EU Mission

A Soil Deal for Europe.

The Mission Soil is an instrument funded by the European Union under the Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon Europe. It aims to create 100 living labs and lighthouses by 2030 to lead the EU’s transition towards healthy soils.

Living labs are places for on-the-ground experimentation.
Lighthouses are sites for showcasing good practices.

This will support the EU’s ambition to have all soils in good condition by 2050. According to a JRC study, currently about 60% of soils in the EU are considered to be unhealthy (see Dashboard of the EU Soil Observatory).

The Mission is also implementing an ambitious research and innovation programme, promoting harmonised soil monitoring in the EU, and increasing public awareness and engagement in soil protection and restoration. Activities under the Mission aim at finding solutions to major soil health challenges in rural and urban areas, and contribute to its specific objectives:

  1. Reduce desertification
  2. Conserve soil organic carbon stock
  3. Stop soil sealing and increase reuse of urban soils
  4. Reduce soil pollution and enhance restoration
  5. Prevent erosion
  6. Improve soil structure to enhance soil biodiversity
  7. Reduce the EU global footprint on soils
  8. Improve soil literacy in society
EU Mission

The Mission is embedded in a dozen of EU Green Deal strategies, communications or action plans, including the EU Soil Strategy 2030. The Mission is a key component of the newly adopted proposal for an European Soil Monitoring Law. The Mission Soil is also integrated in 18 out of 28 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plans of EU Member States with concrete actions to connect CAP funds with innovative, sustainable farming practices for soil health.

Since its launch in September 2021, three work programmes (WPs) with calls for proposals have been published within the framework of the Mission Soil.

Under the first two WPs (2021 and 2022), 28 projects were financed amounting to 162 million. These projects are working amongst others on: soil monitoring, business models for soil health, regional soil needs assessment, soil decontamination, soil biodiversity, carbon farming and soil literacy in society. WP 2023 supports projects with a budget of €139 million allocated to 9 topics. This includes the first call for proposals on Living Labs as well as topics addressing subsoil, soil pollution, soil desertification, soil in spatial planning and soil-friendly practices in horticulture.

The Mission Soil Manifesto was launched on 18 April 2023 to highlight the urgent need for action to restore and protect soil health in Europe and to support the Mission objectives. The Manifesto is a non-binding document that can be signed by individuals and by representatives of legal entities, such as local and regional authorities, private or public companies, universities and research institutions. The Manifesto has been translated into 24 EU languages and promoted on DG AGRI’s main social media channels. Already thousands signed the Manifesto.

Stay updated

The Mission Soil’s communication strategy also includes the regular publication of newsletters and podcasts. The first newsletter was published on 6 July 2023, in EN, FR and DE.

The Mission Soil Platform is a dedicated website with information on Mission activities, events, projects updates, policy developments and much more.

In addition, the Mission Soil is constantly promoted at national and international events, as recently during the Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate Summit and the EU AgriResearch Conference 2023.

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Horizon Europe

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Multi-actor projects

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Thematic networks

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Advisory networks

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