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NSERC Joint Call for the Water Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) 2016

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Joint Call for the Water Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) 2016


Notify ROADS of Intent to Apply by March 14, 2016

Pre-Proposal due April 19, 2016


The aim of the 2016 Joint Call is to enable transnational, collaborative research, development and innovation projects addressing questions relating to the water challenges faced by society. The Funding Partner Organisations (FPOs) particularly wish to i) promote trans-disciplinary research, ii) encourage proposals combining basic and applied approaches, iii) stimulate mobility of researchers within the consortia, iv) enhance collaborative research and innovation during the project’s lifespan and beyond, and v) promote international cooperation in the water area.


The joint call focuses on transnational collaborative research projects on the “sustainable management of water resources in agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture”.

The topics are organised around three scientific challenges. Proposals are expected to:

  • Address one or several challenges;

  • Address at least one of the sub-topics listed below – Applicants are encouraged to integrate more than one sub-topic in their proposals (in sub-topic 1a and 1b is given a more detailed explanation to avoid broadening the scope of the Joint Call);

  • Go beyond the State of the Art by providing high quality research and innovation, and when appropriate, to make use of innovative technologies and approaches to do so;

  • Propose case studies (e.g. implementation at local or regional level) in European and non-European environments (various climatic, hydrological and soil conditions);

  • Connect to stakeholders needs (in particular involving them in the proposals); and

  • Develop international cooperation in water research.


Challenge-1) Increasing the efficiency and resilience of water uses

Sub-topic-1.a. Efficiency issues include the development of:

i. Innovative water use systems and practices, including precision irrigation technologies (e.g. models, sensors, ICT);

ii. Water-efficient and/or drought-tolerant and/or salinity-tolerant crops and forestry species/varieties, including an analysis of the effects of such crops and species on the environment;

iii. Water reuse and water recycling technologies in the agriculture and freshwater aquaculture sectors; and

iv. Optimisation of the Water – Energy nexus in these sectors (e.g. improving energy efficiency).

Sub-topic-1.b. Resilience to climatic variability includes:

i. Development of water-conserving agriculture and forestry practices as a way to improve the management of water and to improve soil properties related to water;

ii. Increasing the resilience of agriculture and forestry systems and landscape management in a context of highly variable water availability due to climate trends, climate variability and extreme events (floods and droughts); and

iii. Implementation of innovative technologies for the monitoring of surface and groundwater bodies for effective integrated water management (including water abstraction) in agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture sectors.


Challenge-2) Monitoring and reducing soil and water pollution

Sub-topic-2.a. Optimising fertiliser application to reduce over fertilisation to better accommodate crop requirements while avoiding nitrogen and phosphorus losses to surface water and groundwater.

Sub-topic-2.b. Assessment and development of monitoring schemes and indicators, for agricultural catchments to identify, quantify and minimise pollution sources and to reduce impacts on water quality, caused by agrochemicals, mineral fertilizers, crops residues, manure and digestates.

Sub-topic-2.c. Modelling and assessing the nitrate and phosphorus loads from agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture sectors to avoid risks of eutrophication of rivers

and lakes, and propose management approaches for reducing impacts on ecosystem biodiversity and economic sectors.

Sub-topic-2.d. Understanding and decreasing the combined environmental risks from agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture to human health (environmental exposure from water uses and food).


Challenge-3) Integrating social and economic dimensions into the sustainable management and governance of water resources

Sub-topic-3.a. In the context of increased risks (droughts and floods) and competition for water uses, development of new approaches and models for integrated management and governance of land, soil and water targeting the optimum use of resources (water quantity and quality issues at catchment or river basin scales).

Sub-topic-3.b. Set-up of water-valuing schemes based upon the establishment of new criteria for water valuation in agriculture, forestry or freshwater aquaculture and the estimation of associated costs with a sustainability perspective including social, economic and ecological pillars.

Sub-topic-3.c. Developing participatory approaches and assessing barriers (social, cultural, psychological and economic barriers) at catchment level for better implementation of policies and uptake of existing and breakthrough knowledge (e.g. ICT technologies).


The 2016 Joint Call will pool Research and Innovation (R&I) efforts from countries participating in the FACCE-JPI and/or Water JPI. The scope of the Joint Call was defined in accordance to the physical domains considered in the Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas (SRIAs) of both initiatives, as follows:

  • Proposals may focus on transitional water; those on marine systems will not be eligible;

  • Water use in agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture are within the scope of the call;

  • The call will not be constrained to irrigate systems. Rain-fed systems will be considered as well.


