OPEN CALL for networks

The aim of the call is to promote Nordic collaboration among researchers from the agricultural sectors by networking activities including conferences and seminars. Deadline for application submission is September 15th, 2020 at 24:00 CET.

Focus areas of the call:

• Plant health
• Soil health
• Nordic food security and self-sufficiency in agriculture

We particularly encourage networks that relate to aspects of plant health, soil health or Nordic food security and self-sufficiency in agriculture to apply for funding. However, we also encourage networks with focus on other aspects of Nordic agriculture and food research to apply for funding.

Overall scope of the call
Successful applicants may receive funds from NKJ of up to 300 000 SEK, covering at most 50% of the total budget for the network.  Participants in submitted networks should represent at least three countries consisting of three research institutions in the Nordic* region. 

Network outputs should be useful for the Nordic community and should include knowledge exchange across national borders through e.g. arranging workshops, seminars, scientific meetings or open conferences. Networks could also produce peer-reviewed scientific papers, design policy recommendations based on research findings, write large-scale research funding applications, and create or maintain databases or websites.

* Nordic is defined as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the autonomous areas of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands.

Plant health
Plant health is increasingly under threat, FAO estimates that up to 40% of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases annually. 

NKJ wants to ensure that Nordic policies are based on sound research to take preventive and adaptive measures to keep plants healthy. We want research networks dealing with sustainable methods such as tools used in integrated pest management and phytosanitary measures. In the face of climate change, plant breeders need to improve traits of crops. Yields need to be maximized and of high quality while making sure that plants are resilient enough to endure extreme weather and resist diseases and pests. Growing techniques need to be adapted to lower the usage of chemicals, while providing economical incitement to farmers to make both our landscapes and fields more diverse. Insects need shelter in a complex surrounding to provide invaluable ecosystem services from pollinators and natural enemies. Monitoring techniques need to be readily available for farmers so they can make informed decisions and as a last resort use just the correct amount of pesticides at the right time. We need to collaborate and come up with new, sustainable solutions to reduce the dependency of agrochemicals, while increasing resilience. In this spirit, NKJ has decided to fund networks that can change the future.

Soil health
Soil is the base for life on land and forms a fundamental pillar for agriculture. Thriving healthy soils are a prerequisite for achieving sustainable agriculture.

In a future of climate change and extreme weather, healthy soils are needed to mitigate climate changes and for a resilient Nordic agriculture. Therefore, NKJ calls for networks that focus on maintaining and enhancing soil quality for future generations, this is crucial both as an agricultural resource and as a carbon sink. With this funding opportunity, we want to encourage researchers in the Nordic region to interlink and together work on finding solutions that can improve soils, counteracting decades of soil degradation and the subsequent loss of productive agricultural land. 

Nordic food security and self-sufficiency in agriculture
Today, large parts of Nordic agriculture and livestock industry are highly dependent on transportation and import of e.g. fuel, fertilisers, seed, labor, plant protection agents and fodder. This dependency makes Nordic agriculture and food security vulnerable. A crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic gives unprecedented chances to funnel the need for change to bring the future already tomorrow. A fossil fuel free agriculture that relies on regional production of inputs would reduce the import dependency and make production less sensitive to social disturbances. NKJ wants to fund networks working with agriculture, either on farms or focusing anywhere from the downstream refinement of agricultural products to upstream innovations and production flows needed to increase primary agricultural production in the Nordic region. The goal is to find novel tools and improve current production to increase resilience, sustainability, competitiveness and improve self-sufficiency of agriculture in the Nordic region. Examples on topics for networks to focus on are improved cooperation between farmers and producers, alternative protein sources, alternative fuels, alternative fertilizers, renewable energy on farms and innovative tools to be used both in integrated pest management and organic agriculture.

Call text
Here you will find everything you need to know before applying.

Application form
Download the application form and submit before September 15 at 24:00 CET.

Mimmi Blomquist,

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