The European Commission has awarded a contract for the setting up of an open access publishing platform for scientific articles from all disciplines (as well as to host pre-prints) as a free service for Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe beneficiaries.

Publications via this platform will undergo a peer review process and will meet all open access requirements of the current and the future EU research and innovation programmes.

The contract for setting up this service, worth around 5.8 M EUR, has been awarded to the London-based company F1000 Research Ltd. (owned by Taylor & Francis, and already supporting Open Access publishing platforms of the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation). Additionally, Eurodoc (European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers), LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries) and the Global Young Academy will participate in this initiative and will be responsible for the involvement of researchers and libraries as well as for outreach and training activities.

The service will be launched officially at the beginning of 2021, the submission of publications will be possible from autumn 2020. Further information on the platform as well as the possibility to register interest in submitting articles for publication will be available soon.

Further information:

» European Commission press release

» EU Open Science policy and activities

» Press release Eurodoc

» Press release LIBER

» Press release Global Young Academy

» Contact at KoWi

Source : EC & KoWi, 27.03.2020

The European Commission has published a new article on the FAQ website of the Funding & Tenders Portal, which addresses possible disruptions of the implementation of H2020 projects, additional costs and travel cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commission refers to the possibility of applying Article 51 of the H2020 Model Grant Agreement (MGA), which regulates the case of force majeure. Beneficiaries can rely on it if they are unable to meet their contractual obligations due to unusual and unpredictable events beyond their control. These cases are therefore not considered as a breach of contract. The prerequisite is that the beneficiaries immediately inform the Commission or the Executive Agencies about the disruption of the project. In addition, they must take all necessary steps to keep the damage caused by the disruption low (e.g. timely cancellation of orders or travel).

According to the explanations in the Annotated Model Grant Agreement, additional costs incurred due to force majeure (e.g. costs for the reorganization of an event) should in principle be borne by the beneficiaries. However, the new FAQ article promises a possibility of reimbursement of these costs as long as the maximum grant amount is not exceeded. Such costs must also meet the general requirements for reimbursement and must not have already been reimbursed by any other source. The same applies to costs for trips that cannot take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The possibility of reimbursement of cancellation costs is also confirmed once again by the response of the European Commission to a request of our Austrian colleagues from the FFG, which you can find on their website. It stresses in particular that the beneficiaries must immediately inform the responsible project officer at the Commission or the Executive Agencies who then decide on the application of Article 51 H2020 MGA on a case-by-case basis.

Further information:
» FAQ article about force majeure and COVID-19
» FFG website about cancellation costs and COVID-19

Contact at KoWi:
Anita Bindhammer
Sebastian Claus
Cristina Condovici

Source : EC & KoWi, 20.3.2020

The deadline for pre-proposal submission is postponed from April 9 to April 28 2020, 13:00h (CEST) due to the current public health situation in Europe.

Following the Co-funded Call in 2018 (first call), the aim of this second call is to support scientifically excellent transnational research, development and innovation projects that contribute to the improvement of sustainability (environmental, economic and societal) and resilience of crop production.

There are currently at least 16 funding organisations from 12 countries intending to support the Call including France, Latvia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, United Kingdom, Poland, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Romania (tbc), and Turkey.

More detailed information and any further updates are available on the SusCrop webpage and the proposal submission webpage.

SusCrop is an ERA-Net Cofund Action under H2020, which aims to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) in the field of Sustainable Crop Production through enhanced cooperation and coordination of different national and regional research programmes. In this regard, SusCrop brings together owners and managers of national and regional R&D&I programmes of EU Member States, EU-associated States and Third countries with significant experience in research funding and coordination.

Contact: Christian Breuer (coordinator) [email protected]

Due to the impact of the corona virus, the EPSO Board decided last week to hold the 2020 General Meeting as simultaneous regional General Meetings in 9 different regions across Europe, each one chaired by one Board member.

Though an unforeseen change, this can foster engagement of the EPSO Representatives, of EPSO Supporting Scientists and possibly encourage regional activities of EPSO members as they suggested at our 2019 General Meeting.


The meetings will have a common agenda including plenty of time for regional specific discussions.


To each regional GM one Representative per institutional member (A* members have more than one) will participate and can bring along 1 Supporting Scientist if they wish so as successfully done for the 2019 GM.


These will take place on the originally reserved dates of 2 July (e.g. start 3pm) and 3 July (e.g. close 4pm) 2020.


The Board member chairing the regional GM will decide in the coming weeks with the respective Representatives where to hold the regional meeting. In case of further travel restrictions in a region, the respective Board member and representatives can convert this into an online meeting as well.

Preparatory email

You will receive the first preparatory email for the regional GMs on 3 April 2020.


Representatives are invited to confirm to Karin Metzlaff their participation by 31 March and that of one Supporting Scientists.

 Looking forward to a series of very interactive regional General Meetings

Alan Schulman (President) and Karin Metzlaff (Executive Director)

Contact: Karin Metzlaff, EPSO Executive Director

EPSO welcomes the EC’s ‘Orientation paper’ and looks forward to actions across clusters and pillars to better address the Sustainable Development Goals and the EU Green Deal including the farm to fork and the biodiversity strategies. To this end, EPSO makes the following key recommendations to policy makers at European and national level:

 1-Combine genetic, chemical, ecological and agronomic strategies for smart, diverse agriculture that benefits the environment and increases Food and Nutritional Security as well as Human Health

  • Encourage contributions from plant scientists to help boost the water- and nutrient-use efficiency of agricultural crops and to improve resource stewardship for resilient and environmentally sustainable production in agriculture, horticulture and forestry
  • Encourage contributions from plant scientists to improve plant / crop health for resilient and environmentally sustainable production, thereby supporting the one health concept in agriculture, horticulture and forestry
  • Encourage contributions from (plant) scientists to not only help decrease the environmental footprint, but also improve Food and Nutritional Security for human health and wellbeing.
  • Develop a food label acknowledging lower environmental footprint without reducing yield and quality
  • Engage more stakeholders in research projects through a consultative process from the start

 2-Support new technologies and adhere to international agreements by improving the legislation and supporting flagship projects utilising New Breeding Technologies

 3-Ensure continued open access to Digital Sequence Information (DSI) – DSI must NOT be included under the Nagoya protocol, as this would prevent open access

 4-Close the research and innovation cycle in pillar 2 of the Horizon Europe 2021-27 programme 

5-Implement underlying concepts to address global challenges and EU priorities:

  • 1001 Crops – Diverse crops for diverse diets, human health and resilient production.
  • Encourage and combine crop improvement, crop management and crop processing
  • Combine all available approached

 These recommendations are relevant to the strategy for future Work Programmes as well as for Partnerships and Missions in Horizon Europe, particularly the partnerships ‘Accelerating farming systems transitions: agro-ecology living labs and research infrastructure’, ‘Rescuing biodiversity to safeguard life on earth’, Safe and sustainable Food System for People, Planet and Climate’ and ‘Circular bio-based Europe: Sustainable, inclusive and circular bio-based solutions’, and the mission area for ‘Soil and Food’.

Click here to read the full statement.

Contacts (see full statement): Karin Metzlaff, European Plant Science Organisation, EPSO; Alan Schulman, LUKE, FI & EPSO President; Ernst van den Ende, WUR, NL & EPSO Board