In addition to contributing to the achievement of the respective SRIAs, proposals should demonstrate clear European/International added value and the potential for scientific and/or technological excellence. Consequently, the following statements should be considered when drafting proposals:

  • Cross-cutting issues, such as socio-economic and/or capacity developing aspects (contributions to standards and norms) constitute an added value to R&I in this field.

  • Proposals should build on on-going research activities the state-of-the-art at EU level and beyond providing synergies. They should describe opportunities and initiatives for cooperation with these activities.

  • Participation of stakeholders (i.e. small and medium enterprises (SMEs), industries, authorities, public administrations, associations, as well as civil society organisations) is encouraged.

  • International cooperation is encouraged.

  • Communication to society (e.g. risk management measures) and dissemination to stakeholders for future implementation (e.g. best practice models) should be explicitly addressed by applicants.


The implementation of new standard practices and appropriate measures will have an immediate consequence to the development of the water, agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture R&I sectors. The emphasis on actions targeting farming, freshwater aquaculture and forest pollution, the reduction of soil and water contamination, and the enhancement of the efficient use of resources will result in (the):

  • Better use and protection of European natural resources. This is substantiated in the protection of water levels in aquifers and lakes, and discharge in streams;

  • Improvement of environmental water quality and protection of human health (such as prevention of diffusion of viruses and antibiotic resistant bacteria);

  • Benefit to biodiversity, greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions reduction and flood mitigation thereby enabling co-benefits;

  • Implementation of existing and breakthrough scientific knowledge in agricultural practices and farming systems at the farm, landscape and catchment scale;

  • New cost-effective technologies and management approaches to be adopted by end-users (farmers, water managers, etc.);

  • Increase of agricultural, forestry and freshwater aquaculture productivity;

  • Harnessing industrial side streams such as heat and residual biomasses for water purification, filtration, nutrient recycling and habitat restoration;

  • New agricultural products and markets for low crop water consumption;

  • The implementation of new and innovative practices will create job opportunities and economic growth for the EU and the associated international countries and their populations;

  • Support to national policies and European initiatives targeting water quality, in the agricultural and forestry sectors.



All proposals must conform to all of the general eligibility criteria listed below:

  • Only proposals submitted by transnational consortia will be eligible;

  • Each consortium must be composed of at least a minimum of three eligible partners that request funding from participating Funding Partner Organisations from three different countries;

  • Proposals must be submitted by Universities and other higher education institutions, public research institutions, private non-profit organisations, and private companies, according to National Regulations (see below from NSERC). The relevant National/Regional participation rules apply to each partner in relation to the corresponding Funding Partner Organisation (FPO).

  • Proposals must be received before the deadlines;

  • Proposals must meet all the formal criteria (submitted electronically, respect page limits and number/type of attachments allowed, written in English language);

  • Topics of the proposals must be fully relevant to the scope of the call;

  • The requested total budget cannot exceed 1.5 M€ (per proposal);

  • Duration of projects must range between 24 to 36 months;

  • A participant in a proposal is defined as i) a principal investigator that requests funds on behalf of his/her applicant organisation/institution/company or ii) a principal investigator that contributes with own funds to the proposal;

  • A Consortium Coordinator can only participate in the proposal he/she is coordinating (i.e. if the principal investigator is the coordinator of a proposal, he/she cannot participate in any other proposal, neither as a coordinator nor as a partner);

  • The Consortium Coordinator must be eligible to be funded by one of the Funding Partner Organisations;

  • Researchers from the Funding Partner Organisations cannot apply to this call.


NSERC Eligibility

Two types of projects are available through this funding opportunity:

  • Projects involving Canadian researchers and their European partners; and

  • Projects involving Canadian researchers, European partners and researchers from low and middle income countries (LMICs).



Canadian researchers may be eligible for NSERC funding through both types of projects. NSERC will provide up to $750,000 CAD in total funding to the 2016 Joint Call. IDRC’s funding envelope totals $250,000 CAD and will be reserved for applicants from LMICs. The requested budget per proposal (the sum of the individual requested budget from each of the partners involved in the proposal) cannot exceed 1.5 M€.


Application Procedures:


Pre-proposals and Full-proposals to the 2016 Joint Call have to be submitted via a specially designed web platform. The link will be made available soon in the official 2016 Joint Call webpage at the 2016 Joint Call Official webpage.

There are three parts to be completed:

Part A: sections of the submission platform that are filled in online. Contains the factsheet of the consortium.

Part B: pre-proposal template to be uploaded in the submission platform as a pdf file.

Part C: full proposal template to be uploaded in the submission platform as a pdf file.


If you plan to submit a pre-proposal, please notify Lauren Goldstein, Senior Advisor, at or extension 24519 by March 14, 2016.


NSERC Contact:


Please note, the JPI has indicated that they will be holding a webinar in mid-March.  More information regarding the webinar to follow.