Hiilestä kiinni – Catch the carbon research and innovation programme to produce climate-sustainable land use solutions, extensive call for applications now open

News - Published 9.11.2020

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has opened an extensive call for applications for research and development funding aimed to produce information on how the climate-sustainability of agriculture, forestry and other land uses can be strengthened. The total amount of funds available is about EUR 9 million. The three-year research and innovation programme Hiilestä kiinni – Catch the carbon is one of the key elements of the package of climate measures under the Government Programme.

Extensive cooperation between the scientific community, business operators and other stakeholders in our society is needed to achieve the climate objectives of the land use sector. The webinar on 9 November where the programme was published and the networking event held in the same contexts attracted more than 200 researchers and other stakeholder representatives interested in the topic.

The application for funding related to the programme will be open until 21 December 2020. The aim is also to open a supplementary call for applications already in 2021.
The project applications will be evaluated in January 2021 by an evaluation panel invited for this purpose. The earliest date when the research and innovation projects can be started is 1 March 2021 and the Ministry’s funding for the projects included in this process will end no later than 31 December 2023.

Programme prepared together with scientific community and stakeholders

Besides reductions in fossil emissions, achieving the target of a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035 requires cuts in the emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land uses and maintenance and strengthening of carbon sinks and reservoirs. The net impact set as the target to 2035 for the additional measures included in the package of climate measures in the land use sector is at least 3 Mt CO2 equivalent.

– “Land use is the sector where solutions to the fight against climate change and to mitigating its impacts can be found. Reaching the target requires broad-based cooperation between scientists and practical operators. Based on the findings of scientific research we can introduce functioning and effective measures to strengthen carbon sequestration, reduce emissions and replace fossil fuels,” says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.

The aim of the Hiilestä kiinni – Catch the carbon research and innovation programme is to produce information that anticipates changes in the operating environment on how agriculture, forestry and other land use can be targeted in a more climate-smart manner, both in the short and long term. The aim is also to strengthen the sustainable use of renewable natural resources and comprehensive sustainability.  The programme was prepared in cooperation with the scientific community and stakeholders.

– “We should have the means to anticipate changes even better than before to be able to target land use solutions in the right way. The assessment of comprehensive sustainability and various kinds of impacts requires research and results that can be applied to different land use operations from the national to the local level,” says Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

New information on impact chains

Fulfilling the objectives of the Hiilestä kiinni – Catch the carbon programme requires an interdisciplinary approach and cooperation between differently stakeholders, which is why applications from consortiums composed of two or several organisations will be much appreciated. In projects carried out by consortiums funding is granted to the main applicant that will then manage the contacts and financial transactions with the other organisations and the Ministry. The consortiums may also include private companies. In their applications the research consortiums should state clearly the causal chains in their project proposals that promote the achievement of the climate neutrality target to 2035.

The new programme will significantly strengthen the research related to agriculture, forestry and other land use and provide excellent opportunities to researchers from different fields of science to deepen and diversify the knowledge and competence. The programme will also link earlier research results and current and future international and national research on these topics more strongly to support decision-making.

– “Besides natural sciences, research is needed on people’s behaviour and attitudes to achieve true changes in the way we act. Agriculture and forestry will not become climate-smart without climate-smart farmers and forest owners,” says Johanna Kohl, Research Programme Manager at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry who was responsible for preparing the programme.

According to Kohl, it is also important to promote innovation as part of research projects. Innovations may concern e.g. processes, technical solutions or new services. Under the projects, funding may also be granted to open and user-driven Living Lab activities carried out in practical operating environments.

Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:

Hiilestä kiinni – Catch the carbon research and innovation programme:
Johanna Kohl, Research Programme Manager, tel. +358 29 516 2211
Application for funding: Eeva Karjalainen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 29 516 2137
Package of climate measures in the land use sector: Reetta Sorsa, Chief Specialist,
tel. +358 29 516 2118
Email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@mmm.fi

Press release from Finland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 9.11.2020