Section 1 - Call for Proposals for the Thematic Area: Farming systems
Topic: Improving the sustainability of Mediterranean agro-ecosystems
PRIMA-IS is launching a call for research and innovation (RIA) proposals to mobilize the Euro-Mediterranean scientific communities, stakeholders and private entities and to support a wide range of research and innovation projects expected to produce a socio-economic impact in the near future.
In this call, participation of private entities is strongly encouraged.
Participants to this call will have to submit a scientific proposal to the PRIMA-IS, that will be evaluated in a peer review process according to the H2020 standard. The successful projects will be funded directly by the PRIMA-IS through the signature of a grant agreement between the selected consortia and the PRIMA-IS. The criteria for the evaluation, selection and monitoring of the project will be done according to H2020 rules. PRIMA-IS will be responsible for the evaluation of proposals. Participation of private entities (in their diversity, e.g. including companies/enterprises, SMEs, start-ups, non-profit organisations, NGOs…) will be encouraged in the research consortia, jointly with public research organisations, universities and end-users. The eligibility check of proposals will be done by the PRIMA-IS in line with eligibility criteria set forth in the Decision (EU) 2017/1324 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 (PRIMA Decision).
Calls will be launched following a two stage process and the grant agreement with the beneficiaries will be signed in 2019.
Scientific scope for the Call Section 1 - Topic 2: Improving the sustainability of Mediterranean agro-ecosystems
In the last decades a substantial proportion of agriculture in the Mediterranean area has been modernized and intensified. However, yield increases are still insufficient to face the ever-growing food demand. Furthermore, unsustainable intensification of practices has often led to pollution, overexploitation of natural areas and resources, loss of fertility of agricultural land, soil erosion and salinization, runoff, and in some cases desertification.
The objective of this call for proposals is to develop Mediterranean innovative cropping and livestock systems including inland aquaculture, able to cope with limited resources and environmental constrains while enhancing food production stability over time and ensuring a production of high quality agricultural outputs that will allow increase in farmers’ income and preserve agro-ecosystems integrity and services.
This objective should be met by developing innovations at the level of the cropping, livestock or farming systems, taking into consideration the social, economic and environmental aspects. The projects should target the Mediterranean crops, animals and the Mediterranean farming systems and the specificities of their natural Mediterranean environment.
Design of new production systems should allow adaptation of the Mediterranean farming systems to climate change, reduction and optimization of use of natural resources in particular water and/or potentially polluting inputs (e.g. pesticides, organic and mineral fertilizers, manure and antibiotics), management of soil conservation and/or decrease in erosion and soil salinity.
Research projects are expected in the following thematic areas: better linkage between livestock (including freshwater aquaculture, as a component of proposals for agro-ecosystem projects) and crop production; a range of different systems should be included (e.g. organic farming, agroecology, agroforestry, …) as well as their resilience to climate change impacts taken into account; valorizing existing biodiversity through sustainable use of underexploited and new species, breeds or varieties of interest in farming systems; development of production of legumes or use of other local Mediterranean varieties/ species and its insertion in cereal soles, crops rotations and crops association. The projects could include the use of innovative technologies, such as digital technologies, smart space data and related data and technologies.
The inclusion of end-users (farmers’ organizations, extension services, farmers, food industry, NGOs and consumer associations) in the research consortiums is encouraged to speed up innovation. Projects should consider the involvement of the different type actors as part of the Agricultural and Knowledge Innovation System and the multi-actor approach.
 The multi-actor approach aims to make innovation more demand-driven, and therefore should ensure genuine and sufficient involvement of various actors (end-users such as farmers/farmers’ groups, foresters/foresters’ groups, fishers/fisher’s groups, advisors, businesses, etc.) all along the project: from the participation in the planning of work and experiments, to implementation, the dissemination of results and a possible demonstration phase. A multi-actor project proposal needs to demonstrate: how the project proposal’s objectives and planning are targeting needs/problems and opportunities of end-users and how it complements existing research and best practices
Projects funded under this call for proposals must target Mediterranean farming systems taking into consideration the specificities of the Mediterranean climate and ecosystems. Project could deal with crops and/or animals systems. Projects should contribute to develop and propose new sustainable production systems by reducing negative impacts on the environment while increasing yields. The solutions proposed should increase the viability of farms and the incomes of workers thereby social aspects and employment should be considered.
More specifically, the impacts expected from the projects should concern one of the point listed below (eventually several):
Development of low-input systems with high productivity and low environmental impact.
A more appropriate use of lands by diversified ago-ecosystems, integration of ecosystems services and mix cropping-livestock activities is expected.
Integration of ecological, agronomical and socio-economic knowledge to design and assess efficient productive systems based on agro-ecological concepts and to address the difficulties of transition of technical practices.
Promote and develop a sustainable use of underexploited and/or new species and improved local species / breeds / products and farming systems best suited to Mediterranean conditions.
The Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area will devise new R&I approaches to improve water availability and sustainable agriculture production in a region heavily distressed by climate change, urbanisation and population growth