EU institutions, and create a central database/data portal for further use of these data by authorised users to improve fraud detection and enforcement actions by the competent authorities.
  • Develop tools that increase consumers' confidence in the authenticity and quality of the food supply, in line with the relevant legal frameworks.
  • Investigate food chain stakeholders' attitudes towards adulterated food to understand better their motivation to commit fraud and trade-in inferior quality goods.

The required multi-actor approach (see the eligibility conditions) must be implemented by involving a wide diversity of food system actors and conducting inter-disciplinary research. Proposals should bring together major stakeholders and scientific expertise to protect consumers and industry from food fraud.

Projects relevant to this topic should support policymaking and implementation relevant to fighting food fraud.

Proposals should explain how they will contribute to achieving the objectives of the farm to fork strategy and deliver co-benefits to the four Food 2030 priorities.

Proposals should involve a wide diversity of actors and implement an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach. They are encouraged to build on past and ongoing EU-funded research, and are strongly encouraged to cluster with upcoming projects under the HORIZON-CL6-2022-FARM2FORK-01-04 topic: Innovative solutions to prevent adulteration of food bearing quality labels: focus on organic food and geographical indications. They are also strongly encouraged to work with existing research infrastructure and collaborate with relevant initiatives, including specifically the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality, which provides expertise in food science, authenticity and quality of food supplied in the EU. The possible participation of the JRC in the project will ensure that the project deliverables are compatible with and/or improve existing databases and tools used at the European Commission and foster open access to project results via dissemination through the European Commission Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality, particularly to the competent authorities of the EU Member States.

Proposals should set out a clear plan on how they will work with other projects selected under this and any other relevant topic, by participating in joint activities and running common communication and dissemination activities. Applicants should plan the necessary budget to cover these activities.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Actions developing tools and models are expected to reach TRL 7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Social Innovation
Socio-economic science and humanities

Find further information on the Call Website

 

3. New technologies for acquiring in-situ observation datasets to address climate change effects (IA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

Through the development of new technologies a successful proposal will contribute to addressing the lack of ground observation (in-situ observation)[1] necessary to cope with climate change effects in hard-to-reach areas, areas facing extreme physical conditions and critical areas for human health and security. As such contributing to the European Green Deal objectives and a strengthened Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), by deploying and adding value to environmental observation[2].

Proposals are expected to contribute to at least four of the following outcomes:

  • Lower cost of in-situ observation in terms of capital cost, deployment/recovery, and maintain leading;
  • Improved geographical coverage and long-time series of in situ environmental observations;
  • Tested and validated new in-situ measurement technologies in hard-to-reach under-sampled areas;
  • Dedicated technical protocols ensuring validation, interoperability, and synchronisation between in-situ and remote sensing systems in compliance with the GEOSS and Copernicus requirements;
  • Established collaboration with environmental observation data providers to ensure proper gap filling and adequate responses in terms of acquisition protocols;
  • Coherent business model(s) involving industrialists, research centres, and users ensuring the sustainability of systems developed;
  • Contribute to reinforcing the in-situ component of the GEO initiative, the Copernicus programme and the EC-ESA initiative on Earth system science, and to strengthen in-situ observations to adequately complement the space-based observations planned through Copernicus Expansion Missions.

Scope:

The geographical coverage and acquisition of long time series of in-situ observation of the various components of the Earth's systems should be improved in order to ensure a proper monitoring and modelling of the environmental processes. This is recognised in the context of the Copernicus programme, by the GOOS 2030 Strategy, and was reiterated at global level at the GEO Ministerial Summit[3] in November 2019 in the Canberra Ministerial Declaration[4]. This topic is intended to support innovative technological solutions building on cutting-edge technologies in the domain of measurement and testing, big data and ICT to acquire necessary parameters from in-situ measurements required to ensure an integrated monitoring and model data assimilation necessary to respond to the climate transition and the European Green Deal challenges. This call covers marine and/or terrestrial measurements in hard-to-reach areas or areas with extreme physical conditions such as the polar regions, the tropical regions and desert regions, the deep-sea, and the high-altitude regions where the lack of in-situ data makes global assessment and mitigation of climate change effects very challenging. Proposals could also address geographical and high temporal resolution gaps in observations such as the real-time monitoring of aeroallergens or other atmospheric aerosols affecting health. The proposals should be conducted, inter alia, in collaboration with Copernicus and other, relevant activities[5] and communities in order to guaranty coherent approaches regarding the acquisition of new in-situ data and development of related monitoring systems – in particular in view of supporting the calibration of remote-sensing data. During the development of the systems, special attention should be given to data management, standardisation and dissemination issues.

