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26 key opportunities in Farm2Fork and CircBio for 2024

Damián Muruzábal

Damián Muruzábal

Food and Bioeconomy Knowledge Area Leader

The European Commission recently presented the work programme with the 2024 topics for the different Horizon Europe Cluster 6 calls. In total, for 2024, Cluster 6 has a budget of €730 million to fund projects on topics as diverse as: biodiversity and ecosystem services, food (from production to consumption), circular economy and bioeconomy, natural resources, environment, governance solutions and solutions to achieve resilient, inclusive, and sustainable urban, coastal, and rural communities.

In this article we want to anticipate some of the most interesting opportunities and highlight why the integration of different actors is one of the keys to success in moving towards more sustainable and circular production, processing and consumption systems in the food and natural resources sectors. Despite the wide variety of topics, we want to focus on the most relevant opportunities within the destinations of Farm2Fork and CircBio.


The Farm2Fork destination addresses fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly food systems from primary production to the final consumer. Its opportunities are focused on developing healthier, safer, more accessible, and sustainable food and production and consumption processes.

Don’t miss the opportunity because Farm2Fork 2024 has more opportunities for you than you can imagine: 164 million euros to finance more than 30 projects in different topics, of which we highlight the following:

FARM2FORK-01-2: New healthy and sustainable food products and processes.

FARM2FORK-01-4: Climate change and food security: effects of climate change on food security.

FARM2FORK-01-5: Creating smart and attractive tools to improve healthy and sustainable food supply, nutrition, and food processing at home.

FARM2FORK-01-6: Citizen science as an opportunity to foster the transition to sustainable food.

FARM2FORK-01-7: Impact of the development of novel foods based on alternative protein sources.

FARM2FORK-01-8: Preventing and reducing food waste to reduce environmental impact and help achieve the 2030 climate goals.

FARM2FORK-01-9: Microbiome for taste and texture in organoleptic dietary change.

Regarding the Farm2Fork topics to be presented in two phases, the most important funding opportunities focus on sustainable agriculture and aquaculture:

FARM2FORK-02-1-two phases: Increasing the availability and use of clean inputs in organic farming.

FARM2FORK-02-2-two phases: Sustainable organic food innovation laboratories: strengthening the whole value chain.

FARM2FORK-02-3-two phases: Tools to increase the effectiveness of phytosanitary import controls in the EU.

FARM2FORK-02-4-two phases: Tackling outbreaks of plant pests.

FARM2FORK-02-02-6-two-phases: Minimising climate impacts on fisheries: mitigation and adaptation solutions for future climate regimes.

FARM2FORK-02-7-two phases: Minimising climate impacts on aquaculture: mitigation and adaptation solutions for future climate regimes.


In 2024, the CircBio destination, focused on developing the circular economy and the bioeconomy, will focus on increasing circularity in the European textile, furniture, and tourism sectors, as well as innovations in sustainable bio-based systems to foster the circular bioeconomy. This call has €147.5 million available to fund more than 30 projects by 2024. Some of the key opportunities in the call will be the following:

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-01-2: Circular solutions for textile value chains based on extended producer responsibility.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-01-3: Innovative circular solutions for furniture.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-01-4: Systemic circular solutions for sustainable tourism.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-01-5: Programmed biodegradability of bio-based materials and products, validated in specific environments.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-01-7: Demonstration of the just and equitable transition of GHG intensive economies facing challenges towards circular bioeconomy model regions.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-01-9: Emerging circular bioeconomy villages.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-01-10: Targeting aquatic extremophiles for new enzymes, pharmaceuticals, metabolites, and chemicals.

Furthermore, the CircBio destination also has a number of topics that will be presented in two phases. In general, these topics aim to enable the transition to the circular economy in the textile, plastics and electronics value chains, water, and wastewater management, as well as the supply and demonstration of new bio-based processes and products. The topics we would like to highlight are:

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-02-1-two phases: Circular solutions for textile value chains through innovative sorting, recycling, and design for recycling.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-02-2-two phases: Increasing circularity in plastics value chains.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-02-3-two phases: Increasing circularity in electronics value chains.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-02-4-two phases: New circular solutions and decentralised approaches for water and wastewater management.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-02-5-two phases: Circular design of bio-based processes and products.

