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Call: Developing EU advisory networks on consumer-producer chains

Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 7: Innovative Governance, Environmental Oberservations and Digital Solutions in Support of the Green Deal"

Transformative changes such as the ones required within the Green Deal are dynamic processes that require appropriate governance. At the same time, to ensure coordination and for collaborative decision-making, governance requires multiple channels and networks that provide readily available data and information coming from different sources.

R&I activities under this destination aim at both: experimenting with new ways to govern the transition process and modernising the governance, in particular by making information and knowledge available and accessible. R&I for governance to support the Green Deal shall provide insights into institutional barriers such as lock-ins, path dependency, political and cultural inertia power imbalances and regulatory inconsistencies or weaknesses.

Innovative governance supporting the Green Deal objectives needs to recognise, cope with and promote resilience in the face of on-going shocks and disruptions both globally and across Europe, whether these be climatic, ecological, economic, social, geo-political or related to health. Critical risk assessment and reduction strategies need to be incorporated, including the diversification of infrastructures, resources and knowledge through more self-sufficiency and autonomy.

Taking advantage of the use, uptake, deployment and exploitation of environmental observations[[The capacity to observe the environment, including space-based, in-situ-based (air, sea, land) observation, and citizen observations]] as well as digital solutions, assessed through the “do not harm” principle of the Green Deal, is key for innovative governance models and a more science-based policy design, implementation and monitoring. To maximise impacts of R&I on the ground and spark behavioural and socio-economic change, the knowledge and innovation produced throughout the whole cluster should be widely disseminated to key stakeholders of the relevant sectors of the cluster. In particular, the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) needs to be reinforced to accelerate the required transformative changes.

Data and information obtained through Environmental Observation is of great value when assessing the state of the planet and is delivering crucial information to support the Green Deal and the climate and ecological transition. Integration of this information from different sources (space-based, airborne including drones, in-situ and citizens observations) with other relevant data and knowledge while ensuring (better) accessible, interoperable or deployable information, delivers information necessary for shaping the direction of the development of policies in the broad context of Cluster 6 of Horizon Europe. A strong link to the European Earth observations programme Copernicus (in Cluster 4) and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth observation programme, as well as support to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), its European regional initiative (EuroGEO) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is foreseen for topics on environmental observations under this destination. R&I activities relevant to ocean, seas and coastal waters will complement and support the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and UN Decade on Restoration, the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative, the pan-Commission Destination Earth initiative, the European Global Ocean Observing System (EOOS) and the GOOS 2030 strategy.

Digital innovation, in complementarity with Cluster 4 and Digital Europe Programmes activities, should bring benefits for citizens, businesses, researchers, the environment, society at large and policy-makers. The potential of the ongoing digital transformation, and its wider impacts, positive and negative, need to be better understood and monitored in view of future policy design and implementation, governance, and solution development

This destination will develop innovative digital and data based solutions to support communities and society at large, and economic sectors relevant for this cluster to achieve sustainability objectives. R&I activities will add value to the knowledge and cost-effectiveness of innovative technologies in and across primary production sectors, food systems, bioeconomy, ocean and biodiversity.

Knowledge and advice to all actors relevant to this cluster are key to improve sustainability. For instance, primary producers have a particular need for impartial and tailored advice on sustainable management choices. Knowledge and Innovation Systems are key drivers to enhance co-creation and thus speed up innovation and the take-up of results needed to achieve the Green Deal objectives and targets. This will include promoting interactive innovation and co-ownership of results by users, as well as strengthening synergies with other EU Funds in particular the CAP, reinforcing the multi-actor approach and setting up structural networking within national/regional/local AKISs. AKIS goes beyond agriculture, farming and rural activities and covers environment, climate, biodiversity, landscape, bio-based economy, consumers and citizens, i.e., all food and bio-based systems including transformation and distribution chains up until the consumer.

Expected impacts

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to innovative governance and sound decision making in policy for the green transition, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:

  • Innovative governance models enabling sustainability and resilience notably to achieve better informed decision-making processes, societal engagement and innovation;
  • Green Deal related domains benefit from further deployment and exploitation of Environmental Observation data and products ;
  • A strengthened Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) [[The European Commission is a member and co-chair of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), as such the European Commission adopted the GEO Canberra Declaration ( and Commission Decision C(2019)7337/F1) and committed to contribute to the GEO objectives, including to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).]];
  • Sustainability performance and competitiveness in the domains covered by Cluster 6 are enhanced through further deployment of digital and data technologies as key enablers;
  • More informed and engaged stakeholders and end users including primary producers and consumers thanks to effective platforms such as Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS)
  • Strengthened EU and international science-policy interfaces to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

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 areas: “Climate change mitigation and adaptation”; “Clean and healthy air, water and soil”; “Enhancing ecosystems and biodiversity on land and in water”; “Sustainable food systems from farm to fork on land and sea”; “High quality digital services for all”; and “A Competitive and secure data-economy”.

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.

Link Link to Programme
Developing EU advisory networks on consumer-producer chains
Description of call
"Developing EU advisory networks on consumer-producer chains"

Expected Outcome:

In support of the Green Deal, CAP and farm to fork objectives and targets, the successful proposal will focus on advisor exchanges across the EU to increase the speed of knowledge creation and sharing, capacity building, of demonstration of innovative solutions, as well as helping to bring them into practice, which accelerates the needed transitions. Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) in which advisors are fully integrated are key drivers to speed up innovation and the uptake of research results by farmers.

