Prevention, detection, response and mitigation of chemical, biological and radiological threats to agricultural production, feed and food processing, distribution and consumption

Grant Name
Prevention, detection, response and mitigation of chemical, biological and radiological threats to agricultural production, feed and food processing, distribution and consumption
Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON)
European Commission
Research Field
Detection technology
Protection of networks
Biological threat detection
Disaster resilience and crisis management
Artificial Intelligence
Incident Response
Agricultural products
Chemical, Biological, CBRN detection
Equipments and sub systems
Digital Agenda
Manufacturing and processing
Feed products
Protection of citizens (goods and people)
International Cooperation
Social sciences and humanities
Grant Size

General conditions

1. Admissibility conditions: described in Annex A and Annex E of the Horizon Europe Work Programme General Annexes

Proposal page limits and layout: described in Part B of the Application Form available in the Submission System

2. Eligible countries: described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes

A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon Europe projects. See the information in the Horizon Europe Programme Guide.

3. Other eligibility conditions: described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes

The following additional eligibility criteria apply:

This topic requires the active involvement, as beneficiaries, of at least 3 organisations from at least 3 different EU Member States or Associated Countries as follows: (i) at least one organisation representing citizens or local communities; (ii) at least one organisation representing practitioners (first and/or second responders); and (iii) at least one organisation representing local or regional authorities. For participants with practitioner status, applicants must fill in the table “Information about security practitioners” in the application form with all the requested information, following the template provided in the submission IT tool.

If projects use satellite-based earth observation, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, beneficiaries must make use of Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS (other data and services may additionally be used).

4. Financial and operational capacity and exclusion: described in Annex C of the Work Programme General Annexes

5. Evaluation and award:

  • Award criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex D of the Work Programme General Annexes

  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in Annex F of the Work Programme General Annexes and the Online Manual

  • Indicative timeline for evaluation and grant agreement: described in Annex F of the Work Programme General Annexes

6. Legal and financial set-up of the grants: described in Annex G of the Work Programme General Annexes

Specific conditions

7. Specific conditions: described in the [specific topic of the Work Programme]


Call documents:

Standard application form — call-specific application form is available in the Submission System

Standard application form (HE RIA, IA)

Standard evaluation form — will be used with the necessary adaptations

Standard evaluation form (HE RIA, IA)


HE General MGA v1.0

Call-specific instructions:

Template for Security & eligibility conditions in Horizon Europe

Additional documents:

HE Main Work Programme 2023–2024 – 1. General Introduction

HE Main Work Programme 2023–2024 – 6. Civil Security for Society

HE Main Work Programme 2023–2024 – 13. General Annexes

HE Programme Guide

HE Framework Programme and Rules for Participation Regulation 2021/695

HE Specific Programme Decision 2021/764

EU Financial Regulation

Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment

EU Grants AGA — Annotated Model Grant Agreement

Funding & Tenders Portal Online Manual

Funding & Tenders Portal Terms and Conditions

Funding & Tenders Portal Privacy Statement

Grant Number

Projects’ results are expected to contribute to some or all of the following outcomes:

  • Increasing EU capabilities to assess risks, detect, alert, mitigate and respond to feed and food intentional and accidental contamination from chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) agents, through the entire food chains (soils and agro-production, feed and food industry, transporting, retail and hospitality industry, public catering);
  • Increasing the understanding on food terrorism threats and on food chain vulnerabilities to intentional and accidental contaminations;
  • Raising awareness among feed and food companies and authorities to CBR threats arising from malicious use of hazardous agents that pose danger to animal and public health. This should be done under the premises of feed and food as a critical infrastructure and risks pertaining therein;
  • In addition to raising awareness, proposals should develop possible preparedness, mitigation and response plans for national authorities and the private sector.


Plant and animal health is of global importance for sustainable agriculture and competitive agriculture and forestry, as well as for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems[1]. Globally, between 10 and 28 percent of crop production is lost to pests and contamination of food and feed by mycotoxins can severely threaten the health of humans and livestock. The International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020, established by the United Nations, raised public and political awareness of the importance of plant health and a recent study (IPPC, 2021) calls the attention of policy makers to the main effects of climate change on plant health, helping governments and the international community addressing plant health challenges. Also, the food chain, from harvest of agricultural products, throughout processing, distribution and until consumption can be challenged by several (hybrid) threats, which are increasingly taking non-conventional forms and possibly targeting the agriculture and food chain with severe consequences.

The Word Health Organisation identified intentional agriculture attack with biological weapons and food contamination as one of the main global public health threats of the 21st century. The potential for terrorist attacks or other criminal actions against agri-food targets is increasingly recognised as a threat to international security. The population's health could be jeopardised by the manipulation of communicable diseases or the contamination of food, soil, air and drinking water by CBR agents. These risks have been studied and documented by a Network of excellence (Plant and Food Biosecurity) funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (PLANTFOODSEC).

In 2017, the ENVI Committee (Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the EU Parliament) has defined food defence as “the protection of food from intentional contamination or adulteration by biological, chemical, physical or radiological agents. It includes measures regarding prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery form intentional acts of food contamination”. The potential impact on human health of deliberate sabotage of agricultural crops, seed or food can be estimated by extrapolation from the many documented examples of unintentional outbreaks of foodborne disease.

Current EU capabilities to detect and respond to agro-terrorism and bio-criminal acts are dispersed across different national practitioners, normally handled by regional or national bodies and are very limited in terms of coordination. Different countries have different governmental authorities for agricultural and feed and food domains, different collaborative networks, different border controls, different inspection bodies and different regulatory references and reporting mechanisms as well as different investigative bodies in the case of suspected feed/food crime. The EU institutions have to start to consider the agri-food chain as a critical infrastructure which can suffer from attacks and which need to be protected. The most effective way to accomplish this goal is through international cooperation by a multi-sectorial approach combing different expertise, such as from law enforcement, the feed and food sector and health emergency services.

The main challenge is to increase the resilience of European agricultural production, feed and food processing and distribution chain in case of sudden shocks. Agriculture and food chains will be included as an important dimension to be analysed in the context of protection of European critical entities[2] in case of emergencies. It is also crucial to address the interrelations between the food chain shocks and different types of critical entities with the objective of developing tools and methods to minimize cascading effects and allow rapid recovery of service performance levels after incidents. In the new context also the interaction with climate change, global trade and internet trade (spreading often plant material not controlled at all and of low quality) need to be taken into consideration. Artificial intelligence provides new tools for better coping with many of the most important challenges.

In this context, research should address agri-food systems shocks, taking account of the increasing effects of climate change and global trade (and their interaction) on pest outbreaks and spread, feed/food commodity shocks, due to external challenges, feed/food supply chains interruption and organised agri-food terrorism attacks.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is also encouraged.

Coordination among the successful proposals from this topic as well as with the successful proposal(s) under topic HORIZON-MISS-2023-SOIL-01-02: Soil pollution processes – modelling and inclusion in advanced digital decision-support tools should be envisaged to avoid duplication, and to exploit complementarities as well as opportunities for increased impact.

[1]For R&I on plant and animal health as well as on agro-biodiversity please consult further topics under the Cluster 6 Work Programme.

[2]Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the resilience of critical entities (COM(2020) 829 final.

Funding resources

Purdue Grant Writing Lab: Introduction to Grant Writing Open Link
University of Wisconsin Writing Center: Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal Open Link

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