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The SCAR Strategic Working Group on Forests and Forestry Research and Innovation (SCAR FOREST) is developing a European Partnership on forests and forestry since 2021. It follows the EU Forest Strategy for 2030 objective to propose a research and innovation partnership on forestry.

The development has benefitted from the EUFORE project, which started in November 2022, to develop a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for the Partnership. ForestValue2 project partners have contributed and are actively contributing to both processes.

An important step was the submission of the partnership candidate idea in June 2023 to the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2025-2027. After providing a first list of potential candidate titles in April 2023, the Commission services presented a list of 10 potential candidate partnerships, each with a descriptive fiche (concept paper) to the Horizon Europe Strategic Programme Committee (SPC) in July 2023.

This started a structured consultation phase with Member States and Associated Countries. SPC delegations had the opportunity to provide detailed feedback on these proposals through a written survey, as well as to suggest additional candidates. During the survey, 5 additional candidates were submitted by SPC delegates for consideration.

After an additional written survey launched in October 2023 to collect written input on the additional candidates and ensure equal treatment of Commission and SPC proposals, on 12 December 2023 in their meeting SPC delegates discussed each candidate proposal. Based on the discussion and additional written input (by 19 December), Commission services prepared its final proposal for the final list of new candidate European Partnerships, which will be integrated in the draft Strategic Plan in Q1 2024.

The Commission services’ final assessment dated 21 December 2023 shows that the Candidate European Partnership on Forests and Forestry for a Sustainable Future was supported by 24 MS. This strong support guarantees that the Partnership on forest and forestry will be included in the final portfolio of additional European Partnerships. The decision will be formalised with the adoption of the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2025-2027 in Q1 2024.

Next, each candidate Partnership is expected to prepare a longer version of the partnership description (called “proposal”, recommended overall length 30-60 pages) based on a template provided by the Commission services. The document is to ensure that each Partnership proposal addresses the conditions and criteria set out in the Horizon Europe Regulation and the Draft Criteria Framework for European Partnerships. For the Partnership on forest and forestry the document will be prepared by the SCAR FOREST Core Writing Group as decided in the SCAR FOREST SWG meeting on 2 June 2023.

For more information, please contact the SCAR FOREST Co-Chairs.