Horizon Europe (2021 - 2027)

Optimisation of nutrient budget in agriculture

Last update: 11 days ago Last update: 15 Sep, 2022


Location: EU 27 EU 27
Contracting Authority Type: Development Institution
Status: Awarded
Budget: Euro 7,000,000
Award ceiling: N/A
Award floor: N/A
Sector: Environment & NRM, Pollution & Waste Management (incl. treatment), Research, Agriculture
Eligible applicants: Unrestricted / Unspecified, Individuals
Eligible nationalities: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, A ... See more Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Angola, Anguilla, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Austria, Azerbaijan, Azores, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Caribbean Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dem. Rep. Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Commonwealth of, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Eswatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, French Southern Territory, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine / West Bank & Gaza, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Date posted: 28 Jun, 2021

Attachments 1

See more
See less


Call Updates

Feb 21, 2022 11:29:00 AM



Published: 21 June 2021

Deadline: 06 October 2021

Budget per topic with separate ‘call-budget-split’:


Type of Action

Budgets (EUR million) 2021






The results of the evaluation are as follows:


Number of proposals submitted (including proposals transferred from or to other calls):

Number of inadmissible proposals:

Number of ineligible proposals:

Number of above-threshold proposals:

Total budget requested for above-threshold proposals (EUR million):









We recently informed the applicants about the evaluation results for their proposals.

For questions, please contact the Research Enquiry Service.

Oct 12, 2021 12:19:28 PM


Call HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01 has closed on the 06 October 2021. 64 proposals have been submitted.

The breakdown per topic is: 


Evaluation results are expected to be communicated in March 2022.

Jun 22, 2021 5:12:41 PM

The submission session is now available for: HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-02(HORIZON-RIA)

Optimisation of nutrient budget in agriculture


Programme: Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON)
Call: Clean environment and zero pollution (HORIZON-CL6-2021-ZEROPOLLUTION-01)
Type of action: HORIZON-RIA HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions
Type of MGA: HORIZON Action Grant Budget-Based [HORIZON-AG]
Deadline model: single-stage
Opening date: 22 June 2021
Deadline date: 06 October 2021 17:00:00 Brussels time

Topic description


In line with the zero pollution action plan and the farm to fork strategy, the successful proposal will support to limit and reduce pollution due to the excess of nutrients and nutrient losses (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) in the environment, stemming from excess use in agriculture. It will contribute with new and enhance knowledge to the development of integrated nutrient management plan.

Project results are expected to contribute to all following expected outcomes:

  • Improve nutrient budget and flows by identification of optimal combinations of nutrients in different farming systems (conventional, agro-ecological and organic systems) following, when possible, a holistic approach of the plant and animal productions system.
  • New approaches and methods supported with sound indicators to monitor and measure nutrients flows and practices with the greatest climate change mitigation potential and water and nutrient leakages, and biodiversity preservation while ensuring economic farm viability.
  • Identification and targeted implementation of individual or combined region-specific agricultural practices that help balance nutrient cycles and Nature Based Solutions for plant and animal nutrition and health optimizing the use of external inputs and implementation of regulated deficit strategies.
  • Quantification of the potential to save particularly N and P emissions from the implementation of relevant individual or combined agriculture practices, e.g. organic agriculture, agro-ecology, conservation agriculture, improve organic and mineral fertilization management, etc., that enhance soils health and combat eutrophication and water pollution.
  • Improved nutrient budget at different scales, by sound quantification of the inputs and outputs of water and nutrients in different agricultural systems including quantitative environmental and economic indicators for farms, regions and/or products.
  • Enhanced models to identify contamination and pollution hotspots locally, to extrapolate to regional, national and global solutions.
  • Strengthened transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary research and integrated scientific support for relevant EU policies and priorities (common agricultural policy (CAP), Green Deal, the zero pollution action plan, the farm to fork, etc.).


Sustainable agricultural production systems not only deliver nutritious food and other raw materials, they are also key drivers of economic growth in rural areas. Roughly 25% of the annually produced terrestrial agricultural biomass is used by humans, about 70% [1](mostly from grassland, by-products, and inedible crop residues) converted through animals into food and manure, and the remainder goes into biofuel. Unsustainable agricultural systems can cause a variety of adverse environmental effects, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and air and water pollution due to poor management of nutrients.

When possible, the holistic consideration of plant and animal nutrition within the agricultural production systems could contribute to more sustainability of the food chain by promoting the minimization of nutrients leakage and improved nutritional values of fertilisers, feed and food. This approach could cover the basic nutritional elements (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen), the macro elements (phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulphur) but also the trace elements (zinc, copper, iron, iodine, selenium, manganese). In line with the European Green Deal, the development of a nutrient budgeting approach could focus on the fluxes of carbon (C).

However, there are substantial knowledge gaps regarding the measurement and understanding of the impacts of nutrients flow in different farming practices (conventional, agro-ecological and organic systems, specialised and mix farming systems) at various scales, from local to global, and the capacity to model those impacts.

Proposals should build on existing and new knowledge, data, models (including in situ calibration measurement), artificial intelligence and tools to:

  • Optimise and harmonise nutrient and water flow models, indicators and data for quantification and assessment to prevent or reduce environmental pollution caused by nutrients, across sectors, for different types of agricultural practices (conventional, organic and agro-ecological agriculture), and scales – farm, local, regional and river basin.
  • Explore and assess safe alternative nutrient sources and pathways (e.g. organic vs inorganic), enhance management and recycling of organic wastes and explore nutrient recovery opportunities (e.g. by using treated sewage sludge or wastewater) as well as nutrient mobilisation through microorganisms.
  • Build upon available results from previous EU projects funded under the Horizon 2020 topic CE-RUR-08-2018-2019-2020: Closing nutrient cycles.
  • Enhance nutrient use efficiency at different levels.
  • Analyse climate change effects of certain nutrient flows, including interactions between nutrient, water and carbon cycles.
  • Develop biological models for nutrients flows remote sensing tools, in agricultural systems: for physical, chemical and biological parameters, using smart sensors and AI technologies.
  • Develop digital platforms to allow precision nutrient management at farm scale and landscape scale.

Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach’ and ensure adequate involvement of the farming sector and, as relevant, bio-based industry active in rural areas.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.

[1]A nutrient budget quantifies the inputs and outputs of nutrients in a system and can be used to understand better how the system soil-water-plant-nutrients works, and provide quantitative environmental and economic indicators for farms, regions and products.

Call Updates

Feb 21, 2022 11:29:00 AM



Published: 21 June 2021

Deadline: 06 October 2021

Budget per topic with separate ‘call-budget-split’:

Want to unlock full information?
Member-only information. Become a member to access this information. Procurement notices from over 100 donors and banks are available here