The development of new in-situ observation systems should be conducted in close collaboration with the commercial sector. The sustainability of the systems beyond the duration of the project should be part of the work plan of the proposal and be the subject of concrete actions with the relevant partners in the proposal (users, industrialists, research organisations, including European research infrastructures).

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-8 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Ocean sustainability and blue economy
International Cooperation
EOSC and FAIR data

[1]All non-space based observations which may include remote sensing from ground-based, marine or airborne platforms

[2]The capacity to observe the environment, including space-based, in-situ-based (air, sea, land) observation, and citizen observations

[3]http://www.earthobservations.org/geoweek19.php

[4]https://earthobservations.org/documents/geo16/MS%204.2_Draft%20Canberra%20Declaration_final.pdf

[5]European research infrastructure, EMODnet, INSPIRE, GEOSS, EGNSS, ESA etc.

Find further information in the Call Website

 

4. Observing and mapping biodiversity and ecosystems, with particular focus on coastal and marine ecosystems (RIA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

In support of the implementation of the Green Deal and the biodiversity strategy, successful proposals will contribute to all the following expected outcomes notably to better understand biodiversity decline, its main direct drivers and their interrelations:

  • Next generation fit for purpose and user friendly, validated and integrated coastal, marine and terrestrial biodiversity observation, mapping and monitoring tools (from remote sensing to eDNA, AI, robotics and citizen science framework) that provide data to feed models of prediction of biodiversity (for global and regional scales to define and update ecosystem-based management approaches).
  • Fulfil the objectives of the Global Biodiversity Observation Network (The Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network – GEOBON, MBON, GOOS)
  • Empowering ocean observations (e.g., citizen science framework, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data analytics) and robust science-based thinking at national and international levels will promote science diplomacy and wider societal actions to support responsible and sustainability thereby enhancing ocean governance
  • Coastal, marine and terrestrial biological processes and biodiversity are integrated into national, regional (including EU and AC sea basins), and global observation systems. Reliable and affordable methods for monitoring water quality in line with the MSFD and WFD, which would generate information that is geo referenced and available more in real time.
  • In line with the targets of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, contribute to establish a network of effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative, protected areas and/or other area-based effective conservation measures.
  • "Blue Carbon" balance model in the different marine ecosystems for possible use for carbon offsetting and for Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)

Scope:

Better biodiversity observations are needed to assess the health of ecosystems and the impact of measures derived from EU policies, and to feed data into models for the predictions of effects and the development of management measures for the implementation of EU policies.

Observation and mapping of coastal and marine biodiversity are key tools to manage and share the "ocean commons" in a fair and responsible way under the present global challenges and rapid environmental changes. They also help ensure that the benefits derived from the exploitation of ocean resources can be sustainably managed and equitably shared. The distribution of these "ocean commons" is changing. The melting polar ice caps, stagnation in wild seafood provisioning opportunities, emergence of harmful pathogens and parasites, and previously inaccessible ocean spaces (e.g. the deep sea) now increasingly within human reach, are challenges that need to be addressed by responsible ocean governance to reduce the potential for conflicts at all levels and ensure human well-being. Current knowledge on how to relate and govern marine natural resources and associated societal changes is fragmented, and observations of resource distribution, use, state and dynamics are scant and insufficiently accessible. We need to advance observations to support modelling of the complex links between marine ecosystems and societal developments to forecast, manage and mitigate these changes.

Adequate scientific knowledge is also fundamental to protect and restore favourable conservation status of habitats and species under EU nature legislation, notably the Birds and Habitats Directive and good ecological status under the Water Framework Directive. Reliable data and knowledge are necessary inter alia to define protected areas in line with the EU biodiversity strategy and its underlying legislation, to develop conservation objectives, conservation and restoration measures, to define the conservation status and to undertake environmental impact assessments.

