Deadline: 20-Oct-21
The European Commission is calling for proposals for Preparing the Ground for Healthy Soils: Building Capacities for Engagement, Outreach and Knowledge.

There is no life without soils. If soils are healthy and sustainably managed, they provide food, clean water, habitats for biodiversity and other important services while contributing to climate resilience. They take these services for granted, but in fact soils are a scarce and a threatened resource, all over Europe and globally. 60-70% of EU soils are unhealthy, mainly as a result of current management practices. The effects of climate change are putting further pressure on this key resource.

Life on Earth depends on healthy soils. Soil provides food, clean water and habitats for biodiversity while contributing to climate resilience including an increased preparedness to extreme weather events (both droughts and floods). As the largest terrestrial habitat, soil is a unique ecosystem that is critical to aboveground and belowground biodiversity yet it is the least studied. Partly as a result of an increasing urban lifestyle, there is very little awareness in society on the importance of soils, their functions, the threats to soil health and what can be done to preserve this valuable resource. A lack of education and understanding often underpins land degradation and a loss of soil capacity to provide the functions on which they depend. Both land managers in rural areas and urban planners need improved access to ready-to-use knowledge and to advisory services that can support them in their efforts to manage soils in sustainable ways.

Funding Information

Horizon Europe will have a budget of around €95.5 billion for 2021-2027 (current prices). This includes €5.4 billion (current prices) from NextGenerationEU to boost recovery and make the EU more resilient for the future, as well as an additional reinforcement (i.e. in addition to the MFF agreement in July 2020) of €4.6 billion (current prices).

Expected Outcomes
Project activities are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Enhanced capacities for effective mission deployment in close co-operation with the Mission Core Network and eventual national mission hubs supported through the topic ‘Coordination of complementary actions for missions’
  • Increased networking and knowledge exchange between communities across Europe at regional/local level on soil health taking into account various types of land uses and based on the work undertaken in existing and new living labs and lighthouses;
  • Decision-makers from policy and the private sector are better equipped to answer to questions on soil quality across land uses due to increased insight into the status of soil health in European regions as well as improved capabilities for assessment and analyses and soil monitoring;
  • All sectors of society are informed and/or can make informed decisions regarding soil management through integrated on-line resources in all Member States and Associated Countries and improved access to evidence-based information, data as well as resources and examples of best practices in education and training;
  • Virtual, cross-disciplinary communities on soil stewardship are created using social media and making full use of the potential of digital tools.

Eligibility Criteria

  • 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.
  • To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e:
  • the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions;
  • the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States;

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
  • low- and middle-income countries

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