European opportunities to finance the agrifood sector

#26, September 2022

José Manuel González

Representative of the Spanish Delegation to Cluster 6 - CDTI. European Programmes Division

Horizon Europe is the ninth Framework Programme for Research and Innovation of the European Union and covers the period 2021-2027. With a budget of around EUR 95 billion for the seven years, it is the European Union’s main instrument for developing its Research & Innovation policies.

The programme is structured in three main pillars: Excellent Science, which funds research at the frontier of knowledge; Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, which funds research and innovation in six different themes or clusters to respond to the main societal challenges facing Europe; and Innovative Europe, which encourages the growth of innovative SMEs that want to grow in international markets.

Within the scope of Cluster 6 “Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment”, within the pillar of Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, we want to develop solutions that favor the development of sustainable economic activities. The aim is to bring about a change in the European economy and society to reduce environmental degradation, stop and reverse biodiversity loss, and improve the management of natural resources, contributing to the achievement of climate and food and water supply objectives at European level. Thus, Cluster 6 activities will support the shift to a more competitive, circular and biologically sourced, resilient and environmentally friendly economy, seeking to achieve climate neutrality of primary production systems (agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture) and food systems.

The European Commission, together with the Member States and the Associated Countries to the programme, is finalizing the Work Programme for the period 2023-2024, whose first calls will open at the end of this year (most likely on 22 December 2022) and will be given a three-month period (probably until the end of March 2023) to submit project proposals. A budget of around EUR 2 billion will be earmarked to finance approximately 300 Research & Innovation projects. This new Work Programme is expected to maintain the structure of the previous Work Programme, and to address seven major areas or destinations including:

  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services;  
  • Food systems, from primary production to consumption;
  • Circular Economy and Bioeconomy;
  • Environment and Zero Pollution;
  • Climate Action;
  • Rural, coastal and urban communities;
  • Governance, environmental observation and digital solutions.

The main activities financed are Research and Innovation Actions, Innovation Actions, and Coordination and Support Actions. These are developed in consortia, in which all types of entities (universities, companies, technological centers, public research organizations, public administrations...) can participate from several Member States or countries associated with the program, and have unbeatable financing conditions, covering up to 100 % of the eligible costs depending on the type of action and the type of the entity. In most cases, the duration of the projects ranges from three to five years and their size ranges from EUR 4 to 7 million for smaller projects, and up to EUR 9 or 12 million for the larger ones.

There are a number of National Contact Points nominated for each topic that are available to all participants to resolve any doubts about participation in Horizon Europe, and to review, in a critical and constructive spirit, project proposals before they are evaluated by experts appointed by the European Commission.

Complementary information

Horizon Europe Website.

Funding and Tenders Portal.

Find your National Contact Point.