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Capture, recycling and societal management of phosphorus in the environment

Project description

Innovative techniques for phosphorus management

Existing agricultural practices overexploit and waste the earth’s phosphorus (P) reserves. This results in large flows of P into surface waters, damaging ecosystems. Since these practices use valuable P resources and pollute the environment, the EU has issued a circular Economy Action Plan that aims to move towards a circular P economy. This requires new interdisciplinary collaborations that will radically shape P governance, introducing new P management solutions. The EU-funded RecaP project will train a new generation of P specialists to become 'knowledge brokers' across disciplinary silos, aiming to ensure transformative changes in P sustainability in the EU. The project will train early-stage researchers in the capture and recycling of P from wastewater and freshwater systems as well as in innovative P recovery and freshwater restoration techniques.


Phosphorus (P) is a vital input for agricultural production. Yet, current agricultural practices are overexploiting and wasting the earth´s P reserves, which are needed to meet the food demand of a growing human population. Currently, there is a large flow of P from mineable P rock through agricultural production systems to surface waters, where eutrophication severely deteriorates ecosystems functioning. Hence, P is polluting the environment, while at the same time valuable P resources are lost. This is the global P challenge! A challenge of planetary dimensions with potentially dramatic consequences for humans. Through its circular Economy Action Plan, the EU provides the regulatory framework to develop an economy where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained for as long as possible. Important steps towards a circular P economy includes establishing new interdisciplinary partnerships for creating strategies towards radical restructuring of P governance and for developing novel, interdisciplinary P management solutions involving multi-stakeholder participation at regional and global scales. RecaP will address these needs by creating a new generation of P specialists to become ‘knowledge brokers’ across disciplinary silos with their interdisciplinary skills, experience and networks, ensuring transformative changes in P sustainability in the EU. RecaP will not just explore the technical aspects of the global P challenge, but also where such solutions can be implemented in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally acceptable. ESRs will focus on capture and recycling of P from wastewater and freshwater systems, novel P recovery techniques, strategies to improve crop utilization of P, novel freshwater restoration techniques, as well as barriers and enablers to policy and economic transformation to support recycling. All activities are connected to one another in order to create novel insights that can help create new P governance.


Net EU contribution
€ 595 044,00
5230 Odense M

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Danmark Syddanmark Fyn
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 595 044,00

Participants (11)