Stimulating digital innovations through SmartAgriHubs’ RESTART and EXPAND open call

As Europe is still facing the Covid-19 crisis, it must further stimulate the development of digital innovations which can tackle the challenges currently faced by the agri-food sector. As such, SmartAgriHUbs investigated the possibilities for funding research that helps our sector. Open calls were launched in May 2020 as an immediate RESPOND to the crisis. Now, SmartAgriHubs is following-up with the RESTART and EXPAND open calls, addressing the agri-food economy on the medium term.

SmartAgriHubs will assign up to 5,000,000 EUR funding to the RESTART and EXPAND open calls, addressing Digital Innovation Hubs supporting diverse stakeholders in the agri-food economy and specifically SMEs as drivers for digital innovation.

Why participate?
Digital innovations implemented throughout the organic value chain have a huge potential to contribute to the current and future societal challenges.

Are you a Digital Innovation Hub, or any other form of public-private partnership for innovation? Are you involved in one or more innovation experiments addressing the consequences of Covid-19? And are you looking for potential funds to support your project? The open call is your opportunity.

SmartAgriHubs’ open call is also a unique chance to connect with a wider community and exchange on latest knowledge and expertise. 

Who can participate?
Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) as defined on the SmartAgriHubs website1, based in one of the EU Member States or a H2020 Associated country2

How to participate to the RESTART and EXPAND open calls?

  • RESTART the economy around food systems

This open call will focus on hackathon type of activities that will RESTART the economy around the agri-food related sectors and affected food systems. The objective is to generate ideas for potential Innovation Experiments that can be realised by related teams and that go beyond initial conceptual implementations.

Proposals could realise hackathons, challenges and datathons that have a direct as well as an indirect impact to mitigate effects of the corona/Covid-19 or similar (future) pandemics.

Check the RESTART open call fiche for more information.

  • EXPAND the network

The major amount of funding will be assigned to the implementation of programmes by DIHs to support the realisation of Innovation Experiments. This shall specifically contribute to the expansion of the network of DIHs and Competence Centres (CCs) as well as making available new knowledge and results from digital innovation activities.

The EXPAND open call is specifically targeting at DIHs as the main proposers facilitating the realisation of innovation experiments.

Key characteristics to submit an eligible proposal for the EXPAND the Network open call:

  • The funding that is provided by SmartAgriHubs is exclusively available for developing, maturing, and providing Digital Innovation Hub innovation services
  • For being eligible to receive this funding, DIHs need to support one or more Innovation Experiments (IEs) with their services.
  • The overall  proposal budget shall assign a maximum of 20% for DIH service provision and a minimum of 80% for realising the supported Innovation Experiment(s)
  • The maximum of 20% for DIH service provision can be requested as funding from SmartAgriHubs, where the 80% should be mobilised by additional public or private sources.
  • One DIH could ask for a maximum of 100,000 EUR funding in total from SmartAgriHubs in one or also several proposals.

Check the EXPAND open call fiche for more information

Are you eligible? Register to the SmartAgriHubs’ Innovation Portal. It will give you access to all information needed and direct communication to the community if any questions on the application arise. After that, start applying!

Proposal submission and timeline
Proposals are called under a continuous submission scheme. They can be submitted for evaluation until closure of the open call and will be evaluated in batches at regular points in time. Currently the following dates are planned for evaluating delivered batches of proposals:

  • First batch evaluation of proposals that were submitted: before 3 September 2020, 17:00 (CEST)
  • Second batch evaluation of proposals that were submitted: before 5 November 2020, 17:00 (CEST)
  • Dates for batch evaluations in 2021 will be published after closing the second batch evaluation.

The open call closes on 28 July 2021, 17h00 CEST, or at an earlier date, in case the budget that is reserved for open calls in SmartAgriHubs is completely allocated.

Any questions about the open call? 
Read the call documents on the dedicated page of the SmartAgriHubs Innovation Portal.

Check the FAQ and leave your question on the SmartAgriHubs Open Call forum. A Q&A webinar on the open call was held on 8 July. You find the recording on SmartAgriHubs YouTube channel.

SmartAgriHubs is a €20 million EU project under the Horizon 2020 instrument and brings together a consortium of over 164 partners in the European agri-food sector. The project aims to realise the digitisation of European agriculture by fostering an agricultural innovation ecosystem dedicated to excellence, sustainability, and success. 


  1. Digital Innovation Hubs as defined on the Smart Agri Hubs website are public-private partnerships for innovation, providing a mix of different services to their clients. These include technology services such as R&D, provision of lab facilities, testing and validation are mainly the domain of the competence centres. Innovation ecosystem support services include community building lobbying, brokerage, knowledge sharing and advocacy. 
  2. See the full list of eligibility criteria in the Programme document on the SmartAgriHubs Innovation Portal.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 818182.

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