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Apply until:

Sep 20, 2024

Funding up to:

€10 000 000

Startup; SME

If you are:

Industry:

Housing

Short description:

Pioneering initiatives for achieving climate neutrality in rural areas by 2050.

ExpectedOutcome:
The successful proposal will contribute to fostering a sustainable, balanced, equitable and inclusive development of rural areas, supporting the implementation of the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas and its objectives (in particular contributing to stronger and resilient rural areas) and to its flagship initiative “Research and innovation for rural communities”, the European Green Deal, in particular the climate pact, the fit for 55 package, the forest and biodiversity strategies, and the new soil strategy as well as the territorial agenda 2030, the common agricultural policy (CAP) and the REPowerEU plan. In addition, proposals will complement the EU Mission Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, covering sparsely populated areas, and contribute to the objectives of the EU Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’.

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

rural communities are empowered and engaged in the green transition and equipped with strategies and innovative solutions to contribute to EU’s climate-neutrality objectives (by 2035 and 2050) and benefit from a climate-neutral economy;
rural communities take advantage of data, interoperable platforms and digital technologies available to help them meet climate-neutrality objectives, such as dashboards, data visualisation techniques, modelling, digital twins of entire rural communities and tools contributing to spatial planning;
policy makers are better informed about policy and regulatory frameworks, conditions and processes that are likely to encourage rural areas’ climate-neutrality while sustaining an adequate social welfare and well-being and avoiding negative social, economic and environmental externalities;
a stronger rural innovation ecosystem is in place bringing together public and private players and making rural areas an attractive place for innovators to work and live.


Scope:
The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This objective is in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement and it is reflected in the European Green Deal objectives. Considering that approximately one third of EU citizens live in rural areas, which represent 83% of the EU territory, it is key to empower rural communities to transit towards sustainability by fostering innovation in key areas such as environment and sustainable management of resources (air, soil, water), energy, transport, agriculture, industry, bioeconomy, and finance and ensure that no one is left behind.

Projects funded under this topic are expected to:

design, prototype and test concrete innovations (technical, social, organisational) supporting climate-neutrality, zero pollution and biodiversity enhancement in rural communities, possibly including initiatives such as nature-based solutions (NBS), circularity and bioeconomy, bio-based solutions, community-energy systems, climate-neutral mobility, fire-prevention, etc. Innovations should be co-created with rural stakeholders to respond to their needs and tested for their feasibility for the territorial development opportunities or drawbacks that they bring;
include training and capacity building for local administrations and rural stakeholders in order to create and maintain a rural innovation ecosystem and enable them to make use or benefit from the successful innovations developed and from existing funding opportunities for the green and digital transitions;
boost networking and enhance peer-to-peer learning between communities and capitalise on lessons learnt making them available as recommendations for policy makers at various levels (European, national, regional and local);

Proposals are encouraged to fully exploit and build complementarities with the ongoing work regarding the establishment of the European Open Science Cloud and interact with relevant projects developing metadata standards and added value tools to ensure interoperability within and across fields of study.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of social sciences and humanities (SSH), (e.g., for expertise in behavioural change, etc.) and must implement the multi-actor approach by involving relevant stakeholders from an early stage (e.g. rural communities representatives, small-medium enterprises -SMEs, etc., end-users, local authorities, etc.).

Proposals should cover various biogeographical regions with a balanced coverage reflecting the various pedo-climatic zones in Europe in a representative way.

Proposals are expected to build on the preliminary results of the Horizon Europe projects GRANULAR and RUSTIK, in particular its framework and indicators on climate-neutrality of rural communities.

Proposals should also create synergies and coordinate activities with the other project funded under this topic and should allocate appropriate budget for this task. Proposals are also encouraged to build synergies with relevant projects that will be financed under this call.

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ounder and CEO of Heroes Made

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