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Call: Developing nature-based therapy for health and well-being

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Programme
Acronym HORIZON-CL6-COMMUNITIES
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 6: Resilient, Inclusive, Healthy and Green Rural, Coastal and Urban Communities"

Places and people matter to the achievement of a more sustainable Europe. The Sustainable Development Goals and the ecological and digital transitions brought forward by the European Green Deal [[https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en]] and digital strategy [[https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/shaping-europe-digital-future_en]], alongside the recent pandemic, bring challenges and opportunities that differ for different places and people. Rural (including mountains and sparsely populated areas) and coastal areas, play a key role in managing, protecting and using natural resources. The provision of both private and public goods from these areas depends on the resilience and attractiveness of rural and coastal communities and the capacity of people who live and work there to access a sufficient level of well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted deficiencies in digital infrastructures and economic opportunities that hamper resilience. Urban communities generally offer better access to many services but are also more vulnerable to supply-chain disruptions, as shown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, they have a key role to play in fostering sustainable production and consumption as major demand drivers. In all communities, social and behavioural drivers play an important role in enabling or slowing down transitions. Knowledge and innovative solutions need to be developed to enhance every community’s resilience and capacity to contribute to and benefit from the upcoming transitions in an economy that works for all territories and ensures a fair and just transition leaving no one behind.

Under this destination, transdisciplinary R&I with a strong social and behavioural sciences dimension, and attention to gender aspects, will foster a sustainable, balanced and inclusive development of rural [[R&I will support the implementation of an EU-level long-term vision for rural areas to be published in the 2nd quarter of 2021.]], coastal and urban areas in three different ways. Firstly, it will aim to increase our understanding of the differential impacts of climate, environmental, socio-economic and demographic changes on rural, coastal and urban areas in order to identify ways to turn these changes into equal opportunities for people wherever they live, enhancing territorial cohesion and enabling a just transition. Secondly, it will explore innovative ways to tailor policy responses to the place-based challenges identified at various levels of governance. Thirdly, it will support bottom-up community-led innovation to empower communities to develop, test and upscale solutions that answer global challenges in locally adapted ways. Achieving policy goals require providing people with more equitable access to the knowledge and skills required to make informed choices and be actively engaged in the sustainable and circular management of natural resources, from production or service provision to consumption. Rural, coastal and urban communities, in particular women, youth, the most vulnerable groups like indigenous people and those hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, need to see their labour conditions, quality of life and long-term socio-economic prospects improved in the context of major transitions and rising threats to climate, resources and health. Their capacity to drive community-led innovations must be enhanced and their resilience increased across the diversity of European territories including remote places such as mountains and sparsely populated areas. Mobilising the forces of digital transformation, start-up ecosystems, nature-based solutions, as well as social and policy innovation will facilitate necessary changes and support smart, environment and climate friendly and resilient lifestyles.

Activities under this destination are complementary to Cluster 2 activities with attention to spatial differences and specifics in relation with democracy (Destination ‘Innovative research on democracy and governance’), socio-economic transformations (Destination ‘Innovative research on social and economic transformation’) and cultural heritage (Destination ‘Innovative research on the European cultural heritage and the cultural and creative industries). They are also complementary to Cluster 5’s Destination ‘Cross-sectoral solutions for the climate transition’ on cities and communities that should explore place-based approaches to climate, energy and mobility specifically for all places.

To maximise the intended impacts and to ensure uptake by the communities, actions in the cluster should aim for high standards of transparency and openness for the solutions developed, going beyond ex-post documentation of results and extending to aspects such as assumptions, processes, models and data during the life of projects.

Expected impacts

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to resilient, inclusive, healthy and green rural, coastal and urban communities and more specifically one or several of the following expected impacts:

  • Rural, coastal and urban areas are developed in a sustainable, balanced and inclusive manner thanks to a better understanding of the environmental, socio-economic, behavioural, cultural and demographic drivers of change as well as deployment of digital, nature-based, social and community-led innovations.
  • Rural, coastal and urban communities are empowered to act for change, better prepared to achieve climate neutrality, adapt to climate change, and turn digital and ecological transitions into increased resilience to various types of shocks, good health and positive long-term prospects, including jobs, for all including women, young people and vulnerable groups.
  • Rural communities are equipped with innovative and smarter solutions that increase access to services, opportunities and adequate innovation ecosystems, including for women, youth and the most vulnerable groups, improve attractiveness and reduce the feeling of being left behind, even in the most remote locations like mountains.
  • The sustainable development of coastal areas including coastal protection and resilience reaps the benefits of social, digital and community-led innovations, to deliver nature-based and scientifically validated solutions to existing coastal socio-economic and environmental threats. In this way, applications of new social, economic and governance frameworks are enabled.
  • Tourism, recreational and leisure activity development in natural and coastal areas respects long-term environmental carrying capacity, and social goals.
  • Urban and peri-urban communities – including the most vulnerable individuals and families – can access, afford and choose healthier, nutritious and environmental-friendly food.

When considering their impact, proposals also need to assess their compliance with the “Do No Significant Harm” principle [[as per Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 2020/852 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (EU Taxonomy Regulation)]] according to which the research and innovation activities of the project should not be supporting or carrying out activities that make a significant harm to any of the six environmental objectives of the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

Topics under this destination will have impacts in the following impact areas of the Horizon Europe strategic plan for 2021-2024 [[[Link to the strategic plan]]]: “Climate change mitigation and adaptation”; “Enhancing ecosystems and biodiversity on land and in water”; “Sustainable food systems from farm to fork”; “Good health and high-quality accessible healthcare”; “A resilient EU prepared for emerging threats”; “A competitive and secure data-economy”; and “Inclusive growth and new job opportunities”.

