Proposals should aim at a platform for collaboration and coordination across various microbiome-related research and innovation programmes, in Europe and worldwide, throughout the food systems and beyond, including both terrestrial and aquatic environments (e.g. linkages among microbiome related work in plants, animals, soils, marine and human health)[[Relevant topics presented in the Work Programme are: SC1-BHC-03-2018 Exploiting research results and potential of the human microbiome for personalised prediction and prevention of disease, LC-SFS-03-2018 Microbiome applications for sustainable food systems, SFS-11-2018-2019 Anti-microbials and livestock production, […..]]]. They should map the state of play in the different Member States, associated countries and third countries participating in the IBF, and propose strategic research agendas for future Microbiome activities addressing emerging technologies and political priorities. In line with the objectives of the EU strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation[[http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/index.cfm?pg=strategy]], proposals should also aim at supporting similar activities within other IBF working groups. Participation of relevant partners from third countries and international organisations is strongly encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Knowledge of the potential of microbial systems, or microbiomes, throughout the food chains, is seen as a promising means to ensuring the sustainability of our food system. Although a number of relevant European programmes and initiatives are currently running or are being launched, they are largely fragmented, implying a stringent need for coordinated action. This need for joint action at the European level can also be regarded in the broader picture of microbiome-related actions at the international level. A forum for regular, strategic international cooperation at multi-partner level could focus on building policy coherence and exploiting synergies between countries and regions. To this end, the European Commission launched in October 2016 the International Bioeconomy Forum (IBF), a flexible multilateral platform whereby European and global R&I partners would gather to discuss and act on common challenges in the bioeconomy, such as the microbiome. The bioeconomy has been incorporated in the strategic activities of a large number of countries in Europe and worldwide. Accordingly the IBF will be used as a platform to share ideas and experiences on bioeconomy policies, strategies and actions, fostering collaboration and joint activities that will promote innovation in key sectors.
In line with the EU Bioeconomy Strategy, in the short/medium term proposals will:
- Improve coherence and reduce the overlap between national and EU funding in microbiome research; reinforce collaborations and knowledge exchange with international networks to promote coherence and applicability of microbiomes; help establish an internationally agreed microbiome definition, best practices and standards, consistent protocols and pipelines.
- Improve the international cooperation framework of bioeconomy research programmes, thus creating the basis for the development of joint international research programmes and facilitate the alignment of international research agendas.
- Exchange knowledge across the scientific and political community and ensure an efficient use of the available resources, while raising awareness of the bioeconomy at an international level.
In the long-term, proposals will impact on global challenges relevant to the bioeconomy world-wide through multilateral co-operation and broader international efforts towards the achievement of some ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).