In order to do so, projects are expected to encompass all of the following aspects:

  • Use of satellite and drone images (earth observation) to assess pressures on freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems (fragmentation, hydromorphological changes, etc.);
  • Develop eDNA protocols complementing established biological indicators to monitor ecological status, in the context of the Water Framework Directive.
  • New platforms and integration of variety of sensors in situ, autonomous unmanned vehicles, acoustic monitoring, satellite applications, holistic approaches (e.g., systems biology, meta-omics, and ecosystem approaches) and novel theoretical frameworks linking evolutionary theory and oceanography as well as marine social sciences and humanities can provide an integrated framework to inform decision making, particularly in inherently dynamic coastal ecosystems.
  • Where relevant, creating links, contributing to and using the information and data of the European Earth observation programme Copernicus, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), European Space Agency Earth Observation Programme and in particular the flagship actions on biodiversity and ocean health of the EC-ESA Joint Earth system science initiative, is expected.
  • Contribute to improving the knowledge on marine and terrestrial habitats and species protected under the Birds and Habitats Directive.
  • Contribute to improving the knowledge on how invasive alien species interact with local biodiversity to better feed policies on their prevention, eradication and management In line with EU Regulation 1143/2014 on invasive alien species,
  • Implement the Essential Ocean Variables for sustained observations of marine biodiversity and ecosystem changes identified by the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).
  • The projects should benefit from the large datasets recovered from the long-term environmental monitoring conducted through the national and European dedicated Research Infrastructures (e.g. eLTER).
  • Technical, theoretical and practical development and validation for the use of environmental DNA (eDNA), combined with other ocean data (both biotic and abiotic). These approaches promise leaps in our ability to sample ecosystem-wide data at increasingly low costs.
  • Investigate all key processes (ecological and anthropogenic) controlling the fate of carbon and its sequestration in marine and costal ecosystems. Evaluate the "Blue Carbon" balance in the different marine ecosystems through high-resolution mapping and modelling of marine ecosystems of the European EEZ, characterised by habitats, species, processes and functions, from deep sea, offshore to coastal.
  • The tools, models and geo-referenced information systems that should be designed should be focused on user needs and designed with user experience.
  • Standardised minimum set of Essential Ocean and Biodiversity Variables (EOVs / EBVs)
  • Contribution to enhancing the overall societal and public understanding of link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning through education and training (school & adult education, citizen science platforms)
  • All the marine observations connected though these actions should be incorporated into EMODnet.
  • Cooperation with the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity and other relevant existing platforms and information sharing mechanisms[1].
  • Contribute to the free and open access to biodiversity data of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
  • Opportunities for cooperation with relevant projects, such as EUROPABON [2] awarded under the call 'SC5-33-2020: Monitoring ecosystems through research, innovation and technology' or the projects resulting from topics under the Heading 'Understanding biodiversity decline' in Destination 'Biodiversity and ecosystem services' and from Destination 'Land, ocean and water for climate action' (Carbon cycle and natural processes) and Destination 'Innovative governance, environmental observations and digital solutions in support of the Green Deal' (environmental observation) should be identified. Furthermore, cooperation is expected with the European co-funded partnership on biodiversity[3] (HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-02-01) and other relevant Horizon Europe missions and partnerships. Proposals should outline a plan on how they intend to collaborate with other projects selected and with the mentioned initiatives, by participating in e.g. joint activities, workshops, common communication and dissemination activities, etc. Applicants should allocate the necessary budget to cover the plan. Relevant activities of the plan will be set out and carried out in close co-operation with relevant Commission services, ensuring coherence with related policy initiatives.
  • This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.
  • In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is strongly encouraged.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

International Cooperation
Ocean sustainability and blue economy

[1]BISE, Oppla, NetworkNature and their joint work streams.

[2]https://europabon.org/

[3]https://www.biodiversa.org/1759

Find further information on the Call Website

 

5. Preventing groundwater contamination and protecting its quality against harmful impacts of global and climate change (RIA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

In line with the European Green Deal's zero pollution ambition, successful proposals will contribute to halting and preventing pollution of freshwater and soils, and consequently also protecting biodiversity, as addressed by several impacts under Destination 'Clean environment and zero pollution', in particular "Advanced understanding of diffuse and point sources of water pollution in a global and climate change context, enabling novel solutions to protect water bodies, aquatic ecosystems and soil functionality, and further enhancing water quality and its management for safe human and ecological use, while fostering the European position and role in the global water scene."

