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Improving irrigation practices and technologies in agriculture
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 5: Land, ocean and water for climate action
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
In line with the European Green Deal’s farm to fork strategy, EU water-related policies (notably the Water Framework Directive), and the work done and data made available by the European Environmental Agency (EEA), successful proposals will contribute to increasing the resilience of agriculture to drought with innovative irrigation systems that increase efficiency in water management.
Proposals should address the following:
- Improve the understanding of the composition, potential for irrigation in terms of efficiency, reliability and cost-effectiveness of sewage sludge and other biowaste streams, on condition that a safe use of these recycled products is possible, without a negative impact on the environment, ensuring high agronomic efficiency of the nutrients they contain.
- Integration and upscaling of the on-farm water management practices and results at the catchment level by quantifying the impacts of water recycling in the whole basin water balance, optimizing catchment-based agriculture production, reducing runoff patterns and possible changes in hydrological cycles linked to climate conditions.
- New or improved tools for an efficient combined use of water and fertilizers via irrigation for different agricultural systems, including agroecology, organic production, as well as conventional, intensive or urban agriculture.
- New, innovative forms of alternative water for agriculture (e.g., superabsorbent polymers/‘solid water’), including evaluation of their socio-economic, environmental and health impacts.
- Improve practices and solutions in small and large-scale farms to deal with the effects of water abundance (rapid showers, floods) and/or water scarcity.
- Identification of societal and regulatory barriers hampering upscaling of recycled water-use and development of suitable solutions to increase the uptake in practice.
- Recommendations for improved and targeted incentives and policies at regional, national and EU-level to reduce financial risks for early adopters of practices developed in the project.
Proposals must implement the ‘multi-actor approach’ and ensure adequate participation of the main stakeholders involved in irrigation practices and technologies in agriculture. Proposals should build and expand on the achievements of past and current Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe research and innovation projects, including as part of the Horizon 2020 art. 185 PRIMA partnership. Proposals should include a dedicated task, appropriate resources and a plan on how they will collaborate with other projects funded under this topic as well under HORIZON-CL6-2023-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-01: Knowledge and innovative solutions in agriculture for water availability and quality and HORIZON-CL6-2024-BIODIV-02-01-two-stage: Demonstrating Nature-based Solutions for the sustainable management of water resources in a changing climate, with special attention to reducing the impacts of extreme droughts.
The possible participation of the JRC in the selected project would ensure that the approach proposed can be integrated as a scenario in the tool used at the European Commission for the estimation of water availability.
Projects results are expected to contribute to the following expected outcomes:
- Solutions and prevention tools for improving water management in particular in areas experiencing recurrent or permanent water scarcity to anticipate solutions for current and future challenges in water management.
- Support available for end-users seeking to take up innovative solutions in irrigation technologies.
- Unlocking the potential of recycled sewage sludge and other biowaste streams as alternative, safe water and nutrient supply resources for agriculture.
- Increased socio-economic and environmental potential of alternative irrigation practices such as fog harvesting.
- Reduced agricultural water demand, as a result of optimized irrigation systems, including new opportunities for alternative water supplies, and expected innovations from the transition towards more sustainable farming systems, including agroecology.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), 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), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, 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
Activities should reach TRL 6-7 by the end of the project.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding.
The proposals must use the multi-actor approach. See definition of the multi-actor approach in the introduction to the work programme.
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).
Eligible costs will take the form of a lump sum.
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 50 pages.