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Call: A mechanism for science to inform implementation, monitoring, review and ratcheting up of the new EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 ('Science Service')

Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 1: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services"

The EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 is a cornerstone of the European Green Deal that will put Europe’s biodiversity on the path to recovery by 2030, for the benefit of people, the climate and the planet. It will also prepare the EU to take a leading role in the upcoming international negotiations on a new global framework to halt biodiversity loss. With the Green Deal’s ‘do no significant harm’ vision, all EU policies will become more biodiversity-friendly, focusing more on the sustainable use of ecosystems, supporting the recovery in a post-pandemic world[[COM/2020/380 EU biodiversity strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives]]. This policy vision is fully supported in the strategic plan of Horizon Europe for 2021-2024 in its first key strategic orientation ‘Protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity and managing sustainably natural resources on land and at sea, and achieving climate neutrality and adaptation’. Consequently, Destination ‘Biodiversity and ecosystem services’ intends to achieve the following expected impact from Cluster 6 ‘Biodiversity is back on a path to recovery, and ecosystems and their services are preserved and sustainably restored on land, inland water and at sea through improved knowledge and innovation’. All actions funded under this destination must therefore help to deliver this main impact.

Research and innovation is key to delivering results that will have an important impact on biodiversity, food, health, water and climate, which are all interconnected, and to achieving the goal of healthy and resilient ecosystems by 2030. It will also enable transformational change engaging European society and economy and their global impacts, making decisions more biodiversity-friendly. R&I will support policy targets, develop nature-based solutions[[Nature-based solutions are “inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience. Such solutions bring more, and more diverse, nature and natural features and processes into cities, landscapes and seascapes, through locally adapted, resource-efficient and systemic interventions. Hence, nature-based solutions must benefit biodiversity and support the delivery of a range of ecosystem services.”]] and holistic approaches to address the main causes of biodiversity loss, particularly in connection to production systems, bringing all sectors together to be integrated in ecosystem-based management. Investments in R&I will help to protect and restore the integrity of terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems, currently under multiple pressures, and protect and restore their capacity to deliver a wide range of essential services. Under Horizon Europe, a long-term strategic research agenda for biodiversity will also be developed.

The sixth mass extinction is taking place: one million species are at risk of extinction, and the degradation of ecosystems severely affects the fabric of life that enables the survival of humankind[[IPBES global assessment (2019). Summary for policy-makers.]]. None of the globally agreed targets of the 2011-2020 strategic plan for biodiversity has been fully achieved[[United Nation’s 5th Global Biodiversity Outlook (2020).]], with the biodiversity crisis even deepening. Our knowledge on biodiversity status, pressures, impacts and responses needs to be improved, requiring even basic taxonomic work in certain ecosystems. Understanding biodiversity decline and addressing its main drivers through data-driven science, integrated multidisciplinary knowledge, new tools, models and scenarios, will support Europe’s policy needs and boost global biodiversity science. Solutions for preventing and addressing the individual and cumulative effect of direct drivers of biodiversity loss (land use change, overexploitation, climate change, invasive species, pollution) need to be further developed and made available to policy makers and practitioners, such as through the new EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity[[]]. For more impact on society and economic sectors, citizen science and crowdsourcing also require big data analysis, artificial intelligence, social sciences, communications and policy tools.

Valuing and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services is necessary to develop tools to guide decisions, inform and implement policies on the environment, water, health, climate, disaster risk reduction, agriculture, forests and other land use types, protected areas management, the sustainable bioeconomy, the blue economy, maritime and cross-sectoral spatial planning, and responsible business practices. The continued degradation of the ecosystems and their services affects biodiversity and climate change[[]], and increases the risk of severe ecological disasters and pandemics. The European Green Deal and its biodiversity strategy call for urgent action to restore damaged aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in order to increase biodiversity and deliver a wide range of ecosystem services.

