The aim of the Biodiversa+ network is to save biodiversity and thereby secure life on Earth. The network is a part of the Horizon Europe partnership programme. Its future programmes were announced at the General Assembly in Madrid. There is a wide research community in the field in Finland.
Biodiversa+ is important for the Finnish research community both as a partnership programme and as a network. It develops programming and funding cooperation on biodiversity and ecosystem services with the particular objective of promoting policymaker engagement and increasing the societal impact of research. Biodiversity loss is a global problem caused by human activities, such as land use changes, pollution and climate change. It is a problem in which everything is interconnected. If biodiversity is lost, human existence will also be in danger.
The Finnish research community within biodiversity studies is wide, and Finnish researchers apply actively for funding within the programme. In addition to funding, Biodiversa+ offers new opportunities for international networking for accepted projects. By being a part of the network, by funding research and by harmonising the activities of funding agencies and organisations together with societal actors we can create the necessary tools to avoid biodiversity loss. Additionally, we can reach the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy: to ensure that 30% of Europe’s surface area is restored to its natural state by 2030 and that Europe’s ecosystems are sustainable, properly preserved and restored by 2050.
To date, the Academy’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment has funded 21 Finnish projects with 3.1 million euros within three of the network’s calls. The Finnish researchers’ success in the Biodiversa calls has brought nearly 700,000 euros of EU funding to Finland. The Research Council’s aim is to fund Finnish research within the Biodiversa network to promote networking and international collaboration. Bringing more EU funds to Finland is an added bonus.
Securing life in Madrid
The General Assembly of the Biodiversa+ partnership was held 13–14 September 2022 in the Madrid botanical gardens. Pictured are the participants during a break. Photo: Biodiversa.
The Biodiversa+ partnership (2021–2028) is the front-runner of the Horizon Europe partnership programme, the first of the 49 partnership candidates to be launched. There are several similar co-funded partnerships being prepared for launch, many of them related to global challenges in health and environment. The Horizon Europe partnerships are more versatile and longer lasting in their design and function that their predecessors, the European Joint Programming Initiatives. The new partnerships are based on the existent JPI networks. One of the partnerships’ aims is to better involve different societal actors, beginning with individual citizens.
In addition to the old members, mainly European funding agencies, the Biodiversa+ network now includes key ministries and other government actors. The network comprises a total of 74 organisations in 36 countries. In Finland, the Ministry of the Environment participates in the partnership in a double role, as it both grants funding and participates in the partnership. The Ministry manages one of the largest work packages in Biodiversa+ which will develop monitoring biodiversity.
The Biodiversa+ calls aim for as high a funding percentage as possible while still taking the partner states’ different resources into account. All funding agencies that succeed in the programme calls will receive EU funding in addition to the pledged funding. The total amount of EU funding is based on how well the network has succeeded in raising funds for the call. After negotiations, the states that are not fully funded will also receive funding from the EU common pot. Without this common pot funding, some excellent projects would not be funded because one (or several) of the consortium partners lacks funds. This has happened on occasion.
In addition to funding recommendations, the Madrid General Assembly touched on how well Biodiversa+ projects succeeded in their panel reviews. The Assembly also discussed and decided on the next two Flagship Programmes which are thematic research and activity programmes on biodiversity that steer the partnership activities.
Cooperation between international organisations and actors were discussed at the end of the Assembly. The main topic was how the future Flagships should be prioritised and updated so that the partner states share a vision for the content and sequence of research themes for the coming years.
- Read more about the programme calls and the Academy’s activities in the Biodiversa+ network at: Biodiversa