FACCE SURPLUS: strengthening European collaborative research for sustainable agriculture

The objective of FACCE SURPLUS is to support sustainable intensification of agricultural production. As part of the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI), this research funding programme brings together many European partners, including the French National Research Agency (ANR). Following a first call for international proposals launched in January, 67 pre-proposals were submitted in the first stage by teams from 21 countries.

Rising demand for food, renewable energy and materials from biomass is among the major societal challenges of the 21st century. Convinced that the bioeconomy should be a shared vision across Europe, 21 countries — brought together as part of the FACCE SURPLUS initiative — launched a call for international proposals to tackle this challenge by means of research.

Working together to address the societal challenges of sustainable agriculture and food security

FACCE SURPLUS is part of FACCE-JPI, the Joint Programming Initiative committed to building a European research area capable of meeting the challenges of sustainable agriculture, food security and the impacts of climate change.

The JPI concept was launched in 2008 to bolster the European Research Area (ERA). The aim of these intergovernmental initiatives is to reduce the fragmentation of European research efforts by uniting and coordinating activities and establishing joint research programmes to address the major challenges facing our societies. To do so, members (research organisations and funders) jointly develop a shared vision and draw up a joint strategic research agenda.

FACCE seeks to step up research to support sustainable agricultural production and economic growth and thus contribute to developing a European bioeconomy while maintaining and restoring ecosystem services in view of current and future climate change. It therefore intends to promote cross-disciplinary research, encompassing both economic and social aspects.

It develops a creative approach towards the alignment of national programmes and the participation of multiple stakeholders. Furthermore, it draws on European Commission instruments (ERA-NET, ERA-NET Cofund, etc.) and joins forces with other initiatives, in particular at international level, to implement its objectives and promote international research.

Encouraging European research in biomass production

The FACCE SURPLUS call for proposals was launched in January 2015 as part of an ERA-NET Cofund, a new instrument under the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme.

The programme has an indicative budget of €16 million, including a financial contribution from the Commission. It aims to improve scientific collaboration within the ERA in the field of food and non-food biomass production and transformation systems, including biorefining. It should also help to support environmental innovation and value creation from biomass and biorefineries in synergy with the sustainable intensification of agricultural production.

The 67 pre-proposals submitted by research teams from 21 countries during the first stage will now undergo an international peer review. The evaluation criteria will include, in particular, the interdisciplinary and international dimensions of the consortia. The reviewers will also be on the lookout for a systemic approach combining field and laboratory research. Three-year projects will be funded, whereby each agency will fund its national teams. The ANR, for its part, will only fund French teams.

To overcome the fragmentation and duplication of efforts and create as many synergies as possible, FACCE SURPLUS will soon be launching other calls, but without European Commission funding.

Find out more:

ERA-NET, ERA-NET COFUND: European research funding instruments

The ERA-NET scheme was created in 2002 under the European Commission's 6th Framework Research and Development Programme (FRDP). As a network of funding agencies and research bodies supported by the Commission, the objective of an ERA-NET is to develop and strengthen the coordination of national research programmes and thus help to build a European Research Area. As part of an ERA-NET of the 6th and 7th FRDP, research organisations pool their human and financial resources in the interests of joint activities, e.g. by launching calls aimed at funding international research projects. The European Commission reimburses the costs of setting up calls and the management fees of the organisations participating in the ERA-NET.

Within the scope of an ERA-NET Cofund, the partner agencies launch a large-scale call for proposals bringing together at least five countries in a target field. These calls can only be launched if they create European added value and complement the Horizon 2020 calls from a thematic perspective. If this is the case, the Commission joins forces with the partner agencies and co-funds the research projects.

Last updated on 21 March 2019
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