Pre-announcement: Joint Call of the European Joint Programme Soil about « Towards Healthy, Resilient and Sustainable Agricultural Soils”

The French National Research Agency will launch a transnational call under the umbrella of the European Joint Programme (EJP) Soil. The programme aims at creating an integrated framework for agricultural soil research in Europe to enhance capacity, capability and knowledge in the area of soil research. The call will be launched on April 2021 and applicants will have up to the 9th of September 2021 to submit their proposals.

The call refers to two main impacts of EJP Soil:

1) Fostering understanding of soil management and its influence on climate mitigation and adaption – sustainable agricultural production and healthy environment

2) Understanding how soil carbon sequestration can contribute to climate change mitigation at regional level, including accounting for carbon

Projects shall have a clear added value to one on the above-mentioned impacts – in their mid as well as long term perspective.

The objective of this call is to foster holistic agricultural (forestry soil are not excluded) soil management practices which will assist making a shift to diversify farming to include a variety of sustainable and environmental practices. To achieve this aim, knowledge about SOC sequestration and biodiversity is essential. Thus, the call addresses three major topics: SOC sequestration, biodiversity and sustainable production and environment.

Interested project consortia should apply to one of the three topics:

Understanding SOC sequestration (stabilization, storage and persistence)

  • Saturation of C sequestration in organic matter of different soil forms (including C sequestration potential, quantification of stable C, how to increase the amount of C in different soils, influence of organo-mineral interactions on saturation and stabilization of C)
  • Understanding the mechanism of SOC persistence in soil and subsoil (influence of minerals, microorganism and organic matter, stoichiometry of C-N-P)
  • Dynamic interactions of SOC and greenhouse gasses (primarily CO2, N2O and CH4) emissions
  • Management practices on different agriculture and forest soil types in order to minimize greenhouse gas emission

Soil biodiversity: status, and role in ecosystem services provided by soils

  • Development of holistic indicators and target values to define healthy soils for agricultural productivity, for example soil fertility, biodiversity, resilience, nutrient levels and soil-microbe-plant interactions.
  • Understanding the functional role of soils in the provision of ecosystem services, e.g. the provision of food and non-food crops, nutrient cycling, water storage and filtration
  • Understanding the role of fauna, microbiome, plants and their interactions on maintaining, enhancing and restoring healthy and resilient soils for agricultural productivity.
  • Impact of novel soil amendment (e.g. fiber sludges from the paper and pulp industry) materials to soil biota

Site-specific or landscape-scale approaches to improve sustainability, resilience, health, and productivity of soils, including:

  • Innovative practices and/or technologies* that maximise the storage of organic carbon in soils (protecting existing stocks or sequestration).
  • Management strategies and agronomic management, including precision farming, that help reduce net emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from soils.
  • Integrated management of farming systems, farm-networks, and agroecosystems, including for example, diversification of production, agroecological approaches, smart fertility/fertiliser management.
  • Technologies, practices and management approaches to increase farming systems’ sustainability and resilience to climate change.
  • Technologies, practices, and management approaches that contribute to the restoration of landscapes and the maintenance of natural capital.
  • Evaluation of the applicability of site-specific technologies or practices for different pedo-climatic zones and farming systems, and taking into account socio-economic issues.

*Technologies include but are not limited to, digital tools, drones and sensors, autonomous robots, tillage and traffic management, precision fertilization, weed and pest control, irrigation, amongst others

To date, the following partner countries and organisations will provide funds for the Call: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal Russia and the Global Research Alliance. Universities and other higher education institutions, public research institutions, private non-profit organisations, and private companies can apply subject to the national regulations and eligibility criteria. Research consortia must consist of a minimum of three partners seeking funding from at least three different participating countries. Research partners from not participating countries can be part of research consortia if they bring in their own funding. Funding of the participating research organisations will be provided by their respective national funding organisation according to their legal terms and conditions for project funding. ANR will only fund the French partners of the selected projects. Minimum project duration is 24 months and maximum 36 months.

The call will be launched on April 2021. A webinar will be organised in May for all interested applicants. Content of the webinar will be an overview about all relevant aspects for the Call and will give a short introduction for the submission tool. Closure for submission of project summary and registration of the coordinator and the partners: June 25th 2021. Closure for the submission of full proposals: Sept 7th 2021.

More information:

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