The contribution of ecosystems to human wellbeing and the economy is not properly accounted for in market transactions, or in planning and investment decisions: the social and economic co-benefits of healthy ecosystems are often disregarded. Natural capital accounts need to be developed and mainstreamed. Investments in R&I will also lay the ground for scaling up and speeding up the implementation of technological, societal and nature-based solutions (NBS). NBS support vital ecosystem services, biodiversity and biomass provision, as well as access to drinking water, clean soil, improved livelihoods, healthy diets and food safety and security from sustainable food systems. NBS deployment will also create green jobs and build resilience to climate change and natural disasters. Citizens, authorities, businesses, social partners and the research community must be engaged at local, regional, national and European levels.

Managing biodiversity in primary production: Biodiversity is the basis for sustainable and resilient agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry, as also recognised in the farm to fork and biodiversity strategies under the Green Deal. With diverse genetic resources, it is possible to use in primary production plants and animals that are adapted to different environments, ecosystems and meet diverse needs. Furthermore, the interplay between species below and above ground delivers important ecosystem services, such as pollination, soil fertility, pest and risk control. Despite these recognised benefits, current production systems tend to be specialised and rely on a limited number of crops, breeds and forest tree species whose genetic basis is narrow. Reversing this trend and increasing their resilience is critical and of global concern in particular in the current context of accelerated climate change and a growing population whose production and consumption footprint is increasing.

Enabling transformative change [[Transformative change has been defined by IPBES as “A fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values”. IPBES global assessment (2019). Summary for policy-makers.]] in biodiversity: Science (IPBES and IPCC) and Policy (the global post-2020 biodiversity framework and the EU biodiversity strategy) clearly underline that biodiversity loss can only be successfully addressed if transformative changes are initiated, accelerated, and up-scaled. There is however hardly any knowledge on potentials and challenges arising from transitions focused on biodiversity. System-level change of this kind starts with social innovation in the form of, for example, regulations, incentives, local and participatory processes, and through the introduction of new technologies, new production processes, or new consumer products, which change how socio-technical and socio-ecological systems operate and impact their environment. Such transformative change must decrease the impacts of indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, which are in turn, underpinned by societal values and behaviours. Indirect drivers of biodiversity loss are understood to mean here: production and consumption patterns, human population dynamics and trends (including their footprints), trade, technological innovations, and local to global governance (including financing). Research and innovation can enable these transformative changes to happen and initiate processes, behaviour changes and actions which are transforming the way we impact biodiversity. Socio-economic and multidisciplinary research, including on the role of education, will develop knowledge and tools to understand the role of transformative change for biodiversity policy making, address the indirect drivers for biodiversity loss, and accelerate transformative changes in our society that are relevant to biodiversity.

Interconnecting biodiversity research and supporting policies refers to the establishment of the European Partnership ‘Rescuing biodiversity to safeguard life on Earth’ and to the support to other science-policy interfaces. The European partnership on biodiversity[[]] will connect national, local and European research, innovation and environmental programmes, combining resources in support of one goal, i.e. that by 2030 biodiversity in Europe is back on the path to recovery. It will co-develop multidisciplinary research and innovation programmes with stakeholders, set up a European network of coordinated observatories for biodiversity monitoring, and implement a broad range of activities to increase the relevance, impact and visibility of EU research and innovation in tackling the biodiversity crisis in line with the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030.

Science-policy interfaces on biodiversity and nature-based solutions have made good progress in recent years[[Good leverage effects have been achieved, notably through EKLIPSE, Oppla, the NBS platform, the EU4IPBES support action 2018-2021.]], and must be stepped up to achieve targeted impacts on biodiversity-relevant policies, that can in turn be used as structured policy input into the research cycle. These interfaces are also key to guiding biodiversity governance, and to implement the EU Green Deal and international conventions[[In particular, the UN Convention on Biodiversity, and the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030]]. In line with the Commission priority 'A stronger Europe in the world', the EU must take and demonstrate leadership in this field, notably by increasing its support to IPBES[[The Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services]] -to bring it up to the same level as the IPCC-, and to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Besides economic support, this also includes efforts to create synergies and cooperation between IPBES, regional Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other relevant research communities to ensure a full coverage of all relevant aspects of biodiversity and ecosystem services in order to underpin the full scope of the post 2020 global biodiversity framework.

