First Internal Call (closed)

1st EJP SOIL internal Call for proposals

This call is open from 30.06.2020 with a closing date for proposals on 18.09.2020

The European Joint Programme “EJP SOIL - Towards climate-smart sustainable management of agricultural soils” comprise 24 countries committed to the overall goal of providing sustainable agricultural soil management solutions that contribute to key societal challenges including climate change and future food supply.

Rationale & Aim of the call

The overall objective of this internal call is to fund research projects open to EJP SOIL partners and linked third parties according to the consortium agreement to fill research and development gaps identified by the EJP SOIL`s “Roadmap for EU Agricultural Soil Management research”. Read more detailed information in the document 'Call text of the EJP SOIL 1st Internal Call'. For Word file of document, click here.

Application procedure & Evaluation criteria

The Internal Call follows a 1-stage-procedure and competitive selection. 

Only EJP SOIL partners and third linked parties can apply. After the closing date for submission all pre-proposals will be checked against the mandatory call eligibility criteria. Depending on the topic and type of project required, the proposal must meet the following specific call eligibility criteria: 

  • The application must be written in English.
  • Applications must be complete and in accordance to the submission procedure.
  • Applications must be submitted in time.
  • Proposals of applying consortia including beneficiaries and/or third linked parties that are NOT EJP SOIL beneficiaries are not eligible to apply and will be rejected.

EJP SOIL participants who are involved in the internal call preparation (i.e. Nils Borchard, Bartosz Adamczyk, Rosemarie Stangl, Pia Minixhofer, Elena Rodriguez) can not participate in the proposals preparation and subsequent research project implementation. For further questions regarding the eligibility criteria, please contact the Call Office (see below).

On the 15th July 2020 a webinar for interested applicants will be organised, which will give an overview about all relevant aspects of the Call (i.e., topics, conditions, requirements, proposal submission, evaluation, etc.) and provide time to answer open questions. More detailed information will be released directly on the submission tool website in due time.    


Project types


Interested project consortia should apply to one of these 8 EJP SOIL topics:

Topic ID: CM2

Quantification of the potential of agricultural soils to sequester more carbon at the regional & national scale in the different partner countries

To design adequate policies that promote climate mitigation options in agriculture, countries need to know the potential of C sequestration in their conditions, at the national or regional scale, and in particular for agricultural soils. This potential depends on the pedo-climatic conditions, on the current soil organic carbon stocks and on the management practices promoting SOC accumulation that can be implemented.

The project will aim to evaluate the technical potential to store additional carbon in agricultural soils by implementing appropriate agricultural practices in cropland and grassland.

Project type: One / Large / 3 - 4 years / 350 PM

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Topic ID: CM8

Evaluating soil management options for specific objectives: Trade-offs between soil organic carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions and/or N and P losses 

Storing more C in soils may lead to adverse effects on the climate and on the environment, by increasing other GHG emissions and by affecting water quality. Related to the type of farming systems, soil management strategies for C sequestration focus on increased input of organic matter, changes in the nature of organic inputs to soil or decreased turnover of soil organic matter via either increased stabilization of SOC in mineral soils or by reducing the conditions prone to SOC turnover.

The objective is to analyse the potential trade-offs for major pedoclimatic zones and farming systems in Europe. 

Project type: One to two/ medium size projects / 150 PM

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Topic ID CA1

Evaluating soil management options for the specific objective of Climate change adaptation

Although the role of sustainably managed soils and of organic matter rich soils is often forwarded as a way to help agroecosystems to adapt to climate change, not much quantitative and context-specific information is available and synthesised.

The objective is to synthesize the available knowledge linking soil management, plant rooting patterns, soil structure and soil organic matter to crop water supply through effects on soil water and available knowledge linking soil management, soil biology and plant nutrient uptake under elevated pCO2 and temperature.    

Project type: 1 synthesis/ 20PM

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Topic ID: FS2/MT4

Innovative soil management practices in Europe and their suitability for European farming systems

Innovative farming practices are being developed, and a high variability of the soil management practices developed and implemented is expected across Europe. 

This stocktake will first identify innovative soil management practices and technologies in Europe developed by farmers, industry and research. Second, the study will evaluate the applicability and suitability of these and more well-known soil management practices and technologies for different pedo-climatic zones and farming systems in Europe.

Project type: Stocktake / 40 PM / collecting information from multiple countries.

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Topic ID: ES1/ES2

Methodologies and tools to assess the contribution of soils to ecosystem services / for assessing soil quality

The soil`s natural functions are multi-fold as they ensure life through sustaining primary productivity and a large part of the overall biodiversity, play a key role in the carbon, nutrient and water cycles and control multiple natural processes. Evidently soil is useful to humans as a source of raw materials, land for settlement, economic and public uses, and agricultural and silvicultural land use. However, the soil’s capacity to sustain functions can be altered by a number of degradation processes, thus decreasing their capacities to provide ecosystem services.

