Horizon Europe Pillar 2

Horizon Europe Cluster 6

Cluster 6 – Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment is one of six clusters under the Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness Pillar of the Horizon Europe Work Programme. The mandate of Cluster 6 is to ‘provide opportunities to enhance and balance environmental, social and economic goals and to set human economic activities on a path towards sustainability.’ Learn more about the expected impacts and destinations of this cluster below.

Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment

The Horizon Europe ‘Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment’ cluster sets forth a plan for transformative change of EU economy and society. Through the planned activities, Cluster 6 will reduce environmental degradation, halt and reverse the decline of biodiversity and better manage natural resources while meeting the EU’s climate objectives and ensuring food and water security.

Horizon Europe Cluster 6 – Expected Impacts

The Cluster 6 work programme will contribute to all of the key strategic orientations (KSOs) of the Horizon Europe strategic plan. In order to achieve this, Cluster 6 will deliver on six expected impacts.

Six expected impacts of Cluster 6

  1. Climate neutrality is achieved
  2. Biodiversity is back on the path to recovery
  3. Sustainable and circular management and use of natural resources, and prevention and removal of pollution are mainstreamed
  4. Food and nutrition security for all (within planetary boundaries)
  5. Sustainable and inclusive development of rural and coastal areas
  6. Innovative government models enabling sustainability and resilience


Horizon Europe Cluster 6 – Destinations

‘Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment’ will contribute to the expected impacts through the following seven destinations:

Biodiversity and ecosystem services

About this destination:  The ultimate goal of this destination is the expected impact: ‘Biodiversity is back on a path to recovery, and ecosystems and their services are preserved and sustainably restored on land, inland water and at sea through improved knowledge and innovation’.

This destination includes the following topics:

  • Understanding biodiversity decline,
  • Valuing and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services,
  • Managing biodiversity in primary production,
  • Enabling transformative change in biodiversity,
  • Interconnecting biodiversity research and supporting policies,
  • Development of a long-term strategic research agenda for biodiversity,


Fair, healthy and environment-friendly food systems from primary production to consumption

About this destination: Proposals for topics under this destination should set out credible pathways to fair, healthy, safe, climate- and environment‑friendly, resilient food systems from primary production to consumption, ensuring food and nutrition security for all within planetary boundaries in the EU and globally.

This destination includes the following topics:

  • Sustainable farming
  • Sustainable Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Transforming food systems for health, sustainability, and inclusion
  • Global transition to sustainable food systems


Circular economy and bioeconomy sectors

About this destination: This destination and its topics target climate-neutral circular and bioeconomy transitions, covering safe integrated circular solutions at territorial and sectoral levels, for important material flows and product value chains, such as the textile, electronics, plastics and construction sectors, as well as key bioeconomy sectors such as sustainable bio-based systems, sustainable forestry, small-scale rural bio-based solutions, and aquatic value chains.

This destination includes the following topics:

  • Circularity, including local and regional focus
  • Bio-based innovation
  • Multifunctional and sustainable management of European forests
  • Aquatic biological resources and blue biotechnology


Clean environment and zero pollution

About this destination: The ultimate goal of this destination is to halt and eliminate pollution to guarantee clean and healthy soils, air, fresh and marine water for all. To reach this objective, it will be paramount to advance the knowledge of pollution sources and pathways to enable preventive measures, improve monitoring and control, apply planetary boundaries in practice and introduce effective remediation methods.

This destination includes the following topics:

  • Halting emissions of pollutants to soils and waters
  • Protecting drinking water and managing urban water pollution
  • Addressing pollution on seas and ocean
  • Increasing environmental performances and sustainability of processes and products


Land, ocean and water for climate action

About this destination: Research in this destination will deliver greater understanding of who or what is exposed and sensitive to certain impacts of climate change. Particularly changing land and marine environments, natural resources, agriculture and food systems. New mitigation options and adaptation pathways will be identified.

This destination includes the following topics:

  • Better understanding and enhancing the mitigation potential of ecosystems and sectors based on the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • Advanced understanding and science to support adaptation and resilience of natural and managed ecosystems, water and soil systems and economic sectors;
  • Efficient monitoring, assessment and projections related to climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation potential in order to bring out solutions
  • Fostered climate change mitigation in the primary sector , including by the reduction of GHG emissions, maintenance of natural carbon sinks and enhancement of sequestration and storage of carbon in ecosystems;
  • Improved adaptive capacity of water and soil systems and sectors including by unlocking the potential of nature-based solutions;
  • Better managed scarce resources, in particular soils and water, thus mitigating climate related risks, in particular desertification and erosion, thanks to informed decision-makers and stakeholders and integration of adaptation measures in relevant EU policies.


Resilient, inclusive, healthy and green rural, coastal and urban communities

About this destination: Under this destination, transdisciplinary R&I with a strong social and behavioural sciences dimension, and attention to gender aspects, will foster a sustainable, balanced and inclusive development of rural, coastal and urban areas in three different ways.

  • Firstly, it will aim to increase the understanding of the differential impacts of climate, environmental, socio-economic and demographic changes on rural, coastal and urban areas in order to identify ways to turn these changes into equal opportunities for people wherever they live, enhancing territorial cohesion and enabling a just transition.
  • Secondly, it will explore innovative ways to tailor policy responses to the place-based challenges identified at various levels of governance.
  • Thirdly, it will support bottom-up community-led innovation to empower communities to develop, test and upscale solutions that answer global challenges in locally adapted ways.


Innovative governance, environmental observations and digital solutions in support of the Green Deal

About this destination: In order to make truly transformative changes such as those laid out in the Green Deal, appropriate governance must be established. Innovative governance must have the capacity to monitor dynamic processes associated with these changes, and cope with and promote resilience in response to on-going shocks and disruptions globally and across Europe.   

R&I activities under this destination aim at:

  • Experimenting with new ways to govern the transition process
  • Modernising the governance, in particular by making information and knowledge available and accessible.

R&I for governance to support the Green Deal shall provide insights into institutional barriers such as lock-ins, path dependency, political and cultural inertia power imbalances and regulatory inconsistencies or weaknesses.



Horizon Europe: Further reading


A must-have if you’re interested in getting your business to the next level