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Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future: Research and innovation in support of the European Green Deal

The planned Horizon Europe Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, including Societal Transformation will test, evaluate and scale-up a range of adaptation solutions with the aim to trigger societal transformations among key community systems (i.e., health; primary production including agriculture, forestry, fisheries and acquaculture; water; environment, including biodiversity; and infrastructure including clean energy and transport) that are central to resilience building and sustainable growth.

Therefore, the actions funded under this call topic will serve as early facilitators in pre-identifying and upscaling the most promising cross-sectoral solutions at a regional scale.

Proposals should address only one of the following sub-topics:

1) Innovation Packages for transformational adaptation of European regions and communities (Innovation Actions)

The actions should aim at enabling rapid and far-reaching change through the development of region-specific portfolios of R&I solutions, mature enough for demonstration, which may include nature-based solutions, innovative technologies, financing, insurance and governance models, awareness and behavioural change. The innovation packages should cover the key community systems and comprise the adaptation solutions and pathways deemed essential for climate and social resilience in the specific regional contexts and the set timeline. While accounting for disparities in adaptive capacities and rates of change across countries, regions and communities, the innovation packages should:

  • propose and implement multiscale and multisectoral regional adaptation pathways based on transformative and no-regret measures, in line with national and regional climate objectives, hence ensuring a just transition and environmental justice, implement and test innovations in key systems demonstrating their contribution to improving resilience in the region and/or community
  • prioritise the key systems that most urgently need to be protected from climate impacts and risks, and which would significantly improve the resilience of the region or community,
  • prioritise vulnerable European regions or communities with the highest exposure, the highest vulnerability and/or least adaptive capacity to climate change impacts,
  • integrate systemic risk analyses and management, considering multihazards and cascading effects, as well as interdependencies between key systems,
  • make use of operational climate services (e.g. Copernicus Climate Change Service, Copernicus Emergency Management Service) available for public institutions and key sectors,
  • stimulate wide citizen and stakeholder engagement and ensure ownership of the solutions through co-creation processes,
  • take stock of existing good practises and solutions already available from other programmes, such as Horizon 2020, EIT KICs, LIFE+ Programme, Structural Funds programmes the EIB, the EBRD and at national, regional, local and private level.

2) Support the design, testing and upscale of Innovation Packages (Coordination and Support Action)

The action should support the implementation and wide dissemination of the solutions developed and tested under sub-topic 1. 

In particular this action area should include:

  • Citizens and regions engagement 
    • ensure the wide deployment and integration of Innovation Packages through educational and training activities across relevant sectors and involving diverse groups and covering all categories of population, 
    • ensure that targeted regions and communities are involved and benefit from the Innovation Packages through early multi-stakeholder dialogue and citizens engagement and surveys,
    • engage with pan-European regional and cities networks and partnerships from the beginning, e.g. European Committee of the Regions, EU Urban Agenda Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation, Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, European Institute for Innovation and Technology Knowledge Communities (EIT KICs), etc.
    • support regions and communities in identifying and possibly overcoming institutional, regulatory and financial barriers preventing the implementation of Innovation Packages; including testing of innovative public-private partnerships prioritizing greater citizen involvement throughout the process.
  • Monitoring and assessment: 
    • develop a set of indicators[5], in collaboration with the activities carried out under area 1, which consider regional specificities and
    • enable the monitoring and assessment of Innovation Packages,
    • identify cases of maladaptation at regional level and analyse the root causes of failures in practice; formulate region-specific recommendations to address these root causes,
    • address issues of replicability across scale and sustainability over time for the cross-sectoral solutions and regional pathways,
  • Portfolio of Solutions 
    • support the preparation of the portfolio of solutions, through in-depth diagnosis and prioritization of actions, in close cooperation with regional actors,
    • support the regions in identifying, mapping and leveraging EU and national funding and financing programmes to support the deployment of the Innovation Packages,
    • foster an enabling environment for the demonstration projects implemented under subtopic 1, including digital services; citizen engagement, education and capacity building; business and insurance models, resource leveraging; innovative coordination approaches, etc.
    • develop a fully functioning and free-access online platform or upgrade existing knowledge-exchange platforms with user-friendly information on Innovation Packages covering all relevant aspects (financial, social, technological and regulatory) and priority areas (health, agriculture, water, environment including biodiversity, and infrastructure including energy, etc.).

Expected Impact:

  • Support the European Green Deal targets, in particular the new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, the EU biodiversity, bioeconomy and circular economy strategies, the objectives of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, as well as the Clean Air Programme for Europe.
  • Contribute to the economic restart from the Covid 19 crisis and foster transformative change across all regions and sectors of society to increase climate resilience.
  • Contribute to strengthening social acceptance and social resilience.

Sub-topic 1) Massive increase of community resilience and capacities to cope with unavoidable effects of climate change. Performance indicators should include for instance reduction of the climate protection gap, increase in Green investments, etc.

Sub-topic 2) Improve knowledge access to adaptation solutions through synergies and/or integration of the online platform with Climate-ADAPT, Copernicus services and other existing Pan-European platforms.

Financial Allocation

For subtopic 1: The Commission considers that IA proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 10 to 15 million would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

For subtopic 2: The Commission considers that CSA proposals requesting a contribution in the range of EUR 3 million would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.


EU Member States, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania (AnnexA of Horizon 2020 Work Programme) and Tunisia as Associated partner


26 January 2021 17:00:00 Brussels time
European Member States, Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT), The associated countries (AC)
Sector of activity: 
Climate Change