Cluster "Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment"

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Contents and backgrounds

The superordinate goal of the activities funded in the sixth Cluster is to advance the EU's social and economic priorities while bringing them into balance with each other. This is based on the assumption that the European economy must make the change towards more sustainability, i.e. that environmental degradation should be slowed down and the decline in biodiversity stopped. The use of natural resources should be made more sustainable overall. In addition, the provision of clean water and the supply of healthy and local food are important core elements.

The Cluster should continue to contribute significantly to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to accelerate the environmental transformation called for in the Green Deal in order to achieve the climate neutrality agreed by 2050.

Cluster 6 supports the objectives of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Industrial Strategy, the Bioeconomy Strategy, the Forestry Strategy, the Blue Growth Strategy, the Chemicals Strategy and the Plastics Strategy, in addition to the EU climate policy.

The following "Targeted Impacts" are to be achieved:

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and successful adaptation of ecological and production systems, as well as rural, urban and coastal areas, to climate change
  • Stopping the decline of biodiversity and promoting the reclamation of ecosystems
  • Sustainable recycling management and the use of natural resources; prevention and elimination of environmental pollution; healthy soils and clean air and water for all; attractive jobs, expanded value creation and competition
  • Building primary production, bio-based food systems and inclusion, health and safety, food security for all
  • Balanced development of vibrant rural, urban, suburban regions and coastal landscapes
  • Establishing governance models for more sustainability

The Horizon Europe Specific Programme, which sets the thematic framework for the Cluster, identifies the following "Areas of Intervention" for activities that are eligible for funding:

  • Environmental Observation
  • Biodiversity and Natural Resources
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Areas
  • Seas, Oceans and Inland Waters
  • Food Systems
  • Bio-Based Innovation Systems in the EU Bio-economy
  • Circular Systems

The specific calls for project proposals can be found in the respective current Work Programme, which is prepared by the European Commission for a period of two to three years and contains all relevant details on the calls. The calls and all necessary documents are published online on the Funding & Tender Opportunities Portal of the European Commission. The calls are predominantly interdisciplinary as well as inter-sectoral in nature and offer opportunities for the involvement of humanities and social sciences or cooperation with non-academic partners (e.g. SMEs, associations, societies, etc.).

In addition to the Work Programme for the Cluster, but also within the framework of Horizon Europe, further calls for proposals are also published and implemented by the institutionalised partnership Circular bio-based Europe.

Calls on specific topics of the Cluster are also published as part of other, co-financed partnerships:

  • Accelerating farming systems transition: agro-ecology living labs & research infrastructures (tbc)
  • Animal Health and Welfare (PAH) (tbc)
  • Agriculture of Data / Environmental observations for sustainable EU-agriculture (tbc)
  • Biodiversity to safeguard life on Earth (tbc)
  • Climate neutral, sustainable and productive Blue Economy (tbc)
  • Safe and Sustainable Food System for People, Planet & Climate (tbc)
  • Water security for the planet (Water4All) (tbc)

Important players

Several European Commission Directorates-General (DGs) are significantly involved in the design of the Work Programmes and calls due to the strong thematic integration. In addition to the DG Research and Innovation (RTD), this is mainly the DG Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI). Moreover, in line with the EU Commission's co-creation approach, a whole series of other Directorates-General are involved, including the Directorates-General for the Environment (DG ENV), Food Safety (DG SANTE) and Climate Policy (DG CLIMA).

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Food, Bioeconomy & Agriculture

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Natural Resources & Environment

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Blue Oceans