The Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI) brings together 21 countries that are committed to build an integrated European Research Area addressing the interconnected challenges of sustainable agriculture, food security and impacts of climate change. FACCE-JPI provides and steers research to support sustainable agricultural production and economic growth, to contribute to a European bio-based economy, while maintaining and restoring ecosystem services under current and future climate change. It aims to do so with a strong transdisciplinary research base, encompassing economic and social aspects in addition to scientific ones, and with a creative approach towards the alignment of national programmes and the input of multiple actors and stakeholders.
The integrated FACCE-JPI Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) defines 5 core research themes, among which Core Theme 2: Environmentally sustainable growth and intensification of agricultural systems under current and future climate and resource availability. As a first activity under Core Theme 2 (environmentally sustainable growth and intensification of agriculture), FACCE-JPI partners created the FACCE SURPLUS (Sustainable and Resilient agriculture for food and non- food systems) ERA-NET and organised in 2015 a joint call for transnational research projects aiming at improving collaboration and cooperation across the European Research Area in the areas of diverse, but integrated, food and non-food biomass production and transformation systems, including biorefining. In December 2015, FACCE SURPLUS selected 14 transnational research projects for an overall funding amount of approximately 14.5 mio. €.
Following the update of the FACCE-JPI SRA in November 2015, FACCE-JPI has elaborated a second Implementation Plan, to start a set of new actions in the period 2016-2018. One of these actions, “Explore and exploit refinery concepts for the multiple use of biomass under climate change, taking economic and environmental implications into account”, was addressed by FACCE SURPLUS in the frame of a scoping workshop in May 2016. As an outcome from this workshop, the FACCE SURPLUS partners decided to launch a joint call for transnational research projects on the field of “small scale biorefineries”.
1. Scientific scope and aims of the call
In Europe, the bioeconomy sector represents approximately an annual turnover of 2.1 billion € and 22 million as jobs. One part of establishing a sustainable and resilient European Bioeconomy requires a better use of biomass1 while at the same time preserving natural resources and biodiversity. In the spirit of the EU’s Circular Economy Package 2015, the general aim is to find economically viable small-scale solutions for enhanced nutrient circulation; as well as to offer a way to develop, demonstrate and test new ways of producing food, feed and other renewable products like bioenergy, fuel and chemicals.
Recognising that other initiatives are considering the scope and application of large-scale biorefineries in the EU context, the second call of FACCE SURPLUS will focus on the small-scale biorefinery concepts and their potential role in enhancing the sustainability and productivity of EU agriculture, as well as their scope to benefit the rural economy. “Small scale” covers a whole spectrum of levels, from farm level, over the local, to the regional level, in contrast to large-scale, centralised biorefineries developed in the Bio-Based Industries (BBI) Joint Undertaking2. A biorefinery is a facility that processes in a sustainable manner biomass into a spectrum of bio-based products (food, feed, chemicals, materials...) and bioenergy (biofuels, power and/or heat).
The present call for proposals aims to improve collaboration and cooperation across the European Research Area in the area of sustainable intensification of food and non-food biomass production and decentralised transformation systems, in particular small scale multi-input, multi-product biorefinery concepts. It aims as well at supporting local innovation and value creation from biomass and biorefineries in synergy with the environmentally sustainable intensification of biomass production taking into account the required economic, environmental and social conditions and resilience to climate change. It may not be forgotten that the food security remains a major challenge and food supply should therefore keep the priority. The inclusion of both production and transformation sectors is essential, therefore alternative feedstocks can be addressed if they are considered in terms of their use into biorefinery concepts.
It is expected that the projects will assess:
How small-scale, decentralised refinery concepts can promote sustainability, e.g. by avoiding trade-offs linked to transportation and logistics issues and associated costs. It should be explored in which cases a smart and integrated process design can beat the advantages of economy of scale applied in large-scale processes.
Whether there is an advantage in the separation of relatively simple pre-processing at small decentralized farms/factories and more capital-intensive processing at large centralized factories.
