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Call: Deepening the functioning of innovation support

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
Deepening the functioning of innovation support
Description of call
"Deepening the functioning of innovation support"

Expected Outcome:

In support of the Green Deal, common agricultural policy and farm to fork objectives and targets, the successful proposal will focus on how to discover innovative ideas and how to enable the relevant actors to work out these ideas in a co-creative way as from the very start of the making of the proposal. The expected outcome of this topic is to develop sound, coherent and well-prepared innovation generation and support methods, which enable individual grassroots innovative ideas to come to fruition. It should help project coordinators to find methods to use the complementary knowledge of partners to develop ready-to-use solutions. Member States’ authorities and actors of the agricultural knowledge and innovation system (AKIS) need insights and tools to improve the interaction, connections and drafting skills for preparation of innovation project proposals. This will eventually lead to useable and practice-oriented innovative project results, better informed practitioners motivated to implement those results and, as a consequence, increased impact of funding for multi-actor research and innovation and European innovation partnership (EIP) Operational Groups.

Member States AKISs need to be equipped to advance knowledge, build capacities and co-create innovative solutions to accelerate the transition to a sustainable and circular management and use of natural resources. To this end, the CAP post-2020 introduced for all Member States an obligation to have innovation support services in place, to speed up innovation by helping to develop individual innovative grassroots ideas into interactive innovation projects. Such services can serve as one stop shops for innovation and should help future users of project results to prepare multi-actor innovative projects with a view to testing the potential innovation they have in mind. Member States need to find new ways to organise innovation support which fuels the generation of solutions for the transition process towards more sustainable farming and forestry. This can be done in particular in the form of a one-stop-shop for innovation, which can provide practical information on the subject of the potential project, existing scientific knowledge and project management as well as tips and tricks on how to develop such projects into a coherent project proposal. Being able to connect the most relevant actors with complementary knowledge is also an essential element, and will help to attain the objectives of the potential project. Deepening innovation support will need to take into account institutional barriers and lock-ins, political inertia and tackle power imbalances between potential actors involved in co-creative innovation processes.

Project results are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

1. Helping innovation support services to tackle innovative ideas related to the policy objectives linked to Cluster 6, such as farm viability, agro-ecology, climate issues, pesticide reduction, reduction of water use and pollution, short supply chains, generational renewal, etc, as well as the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the CAP, the Biodiversity Strategy and the wider bioeconomy research and policies.

2. Contribute to the CAP cross-cutting objective of modernising the sector by fostering and sharing knowledge, innovation and digitalisation in agriculture and rural areas, and encouraging their uptake. Projects shall provide overall support to generate practical approaches ultimately leading to better capturing of emerging needs and/or innovative opportunities, knowledge co-creation, in relation to the new obligation for Member States under the CAP post-2020 to have innovation support services in place, taking into account national and regional contexts.

3. The outcomes shall connect actors, policies, projects and instruments to speed up creation of innovative solutions, in particular by:

(a) creating added value by better linking research, education, advisors and farming practice and encouraging the wider use of available knowledge which can serve the innovative idea;

(b) connecting innovation actors and projects; resulting in faster co-creation of ready-to-use innovative solutions, spreading them into practice and communicating the research needs of practice to the scientific community.


Proposals should address the following activities:

  • Develop approaches to set up and improve the functioning of innovation brokers, which have the capacities to find individual innovative grassroots ideas at an early stage as well as practice needs or innovative opportunities. These innovative ideas should then be developed with the support of the owner of the idea and a number of relevant actors with complementary knowledge into an EIP-AGRI interactive innovation project, using methods ensuring co-ownership of the initiators and partners in the project. Seed funding as used for EIP-AGRI Operational Group projects is often a good solution to accompany this process, but also other approaches such as “innovation advice” or “innovation coaching” are an option to investigate.
  • Explore how such innovation support approaches could be embedded in the national/regional AKIS, in particular through useful connections with advisors, and how they can be linked to other broader innovation support mechanisms, including research, advisors and CAP networks at Member State or regional level.
  • Investigate and compare among Member States how the governance of such innovation support could be organised at the level of the managing authorities (single “one-stop-shop” service or mixed model with several smaller and/or bigger innovation support services, or…) taking into account the great variety of contexts in Member States and regions.
  • Cover all 27 EU Member States in the project to ensure learning from diversity. Make use in all those countries of experts who understand and are able to make an accurate interpretation of the national/regional contexts and its impact to help develop the ideal solution for that Member State.
  • Projects should have a minimum duration of 6 years, investing most in the very first years, and use the support from the knowledge and innovation experts of the SCAR-AKIS Strategic Working Group to discuss project strategy and progress in the various stages of the project. They must implement the multi-actor approach, including existing experienced innovation support services as partners which can share their methods and help develop solutions in other contexts.
  • As foreseen in the Multi-Actor Approach requirements, provide all outcomes and materials to the European Innovation Partnership 'Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability' (EIP-AGRI), including in the common 'practice abstract' format for EU wide dissemination, including 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
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 5.00 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 5.00 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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