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Maximising economic, environmental and social synergies in the provision of feedstock for bio-based sectors through diversification and increased sustainability of agricultural production systems


Securing long-term supply of affordable and sustainable biomass is a key challenge for the European bioeconomy. It is crucial to limit negative (indirect) changes in land use, which can lead to losses of biodiversity, carbon or other ecosystem services and to move towards a sustainable bioeconomy that operates within sustainable parameters. The diversity and diversification of farming systems can contribute to a sustainable European bioeconomy by securing stable revenues for farmers, lowering negative environmental impacts and increasing resilience to climatic, economic and biological risks.

Proposals will:

  • Explore alternative systems and designs to improve the overall sustainability of local and regional agricultural production systems in a variety of landscapes, soil and climatic conditions, across the EU and associated countries;
  • Consider the environmental, economic and social impacts of primary production systems and contribute to the characterisation of diversity and its relation to expected functions and benefits;
  • Develop sustainable diversification strategies that can optimise the production of agricultural feedstock in the emerging bio-based economy. These could include the co-production of food and non-food products (e.g. through intercropping systems), diversification and optimisation of crops cultivated in greenhouses for high value products, optimisation of intermediary/catch crops to increase the biomass production in a sustainable way and circular low-emission livestock or mixed farming systems.
  • Optimise diversification strategies for different European agricultural production models/sectors with a view to minimise potential land conflicts and in line with agro-ecological practices.
  • Consider contributing data and results to the European Commission’s Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy hosted by the JRC.

Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach’ and ensure adequate involvement of the farming sector and other actors in rural areas.

Social innovation[[As defined by the European Commission: innovations that are social in both their ends and their means. Specifically, […] social innovations [are] new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations. They are innovations that are not only good for society but also enhance society’s capacity to act.” according to the European Commission Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA, 2011, p. 9; see also Regulation (EU) No 1296/2013on a European UnionProgrammefor Employment and Social Innovation (""EaSI"")).]] is recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, development of training material for upskilling of reskilling of the workforce, social ownership or market uptake.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement. This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.