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Interdisciplinary assessment of changes affecting terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, building on observation programmes
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 1: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
- These activities will foster a collective effort in the EU Member States and Horizon Europe Associated Countries to assess the status of terrestrial, freshwater, and transitional (land to sea) ecosystems (referred to as ecosystems hereafter) and prioritise conservation and restoration actions of these ecosystems including reduction of GHG missions and increases of carbon removals, with a special focus on the use of the wealth of Earth and Observation data available (remote-sensing, airborne, in-situ data).
- Use long-time series from the enhanced Earth Observation capacity in Europe (e.g. Copernicus) and in International Programmes together with other relevant sources of data to better understand the current and long-term dynamics and functioning of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in Europe under conditions related to global change
- Extensive use of ground based and/or airborne in-situ observation using, as appropriate, existing networks, novel observing systems, or citizen science, together with satellite data for assessing the impact of the main natural and anthropogenic pressures on the ecological processes of natural ecosystems, and on their dynamics and functioning (i.e., addressing individual and cumulative effects of multiple stressors), including in exploiting available high-resolution remote-sensing data.
- Assess the status and dynamics of these ecosystems, estimate their vulnerability to multiple stressors including anthropogenic and natural pressures, like climate change, and assess the impact of these stressors on the integrity and resilience of ecosystems
- Modelling of the ecological processes of natural ecosystems and of their interaction with the Earth System (i.e. biological, physical, and chemical processes, including primary production).
- Improving modelling of ecological processes and functional biodiversity under land-use and climate change that leads to ecosystem degradation (i.e. degraded, damaged, and destroyed ecosystems)
- Monitoring the status of natural ecosystems and assessment of the changes in relation to the underlying ecological processes.
- Integrate monitoring and modelling products into existing observatories supporting ecosystem management and conservation, to achieve better prioritisation, design and monitoring of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystem conservation and restoration actions”
This topic is part of a coordination initiative between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EU funded programmes) on Earth System Science. The ESA-EC Earth System Science Initiative enables EC and ESA to support complementary collaborative projects, funded on the EU side through Horizon Europe and on the ESA side through the FutureEO programme.
In particular, ESA plans to complement, collaborate and coordinate with the action funded under this topic with dedicated scientific activities within the ESA Biodiversity Science Cluster (biodiversitysciencecluster.esa.int) which is part of Science for Society element of ESA FutureEO programme (eo4society.esa.int). ESA will also, to the extent possible, provide access to relevant resources (e.g., virtual labs, digital platforms or 3rd party missions)
Proposals should address the collaboration with ongoing or future ESA projects and should towards this end include sufficient means and resources for effective coordination. Applicants are encouraged to enter in contact with the relevant ESA biodiversity science cluster projects and include in their proposals a work package/activities to ensure coordination with ESA relevant actions. The ESA biodiversity cluster focusses on the development, validation, and scientific analysis of novel satellite data products, the characterisation the structure and dynamics of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, the exploitation of the synergistic observation opportunities offered by the existing and coming Earth Observation missions (e.g., Copernicus sentinels, Earth Explorers, national missions) and advancing on the understanding of the response of ecosystems to different stressors using satellite technology.
Project activities shall fully exploit and build complementarities with the ongoing work regarding the establishment of the European Open Science Cloud and interact with relevant projects developing metadata standards and added value tools to ensure interoperability within and across fields of study.
Collaboration with the European Biodiversity Partnership (Biodiversa+) should be explored, as needed.
The expected outcomes should feed in the implementation of the European Green Deal and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Project results are expected to contribute to the following impact of destination “Biodiversity and ecosystem services”: “Understand and address direct drivers of biodiversity decline – land and sea use change, natural resource use and exploitation, climate change, pollution, invasive alien species – as well as indirect drivers – demographic, socio-economic, technological, etc.”
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:
- Attribution of ecosystem changes to direct and indirect drivers, and monitoring of driver effects on ecosystems through time;
- Enhanced understanding of the adverse impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning;
- Enhanced science base, leading to better design and monitoring conservation and restoration actions for terrestrial, freshwater, and transitional ecosystems, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and increase of carbon removals, and supporting nature-based solutions;
- Enhanced support to a better alignment of the objectives and priorities of the relevant EU directives (Habitat, Bird, WFD, Nitrates);
- Better and more transparent quantification of various uncertainties in ecosystem data and models, and propagation of these uncertainties into monitoring, spatial prioritization, and other applications.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
EU Body, Education and training institution, International organization, Natural Person, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
If projects use satellite-based earth observation, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, beneficiaries must make use of Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS (other data and services may additionally be used).
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.