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Exploring extreme environments: novel adaptation strategies at molecular level for bio-based innovation

The topic covers R&D needed to advance and potentially exploit knowledge on the ways terrestrial and aquatic organisms and their populations adapt, on molecular, physiological, and ecological levels, to the effects of climate change, such as by tolerance to extreme temperatures, drought/water stress, salinity or increased biotic pressures (new pests), as observed at macro-scale (e.g. shifting ecological niches). The scope covers understanding the complex interactions between the affected populations (e.g. molecular signalling), and broader outcomes on an ecological level. International cooperation is strongly encouraged to maximise the impact.

Where relevant, proposals should seek synergies and capitalise on the results of past and ongoing research projects. Proposals should:

  1. Identify and justify the choice of the selected organism or system under investigation, specifying the level and characteristics of the environmental stimuli covered (i.e. extreme or changing environment linked to climatic conditions).
  2. Consider the broader level of climate adaptation in the systems identified, in order to shed light on the possibility and magnitude of applying the discovered principles as part of a mitigation strategy.
  3. Engage with industrial actors including SMEs to identify and implement the best combination of appropriate technical solutions and in particular biotechnology for specific industrial value chains, for sustainable biomass generation, taking into account the barriers and drivers derived from governance and market aspects, while seeking engagement and understanding of all actors.
  4. Develop and communicate the key methods to monitor and measure the qualitative and quantitative impacts of these solutions and practices for different biomass sourcing, optimization, processing and production systems, the potential of replacing available traditional alternatives, if relevant, and trade-offs, including for biodiversity, and potential benefits in terms of the socioeconomic resilience of businesses, job creation and industrial competitiveness.
  5. Develop and test mechanisms with all actors, notably the research community and bio-based industry. Exchange knowledge on and demonstrate solutions for improved bio-based products and processes and for addressing other environmental impacts such as on biodiversity to agricultural operators, farmers, fishers, foresters, SMEs and the broader public, and help them implement them.

For this topic, it is not mandatory to integrate the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) into research and innovation.