Project results are expected to contribute to some of the following expected outcomes:

  • Wider use of an enhanced knowledge base and better understanding of pollution sources, pathways and impacts, including surface hydrology, aquifers and receiving water bodies, as well as the synergistic effects of multiple stressors on groundwater quality.
  • Implement advanced prevention and mitigation strategies to protect groundwater against pollution induced by global and climate change, including anticipative approaches preparing for future or emerging challenges.
  • Apply effective risk assessment and risk management strategies enabling early warning systems and delivering ready-made outcomes for decision-making and governance.
  • Deploy innovative monitoring strategies, including advanced sensors, tracers and analytical methods, and integration of IT tools/platforms and advanced modelling.
  • Broad uptake of advanced knowledge, breakthrough solutions and innovative technologies to enhance the competitiveness of the EU water sector and foster the EU's position and role in the global water scene.
  • Increasing the EU scientific and technological base on measures to manage groundwater quality and providing evidence and guidance for policy-making and implementation.
  • Science and evidence-based implementation of the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals, notably the SDG 6 "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all".

Scope:

The European Union has made noticeable progress in terms of reducing concentrations of nutrients in groundwater and in rivers through the implementation of dedicated policy measures. However, Member States identified that diffuse pollution is still a significant pressure that affects 35% of the area of groundwater bodies[1], while quality standards (pesticides, herbicides, etc.) were exceeded in 15% of the groundwater bodies studied. Climate change and increasing water demand will exert significant pressures on groundwater quality, notably where the combined effect of reduced hydrological flows, water table depletion and sea level rise endanger the integrity of coastal aquifers and groundwater quality due to saline water intrusion. Extreme events like higher tides, storm surges and inland flooding events, and consequent pollutant and pathogen runoff, will put at risk wetlands and reservoirs, estuaries and ecosystems, jeopardising an efficient and qualitatively good groundwater recharge. Rising water tables in urban and rural areas, caused by e.g. higher sea level, changing water use or variable precipitation patterns, could potentially affect pollution sources (sewage, runoff infiltration, dilution of soil pollutants, salinization, etc.) and deteriorate the quality of groundwater.

Additional knowledge is needed to understand the synergistic effects and risks of multiple stressors and pollutants on groundwater quality to better evaluate the impacts of global and climate change, particularly in highly vulnerable areas affected by diffuse pollution, anthropogenic activities and/or water table fluctuations. Actions in this field should aim to identify and assess sources and pathways of groundwater pollution to inform risk management plans at basin/regional scales, with particular consideration of aquifer recharge with reclaimed water and persistent pollutants.

Further developments are expected in terms of cost-efficient monitoring strategies, which could include new tracers and sensors, increased sampling and analytical capacity, as well as integrating IT advances and geophysical modelling.

Proposals in this area should assess possible options and anticipate novel strategies to protect groundwater quality by considering the harmful effects of and threats from climate change. Actions in this field should focus on preventive measures and consider technological and non-technological solutions, and should engage with policy and decision-making bodies.

In general, the participation of academia, research organisations, utilities, industry and regulators is strongly advised, as well as civil society engagement whenever necessary, also aiming to broaden the dissemination and exploitation routes and to better assess the innovation potential of developed solutions and strategies.

If appropriate, applicants are advised to seek complementarities and synergies, while avoiding duplication and overlap, with relevant actions funded under Horizon 2020 calls[2], as well as targeted topics supported in the last Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe calls, addressing micro/nano-plastics, persistent and mobile pollutants, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), pharmaceuticals and contaminants of emerging concerns (CECs), pathogens and antimicrobial resistance.

In order to better address some or all of the expected outcomes, international cooperation is strongly encouraged.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Ocean sustainability and blue economy
Societal Engagement

[1]European Environment Agency The European environment — state and outlook 2020 https://www.eea.europa.eu/soer-2020/intro

[2]Including access and use of data and information collected through long-term environmental monitoring activities supported by national and/or European research infrastructures.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

6. Upscaling (real-time) sensor data for EU-wide monitoring of production and agri-environmental conditions (RIA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

In line with the farm to fork strategy and the headline ambitions of a 'Digital Age' and an 'Economy that works for people', leaving no one behind, and the biodiversity strategy, the successful proposals will support smart-farming and agri-environmental monitoring. They will therefore contribute a) to the enhancement of the sustainability performance and competitiveness in agriculture through further deployment of digital and data technologies as key enablers, and b) to make agriculture benefit from further deployment and exploitation of Environmental Observation data and products through research and innovation related to sensors and sensor data.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Strengthening capacities for smart farming, and thus to enhance the environmental and economic performance of the agricultural sector.
  • Strengthening capacities for agri-environmental (climate) monitoring, particularly of soil and crop conditions.
  • Provision of inputs to the work of the Horizon Europe candidate partnership "Agriculture of Data" and the potential R&I mission on soil health.

