Filter Search for grants
Call key data
Interlinkages between biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems and the emergence of zoonotic diseases
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 1: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
date - 2nd stage
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
This topic aims to identify and understand better the interlinkages between biodiversity loss with the linked ecosystem degradation and the emergence of zoonotic diseases. Further research is needed to better understand how the different drivers that lead to biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and how the protection of biodiversity and the restoration of ecosystems may influence the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases. Also better understanding is needed on how the conservation of animal and microbiome genetic resources may influence the emergence of zoonotic diseases.
Zoonotic diseases, which result from cross-species transmission of pathogens between animals and humans, appear to emerge more frequently and pose significant threats to the health and welfare of people across the planet. Without the necessary scientific information and evidence on the underlying causes and drivers of this more frequent emergence, the only way of responding to them is after their emergence and spread.
Over the last decades, research has indicated that biodiversity loss and the linked degradation of ecosystems could simultaneously increase human exposure to existing pathogens, as well as increase of the probability of the emergence and spread of infectious diseases. Unsustainable exploitation of biodiversity, land-use change, illegal wildlife trade and consumption, together with the impacts of climate change and use of antimicrobial agents, increase the contact between humans and wildlife that consequently lead to the more frequent occurrence of emerging infectious diseases, of which around 75% are of zoonotic origin.
The high risks of these infectious diseases demonstrate the need for a real paradigm shift: preventing the emergence and spread of infectious zoonotic diseases by focusing on the root causes and underlying mechanisms potentially linked to biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems and improving their prediction and early detection.
The better understanding of the interlinkages will help to establish better prediction and early detection systems, will enhance the coordination between all relevant stakeholders, ensure fast information sharing and early response and hence reduce the spread of zoonotic diseases.
The topic should contribute to better understanding the biodiversity – health nexus and help towards an enhanced integration of biodiversity parameters and monitoring with the One Health approach.
The development of methods and identification of indicators to monitor the relevant biodiversity parameters will be essential as well as the establishment of baselines of these parameters.
The mitigation strategies in relation to biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation to be proposed should take into consideration all the aforementioned information and findings. The better understanding of the socio-economic and behavioural factors, as well as the involvement of local communities and environmental, animal and human health stakeholders is crucial for the preparation of these strategies.
Proposals should include a dedicated task, appropriate resources and a plan on how they will collaborate with other projects funded under the same field and ensure synergy with relevant activities carried out under other initiatives in Horizon Europe, such as:
- HΟRΙΖΟΝ-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-11: What else is out there? Exploring the connection between biodiversity, ecosystem services, pandemics and epidemic risk;
- HORIZON-CL6-2021-FARM2FORK-01-18: One Health approach for Food Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA);
- HORIZON-HLTH-2021-ENVHLTH-02-03: Health impacts of climate change, costs and benefits of action and inaction.
To achieve the expected outcomes, the following also need to be ensured:
- Coherence and coordination with the European Partnership for pandemic preparedness, the European Partnership for One Health/AMR Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and the European Partnership for Animal Health and Welfare (PAHW).
- Opportunities for cooperation with relevant European or international Agencies and initiatives, such as European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), European Economic Area (EEA), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Agency (HERA), One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP), One Sustainable Health, EU4Health actions (in particular One Health Surveillance), Preventing Zoonotic Disease Emergence (PREZODE), Ecohealth Alliance, etc.
The proposals should take up relevant knowledge assessed by major science-policy bodies such as the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and by the Convention on Biological Diversity. They should also take into consideration and build up on the results of the request made to EKLIPSE on Biodiversity and Pandemics. Proposals should show how their results and outcomes could provide timely information to the work of these and further relevant global initiatives.
The proposals should foresee cooperation with the European partnership on biodiversity Biodiversa+ and the Science Service “Bio-agora” and use existing platforms and information sharing mechanisms relevant to the topic. They should also contribute knowledge to the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity.
In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is strongly encouraged.
Coordination with Member States and Associated Counties should be sought out.
This topic should involve the effective contribution of social sciences and humanities disciplines (SSH).
In line with the European Green Deal and in particular with the objectives of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, projects will develop knowledge on the links between the degradation of ecosystems with its associated biodiversity loss and the exposure to, emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases to humans. This will compliment other initiatives by addressing the biodiversity and health nexus with a focus on the effects of biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems on the emergence of zoonotic diseases in the context of climate change and globalization.
Proposals are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Better understand the relation between the degradation of ecosystems with its associated biodiversity loss, including both macro-organisms (e.g. insects, animal and plants) and environmental and host-associated microbiomes (e.g. micro algae, fungi, bacterial and virus) and the emergence of zoonotic diseases, focusing on how human drivers for biodiversity loss, such as illegal wildlife trade, land use change in biodiversity hot-spot regions, food consumption, use of antimicrobial agents, etc. interact with the spread of zoonotic diseases.
- Understand under which conditions and at what scale the protection of biodiversity and the restoration of ecosystems can contribute to mitigate the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases.
- Better understand the socio-economic and behavioural factors that will lead to the development and implementation of improved policies on mitigating the risk of emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases. This should also include the ecology and behavioural traits of those animals which play a role in the spread of zoonotic diseases.
- Based on this knowledge, propose practical strategies to minimize the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases through addressing biodiversity loss.
- Better understand the biodiversity – health nexus and identify biodiversity relevant parameters and propose the necessary monitoring schemes for further integration into the One Health approach with specific focus on emerging zoonotic diseases. This monitoring should contribute to the establishment or improvement of early detection and warning systems on risks of emerging zoonotic diseases.
- In collaboration among the projects to be funded, create a knowledge platform for a) sharing information on relevant research activities and results concerning the prevention of zoonotic disease emergence in relation to biodiversity; and b) reinforcing the communication and coordination between academics, innovators, end-users, researchers, public health and environmental authorities and citizens in order to create the strong system needed for the prevention of the emergence of zoonotic diseases. This platform should be a joint deliverable between the projects to be funded and will be expected to coordinate the research activities which aim to understand and mitigate the risks of zoonotic disease emergence in relation to the degradation of ecosystems with its associated biodiversity loss, allowing closure of current gaps and break down of existing silos. Proposals should dedicate appropriate resources to develop this joint deliverable in cooperation with the other project/s funded under this topic.
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.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding.
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.