The potential of small-scale biorefineries to provide economic return at the farm level and to boost local and regional use of the biomass, as well as diversify the variety of crops produced.
Whether the applied system, along with the biorefinery production of fertilizers, nutrients and water, will result in the improvement of local ecosystems’ resilience, services and public goods and contribute to protecting and enhancing natural biodiversity.
How small-scale multi-input biorefineries can improve resilience of a system with regard to changes in raw material supply development of prices and other external factors. Particularly at local level, can this enhance the benefits per unit of biomass, and contribute to a regulation of the agricultural products market by “buffering” it through the utilisation/exploitation of agricultural production surplus, while at the same time contributing to adaption to climate change?
The potential of small-scale approaches to “revitalise” marginal or abandoned lands.
Economic aspects also play an essential role, so research is also needed to find out which deployment models are the most sustainable at social, economic and environmental level, and whether economically viable and appropriate small-scale solutions can be created for enhanced resource circulation. The knowledge-based selection of the appropriate small-scale biorefinery concept is a challenging question, but will be a decisive step towards a sustainable biomass production and transformation system in a region.
Strong synergies between agricultural or horticultural (also non-food) production and processing/chemical industry are required for any biorefinery concept. Therefore, it is important for proposed projects to identify the most suitable and/or promising biomass for an optimised use along the value chain. Due consideration should be given to new feedstocks (e.g. new crops), to evaluate the resilient industrial valuable varieties to cultivate/harvest and the related cultivation system, and/or to determine the most promising crops/mix of crops for combined food and/or non- food production, as well as the most suitable biorefining pathways for their exploitation. This could also lead to exploring possibilities of unconventional biomass, such as residues of glasshouse production, algae or water plants, etc.
Additional requirements to the projects:
2. General explanations
1. Call process
The call process will be carried out online on the
FACCE-JPI Submission Tool: www.submission-faccejpi.com
The transnational application process consists of two separate and consecutive steps:
First step: The project coordinator of an applying research consortium has to submit a pre-proposal on behalf of the consortium, providing key data on the future project proposal. The deadline for the submission of the pre-proposal is 07.03.2017, 14:00 CET5. After an eligibility check, selected pre-proposals will be invited to submit a
Second step: Submission of a full proposal by the applying consortium. The deadline
for full proposal submission is 17.07.2017, 14:00 CEST6.
After the second step, the successful consortia are recommended for funding by the FACCE SURPLUS Call Steering Committee and are then invited to enter into contract negotiations with their funding agency/ies.
The Annexes of this document provide the contact information of the National Contact Persons (NCPs) in each participating country/region and the National Regulations. It is required that each partner in a consortium contacts his/her NCP(s) to be informed about the rules in his/her country/region prior to submission of a pre-proposal and a full proposal.
Call opening: 05.01.2017
First step: submission of pre-proposals
Deadline for pre-proposal submission: 07.03.2017, 14:00 CET
Communication of eligibility check and evaluation outcomes to the research project coordinators– Start of step 2: 23.05.2017
Second step: submission of full proposals
Deadline for full proposal submission: 17.07.2017, 14:00 CEST
Evaluation of the full proposals
Communication of the evaluation outcomes and the funding recommendation to the research project coordinators and start of national procedures: 30.11.2017
Expected start of research projects (depends on national/organisational rules and negotiation) From 01.02.2018 to 01.04.2018
Call Steering Committee (CSC):
The Call Steering Committee is the decision-making body in the framework of this call. It is composed of representatives from the participating funding organisations.
FACCE-JPI Call Office:
The Call Office, hosted by Projektträger Jülich, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany, is the central contact point for applicants regarding all technical and general issues of the submission. The FACCE-JPI Call Office will be available in general during business days from 09:00 to 16:00 CET/CEST. Beyond this timeframe, it is recommended to contact the Call Office electronically via email: email@example.com.
National Contact Person (NCP):
Each participating funding organisation in this call has nominated NCP(s) to provide information on national/organisational funding rules and procedures. It is required that each partner in a consortium contacts his/her NCP(s) prior to the submission of pre-proposals.
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