Scope:

Sensors are increasingly used to enhance agricultural production e.g. through the assessment of environmental and crop conditions as well as through livestock monitoring. The information value of data collected through sensors can be increased through the analysis of the data in combination with other data sets. Reference data may, e.g. be formed by data sets generated by sensors at other places or by satellite and earth observation data or other data sets reflecting on environmental conditions. Data generated locally through sensors is often more precise, in comparison to global / EU-wide / national / or regional data sets.

The interpretation of local data sets benefits from such supra-regional data sets allowing e.g. for comparison of crop conditions, e.g. as basis for developing approaches to adapt agricultural production to climate change or for market analyses. In addition, there is the possibility to upscale the more detailed through sensors locally generated information through the application of data technologies, allowing to generate a data, information and knowledge base. Such bases can serve as input for analyses to serve the agricultural sector as well as environmental, climate, and wider policy monitoring purposes.

Of particular interest in agricultural production are approaches of real-time data generation and processing allowing for instance to better tailor certain production steps, combine different production steps or operate Internets of Things (IoT). Edge computing can play a key role to facilitate and enhance such sensor-based analyses and production approaches.

Proposals should cover all of the following aspects:

  • Development of innovative approaches to use in-situ data collected through sensors used in agricultural production as input to the application of data technologies.
  • Development of approaches to analyse the data in real time through processing at the source (edge computing) associated with analytics (including AI) in combination with e.g. earth observation data.
  • Development of innovative approaches to benchmark and tailor agricultural production through sensor data sharing at regional level including the development of business models.
  • Development of approaches to generate EU-wide data sets through the upscaling of data collected through sensor used in agricultural production (in combination with other data sets, such as satellite data).
  • Demonstration of how sensor-generated data can be further capitalised for the development of the agricultural sector, other sectors and the public good (including policy-making and implementation).

Based on a stock-taking analysis, proposals should (also) focus on crops currently covered less by (private sector) sensor developments. Approaches towards livestock monitoring and/or approaches towards monitoring of agri-environmental conditions through livestock data should be considered. Proposals should reflect on different bio-geographic conditions in Europe.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate governance and management structures allowing for a steady adaptation of the work schedule of the projects (like a rolling plan); this is expected to allow to adapt the work to the most recent developments and innovations in the field of sensors and sensor data in the public and private domain.

Proposals are expected to reflect on possibilities to interlink (interim) project results or parts of them to the functioning of the forthcoming common European agriculture data space and/or the common European data space for research and innovation, the European Open Science Cloud in cooperation with the European Commission. The potential of internet of things (IoT) technologies should be considered.

The possible participation of the JRC in the project will ensure that the approach proposed will be compatible with and improve the tools used and or developed at the European Commission.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

7. Life sciences and their convergence with digital technologies for prospecting, understanding and sustainably using biological resources (RIA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

In line with the European Green Deal and other European initiatives such as the circular economy action plan, the industrial strategy, the bioeconomy strategy and the biodiversity strategy, the successful proposal should support the uptake of bio-based innovation, to improve European industrial[1] sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence. They should develop innovative bio-based products using the full benefits of artificial intelligence and other digital technology innovation. They should engage all stakeholders and improve their knowledge and understanding of science, notably biotechnology-based value chains, and improve benefits for consumers.

Project results tshould contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Use the full potential of artificial intelligence applications for prospecting, understanding and sustainably using biological resources within safe planetary boundaries.
  • Digital tools, sensors and methods for improved efficiency, climate change adaptation and sustainability of industrial processes in the bio-based sectors considering the needs of stakeholders are integrated in innovative engineering solutions.
  • Enhanced monitoring, reporting and management of natural resources using artificial intelligence and other digital technology applications.

Scope:

Engineering biology applications have grown beyond chemical production to include the generation of biosensor organisms for the lab, animal, and field, modification of agricultural organisms for nutrition and pest/environmental resilience, production of organisms for bioremediation, and live cell and gene/viral therapies. The rapid expansion of the field has resulted in new tools and new approaches. However, we are still challenged by the need for novel and more robust and interoperable computational tools and models for engineering biology. For example, improved models of synthetic systems (synthetic biology) and of their interaction with their host organisms could help enable more successful engineering.

