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European Joint Programme on agricultural soil management (COFUND-EJP COFUND (European Joint Programme)) - LC-SFS-20-2019
Deadline: Jan 23, 2019  

 Fisheries and Food
 Education and Training
 Climate Sciences
 European Union

Specific Challenge:

Good agriculture soil management contributes to food security, climate change mitigation/adaptation and ecosystem services. Preserving and increasing fertility of soils, not least through their organic content and water retaining capacity, increases agricultural production. Soils and their carbon content are also important for climate change mitigation. A number of good soil management practices have been developed to deal with some of the challenges; however serious knowledge gaps exist, e.g. on the characteristics of soils in various regions of Europe, the factors influencing their fertility or their capacity to store carbon, depending on different climate and environment conditions. The European Union is committed to addressing climate change with ambitious targets. An integrated framework for soil research in Europe is required to overcome current fragmentation and unleash the potential of agricultural soils to contribute to climate change mitigation/adaptation, while preserving or increasing agricultural functions.


The European Joint Programme will boost soil research with main emphasis on agricultural soil contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The aim is to construct a sustainable framework for an integrated community of research groups working on related aspects of agricultural soil management. The activities should look at how management of agricultural soils can reduce degradation of land and soils (in particular soil erosion and loss of organic matter), preserve and increase fertility of soils and how the processes related to organic content and water retaining capacity can support mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The EJP will evaluate and foster implementation of novel technologies for soil management and carbon sequestration. The aim of the EJP is also to look for synergies between different approaches used in Europe for farm level accounting of emissions and removals from agricultural activities and particularly of carbon storage. In doing so, activities will contribute to improving inventories, measurements, reporting and accounting activities at different scales. Sustainable agricultural productivity and environmental aspects will also be targeted in connection with climate change mitigation and adaptation, so that optimisation of land management is ensured.

The European Joint Programme will include joint programming and execution of research and other joint integrative activities such as education and training (e.g. short-term missions, workshops), knowledge management, access to experimental facilities and databases, including also harmonisation, standardisation.

State-of-art technologies for mapping and soil sampling (physical, chemical and biological parameters) should be explored for wider and simple use from national level to farm level. In return, by e.g. developing new ICT tools, this could help farmers to protect and manage soils in line with current scientific understanding of processes. The EJP should also facilitate sampling and further development of LUCAS –European Soil Database as well support EU contribution to global soil mapping activities.

Participating legal entities must have research funding and/or management responsibilities in the field of agriculture soil management.

The proposal should include a five-year roadmap describing the key priorities and governance processes as well as the first annual work plan.

The acquired knowledge should support policy making in the domain of agricultural soil management and related policies, such as agriculture, climate and environment, and when feasible and appropriate transfer of science to practice for better agricultural soil management by farmers should be envisaged.

The activities will need to be coordinated as appropriate with the Global Soil Partnership and more particularly with European Soil Partnership node, with the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases, the project selected under SFS-50-2017, 4/1000, GACSA, JPI FACCE, JPI CLIMATE, Belmont Forum, and soil activities coordinated by the JRC when relevant and appropriate. The work of the EJP will also support number of policies: Common Agricultural Policy, Climate Change related policy and relevant environmental policies, in particular the implementation of the EU Soil Thematic Strategy[4].

Considering the budget available, the scope covered and the potential entities for the EJP, the Commission considers that an EU contribution to a maximum 50% of the total eligible costs of the action or up to 40 million EUR would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

Expected Impact:

The project will lead to significant long term alignment of research strategies and activities at national and EU level by:

  • fostering understanding of soil management and its influence on climate mitigation and adaptation, sustainable agricultural production and environment;
  • understanding how soil carbon sequestration can contribute to climate change mitigation at regional level including accounting for carbon;
  • strengthening scientific cooperation at European level including training of young scientists;
  • development of agreed knowledge base and database for European contribution towards international reporting;
  • contributing to the European Soil Data Centre with harmonised European soil information for international reporting.

Agro-forestry is included in the topic.

Land use/cover area frame statistical survey, abbreviated as LUCAS, is a European field survey program funded and executed by Eurostat

European Soil Data Centre; EIONET - European Environment Information and Observation Network – soil network


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