Primary producers have a particular need for impartial, ready-to-use and tailored knowledge on the management choices related to the needs, challenges or opportunities they experience. This speeds up innovation and the uptake of results, and is key to improve sustainability. It adds value to the knowledge and cost-effectiveness of innovative practices and techniques in and across primary production sectors, food systems, bioeconomy and biodiversity. This will lead to more informed and engaged stakeholders and users of project results including primary producers and consumers thanks to effective platforms such as Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems.

Transformative changes such as those required within the European Green Deal are dynamic processes that require appropriate governance of AKIS actors. Advisors are key actors strongly guiding and with powerful influence over producers’ decisions. A novelty in the post-2020 CAP plans is that advisors now must be integrated within the Member States’ AKIS, and that the scope of their actions has become much broader. They must now be able to cover economic, environmental and social domains, as well as be informed on up-to-date science and technology. They should be able to translate this knowledge into opportunities and use and adapt those to specific local circumstances. This specific topic focuses on the important role advisors can play to exploit the potential of connecting consumers with producers through short supply chains, an upcoming issue in the more sustainable and diversified agriculture of the future.

Project results are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  1. Production of supporting services and sharing of materials to facilitate the upscaling of short supply chains, such as knowledge networks and peer-to-peer counselling, master classes, inspiration tours, advice modelling, communication and education materials, sharing of effective business models and making use of possible accelerators serving both producers and consumers, SWOT analysis schemes, (new) business model analyses, etc
  2. Development of interaction with regional, national and EU policy makers, potentially leading to an EU network to discuss institutional barriers to producer-consumer chains, including bottlenecks, lock-ins, political inertia, ambiguous regulations, inequality between Member States and power imbalances;
  3. The policy objectives linked to Cluster 6, as well as the European Green Deal, and in particular the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Common Agricultural Policy, with the objective to increase farmer viability and raise consumer awareness on connecting producers and consumers in short food supply chains;
  4. The CAP cross-cutting objective of modernising the sector by fostering and sharing of knowledge, innovation and digitalisation in agriculture and rural areas, and encouraging their uptake . This project shall provide overall support related to knowledge creation, organisation and sharing of novel information across borders. It shall help to fill gaps on emerging advisory topics which is useful in particular in relation with the new obligation for Member States to integrate advisors within their AKIS which shall cover a much broader scope than in the former period;

5. The outcomes should speed up the introduction, spread and bringing into practice of innovative solutions related to consumer-producer chains overall, in particular by:

(a) creating added value by better linking research, education, advisors and farming practice and encouraging the wider use of available knowledge across the EU;

(b) learning from innovation actors and projects, resulting in faster sharing and implementation of ready-to-use innovative solutions, spreading them into practice and communicating to the scientific community the bottom-up research needs of practice.


Proposals should address the following activities:

  • Connect advisors with knowledge on short supply chains who have a broad and extensive network of farmers across all EU Member States into an EU advisory network on short food supply chains to better connect consumers with producers, securing producers’ income, building on the outcomes of the EIP-AGRI Workshop “Cities and Food – Connecting Consumers and Producers” and the Focus Group on Short Food Supply Chains.
  • Share effective and novel short chain approaches and experiences among this EU advisory network. These approaches must be sustainable in terms of economic, environmental and social aspects.
  • Focus on cost-benefit elements. Collect and document good examples in this regard, connecting with farmers, intermediates and consumers in Member States to be able to take into account financial aspects and local conditions. Select the best practices, learn about the key success factors, possible quick wins and make them available for (local) exploitation, to ensure financial win-wins for producers and consumers.
  • Integrate the advisors of the EU short food supply chain network into the Member States’ AKIS as much as possible. They can provide encouragement as innovation brokers in local short chain projects of European innovation partnership "Agricultural productivity and sustainability" (EIP-AGRI) Operational Groups. They should give hands-on training to farmers and local advisors, lead national thematic and learning networks on the subject, deliver and implement action plans with interested farmers, inspire new and incoming farmers or farms at the cross-roads of intergenerational renewal, connect with education and ensure broad communication, support peer-to-peer consulting, develop on-farm demonstrations and YouTube demo films, and provide specific back-office support for generalist advisors within the national/regional AKIS.
  • Explore if the some or all activities of the EU advisory network on short supply chains can be upscaled at the level of a number of Member States under a cooperative format. Wherever possible, develop digital advisory and accelerator tools for common and open use across the EU. Determine whether common instruments can be created to incentivise the implementation of short food supply chains linking producers with consumers, for instance in the framework of smart villages, or to incentivise novel food strategies for cities, villages and rural areas, etc.
  • Include all 27 EU Member States in the EU advisory network. Make use in all those countries of experts who understand and are able to make an accurate interpretation of the national / regional contexts to help develop the best solutions for that Member State or region. Use the support from the knowledge and innovation experts of the SCAR-AKIS Strategic Working Group to discuss project strategies, coordination and progress in the various stages of the 2 projects. Projects should run at least 5 years. They must implement the multi-actor approach.
  • Provide all outcomes and materials to the EIP-AGRI, including in the common 'practice abstract' format for EU wide dissemination, as well as to national / regional / local AKIS channels and to the EU-wide interactive knowledge reservoir (HORIZON-CL6-2021-GOVERNANCE-01-24) in the requested formats.
Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Administration & Governance, Agriculture & Forestry, Fishery, Food, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Rural & Peripheral Development, Regional Development & Regional Planning, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Competitiveness, SME
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Public Services, 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.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • 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: 30 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 4.00 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 8.00 million.
Typ of ActionCoordination and Support Actions (CSA)
Funding rate100%

The proposals must use the multi-actor approach.
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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