This information infrastructure for biological design is at an early stage compared to engineering disciplines such as mechanical and electrical engineering, as the biomanufacturing field has emerged only recently. A critical bottleneck is a lack of established "design rules," core aspects of biological and biomolecular function that apply to diverse systems and applications. Furthermore, technologies for the utilization, manufacture, and deployment of innovative bio-based systems are still under development. These roadblocks have hampered the development of standard computational frameworks to represent, process and store information on biological components, predict system behaviour, and diagnose failures. Therefore, widespread automation in the bio-based sectors remains out of reach.

A mature computational infrastructure for biodesign requires powerful access to information on biological parts and systems, their environments, their manufacturing processes, and their operations in and beyond the laboratory in which they are created. This in turn requires findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable data that enable effective aggregation information on bio-based systems, their environments, and their processes of manufacture, and the establishment of standard models of data processing and analysis, including bioinformatics, biosensors, bioindicators, '-omics' technologies that allow open-development and scalable execution in the bio-based sectors.

The topic aims to prevent pollution and sustainably manage and use natural resources within safe planetary boundaries, including in the deployment of the bioeconomy and the bio-based sectors. The topic focuses on bioinformatics, "cheminformatics" and artificial intelligence as approaches and tools to transform available information into biologically or biotechnologically applicable knowledge. It also aims to efficiently integrate digital technologies into bio-based operations to optimise value chains from a technical, economic, social and environmental point of view.

Proposals should:

  • Enable prospecting, understanding and sustainable use of biological resources based on their convergence with digital technologies that lead to optimised and more efficient bio-based operations.
  • Identify and characterise advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, and their benefits for the utilisation, manufacture, and deployment of innovative bio-based systems.
  • Develop integrated biological designs and data models for improved prospecting, understanding and deployment of higher efficiency and sustainability of biological resources and industrial bio-based operations (e.g. bioinformatics, biosensors, bioindicators, data analysis, '-omics' technologies).
  • Improve the economic and environmental sustainability of bio-based operations.
  • Focus on the integration of -omics and machine learning techniques such as active learning for the design-build-test-learn (DBTL) cycle.
  • Develop improved models and model standards of synthetic systems (synthetic biology) and of their interaction with their host organisms to facilitate more successful engineering and broader application in the bio-based sectors.
  • Establish bio computer-aided design (BioCAD) tools and design-of-experiment (DoE) approaches.
  • Reinforce and maintain scientific infrastructures to integrate existing biodiversity information (species, habitats and environmental processes).
  • Consider contributing data and results to the European Commission's Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy hosted by the JRC.

For this topic, it is not mandatory to integrate the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) into research and innovation.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

[1]In synergy with European partnerships under Cluster 6, in particular Circular Bio-based Europe (CBE).

Find further information on the Call Website

 

8. Life sciences and their convergence with digital technologies for prospecting, understanding and sustainably using biological resources (RIA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February 2022

Expected Outcome:

In line with the European Green Deal and other European initiatives such as the circular economy action plan, the industrial strategy, the bioeconomy strategy and the biodiversity strategy, the successful proposal should support the uptake of bio-based innovation, to improve European industrial[1] sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence. They should develop innovative bio-based products using the full benefits of artificial intelligence and other digital technology innovation. They should engage all stakeholders and improve their knowledge and understanding of science, notably biotechnology-based value chains, and improve benefits for consumers.

Project results should contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Use the full potential of artificial intelligence applications for prospecting, understanding and sustainably using biological resources within safe planetary boundaries.
  • Digital tools, sensors and methods for improved efficiency, climate change adaptation and sustainability of industrial processes in the bio-based sectors considering the needs of stakeholders are integrated in innovative engineering solutions.
  • Enhanced monitoring, reporting and management of natural resources using artificial intelligence and other digital technology applications.

Scope:

Engineering biology applications have grown beyond chemical production to include the generation of biosensor organisms for the lab, animal, and field, modification of agricultural organisms for nutrition and pest/environmental resilience, production of organisms for bioremediation, and live cell and gene/viral therapies. The rapid expansion of the field has resulted in new tools and new approaches. However, we are still challenged by the need for novel and more robust and interoperable computational tools and models for engineering biology. For example, improved models of synthetic systems (synthetic biology) and of their interaction with their host organisms could help enable more successful engineering.

This information infrastructure for biological design is at an early stage compared to engineering disciplines such as mechanical and electrical engineering, as the biomanufacturing field has emerged only recently. A critical bottleneck is a lack of established "design rules," core aspects of biological and biomolecular function that apply to diverse systems and applications. Furthermore, technologies for the utilization, manufacture, and deployment of innovative bio-based systems are still under development. These roadblocks have hampered the development of standard computational frameworks to represent, process and store information on biological components, predict system behaviour, and diagnose failures. Therefore, widespread automation in the bio-based sectors remains out of reach.

