Soils are essential for our life and that of future generations. However, 60-70% of EU soils are considered unhealthy. Therefore, among the EU Missions to bring concrete innovative solutions to some of our greatest challenge, the European Commision, via the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, includes a specific budget of 95 million € to cover the Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ and establish 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030.

Soil health living labs are local cooperative places where several experiments are carried out on the ground. Experiments happen in real-life conditions, operating with end-users and other actors and stakeholders, to make sure that the research and innovation actions find solutions to societal challenges related to soil health, such as the challenges that farmers face on the ground, or those that agri-food industries encounter with waste & by-products discards.  Soil health lighthouses are single sites (e.g., a farm, a park or a company) where to demonstrate good practices. Demo activities and good practices are set in place to inspire other practitioners and entities to move towards sustainable land management.

WHO can become a BENEFICIARY and a partner of these projects?


A broad mix of experts and actors, from innovation & research, practitioner organizations, civil society and policy makers is welcome toco-create and evaluate research and innovations actions related to soil health. The more the merrier!

EU mission projects are intended for consortia formed by 3 or more partners from different EU countries. Some legal organizations with the potential to contribute to Soil Mission projects are:

  • Farmer associations and forester organizations
  • Companies (both small-medium and large enterprises)
  • Citizens’ entities
  • Non-governmental organization
  • Universities
  • Research and technological institutions
  • Policy makers, authorities and other public bodies

Each partner will have a unique and key role in the project. For example, researcherscould design and develop innovation experiments to test new approaches/techniques for soil sustainability; farmers, foresters and land managers could demonstrate in their farms and forest exploitations the hypothesized approaches; spatial planners could validate good practices in their urban green parks; enterprises (SMEs and LEs) could develop novel sustainable methods based on circular economy and minimization of waste, NGOs and citizens could validate and provide feedback about the social solutions; and authorities/public bodies could contribute with the implementation and development of good practices and novel sustainable policies.

WHICH are the OBJECTIVES and TOPICS of the Soil Mission?

Soil Mission has 8 main objectives: prevent erosion, reduce desertification, enhance soil biodiversity, conserve soil organic carbon stocks , stop soil sealing, reducesoil pollution, reduce the EU globalfootprint on soils and expand soil literacy in society.

These objectives are represented on its 10 topics for innovative proposals on2022 Soil Mission call, which closes on 27th September 2022. Among them, the following titles stand out:

  • Remediation strategies, methods and financial models for decontamination and reuse of land in urban and rural areas.
  • Soil biodiversity and its contribution to ecosystem services.
  • Improving food systems sustainability and soil health with food processing residues.
  • Monitoring, reporting and verification of soil carbon and greenhouse gases balance.
  • Innovations for soil improvement from bio-waste.

WHY is SOIL HEALTH indispensable for the agri-food sector?

Soils play a crucial role in the environment and, of course, in agriculture: they store and filter water, recycle nutrients, sequester CO2 and help regulate flooding. In addition, soils have an essential role on terrestrial living organisms: soils are the support on which most terrestrial plant species develop and provide shelter and food for numerous animal, fungal and bacterial species.

Terrestrial species live in symbiosis with the soil and maintain each other. Fertile soil helps plants grow by providing them with nutrients, retaining sufficient water to grow and offering the substrate for their roots to spread. Plants on the other hand, protect and stabilize the soil against erosion and return part of the organic matter, whether these plants are wild or cultivated, or whether they are trees, shrubs, herbs or crops. However, nowadays soil is severely damaged and its constructive function on terrestrial animals and plants is in great danger. For this reason, large support from all industries and professionals within the agri-food sector is required to remediate this unhealthy situation.

An action example within the Spanish agri-food sector: EDITORIAL AGRÍCOLA

The transfer of Information is fundamental for the fruitful development and evolution of any sector, and the success of this process relies on the ability to effectively process and manage information. This becomes even more important in the food and agriculture sector. Therefore, counting with a communication agency specialized in agri-food sector, as Editorial Agricola, is essential for the correct development of any agri-food project and business.

With over 90-year experience in communication, Editorial Agricola has a permanent multidisciplinary team made up of 16 people experts in the design and transmission of information within the agri-food sector. Our team counts with experts in public relations, marketing, digital transformation, graphic design and dissemination of content, who will help soil R&D professionals to easily reach their target audience.

HOW to apply for this European fundings?

CONTACTICA: the experience gained on the basis of good results

With over 10 years of experience in diverse Research and Development (R&D) fields, including agri-food, environment and eco-innovation, biotechnology, health, energy, and materials, CONTACTICA has extensive experience in the submission of European consortium proposals and has already obtained funding for more than 30 projects (check the full list here).

CONTACTICA has created an exceptional network of partners at national and international level and the knowledge about suitable financing sources for each client. Our working method aims that our customers get the best results from their projects, minimizing investment through access to sources of direct funding (public financing).

CONTACTICA provides a wide range of services for Research and Development projects. We accompany you throughout the entire proposal submission process, from the concept validation of the project, the shape of the consortium, to the proposal writing and the support in the submission process. In addition, CONTACTICA offers project management, communication and dissemination and sustainability service for R&D projects, optimizing the project impact.

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