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Metagenomics as innovation driver


Specific challenge:Metagenomics has the potential to provide unprecedented insight into the form and function of heterogeneous communities of microorganisms and their vast biodiversity, without the need for isolation and lab culture of particular organisms. Microbial communities affect human and animal health, support the growth of plants, are critical components of all terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and can be exploited to produce fuels or chemicals. However, in order to expand their potential further, the metagenomic methodologies need to overcome a number of challenges such as those related mainly to standardisation of experimental design, screening, sequencing technologies and bioinformatics relevant techniques.

Scope: Proposals should address the development of technologies that form the metagenomic toolkit to guide future developments in the field with view to enable metagenomic approaches responding to societal and industrial needs. Similarly, epigenetic modifications and the RNA and protein data (e.g. on cell-cell level) could be addressed to elucidate functional dynamics of communities of microorganisms. Activities will span between Technology Readiness Levels 3 and 5.


The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 6 and 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.


Expected impact:

         Metagenomic methodologies to enabling enhanced understanding of communities of living organisms and empower agricultural, industrial, medical and other applications. This should bring significant and measurable improvements in productivity, yields, quality and functionality, as well as reduction of costs for the end-users.

         Reduced time-to-market thus strengthening competitiveness of European industry and SMEs.

         Identification of, for instance, human drug targets, commercially useful traits in agricultural plants, genes in microorganisms with industrial applications or unravelling pathogens, as well insights into microbial biodiversity for environmental applications.

         Contribution to the standardisation work in the field at European and international level.


Type of action: Research & Innovation Actions