All topics will directly contribute to the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13, 14, 15, 17.

Several missions will also help to achieve biodiversity-related impacts, notably in the areas of ‘Adaptation to climate change including societal transformation’, ‘Climate-neutral and smart cities’, ‘Ocean, seas and waters’ and ‘Soil health and food’.

Expected impact

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway contributing to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and more specifically to one or more of the following impacts:

  • Biodiversity decline, its main direct drivers and their interrelations are better understood and addressed through the production, integration and use of open data, knowledge, education and training, innovative technologies, solutions and control measures, in collaboration with European and international initiatives.
  • Biodiversity and natural capital are integrated into public and business decision-making at all levels for the protection and restoration of ecosystems and their services; science base is provided for planning and expanding protected areas, and sustainably managing ecosystems.
  • Europe builds competitive sustainability and tackles climate change and natural disasters through the deployment of nature-based solutions, including ecosystem-based disaster risk-reduction approaches fully reaping their economic, social and environmental benefits for a green recovery across all European regions.
  • The interrelations between biodiversity, health, food, soil, water, air and climate are better known and communicated to citizens and policy-makers; in particular, risks associated with microbiomes and biodiversity-friendly prevention/mitigation measures, and opportunities for biodiversity recovery are identified.
  • Practices in agriculture and forestry support biodiversity and the provision of other ecosystems services based on a) a better understanding of functional biodiversity (above and below ground), b) effective knowledge and innovation systems and c) ready-to use solutions for land managers, adapted to specific conditions.
  • Access to a wider range of crops and breeds with a broadened genetic base is improved in line with global biodiversity commitments by gaining greater insight into the characteristics of genetic resources and by enhancing capacities for their preservation and use in breeding and in primary production (farming, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture). More (bio)diverse, resilient production systems will have positive knock-on effects on value chains, consumption, healthy diets and the wider, non-managed biodiversity.
  • Approaches for enabling transformative changes in society for biodiversity and ecosystems recovery are identified, tested and implemented in policy, governance, law business and society; all indirect drivers of biodiversity loss are addressed and ‘do not harm’ biodiversity policies become a mainstream part of all sectors.
  • Biodiversity research is interconnected across Europe, supporting and enhancing the ambition of national, EU and international environmental policies and conventions.

When considering the impact of the proposals, 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)]] has to be assessed. Also it has to be ensured that the research and innovation activities do not cause a significant harm to any of the six environmental objectives of the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

The portfolio of actions under this destination will have impacts in the following areas: “Enhancing ecosystems and biodiversity on land and in waters”; “Climate change mitigation and adaptation”; “Clean and healthy air, water and soil”; “Sustainable food systems from farm to fork on land and sea”; and “A resilient EU prepared for emerging threats”.

Link Link to Programme
A mechanism for science to inform implementation, monitoring, review and ratcheting up of the new EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 ('Science Service')
Description of call
"A mechanism for science to inform implementation, monitoring, review and ratcheting up of the new EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 ('Science Service')"

Expected Outcome:

The project is expected to connect up biodiversity research across Europe, supporting and enhancing the ambition of national, European and international environmental policies and conventions.

Contributing to the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, the aim of this topic is to give support for developing and implementing this and other EU policies by generating knowledge generation, guiding biodiversity governance and ecosystem monitoring, and implementing the EU Green Deal. It supports the development of a long-term strategic research agenda for biodiversity.