Link Link to Programme
Call
Developing nature-based therapy for health and well-being
Description of call
"Developing nature-based therapy for health and well-being"

Expected Outcome:

A successful proposal will contribute to the EU’s goal of leading just, digital, economic and ecological transitions that will leave no one behind, supporting in particular European Green Deal priorities such as the biodiversity strategy for 2030. R&I will support the development of nature-based therapy to help communities turn the ecological transition into opportunities for good health and well-being, increased resilience, and positive long-term prospects such as the creation of green jobs.

Project results are expected to contribute to all following expected outcomes:

  • Sharper view of green space management, nature protection, agriculture and forestry sectors as care providers and their possible linkages with the healthcare, social and educational sectors;
  • Stronger evidence base for the causal relationships between nature and health and well-being for more effective nature therapy prescriptions;
  • Cost-effective nature therapy prescriptions are more widely used in the health care sector;
  • Greater citizen and policy-maker awareness of the positive benefits of nature for health and well-being;
  • Wider utilization by healthcare professionals and citizens of nature therapy as a form of preventive medicine.

Scope:

Nature affects human health in different ways. In particular, urban environments can have a negative impact on physical and mental health. This is due to urban stressors such as increased noise levels, higher crime rates and higher levels of pollution. The total global burden of disease attributable to mental illness has recently been estimated to be as high as 32% of total years lived with disability and 13% of disability-adjusted life-years, on par with cardiovascular and circulatory diseases. It is important, therefore, to determine the degree to which nature experience might lessen and address this burden. Even more so in view of the fact that the opportunities and time spent in nature are decreasing.

However, despite many putative positive correlations identified between nature and health and well-being, the causal understanding of relationships between health and nature exposure are not well understood. The long-term effects are also less well studied and recognised in policies. Social, economic and cultural factors strongly mediate the strength and direction of linkages between health and nature. Age, gender and especially socio-economic status may modify the association between greenness and health behaviours and outcomes and need to be better understood to create more effective nature therapy. Additionally, mental health benefits may vary with the type of interaction with nature and the form of sensory input. Furthermore, the health and well-being benefits of exposure to nature are affected by cultural perspectives and experiences relating to social interaction and contact with the natural environment.

A successful proposal should:

  • Develop a common framework to increasingly recognise and promote contact with nature, including protected areas and other green and blue spaces, as a cost-effective response for the prevention and treatment of human health and well-being;
  • Propose an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach, including the involvement of the health care sector, land owners, as well as green space management and nature protection sectors;
  • Improve schemes monitoring nature-health linkages to enhance the evidence base and tools for the health care sector, green space management, nature protection, urban planning and landscape architecture;
  • Develop longitudinal prospective methods, (quasi-) experiments or well-controlled interventions, to provide more evidence of the causal relationships between nature and health and well-being:
    • Understanding of when people explicitly choose to go to an urban green space and what experiences they have there (e.g., active versus passive activities).
    • Determining the type of interactions and dose of interactions necessary for long-term health and well-being benefits.
    • Understanding the mediators of the health-nature relationship, such as age, gender, socio-economic status or culture.
    • Considering the difference between greenness quantity and quality and determining which aspects of natural features are relevant to mental health.
    • Understanding how different geographical locations and factors such as population density affect the health-nature relationships;
  • Test nature therapy sessions, identify best-practices and develop the necessary tools and guidelines for integration of nature-based care in the public health sector;
  • Identify legal and administrative arrangements, partnerships, and financial mechanisms for implementation of nature therapy sessions.

The proposals should address all of the above points.

Proposals should bring together from the start multiple types of scientific expertise in both health and natural sciences, as well as social sciences and humanities, together with a variety of community and health sector representatives, businesses, civil society organisations and citizens.

Proposals should ensure that all evidence, information and project outputs will be accessible through the Oppla portal (the EU repository for nature-based solutions).

Applicants should create synergies with projects under the same topic and other relevant ongoing or up-coming projects, notably the Horizon 2020 NBS project portfolio and its task forces; HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-05: The economics of nature-based solutions: cost-benefit analysis, market development and funding; HORIZON-CL6-2022-BIODIV-01-03: Network for nature: multi-stakeholder dialogue platform to promote nature-based solutions; HORIZON-CL6-2022-COMMUNITIES-01-05: Assessing the socio-politics of nature-based solutions for more inclusive and resilient communities; HORIZON-CL6-2021-COMMUNITIES-01-06: Inside and outside: educational innovation with nature-based solutions. To this end, proposals should include dedicated tasks and appropriate resources for coordination measures, foresee joint activities and joint deliverables.

Social innovation is recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake.

In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is strongly encouraged, in particular with the USA, Japan and the LAC region.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Agriculture & Forestry, Fishery, Food, Administration & Governance, Rural & Peripheral Development, Regional Development & Regional Planning, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Competitiveness, SME, Children & Youth, Education & Training
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Research Institution, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), NGO / NPO, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, Public Services, Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), Start Up Company, Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, National Government
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • 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.
Call opens 28.10.2021
Call closes 15.02.2022
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system
Page limit - part B: 45 pages - This call is subject of a two-stage procedure. In the first stage, applicants will be requested to submit only an outline application of 10 pages.
Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 6.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 19.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and innovation actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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