SFS-05-2015 - Strategies for crop productivity, stability and quality
Specific Challenge: Crop productivity is determined by genetic variability and the complex interactions of the genotype (G) with its environment (E) in the context of specific management interventions (M). Understanding and capturing the dynamic of these above and below ground interactions in breeding programmes and farm management is considered as critical to address concerns over stagnating yields and yield gaps, building resilience to biotic and abiotic threats and further progress in crop improvement.
Scope: Proposals should propose smart approaches and tools to improve identification, prediction and introduction of useful genetic variation in crops, as well as favourable combinations of genotypes and management practices in a range of environments. They should tackle crop improvement in a holistic manner, and seek for novel breeding targets to improve yield, yield stability, quality, biotic/abiotic stress tolerance/resistance and environmental benefits. Activities and results should feed into breeding programmes as well as help diversifying and optimising crop management at different stages of plant development. In line with the objectives of the EU strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation, proposals are encouraged to include participants established in third countries. Proposals should fall under the concept of 'multi-actor approach' and allow for adequate involvement of the farming sector in proposed activities. This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 3–5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
· Increased knowledge on complex plant-environment interactions and suitable combinations of genotypes and management practices. Knowledge should be used in various ways, i.e. feed into different user communities (researchers, breeders, farming practitioners)
· Development of novel breeding strategies and tools for continuous support to a dynamic breeding sector
· Improved varieties and crop management strategies which allow for increased diversity and show higher adaptability to particular environments including under a changing climate
· Over a longer term, knowledge and tools created shall support productivity and stability of the agricultural sector in Europe and possible beyond
Type of action: Research and innovation actions
 This is without prejudice to the general rules on the funding of legal entities from third-countries, as set in part A of the annex to the work programme.
 See definition of 'multi-actor approach' in footnote 1 in the introduction of this Work Programme part.