A mature computational infrastructure for biodesign requires powerful access to information on biological parts and systems, their environments, their manufacturing processes, and their operations in and beyond the laboratory in which they are created. This in turn requires findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable data that enable effective aggregation information on bio-based systems, their environments, and their processes of manufacture, and the establishment of standard models of data processing and analysis, including bioinformatics, biosensors, bioindicators, '-omics' technologies that allow open-development and scalable execution in the bio-based sectors.

The topic aims to prevent pollution and sustainably manage and use natural resources within safe planetary boundaries, including in the deployment of the bioeconomy and the bio-based sectors. The topic focuses on bioinformatics, "cheminformatics" and artificial intelligence as approaches and tools to transform available information into biologically or biotechnologically applicable knowledge. It also aims to efficiently integrate digital technologies into bio-based operations to optimise value chains from a technical, economic, social and environmental point of view.

Proposals should:

  • Enable prospecting, understanding and sustainable use of biological resources based on their convergence with digital technologies that lead to optimised and more efficient bio-based operations.
  • Identify and characterise advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, and their benefits for the utilisation, manufacture, and deployment of innovative bio-based systems.
  • Develop integrated biological designs and data models for improved prospecting, understanding and deployment of higher efficiency and sustainability of biological resources and industrial bio-based operations (e.g. bioinformatics, biosensors, bioindicators, data analysis, '-omics' technologies).
  • Improve the economic and environmental sustainability of bio-based operations.
  • Focus on the integration of -omics and machine learning techniques such as active learning for the design-build-test-learn (DBTL) cycle.
  • Develop improved models and model standards of synthetic systems (synthetic biology) and of their interaction with their host organisms to facilitate more successful engineering and broader application in the bio-based sectors.
  • Establish bio computer-aided design (BioCAD) tools and design-of-experiment (DoE) approaches.
  • Reinforce and maintain scientific infrastructures to integrate existing biodiversity information (species, habitats and environmental processes).
  • Consider contributing data and results to the European Commission's Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy hosted by the JRC.

For this topic, it is not mandatory to integrate the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) into research and innovation.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

[1]In synergy with European partnerships under Cluster 6, in particular Circular Bio-based Europe (CBE).

Find further information on the Call Website

 

9. Harnessing the digital revolution in the forest-based sector (IA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15. February

Expected Outcome:

In line with the EU forest strategy and the European digital strategy, successful proposals will demonstrate the potential of digital solutions in forestry and forest-based value chains contributing to the multifunctionality and management of forests in Europe based on the three pillars of sustainability (economic, environmental and social). Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Deployment of information and communication technology (ICT) innovations in forestry to optimise productivity as well as the delivery of ecosystem services.
  • Application of innovative approaches along the forest-based value chain by more accurate tracing methodologies of forest resources.
  • A greater competitive advantage for European industries that utilise forest resources more efficiently.

Scope:

The improved use of information flows and intelligent digital solutions that are increasingly available in forest monitoring, management and forestry operations, could help to significantly improve and unlock the efficiency of wood supply chain activities. Modern digital applications also provide promising possibilities to improve forest managers' decision making in a precious and complex forest environment and to improve ecosystem monitoring.

This topic addresses innovations in information systems for forest managers, forest-based industries and policy makers as well as advances in precision forestry, harvesting systems and forest nursery operation, optimised harvest planning, operations management, timber transport and logistics, as well as safety, ergonomics and smart assistance for human workers. The synergetic use of geo-spatial, statistical, and modelling technologies together with information and communication technologies such as aerial and satellite retrievals, (in particular from the Copernicus programme) and the 'web of things' combined with big-data analytics is highly encouraged.

The aim is to harness the potential of ICT and new technologies to improve the sustainability of forest management and logging operations with a view to sharing data throughout the wood value chain, thereby driving greater sustainability, to offer new business models along the value chain and to improve the traceability of forest resources for optimised and transparent supply chains. The integration in the new technologies of climate change impacts on these wood chains should be an essential component. Activities may also include robust and transparent methods and tools for high resolution forest and ecosystems services assessments, natural disturbance risk monitoring and analysis (including pests and forest fires) and disaster response systems.

