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Call: European Partnership for a climate neutral, sustainable and productive Blue Economy

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
European Partnership for a climate neutral, sustainable and productive Blue Economy
Description of call
"European Partnership for a climate neutral, sustainable and productive Blue Economy"

Expected Outcome:

The partnership is expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal and Digital Europe priorities, the successful proposal will contribute to the sustainability and resilience of the blue economy by supporting the establishment of innovative governance models. It will also contribute to strengthening the EU and international science-policy interfaces in marine- and maritime-related domains as well as the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) by supporting the further deployment and exploitation of Environmental Observation data and products and of digital and data technologies.

  • EU and national multi-level cooperation and alignment across and within regional seas of research and innovation programmes, priorities and investments are enhanced, based on established strategic research and innovation agendas and related cooperation activities, including international agreements and outreach; as well as cooperation with other Horizon Europe initiatives, European partnerships and missions.
  • Europe’s role in ocean science, research, social and technological developments, innovation and productivity in the marine domain is clearly strengthened by 2030 and transformative governance enables the advances of the role of Europe in business, finance and social developments in the marine/maritime domain.
  • By 2030, Europe has contributed significantly and in a measurable way to the climate neutrality of the blue economy, the European Green Deal objectives and its different strategies.
  • The science-based implementation of EU marine-related legislation, regulations and objectives is supported, as well as the advanced sustainability of activities, practices and existing and new products and services of the blue economy value chains throughout European regional seas and the Atlantic.
  • Transformative change is promoted and enabled through actionable science and sustainable, fair and just solutions for the blue economy and for communities, involving a participatory and multi-stakeholder approach.
  • The deployment of digital, nature-based and social innovations as well as community-led and purpose-driven technology for the blue economy is supported.
  • Ocean literacy in the EU and beyond is increased.
  • Sustained ocean and coastal observations and availability of FAIR data for environmental, climate and blue economy purposes are substantially increased.
  • Global cooperation with key partners bordering the different EU sea basins is strengthened.


Europe’s seas and ocean do not stop at national borders, nor do the challenges they face. Many of the issues are common throughout European seas and the Atlantic, even globally. A major effort is needed to increase the development of ocean science, research, technological developments and innovation, both to protect the ocean and to increase the resilience of its ecosystems and to ensure a strong sustainable blue economy and science-based design of marine spatial planning, involving all stakeholders. No nation can face this on its own and undertake the investments in research, technology and innovation that are needed to steer new business, governance and social developments.

Many of the identified research priorities and activities of the EU and individual countries are similar and, therefore, require alignment over all European seas and ocean. Existing and new funding streams from national, public and private sources will need to be pooled, together with EU funding, in order to maximise efforts and achieve efficiency gains. To address these issues, sea basin-specific Research and Innovation Agendas (RIAs) have been developed for the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and the Black Sea. An impact-driven and coherent approach needs to be designed to combine all of these research and innovation agendas, in order to structure the European landscape, so that common issues can be addressed jointly, and national marine strategies are developed in a consistent way.

The partnership should catalyse the transformation of Europe’s blue economy towards climate neutral status by 2050. By aligning national, regional and EU R&I priorities and bringing together science, industry, governance and society, it should deliver knowledge and solutions to make the blue economy sustainable. Responding to national and EU policy goals (e.g. European Green Deal, Marine Strategy Framework Directive), the partnership should aim to achieve a healthy ocean, a sustainable and productive blue economy and the well-being of citizens.

The partnership should increase scientific contributions, applicable in a legal/regulatory context, related to biodiversity, ecosystem conservation and restoration, climate mitigation and adaptation, and pollution, including eutrophication, noise, marine litter and hazardous substances, and should facilitate the use of scientific knowledge by regulators and policy-makers, contributing to the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, the farm to fork strategy, the mission in the area “Ocean, seas and waters”, the circular economy action plan and the zero pollution ambition.

The partnership should promote technological, nature-based, social, economic and cultural innovation and experiment with new planning, governance, business and finance models. It should also contribute to the future EU initiative on ocean observation, to the development of a common European ocean data space, to the Ocean Digital Twin and to the implementation of the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS).

The partnership should put the emphasis on the development of basin- or Europe-wide holistic, integrated, systemic and cross-sectoral approaches and foster co-creation processes involving all relevant stakeholders and actors, while remaining operationally manageable. It should engage local, regional and national authorities, industry and businesses, including SMEs, knowledge institutions and citizens through Open Science and an inclusive governance, policy and decision-making. It should harness the full potential of social sciences and humanities (SSH), social innovation and citizen engagement to deliver portfolios of solutions, measures and tools and facilitate their replication, and upscaling. In particular, this topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.

It should contribute to improve the quality of life and long-term socio-economic prospects of coastal communities, including women, youth and the most vulnerable groups like indigenous people, in the context of major transitions and rising threats to climate, resources and health, including by increasing their resilience to crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the European Commission’s political vision of leaving no one behind, the wide diversity and heterogeneity in levels of socio-economic, technological, institutional, innovation and skills potential should be taken into account.