HORIZON-CL6-2024-CircBio-02-6-two phases: From silos to diversity: small-scale bio-based pilot demonstration projects.

The interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach of cluster 6

Most of the topics that are at the heart of the Farm2Fork and CircBio calls for proposals must be aligned with the European Green Deal. According to the European Commission, the objectives of this pact must be achieved in seven years, so funded proposals must commit to ensure significant impacts in Europe at various levels: scientific-technical, environmental, and socio-economic.

Sometimes, when planning a project, the work focuses on the development of new products or processes, making the mistake of forgetting to place the professionals and end users at the centre of R&D&I, who are the ones who will ultimately implement and integrate the innovations developed in the projects into their daily lives.

Therefore, the interdisciplinary approach (to address the different casuistry and problems from different specialities of scientific-technical knowledge) but especially the incorporation of professionals and end users involved in the sector (relevant actors of the value chain) is key to achieve success and the expected impacts.

To ensure this approach, we recommend carefully planning an interactive innovation model. This model is based on a multi-actor approach, in which professionals (i.e., end-users) are placed at the centre of the R&D&I activities throughout the project and are actively and effectively involved from the conception of the proposal and throughout the implementation of the project.

The multi-stakeholder approach is a criterion of eligibility and excellence in Horizon Europe, but it does not mean that all existing actors must be included in all proposals; the key is to identify the most relevant ones to achieve the expected results and involve them accordingly, with strategic tasks and roles to ensure smooth and effective cooperation.

In this context, enhancing the participation of the agents of the value chain addressed is the first step to ensure that the R&D&I developed is relevant to society and provides solutions to its demands. This approach makes the next call for proposals attractive to a wide range of actors, not only research centres, companies in the sector and farmers (or their groups and associations, if we consider the agri-food sector), but also government representatives, civil society organisations, NGOs, consumer associations and local communities, among others.

The deadlines of the calls for proposals

The Farm2Fork and CircBio single-stage calls have just opened and the deadline for submission is 22 February 2024. Two-phase proposals have the same opening date and will have the first cut-off on 22 February 2024; proposals invited for full submission will have the second deadline on 17 September 2024.

All proposals for the two-stage calls will be part of the blind evaluation pilot, launched in 2023, whereby during the first phase proposals will be evaluated blindly and therefore applicants will not be able to disclose their identity (either directly or indirectly) in the proposal specifications. Failure to comply with this requirement will make the proposal ineligible and will therefore be automatically rejected.

Zabala Innovation helps you plan ahead

2023 is an important year: we are halfway through the framework programme, and we already have valuable experience from the last three Horizon Europe calls for proposals, but we have also confirmed that the level of competition will be fierce.

In addition, most of the topics coincide with the 22 February deadline and the Christmas dates could make it difficult to prepare proposals. Therefore, it is particularly important that you plan your proposals in advance with a high-quality helpdesk to maximise your chances, because this train will only run once a year.

Finally, to stand out from the competition with high quality standards, it will be key not only to have an innovative idea and partners with sufficient capacity and experience, but also to carefully plan your strategy to achieve the impact expected by the European Commission.

In addition, the new features of the work programme since last year, such as lump sum funding and the blind evaluation, must be considered. Thus, it should be borne in mind that when writing the report of a proposal for a two-phase call, there is the additional challenge of ensuring the anonymity of the applicants, something that is not usual in traditional proposals; or that if the funding will be in the form of lump sum, the project must be planned differently, which especially affects the preparation of the budget.

At Zabala Innovation we have helped to turn ideas into excellent European projects, with tailor-made solutions for each proposal. So do not hesitate to contact us if you have an interesting project idea, because we can help you to present an outstanding proposal.

Expert person

Damián Muruzábal
Damián Muruzábal

Pamplona Office

Food and Bioeconomy Knowledge Area Leader