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Large scale demonstrators of climate resilience creating cross-border value

This topic relates to the Mission’s third objective, aiming to deliver at least 75 deep demonstrations of systemic transformations to climate resilience.

Proposals under this topic must deploy large-scale demonstrations of scientifically sound innovative solutions, combining technological and social innovation, with concrete measurable impacts leading to an increase of the resilience and adaptation capacity to climate change across the territory of the European Union and associated countries[[adding the reference of the official HE document where the Associated countries are listed]].

As climate impacts, adaptive capacities and disaster risk reduction capabilities differ greatly across regions, scientific development and innovation should address specific needs at regional and local scale, fully acknowledging place-based governance, socio-economic and identity characteristics and other place-based data, with tailor-made responses and measures, which are required for a positive and just societal transformation towards climate resilience. To get the Mission kick-started, this topic is based on a full openness, bottom–up principle. For this call, no thematic focus is pre-defined to leave each proposal define the most relevant climate vulnerabilities and risks to be addressed in the regions involved, for example extreme precipitations events or extreme droughts.

Inter-regional collaborative actions to demonstrate and scale up effective solutions are highly encouraged, where regions front-runners that are most experienced in climate resilience building would collaborate in addressing interregional challenges with regions less experienced that are vulnerable to similar climate impacts, creating a common place to test and deploy the most suitable solutions and to exchange best practices. Proposals should include at least demonstration in three regions where adaptation actions will be deployed to increase the resilience of these regions to the negative effects of climate change. These three minimum regions must be located in different EU Member States or Horizon Europe associated countries, with at least one demonstration taking place in a less developed region [[defined as those eligible for cohesion funds by REGULATION (EU) 2021/1058]]. For each of the demonstrators that will take place in front-runner regions, the proposal should support replication of the successful demonstration in at least two more less experienced regions. The consortium may include other type of partners, such as private or public research organisations and enterprises, to ensure that all needed capabilities are available.

The contribution from Horizon Europe budget to projects under this topic is intended to stimulate substantial additional investments from national and European public funding programmes and from private sources. A written commitment to apply for complementary funding is required from the participating regions in which the action proposed will be implemented in case the project will be selected for funding. This should be expressed by a letter of intent annexed to the proposal signed by the corresponding authority/ies from the participating regions. The letter should state the willingness of the Regional authority to seek (when possible) complementary funding from other national and European programmes for investments aiming at increasing resilience and adaptation to climate change. This will include in particular European Regional Development and Cohesion Fund and the Next generation EU.

To unlock / identify links to EU Regional Funds to implement their climate adaptation plans and strategies contributing to a sustainable and inclusive growth, regions involved in the proposals could leverage JRC guidance and support to EU regions and Member States in the development of smart specialisation strategies. In particular, the regions could tap in to JRC support in the development of specific synergetic actions in the area of climate adaptation among Horizon Europe, national research and innovation programmes, cohesion policy programmes and the Next generationEU recovery instrument.

The possible participation of the JRC in the project will also consist of supporting the analysis of nature-based solutions (e.g. biodiversity for climate resilience), which are beyond standard quick fixes and need careful evaluation taking into account regional aspects.

In agreement with the authorities responsible for the territories where the actions will be implemented, the consortium should develop a scalability plan including the diffusion of innovative solutions, and a process for commitments (including funding and governance) in adopting large-scale and long-term resilience building. The consortium should seek guarantees for the non-reversibility, sustainability and continuity of the actions after the end of the project.

Proposals should (when relevant) build upon existing knowledge and adaptation solutions, including from beyond EU, designed and developed from previous projects on climate adaptation funded by European and National programmes in particular the European Union Framework programmes for Research and Innovation (such as Horizon 2020), as well as Copernicus, the Group on Earth Observations, the LIFE programmes and the EIT Climate KIC [[Deep Demonstrations - Climate-KIC]] and support the upscaling of successful pilots.

Proposals should be consistent with the EU actions taken to boost its resilience over the past years and in particular the strategies or plans developed by EU Member States and associated countries.

Projects funded under this topic should aim for clear, discernible results in short- to medium-term, embedding them in a perspective of long-term systemic change. Interventions should result in large impact and visible actions, with a focus on rapid scalability and deployment of effective solutions. While the project duration is expected to be 4-5 years, projects should provide a detailed description of the results that will be in place by the end of the third year and the timeline to exploit the full results. Actions are expected to deliver visible results in- situ by the end of the project. Project progress, including its scalability and exploitation plan, will be monitored continuously by the granting authority on a yearly basis as part of the monitoring process of the Climate Adaptation Mission. The project should also commit to sustain longer term results and to follow up beyond the end of the project duration, through the involvement of the relevant authorities, as climate resilience building at large territorial scale, in particular through large scale nature-based solutions, implies that certain results can only manifest themselves longer term.

Proposals should include a mechanism and the resources to establish operational links with the Climate-ADAPT platform[[https://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/about/climate-adapt-profile-final_2019.pdf]] (run by the European Environment Agency (EEA) together with DG CLIMA) that will act as a central element for the monitoring, support and visualisation of the Mission progress in European Regions. To this purpose, projects will feed their results to the Climate-ADAPT and EEA assessments.

Projects funded under this topic are strongly encouraged to participate in networking and joint activities with other projects funded under other topics in the Mission Climate Adaptation as well as in other relevant Missions, as appropriate. These networking and joint activities could, for example, involve the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. Of particular importance in this context are topics HORIZON-MISS-2021-OCEAN-02-01: European Blue Parks and HORIZON-MISS-2021-OCEAN-02-03: Atlantic and Arctic basin lighthouse - restoration of marine ecosystems. To this extent, proposals should provide for dedicated activities and earmark appropriate resources.

The European Commission intends to establish a network and coordination activities amongst all the projects funded for the implementation of the Climate adaptation Mission, and also those funded under the Horizon 2020 European Green Deal call[[This refers to projects granted under call H2020-LC-GD-2020, topic LC-GD-1-3-2020. The projects are still in grant preparation at the time of writing. They will be operational right at the official planned start of the Mission. In addition to the development of innovation packages improving climate resilience, a Coordination and Support Action will foster their adoption and wide reapplication in at least 10 vulnerable and low-capacity regions. A Coordination and Support Action is already included in the Horizon Europe work programme 2021 to provide additional support to regional and local authorities]] and under Horizon Europe when particularly relevant to climate adaptation knowledge and solutions, and that will be coordinated by the soon to be established Mission Implementation Platform. The projects under this topic will be requested to contribute to this effort. Applicants should acknowledge this request and already account for these obligations in their proposal, making adequate provisions in terms of resources and budget to engage and collaborate with the Mission governance.