The project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • a single entry point linking European research and biodiversity policymaking that will be embedded in the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity (KCBD) as ‘scientific pillar’, which will collect and organise knowledge resulting from science that is relevant for implementing the EU biodiversity strategy and other relevant EU policies, in particular knowledge generated from EU-funded R&I projects, relevant infrastructures and platforms.
  • feeding input into the monitoring, reporting and review mechanism of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 with relevant research-based assessments and options that can feed into any short- and medium-term corrective action necessary (“ratcheting up”).
  • full integration into, and support to the governance framework of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 to steer implementation of the commitments on biodiversity agreed at national, European or international level.
  • setting up a functional, early delivering Science Service at EU level, also involving associated countries where appropriate, to bolster at global level the EU’s ambitions for research into biodiversity-relevant areas.


The EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 announced a science policy mechanism for research-based options to ratchet up the implementation of commitments made on biodiversity. This topic is to provide a Science Service as a dedicated tool to regularly integrate science into EU biodiversity policy-making in terms of what is needed to implement the strategy. It should bridge the continued and critical gap on knowledge sharing and should complement other EU-funded initiatives. It should feed into the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity. At the same time, it should provide a single-entry point linking RTD funded research and innovation with biodiversity policymaking via the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity. Further, the Science Service might act as a pilot on how any science component could work in practice in the context of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. With this work, Europe could test and lead the way on how to make such an instrument, triggering research-based options to implement the biodiversity strategy, work in practice.

The objective is to reformat and connect research results to the needs of environmental policy in a targeted dialogue between science and policy makers. This should include science resulting from the latest EU R&I activities and infrastructures, shape future R&I and be embedded in the long-term strategic research agenda on biodiversity. Proposals should develop a Science Service mechanism that covers all of the following aspects:

