Nature-based solutions in Horizon 2020

Since the beginning of H2020 six topics directly focused on nature-based solutions (NBS) have been listed in the work programme under Societal challenge 5 (Climate action, environment, resource efficiency, and raw materials) and Cross-cutting activity Smart and Sustainable cities. The following topics have been already closed and evaluated:

  • SC5-08-2017: Large-scale demonstrators on nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction
  • SC5-09-2016: Operationalising insurance value of ecosystems
  • SC5-10-2016: Multi-stakeholder dialogue platform to promote innovation with nature to address societal challenges
  • SCC-02-2016-2017: Demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions in cities
  • SCC-03-2016: New governance, business, financing models and economic impact assessment tools for sustainable cities with nature-based solutions (urban re-naturing)
  • SCC-04-2016: Sustainable urbanisation

Available data sources (mainly the eCORDA database, January 2018) register 122 project proposals focusing on NBS issues in selected six topics. Seven project proposals did not meet the formal requirements needed for peer-review evaluation, and thus were classified as “INELIGIBLE”. Fifty-six project proposals were rejected during the first stage of the evaluation process. The remaining 59 project proposals were submitted to the final evaluation round as “full proposals”. Based on the results of the evaluation process, 16 project proposals were recommended for funding from the H2020 budget and other 17 high quality projects proposals ended above the threshold in evaluation process.

Figure 1 presents the success of EU-28 states in NBS-focused topics. The overall success rate of all EU-28 states is 13.9%. SE, SI, AT, NL, and FI exceed this value significantly (by more than 5%). These are advanced countries with a strong focus on environmental aspects in R&D. Slovenia is also strongly involved over a long period in projects with an environmental aspect in FPs. On the contrary, the success rate of DK, PT, EL, and above all SK, HU, and CZ is relatively low
Figure 1 presents the success of EU-28 states in NBS-focused topics. The overall success rate of all EU-28 states is 13.9%. SE, SI, AT, NL, and FI exceed this value significantly (by more than 5%). These are advanced countries with a strong focus on environmental aspects in R&D. Slovenia is also strongly involved over a long period in projects with an environmental aspect in FPs. On the contrary, the success rate of DK, PT, EL, and above all SK, HU, and CZ is relatively low

Nature-based solutions as a topic certainly have not come to their end in H2020. In 2019 calls, there will be three topics open for proposal submission (all of them with the deadline of the first stage on 19 February 2019):

  • Inter-relations between climate change, biodiversity, and ecosystem services
  • Strengthening international cooperation on sustainable urbanisation: nature-based solutions for restoration and rehabilitation of urban ecosystems
  • Visionary and integrated solutions to improve well-being and health in cities

Further topics focused on nature-based solutions are at the moment under preparation for the next update of the work programme, which will have a deadline in 2020.

The text is a summary of the comprehensive article on NBS published in the bulletin Echo.

by Jana Čejková, Dan Frank