Societal Challenges


Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research, and the Bio-economy 2018-2020

On 27 October 2017 the European Commission has published the Work Programme 2018-2020 containing new calls for proposals in the Societal Challenge “Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy”. The overall budget for the 2018 call is EUR 459.46 million. For the calls in 2019 EUR 483.12 million will be available. For the calls in 2020 the Work Programme shows only a list of topic titles and an indicative total budget of EUR 391.10 million.

The Societal Challenge 2 Work Programme focuses on the sustainable management of land and waters to secure healthy food as well as on the delivery of public goods such as biodiversity and clean water. Furthermore, it supports innovative food and marine industries, the bioeconomy and dynamic rural areas.

The calls for proposals are structured according to the following research priorities:

  • Sustainable Food Security
    • From functional ecosystems to healthy food
    • Environment and climate-smart food production and consumption
    • Building capacities
    • Targeted international cooperation
  • Blue Growth
  • Rural Renaissance

The research priorities are composed of "topics", which are outlined in detail in the Work Programme and must be fully considered in setting up the research proposals.

Proposal submission

Submission for the individual topics of the Call 2018 will open on 31 October 2017 on the Participant Portal. The work programme for Societal Challenge 2 contains one- and two stage submission procedures

Deadline one-stage submission

  • 13 February 2018

Deadline two-stage submission

  • Stage 1: 13 February 2018
  • Stage 2: 11 September 2018


Specific aspects:

The present work programme of Societal Challenge 2 must be considered in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the COP 21 Paris Climate Agreement. Many of the topics refer explicitely to individual SDGs and/or climate goals.

Furthermore, the activities should help implement important EU policies and initiatives such as the EU Common Agricultural Policy and European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP AGRI), the EU Bioeconomy Strategy, the Circular Economy Package, the EU Integrated Maritime Policy and the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

A number of topics in the three calls contribute to the  Focus Areas "Low Carbon", "Circular Economy" and "Digitisation", which are implemente across the different Societal Challenges.

As many of the challenges addressed in this Work Programme are of global nature, international cooperation is an important aspect of implementation. In the area of “Sustainable Food Security” the support for flagships initiatives with China and Africa on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture will be continued. In the area of „Blue Growth“ a flagship initiative for the South Atlantic Ocean, paving the way towards an 'All Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance', as well as a flagship on the “Future of Seas and Oceans” will be launched, and the cooperation with partners in other regions such as the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea reinforced.

Several topics include a suggestion for coordination between projects financed under the same or related topics. Such coordination allows organising clusters of projects working on similar issues, to avoid duplication of efforts and to enable cross-fertilisation and synergies.


European Innovation Council: Fast Track to Innovation und KMU-Instrument

The Pilot initiative ‚European Innovation Council‘ comprises calls for the financing instruments SME instrument (EIC-SME instrument call/H2020-EIC-SMEInst-2018-2020) and Fast Track to Innovation (EIC-Fast-Track-to-Innovation/H2020-EIC-FTI-2018-2020) which are found under the Horizon 2020 Work Programme Part – Towards the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation: European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot" (part 17 of this Work Programme).

Please consider:

The two year Work Programme 2018 - 2020 is quite complex in terms of funding objectives, funding schemes, proposal submission procedures and deadlines.

All information on the call, the detailed call description and important guidance for applicants in the "Horizon 2020 Grants Manual" are available online on the Participant Portal and should be read carefully. Topics, rules for submission (budgets, deadlines, funding schemes) as well as information on the evaluation procedure are available in General Annex of the Work Programme.