The study will evaluate the ability of agricultural soils to sustain functions and ecosystem services and thereby evaluate their quality requires to have: i) an explicit framework and chain from soil properties to soil functions and to soil ecosystem services, ii) indicators of soil state and functions, and iii) a set of reference values for these indicators, in the different pedo-climatic conditions for the main agricultural productions.

Project type: A combined stocktake / 40 PM

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Topic ID: ES7

Enabling conditions to implement improved management options and tools to monitor soil quality: Analysis on how soil indicators could be used to support CAP measures

Results-based farmer payment may be introduced in the post 2020 CAP regarding soils, as they already have been introduced for biodiversity. At this stage, two soil related results indicators will have been identified: soil organic carbon stocks, and an indicator on improving soils. Results-based payments schemes represent a radical shift in approach for farmers as well as for managing authorities and payment agencies. Operationalizing for soil result-based payments raises a number of questions.

The study will analyse how results-based payments schemes may be developed.

Project type: Small research project /100 PM / This project relates to topic ES1/ES2

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Topic ID: SR5

Landscape analyses: Erosion processes    

The 7th Environmental Action Plan of the European Union stated that by 2020: "land is managed sustainably in the Union, soil is adequately protected". Achieving these goals requires efforts in reducing soil erosion and increasing soil organic matter content. Land use aspects are to be integrated and coordinated with decision-making, all relevant government levels need to be involved. Soil and land need to be acknowledged as a resource, and targets for land planning and sustainable land and soil use and management should be defined addressing soil quality issues within a binding legal framework. Erosion processes (detachment, transport, and deposition) result in the loss of soil and SOM due to water and wind erosion in agricultural fields. Where does it occur? How can it be assessed? What is the impact and how can it be prevented?

The project should consider the ‘connectivity’ principles to identify key linkages at a range of scales across the landscapes that soil loss and the associated impact on C cycling, biodiversity and resilience. Projects should focus on different environmental zones and soil types.

Project type: Medium size research project / 150 PM

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Topic ID: MT1

Good knowledge of the present status of agricultural soils: Innovative techniques for soil mapping  and assessing  spatial and temporal variation of soil properties   

Space-borne and airborne remote (hereafter as “remote”) sensing has several benefits such as obtaining soil surface and topsoil information from large areas, providing information for inaccessible areas, providing additional data, consistent temporal resolution for the creation of time series, short revisit time and providing freely available data. Although several attempts to improve the accuracy of remotely mapped soil properties were undertaken, none of these approaches is capable to assess soil properties in the desired resolution and accuracy. Combining these technologies into a EU observation network could also interestingly rely on participatory science approaches providing field observations for calibration and testing or for increasing mapping resolution.  

This project will focus on developing and testing these novel technologies for measuring soil characteristics and soil evaluation, in the different environmental zones and soil types in Europe.

Project type: Two / medium size projects / per project 150 PM

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Scope & expected impacts and outputs of this EJP

The present EJP will contribute to long-term alignment of research strategies in two main ways: i) by developing a shared vision, and ii) establishing platforms for networks of soil scientist and other soil stakeholders in Europe. The shared vision will be developed among consortium partners and will address desirable soil futures and ways to attain them. Internal calls will foster alignment between the EJP SOIL partners and important players of European research in the areas of agriculture, ecology, soils and climate. To facilitate relevant knowledge development the EJP SOIL will perform i) synthesis and stock taking activities and ii) research and integrative projects. Pre-identified and approved (by the Board of Project Managers) topics of the stock-taking activities and internal projects will be managed through internal calls; for more details see below section 2.

Budget, Funding modalities & eligibility criteria

The EJP SOIL is a 5-year project that runs from February 2020 to January 2025. The EJP SOIL falls into the concept of a co-fund action. For the 1st call of EJP SOIL projects a budget of maximum 15 M€ has been allocated with a reimbursement rate of 44% by the EU grant and 56% by EJP SOIL program owners and managers. 

Click here for:

Original Excel files are accessible via Slack and/or the Call office.    


Partnering tool

For partnering the EJP SOIL WP3 team launched Slack Channels (i.e. topic-specific chat rooms at Access will be granted after sending an e-mail to the Call Office (

Call Office contacts


Nils Borchard

Bartosz Adamczyk





+358 29 5322 201

+358 29 5322 222






Rosemarie Stangl

Pia Minixhofer





+43 1 47854 87401

+43 1 47854 87406



Key information about the EJP SOIL programme


Number of countries: 24

Number of participating organisations:  26

Total budget:  80M



The EJP SOIL programme has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862695