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Research and innovation

Biodiversity research policy

EU biodiversity research policy, focus areas, Horizon Europe, partnerships, documents and related links

How does Horizon Europe support biodiversity?

The EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe (2021-2027), dedicates funding to protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity and managing sustainably natural resources on land and at sea, and achieving climate neutrality and adaptation.

Through its work programmes, Horizon Europe contributes to the efforts in filling the existing scientific and knowledge gaps on biodiversity by providing funding in the following areas

  • understanding biodiversity decline, and addressing its main drivers
  • valuing and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • managing biodiversity in primary production
  • enabling transformative change on biodiversity
  • interconnecting biodiversity research and supporting policies
  • understanding the nexus between biodiversity and health

European Biodiversity Partnership (Biodiversa+)

The co-funded European Biodiversity Partnership (Biodiversa+) supports excellent research on biodiversity with an impact for policy and society. It was jointly developed by BiodivERsA and the European Commission and was officially launched on 1 October 2021. The Partnership currently gathers 83 research programmers and funders and environmental policy actors from 41 European and associated countries, and aims to connect science, policy and practice for transformative change (e.g. see the Biodiversa+ policy briefs).

Biodiversa+ is part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 that aims to put Europe’s biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. European Partnerships such as Biodiversa+ bring the European Commission and private and/or public partners together to address some of Europe’s most pressing challenges through concerted research and innovation initiatives. They are a key implementation tool of Horizon Europe, and contribute significantly to achieving the EU’s political priorities.

Biodiversa+ will be running for 7 years, with a total budget of €800 million, including member-state contributions. Over this time, the Partnership plans to launch six co-funded joint research calls with an estimated budget of around €250 million.

The 5 main objectives of the partnership are to:

  1. plan and support research and innovation on biodiversity through a shared strategy, annual joint calls for research projects and capacity building activities
  2. set up a network of harmonised schemes to improve monitoring of biodiversity and ecosystem services across Europe
  3. contribute to high-end knowledge for deploying nature-based solutions and valuation of biodiversity in the private sector
  4. ensure efficient science-based support for policy-making and implementation in Europe
  5. strengthen the relevance and impact of pan-European research on biodiversity in a global context

EU missions

The EU missions, in particular the mission on adaptation to climate change that aims to accelerate the systemic transformation, will also play an important role in testing, deploying and scaling up nature-based solutions and restoring biodiversity as core elements of this transformation.

Other EU missions that will also foster biodiversity restoration are on restoring our ocean and waters, climate-neutral and smart cities and healthy soils.

How much will be spent?

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 stipulates an increase in the budget for biodiversity in the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon Europe compared to its predecessor Horizon 2020.

The European Commission has committed to dedicate 7.5% of its Multi-Annual Financial Framework’s total budget over the period 2021-2027 to biodiversity objectives as of 2024 and to increase this to 10% in 2026 and 2027.

What was done in Horizon 2020?

The EU has invested in biodiversity-related areas under the research and innovation programme, 2014-2020 Horizon 2020. Its 2018-2020 work programme includes actions on the interplay between climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem services, monitoring biodiversity, understanding and protecting pollinators, fighting plastic pollution and improving air and health through investing in nature-based solutions.

Through Horizon 2020, over 70 cities have been involved in nature-based solution demonstration projects.

The EU also supported biodiversity research through the predecessor of the co-funded European Biodiversity Partnership (Biodiversa+), which coordinated national research programmes across Europe and organised international funding for biodiversity research projects on a competitive basis.

Call for green projects

The Horizon 2020 Green Deal call was launched in September 2020, the last and biggest call under the programme. Through this call, more than €80 million are invested in restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services at scale to enable transformative change. The four projects funded under this call are MERLIN, REST-COAST,SUPERB, and WaterLANDS.

Other areas on climate and food systems are relevant for biodiversity and to mainstream biodiversity into cross-sectorial policies, and on bringing knowledge together on pandemics and biodiversity.

European research supports global biodiversity policy

European research and innovation supports the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): see infographic

The Commission works together with the Belmont Forum on international research cooperation.


Publication cover
Factsheet12 September 2023
Contribution of the EU R&I framework programmes to IPBES

Insights from the references of IPBES reports.

Relevant Programmes: Horizon 2020 (H2020), Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

Publication cover
Report24 August 2023
Linking research to global biodiversity policies

How did the EU research funding contribute to recent IPBES reports?

Relevant Programmes: Horizon 2020 (H2020), Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

31 JANUARY 2022
BiodivERsA brochure
31 AUGUST 2021
Science at the service of biodiversity
14 JUNE 2021
The EU and IPBES: Science cooperation for biodiversity (Infographic)
6 OCTOBER 2020
The EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 (Infographic)
20 MAY 2020
Research and innovation key driver of the biodiversity strategy