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Sustainable organic food innovation labs: reinforcing the entire value chain
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 2: Fair, Healthy and Environmentally-friendly Food Systems from Primary Production to Consumption
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Proposals should establish and animate locally-driven, multi-actor organic food innovation hubs, bringing together researchers, innovators, farmers, processors and others.
Organic farming has developed mainly at the primary production level, while the processing of organic farm products is less developed and regulated. Besides, the organic sector is characterised by its scattered nature, with imbalances in the food value chains limiting the bargaining power of organic farmers and producers still having access to a limited number of processors and retailers. Therefore, investing in innovative careful processing techniques and sustainable and reusable packaging, streamlining the distribution and logistics of organic produce and agricultural input networks, and achieving a better understanding of quality and safety issues in organic supply chains, in combination with regulations, is important for creating new value for consumers.
This will enable small organic producers, in particular those located in remote areas, to find an outlet for their production and benefit from the added value of their organic certification. However, operators are often reluctant to convert to organics due to the lack of organised and efficient organic commercial supply chains. In addition to the cross-cutting problems faced by agri-food supply chains, organic distribution can entail high operating costs and an imbalance between supply and demand. Exchanging experience and knowledge can encourage the creation of local food markets and short supply chains, and uphold the integrity of the organic quality of the product.
Proposals should establish and animate locally-driven, multi-actor organic food innovation hubs, bringing together researchers, innovators, farmers, processors and others, to:
- Develop, test and pilot innovations in organic small-scale food processing, in particular careful processing, and new, sustainable and reusable packaging (avoiding non-renewable and fossil-derived plastics), optimising the preservation of nutritional quality, reducing perishability and ensuring food safety;
- Foster diverse innovative solutions/approaches that are tailored to the needs of farmers and SMEs, while ensuring links between food processing and primary production, and adapted to the seasonal character of raw material production and processing in small(er) batches;
- Develop and explore innovative supply and distribution models (including business models, market outlets and marketing strategies, short trade circuits, public procurement, food services), that are adapted to proposed innovative solutions;
- Assess the impacts of the innovative solutions on sustainability (climate, environmental, social, including health, and economic);
- Build a community of practice to share learnings, build capacity and support adoption of innovations at scale.
Proposals should cover a range of crops (indoor and outdoor), both arable and perennial, representative of the organic sector in Europe, as well as the organic livestock sector.
Projects must use the 'multi-actor approach', ensuring adequate involvement of all relevant actors, including farmers and SMEs. Proposals may build on existing research infrastructures, where relevant. Proposals are encouraged to build on past and ongoing EU-funded research and innovation projects, and are strongly encouraged to cluster with ongoing and upcoming projects. Proposals should include a dedicated task, appropriate resources and a plan on how they will collaborate with other projects funded under this topic, and ensure synergy with relevant activities carried out under other initiatives in Horizon Europe, in particular the topic in this Work Programme HORIZON-CL6-2023-GOVERNANCE-01-20: Developing an EU advisory network on organic agriculture’ and the future partnerships ‘Accelerating farming systems transition: agroecology living labs and research infrastructures’ and ‘Sustainable food systems for people, planet and climate’.
By producing high quality food with low environmental impact, organic farming plays an essential role in developing sustainable food systems in the EU, an objective that is at the heart of the European Green Deal. Under the European Green Deal’s farm to fork and biodiversity strategies, the European Commission has set a target of ‘at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture’. To achieve this target and to help the organic sector reach its full potential, the Commission has put forward a new action plan for the development of organic production in the EU.
In 2020, 9,1% of the total EU’s agricultural land was under organic production. This number hides substantial differences between Member States as regards the share of agricultural land dedicated to organic farming: from 0.5% to more than 25%. These differences are partially due to the lack of structures adequate for organic farm products in some countries. In line with the EU action plan for the development of organic production, the successful proposals will support the establishment of adequate structures that enable the proper channelling of organic production in supply chains allowing farmers to fully benefit from the added value of organic production.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Reinforced local and small-volume processing of organic food;
- Boosted innovative sustainable packaging solutions resulting in reduced waste (in particular of non-renewable and fossil derived plastics);
- Fostered innovative supply and distribution models and short trade circuits;
- Added value to organic agricultural products, improved organic farmers’ incomes and their positioning in agri-food value chains;
- Enhanced market orientation and capacity of organic farmers and small and medium scale processors to meet consumer demand for sustainable and healthy diets based on organic food;
- Increased availability, affordability and accessibility of organic food with positive impacts on sustainability, including on biodiversity, on climate, ecosystems services and public health.
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
The proposals must apply the multi-actor approach. See definition of the multi-actor approach in the introduction to the work programme.
Activities should reach TRL 6-8 by the end of the project.
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).
This call follows a two-stage approach.
This topic is part of the blind evaluation pilot under which first stage proposals will be evaluated blindly. Applicants submitting a proposal under the blind evaluation pilot (see General Annex F) must not disclose their organisation names, acronyms, logos, nor names of personnel in Part B of their first stage application (see General Annex E).
The limit for a first-stage application is 10 pages. The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.