The European Partnership for a climate neutral, sustainable and productive blue economy should be implemented through a joint programme of activities for high impact, relevance and capacity building, ranging from research to coordination and networking activities, including training, demonstration, communication and dissemination activities in all research and innovation projects of the partnership. Emphasis should be given to demonstration, upscaling and experimentation calls. To ensure effective and smooth implementation, three dedicated pillars of activities within the partnership are needed:

  1. Implementation of joint activities in particular calls for proposals with co-funding from the Union.
  2. Implementation of joint activities without co-funding from the Union.
  3. A broad set of activities supporting coordination, international cooperation and outreach, uptake of results etc.

These activities should be structured along the following main building blocks of activities:

  • Development of work programmes as implementation steps of the high-level Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). This SRIA should be included in the proposal, outlining implementation modalities and building on existing SRIAs or equivalent in the EU sea basins. It should include the demonstration of the achievability of policy targets at sea-basin scale.
  • Joint calls for challenge-driven R&I to address critical issues for a sustainable climate-neutral blue economy with integrated and multi-stakeholder approaches.
  • Setting-up a multi-stakeholder community of practice to facilitate science-policy-business-society dialogues, share experiences and disseminate results and innovations on key issues for social transition and sustainable development.
  • Undertaking communication and dissemination measures to make R&I results accessible for all stakeholder groups and users and prepare guidelines, references, tools and trainings for replication and mainstreaming; communicating to citizens and civil society at large, and involving them to achieve policy goals.
  • Synthesising R&I results and achievements from clusters of projects.
  • Setting-up (a) knowledge hub(s) to support capacity-building on integrated approaches.
  • Setting-up rigorous monitoring to follow progress of projects and taking stock of diverse solutions, good practice cases and the contribution to the achievement of the objectives of the partnership and the related policy targets.
  • Exploring interfaces with public procurement and investment programmes by developing links with other programmes, private funds, etc. to support take-up and larger-scale implementation of tested approaches and solutions.

Given the global dimension of ocean policy, membership and other modalities of participation from organisations and institutions in non-associated third countries is strongly encouraged, in particular key partners bordering the different EU sea basins. International cooperation should contribute to align strategies and research agendas, strengthen data collection, monitoring and sharing, as well as access to infrastructures, promote good practice for maritime policies, promote the exchange and export of key technologies and gradually open up cooperation with new countries outside of Europe. It should support the EU’s strong commitment to the UN Decade of Ocean Science, the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative, the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, the BLUEMED Initiative, the Black Sea Synergy and other international initiatives.

The partnership should cover the Atlantic, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It is expected to include and be open to all relevant public marine/maritime funding organisations and ministries from EU Member States and associated countries as core members, in close cooperation with the private sector, including SMEs and foundations. Appropriate links to other relevant ministries and organisations, including civil society, will be established.

Partners are expected to provide financial and/or in-kind contributions for the governance structure, the joint calls and other dedicated implementation actions and efforts for national coordination. The partnership is expected to mobilise EU, national and regional capacities to leverage investments, including from the private sector, increase up-scalability and market accessibility for the developed solutions and thus increase the return to investments.

To ensure the coherence and complementarity of activities, and to leverage knowledge investment possibilities, the partnership is expected to foster close cooperation and synergies with other relevant proposed European Partnerships, notably “Rescuing biodiversity to safeguard life on Earth”, “Safe and Sustainable Food Systems”, “Water security for the planet (Water4All)”, “Zero-emission waterborne transport”, “Clean Energy Transition” and others where relevant, as well as the EIT Climate KIC and the EIT FOOD. The partnership will also be linked to the relevant objectives of the mission in the area of “Ocean, seas and waters”. Proposers are expected to describe in details the way to implement such collaborations.

Proposals should pool the necessary financial resources from the participating national (or regional) research programmes with a view to implementing joint calls for transnational proposals resulting in grants to third parties. Financial support provided by the participants to third parties is one of the primary activities of this action in order to be able to achieve its objectives. Therefore, the 60 000 EUR threshold provided for in Article 204 (a) of the Financial Regulation No 2018/1046 does not apply. It is expected that the partnership organises joint calls on an annual base and therefore it should consider ample time for the implementation of the co-funded projects. The EU contribution for this action will be implemented in annual instalments of around EUR 20-30 million.

Engaging with managing authorities of European Structural and Investment Funds, as well as others like LIFE, Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) and Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), during partnership implementation would help increase the implementation of the project outcomes and support and facilitate further uptake.

The Commission envisages to include new actions in future work programme(s) to continue providing support to the partnership for the duration of Horizon Europe.

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, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Demographic Change, Migration, Employment & Labour Market
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: 70 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of between EUR 23.00 and 150.00 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 23.00 million.
The total indicative budget for the duration of the partnership is EUR 150 million.
Typ of ActionProgramme Co-fund Action
Funding ratebetween 30% and 70%

Beneficiaries may provide financial support to third parties. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. As financial support provided by the participants to third parties is one of the primary activities of this action in order to be able to achieve its objectives, the 60 000 EUR threshold provided for in Article 204 (a) of the Financial Regulation No 2018/1046 does not apply.
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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