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Call key data

Restoration of deep-sea habitats

Funding ProgramHorizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 1: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Call numberHORIZON-CL6-2023-BIODIV-01-6
deadlinesOpening
22.12.2022
Deadline
28.03.2023 17:00
Funding rate70% (NPO:100%)
Call budget € 10,000,000.00
Estimated EU contribution per project€ 10,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission

Call content

short description

Proposals should develop and test innovative and technically challenging active restoration of deep-sea habitats.

Call objectives

Marine ecosystems usually have long recovery times. Climate change is adding risk factors. Effects of passive restoration (protection measures) may take multiple decades before benefits may be felt. This is even more the case for deep-sea ecosystems. They have low energy density, slower biochemical processes and assemble species with long life cycle / span. Active restoration should be explored to help accelerate the restoration.

Proposals should build on and capitalise on the knowledge base developed and lessons learnt from the Horizon 2020 MERCES project, notably its census of European marine key habitats maps, degraded habitats maps, key habitats restoration potential and its trials on deep-sea restoration, as well as from other national or EU relevant past or ongoing projects in the field of deep-sea ecosystems exploration from Horizon 2020, EEA Grants and Horizon Europe (notably in topic HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-03 and HORIZON-CL6-2022-CLIMATE-01-02).

The restoration activities should take place in areas with degraded habitats, and where protection measures against the causes of their degradation are already in place.

Due to the cost of accessing the deep-sea, only one project may be funded with the budget available. Proposals should integrate different disciplines and novel approaches for the restoration that consider connectivity (including migratory species & vertical connections) in space and time, ecosystem modelling, as well as on site access, observation, and monitoring.

The restoration focus should not be only on species traits targets (population, assemblage, genetic diversity, sex determination, etc.), but also on ecosystem functions including adaptation potential. The proposals should include abiotic changes due to climate impact scenarios in identifying niche and refuge niche.

Proposals should set up governance frameworks for the restoration by involving local and national relevant actors (those having an impact on the achievement of the restoration goals, those having an interest and those who are impacted by related actions) to enable acceptability, ownership and a mechanism for long-term commitment to the restoration that exceed typical business and political cycles on financing, managing, regulating, monitoring and enforcement. Some short-term objectives are required to allow for measurements of restoration impacts in a reasonably shorter time frame to get on the right trajectory, but then check on mid- to long- term (5-20 years) should be planned.

Proposals should advance the knowledge base on the socio-economic costs and benefits of deep-sea restoration: including addressing the socio-economic importance of deep-sea ecosystems; considering upscaling issues and costs with restoration of deep-sea habitats, and timescales considerations.

Proposals should identify and test additional protection and management measures of the areas, to support the active restoration interventions over the long time, and provide recommendations for their application for new protected areas.

The proposals should contribute to filling the gaps in assessing deep-sea biodiversity recovery valuing changes in ecosystem goods and services; and contribute to define a natural capital accounting for deep-sea habitats.

The projects funded under this topic should build links with other relevant projects and initiatives such as Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects in the field of deep-sea ecosystems and with projects funded under the European Mission ‘Restore our ocean and waters by 2030’, in particular with the Mission activities under objective 1 – protect and restore marine ecosystems and their biodiversity, and with the Mission lighthouse activities and Blue Parks, as well as with the Mission implementation monitoring system that will be part of the Mission Implementation Support Platform for reporting, monitoring and coordination of all relevant implementation activities. Proposals should outline a plan on how they intend to collaborate with other projects and initiatives, by e.g. participating in 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 cooperation with relevant Commission services, ensuring coherence with related policy initiatives.

In order to achieve the expected outcomes in integrating and coordinating these different scaled approaches, international cooperation is strongly encouraged. A strong linkage should be ensured with the ongoing activities under the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance. Actions under this topic will build upon and link with Horizon projects. All in-situ data collected through actions funded from this call should follow INSPIRE principles and be available through open access repositories supported by the European Commission (Copernicus, GEOSS, and European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet). Where relevant, creating links 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) is expected.

Collaboration with the relevant existing European Research Infrastructures is considered necessary.

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Expected results

In line with the European Green Deal and, in particular with the objectives of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, the EU proposal for a nature restoration law and the Birds and Habitats Directives, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Regulation 734/2008 on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears, the climate adaptation and mitigation strategies, the project should contribute to the destination impacts of aiming at bringing back biodiversity on a path to recovery, and preserving and sustainably restoring ecosystems and their services, planning, managing and expanding protected areas, mainstreaming biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural capital in the society and the economy, and addressing direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity decline. They should provide public authorities, as well as operators in marine ecosystem restoration, with solutions to plan and upscale restoration operations of deep-sea habitats based on up-to-date knowledge and solutions.

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

  • Better prioritisation of sites for active restoration in EU and Associated Countries seas and definition of ecosystem functioning restoration targets, considering short to long timescales, and taking into account impacts of climate and other abiotic changes;
  • Better decision making and contribution to policy formulation and implementation linked to protecting and restoring deep-sea marine biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services and blueprints for the financing and the selection of tested active restoration approaches, tools and monitoring of their effects, taking into account cost-benefit analysis and integrating ecosystem services and natural capital accounting;
  • Advanced knowledge on deep-sea ecosystems adaptation and demonstrated innovative and technically challenging active restoration of deep-sea habitats for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

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Regions / countries for fundingEU Member States, Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)
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
eligible entitiesEU 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)
Mandatory partnershipYes
Project Partnership

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.

Specific cases:

  • 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

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5-6 by the end of the project.

For the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), the following definitions apply:

  • TRL 1 — Basic principles observed
  • TRL 2 — Technology concept formulated
  • TRL 3 — Experimental proof of concept
  • TRL 4 — Technology validated in a lab
  • TRL 5 — Technology validated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
  • TRL 6 — Technology demonstrated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
  • TRL 7 — System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
  • TRL 8 — System complete and qualified
  • TRL 9 — Actual system proven in an operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies, or in space)

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).

Additional information

Topics
Agriculture & Forestry, Fishery, Food, Soil quality, 
Air Quality, Biodiversity & Environment, Climate & Climate Change, Water quality & management
Relevance for EU Macro-RegionEUSAIR - 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)
Additional Information

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.

Call documents HE-Work Programme 2023-2024, Cluster 6, Destination 1 (kB)
ContactNational Contact Points for Horizon Europe
Website

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