  1. Inspired by IPBES functions, it should provide relevant policy tools (e.g. indicators), generate knowledge to fill gaps, build capacity within and beyond the EU, and contribute to science-based assessments for the EU decision-making process.
  2. All work carried out by the Science Service should be defined under strong and clear governance arrangements, including how to prioritise requests, and designed to support implementing, monitoring, reporting and reviewing the EU biodiversity strategy. The governance should be led by DG RTD, in cooperation with DG ENV, DG JRC and the EEA, and ideally involve the Environmental Knowledge Community (EKC) and factor in its needs and requests.
  3. The Science Service should feed into the EC Knowledge Centre on Biodiversity and support it to direct knowledge gaps and policy questions to science, synthesize knowledge, and communicate emerging issues identified by science to decision-makers in policy, business, NGOs, land users or site managers. The Science Service should also be involved and feed knowledge into strategic dialogues and fora organised by the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity, as well as in expert meetings requested by the EKC. The Knowledge Centre on Biodiversity should manage exchanges from policy to science and vice-versa, and the Science Service constitutes its primary tool for making scientific information accessible to policy makers.
  4. Member States, and where appropriate associated countries, civil society and the Mission Boards under Horizon Europe, may also ask the Science Service to cover specific topics. The process of directing requests for contents and format to the Science Service, and how to provide information, is to be agreed with the relevant EU services, including with the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity.
  5. The Science Service should use the tools and results funded by the EU research framework programmes, by other sources of European funding, and additional relevant sources, which it should help integrate into the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity. It should cooperate with the European partnership on biodiversity.
  6. The Science Service should take up requests from biodiversity policy-making to the Biodiversity Partnership, and to the biodiversity-relevant missions in Horizon Europe. This would be orchestrated in collaboration with the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity; such as via its user forum function. The Science service should also organise ad-hoc high-level expert advice to the European Commission’s high-level decision-makers on specific issues related to biodiversity.
  7. The work of the Science Service should be presented and discussed at expert or working groups according to the governance framework of the EU biodiversity strategy, and should support European research policy related to biodiversity. It should also act as a ‘back office’ for organising the cooperation of biodiversity-relevant research projects – in thematic clusters where appropriate – under Horizon Europe and Horizon 2020, such as yearly meetings or through common products, in collaboration with the Executive Agency. This would be done in collaboration with the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity.
  8. The Science Service should support the orchestration of current and future knowledge mechanisms to implement the long-term European strategic biodiversity research agenda, including work under the Biodiversity Partnership and other biodiversity-relevant partnerships; such as EKLIPSE, Oppla, NetworkNature, the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity and other biodiversity-relevant science advisory mechanisms. It should also describe the global aspects of its services in the mid-term planning.
  9. Proposals should indicate what specific results the Science Service should initially deliver by the end of year one. This pilot exercise should be relevant to and fit the timeframe set out in the policy agenda of the EU biodiversity strategy, and optionally, for the global biodiversity agenda. Throughout the duration of the project, the following annual work plans should be aligned to the long-term strategic research agenda (in preparation - See EU biodiversity strategy).
  10. The Service should then deliver, communicate and disseminate regular (e.g. half-yearly) input in the form of options and scenarios for implementing the biodiversity strategy for 2030 and beyond. The aim must be to trigger response from those entities responsible for implementing the strategy (e.g. EU services, national and local authorities, business, civil society and the environmental knowledge community in general).
  11. It should provide, on request of its governance bodies, summaries, knowledge synthesis, factsheets or briefs and reviews of biodiversity research outputs and tools usable for implementing and ratcheting up the EU biodiversity strategy, in language and format tailored to the target users, such as:
    1. foresight, analysis of new and emerging topics,
    2. indicators and valuation methods,
    3. analysis of the behavioural, institutional and bio-physical factors for biodiversity conservation and restoration, including on tipping points and planetary boundaries,
    4. projections/forecasts, integrated models, scenarios and pathways that integrate socio-economic and cultural values, that avoid lock-in pathways, and that provide incentives for large-scale demonstration of nature-based solutions and testing of governance approaches, financing and business models to enable transformative change,
    5. requests to existing science-policy services (such as EKLIPSE and Oppla) in collaboration with the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity for dedicated biodiversity-relevant science-policy tasks that those services can deliver, and that the Science Service channels into the biodiversity governance framework,
    6. support for science-based decision-making for biodiversity against disinformation campaigns; and
    7. testing new ways of communicating biodiversity-related science to non-scientific audiences.
  12. Proposals should describe how the Science Service can deliver its work in line with the timeframe for policy processes and to implement the EU biodiversity strategy. They should explain how they have sufficient resources, and a flexible, lean mechanism following the principles of credibility, relevance and legitimacy, including whether internal assessments or peer reviews on its outputs are planned.
  13. Proposals should evaluate the experience of comparable instruments covering some of the actions or procedures that the Science Service should set up, focused on biodiversity but also in other fields, and under the governance framework of the EU biodiversity strategy.
  14. The project should draw up a plan on how to finance and govern the activities of this kick-starting service over the medium- and long-term and seek to secure commitments to allow the work of the Science Service to continue after the funding of this topic ends, i.e. before 2027.

Proposals should strike an appropriate geographical balance across Europe.

This topic should involve contributions from the sciences and humanities disciplines.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Administration & Governance
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Research Institution, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), NGO / NPO, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, Public Services, National Government, International Organization
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 between EUR 11.00 and 13.00 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 13.00 million.
Typ of ActionCoordination and Support Actions (CSA)
Funding rate100%

Beneficiaries may provide financial support to third parties. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants to actions under point k) of the topic. The maximum amount to be granted to each third party is EUR 200 000, as actions under k) are key activities which the Science Service must deliver through the approaches laid out in its other actions, and to which the broad science community should contribute. Maximum 30% of the total requested EU contribution may be allocated to this purpose. The process of selecting entities for which financial support will be granted, within open calls for proposals to be evaluated by external, independent experts in a fair and transparent process must be defined in the proposal.

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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