As the ERA-NET FACCE SURPLUS is coming to an end, it is time to look back on the interesting results from the research projects and evaluate their overall impact.

2020.02.06 | Lise Bundgaard

The ERA-NET FACCE SURPLUS will terminate in the end of February. Since the beginning in 2015, the network has successfully mobilized approx. 25 million euros of public funding for research in the sector from the EU and the Member States. During the entire duration of FACCE SURPLUS, the consortium and the researchers funded in the frame of three calls have made substantial efforts in order to reach impact - and it has paid off.


FACCE SURPLUS is an ERA-NET Cofund, formed in collaboration between the European Commission and a partnership of 15 countries and regions in the frame of the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI). The FACCE SURPLUS consortium consists of 23 partners.

The objective of FACCE SURPLUS was to strengthen the European Research Area in support of different integrated food and non-food biomass production and transformation systems, especially by organising, implementing and cofunding with the EU a joint call for transnational research projects on the topic of sustainable and resilient agriculture. 

Significant scientific outcomes

The scientific outcomes of FACCE SURPLUS have been very positive. They are mainly related to an increased research capacity, an improved scientific evidence base, but also an enhanced research network to compete for future European project funding and a better understanding of other European issues and stakeholder needs.

- The science performed in the research projects has been excellent, and outcomes are promising in terms of potential for a longer-term impact. Presently running projects will provide additional outcomes, says Nicolas Tinois, coordinator of FACCE SURPLUS, and continues:

- The quality of the research can be evidenced by the fact that most projects having candidated for a poster presentation or an oral presentation at the highly selective European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EUBCE) were successful. Another evidence resides in the generation of new research proposals and projects following the research driven in the first call.

Read more: Interview with Heather McKhann, FACCE JPI Secretariat
Read more: Interview with Marianne Claessens, VLAIO

Considerable efforts have been made in order to exploit and disseminate scientific outcomes to stakeholders through workshop, interviews, on-farm demonstrations, publications (peer-reviewed and more “popular”), policy briefs, decision-making tools, models, conferences etc.:

- Policy representatives have been informed and consulted in the large majority of the projects.  A high number of farmers and farmers’ representatives have been addressed, in particular in frame of workshops. New contacts with the industry sector were made in the relevant cases, in particular when technologies with a potential for commercialization have been developed. There is no doubt that scientific results have made a substantial impact, says Nicolas Tinois.


1st call:  14 projects funded (14.5 M€).

2nd call: 8 projects funded (6.5 M€).

3rd call: Yet unknown, but at least 5 projects will be funded for a value of approx. 5 M€.


Many peer-reviewed articles and proceedings published

Approx. 20 book/blog contributions

> 70 poster presentations

> 130 oral presentations at conferences and scientific meetings

CAPACITY-BUILDING IMPACT                              

> 60 education activities

> 80 master’s student addressed

> 30 PhD students addressed

Approx. 10 mobility actions                                                                                      

Long-term impact

While outputs and outcomes can be identified on a short- or mid-term basis, the impact of an activity has longer-term implications. It is therefore expected that such assets might be identifiable only long time after the ERA-NET has terminated.

- The creation of start-ups and jobs can be an impact of research projects demonstrating the feasibility of a biomass conversion, which is not visible by the end of the project. It is expected that FACCE-JPI, and potential follow-up activities to FACCE SURPLUS, e.g. in the frame of Horizon Europe, will monitor such progress, says Nicolas Tinois.

Substantial step towards joint programming

The FACCE SURPLUS consortium partners consider the progress made by FACCE SURPLUS in the research area through the joint efforts as essential.

- During the duration of FACCE SURPLUS, the consortium partners have built mutual understanding, trust and common processes. This is a substantial step towards joint programming, says Nicolas Tinois.

The FACCE SURPLUS research projects have shown interesting results. A few examples of these are:

  • AGRONICKEL, focusing on Nickel agromining, could assess different agroecological pathways needed to switch from “conventional agriculture” agromining to “agroecological agromining”. Some Nickel products resulting from the developed process could lead to promising commercialization opportunities; a spin-off company was created already at an early stage. 
  • CichOpt: focusing on the optimal use of biomass from different Cichorium crops has collected update info on the availability of underutilized biomass fractions and is characterizing it in detail to be able to exploit it to their full potential. The project is successfully developing a novel, integrated biorefinery in close interaction with interested growers and agri-food companies, leading to innovative applications in foods, drinks and non-food applications such as renewable biopolymers and high-added value cosmetic ingredients.
  • MISCOMAR, developing techniques for biomass production on marginal land in Europe with the help of miscanthus, showed the strong potential for anaerobic biogas production, giving a market for upscaling miscanthus cultivation. The project also showed that land reversions from miscanthus to barley, ryegrass and maize were straightforward, with anecdotal evidence for yield benefits in the follow on crops.
  • SustainFARM could perform successfully the assessment of locally relevant integrated food and nonfood production systems (IFNS) and addresses specific stakeholders via an appropriate decision support tool for informed decision making by farmers, advisory services and policy makers.
  • SidaTim could demonstrate that confirmed that both crops Sida hermaphrodita and Silphium perfoliatum are very attractive to pollinating insects and might thus contribute to upgrade agricultural landscapes ecologically, in particular with regard to the dramatic insect decline.

The FACCE SURPLUS projects also addressed important aspects of the farming and food systems such as Sustainable Intensification (SI) and the appropriate metrics of sustainability, crop rotations as adaptation of ecosystem to the climate change, agroforestry as an asset for the sustainability of agriculture.

Dipl.-Ing. Nicolas Tinois
Phone: +49 2461 61-2422

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