Besides activities such as prototyping, testing, demonstrating and piloting in a near to operational environment, proposals may include limited research activities. Assessing and deepening the understanding of economic, social and environmental impacts through an enhanced application of digital technologies for foresters, small and medium-sized enterpirses (SMEs) and industries, as well as end-consumers will be of special interest, including the assessment of risks and opportunities for jobs in forestry, the wider forest-based sector and rural communities.

Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach' and ensure adequate involvement of the primary sector and the wider forest-based value chain. Cooperation with other selected projects under this topic and other relevant projects is strongly encouraged.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

Find further information on the Call Website

 

10. Smart solutions for the use of digital technologies for small- and medium-sized, farms and farm structures (IA)

Open: 28. October 2021

Deadline: 15 February 2022

Expected Outcome:

In line with the farm to fork strategy and the Headline ambitions of a Digital Age and Economy that works for people, leaving no one behind, and the biodiversity strategy, the successful proposals will support the development of small- and medium sized farms to benefit from digital technologies and strengthen their capacities to their effective and efficient deployment. Projects will therefore contribute to the development of sustainable, productive and climate-neutral and resilient farming systems providing consumers with affordable, safe, healthy and sustainable food, minimising pressure on ecosystems, improving public health and generating fair economic returns for farmers through the development of smart solutions for the use of digital technologies for small- and medium-sized, farms and farm structures. Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Innovative solutions for the use of digital technologies (fostering soft- and hardware) tailored to the needs of small- and medium-sized farms and farm structures, including crop- and livestock production;
  • Increased uptake of innovative digital technologies by farmers;
  • Contribution to avoiding an increased digital divide between small and large farms;
  • Increase in the environmental and economic performance of small- and medium-sized farms in the EU and Associate Countries.

Scope:

Despite the potential of digital technologies to increase the economic and environmental performance of the agricultural sector, there is still need to increase the uptake of precision farming tools, particularly among small- and medium-sized farms. An increase in the digital divide between small and large farms is to be avoided.

While one main reason for this circumstance is – as for many investments in agricultural equipment – investments in digital technologies frequently only become cost-effective, if a critical mass of production volume is given. In addition, small- and medium-sized farms and farms structures have in some areas specific needs and strengths, because of e.g. a small average parcel seize, which should be considered in the development of digital solutions for the sector.

Proposals should cover all of the following aspects:

  • Development and piloting of cost-effective digital solutions for small- and medium-sized farms and farm structures for at least grass land and arable crops under representative consideration of the diverse environmental, climatic and socio-economic conditions across the EU and Associated Countries.
  • Development of business and/ or governance models facilitating the roll-out of the piloted innovation at larger scale in several countries; if relevant, models may not only consider financing the purchase of the digital solutions but also the establishment of other framing conditions or propose public intervention (e.g. data provision) or public-private partnerships or cooperative (digital) service provision and taking.

Proposals must implement the multi-actor approach, involving at least scientists, , SMEs, and representatives of the agricultural sector. Proposals are expected to demonstrate how networking activities fostering the exchange of experiences and knowledge transfer are organised. Exchange/ collaborate with Digital Innovation Hubs[1] and the consideration of the potential of social innovation to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the wider application of the developed innovative digital solutions are encouraged. Special attention may also be given to certain crops and / or sub-branches, and/or specific production processes for which currently less dedicated precision farming technologies are available on the market.

Proposals may involve financial support to third parties to provide direct support (e.g. in the form of cascading grants) to researchers, developers, SMEs, start-ups and other multidisciplinary actors in particular for populating, testing and validating use cases and/ or other actions contributing to the objectives of the project. A maximum of € 60 000 per third party might be granted. Conditions for third parties support are set out in Part B of the General Annexes. Consortia need to define the selection process of organisations, for which financial support will be granted. Maximum 20% of the EU funding can be allocated to this purpose. The financial support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

[1]For more information on Digital Innovation Hubs, please see https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/digital-innovation-hubs.

Find further information on the Call Website

Open Calls by the European Innovation Council:

EIC Accelerator: It focuses on scientific discoveries or technological breakthroughs, which need significant funding over a longer timeframe before returns can be generated. Such innovations often struggle to attract financing because the risks and time involved are generally too high. This funding enables the innovators to attract the full investment amounts that are needed to scale up in a shorter timeframe.

EIC Pathfinder: Interdisciplinary teams of researchers can apply for research and innovation grants that will support them to realise their breakthrough ideas and have a transformative positive effect on our economy and society.