Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. Read more about the Horizon Europe programme here.
This call aims to develope and demonstrate ecosystem-based conservation measures and approaches for reducing cumulative pressure from human activities to address marine biodiversity loss at basin/regional level.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
Proposals under this topic are expected to show how their activities and results will achieve the Mission objective 1 - Protect and restore marine and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity, in line with the timeframe of the Mission phases, i.e.: by 2025 for the ‘development and piloting’ phase and 2030 for the ‘deployment and upscaling phase’.
Proposals will focus on developing and demonstrating ecosystem-based conservation measures and approaches for reducing cumulative pressure from human activities to address marine biodiversity loss at basin/regional level.
Proposals will contain a set of activities, but are not necessarily limited to, sustainable fishery management and practices, pollution reduction and sustainable shipping, prevention and control of invasive species, marine and nursery habitat preservation and protection, establishment of marine reserves, impacts of climate change. To safeguard biodiversity against climate change and build resilience, adaptive management approaches and nature-based measures are also expected to be considered as well as minimisation of cumulative impacts of other stressors. Activities for quantifying the impact of climate change (acidification, sea-level rise, deoxygenation, ocean warmings, primary production, phytoplankton and zooplankton, etc.) on ocean and coastal ecosystems and biodiversity will be important to understand the stressors. Proposals can include application of genomics methods for the characterization of the biodiversity status, as well as for the long-term biomonitoring of restorative interventions and ecosystem evolution.
Activities will be designed and carried out in partnership with local fishing communities and, where relevant, indigenous people as well as other relevant stakeholders (e.g.: shipping industry) to ensure that the tested solutions grant due consideration to their knowledge, expectations and needs.
Activities will also support evidence-based data and awareness raising on biodiversity conservation in relation to local/regional development and capacity building and will establish good practices for nature-friendly local/regional initiatives and inspire specific transnational cooperation with EU Macro-regional regions.
Citizen engagement is a pillar concept for the Mission. Proposals may involve coastal communities with important biodiversity hotspots, including islands and the EU Outermost Regions in the co-creation of measures that meet the Mission’s aims while granting due consideration to local communities’ needs and values. Proposals are expected to involve where appropriate European Solidarity Corps and citizens science activities in the restoration efforts.
To address the impact-driven approach of the Mission and the nature of Innovation Actions, proposals are expected to work with and engage at least 5 ‘associated regions’ to showcase the feasibility, replicability and scalability of the solutions developed within the projects in other areas.
‘Associated regions’ are understood as areas with ecosystems that can benefit from the demonstration activities (e.g. neighbouring regions and/or regions in a different sea basin) and/or less-developed regions, with the need to build capacity to implement the innovative solutions to restore marine ecosystems and biodiversity. The proposals should ensure that the associated regions are located in Member States/Associated countries other than those that are part of the project consortium. The partners will proactively reach out to the associated regions to enable them to follow closely the project and its demonstration activities.
The projects should continuously share their outcomes and knowledge with those ‘associated regions’ and provide them with technical assistance to build capacity and solutions to address biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems in their territory, which will contribute to achieve the Mission objectives. The technical assistance to the ’associated regions’ should include advice to prepare roadmaps, plans and projects to restore marine ecosystems and biodiversity in the associated regions, to address possible barriers and show the feasibility of implementing innovative solutions for socio-economic transition processes in an ecosystem based and circular economy perspective.
The projects funded under this topic should address all following issues:
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions, 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:
The total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 16.00 million.
The Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 8.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately.