View of a site contaminated by mercury distilling (Algeria, 2007). © BRGM

INSPIRATION: a strategic research agenda for Europe on soil and land use management

Under the INSPIRATION project, 22 partners from 17 countries, including the BRGM, developed a strategic research agenda (SRA) for Europe on environmentally sound, socially acceptable and economically affordable management of soils and land use.

INSPIRATION project logo

The BRGM was a partner in the INSPIRATION project for "INtegrated Spatial PlannIng, land use and soil management ResearchAcTION". The project, coordinated by UBA, Germany's Environment Agency, involved 22 partners from 17 European countries, from 2015 to 2018.

Funded by the European Commission under the H2020 programme, this coordination and support project developed a strategic research agenda (SRA) for Europe on soil and land use management.

Sustainable management of soils and land use

Sustainable land use management aims to balance supply and demand for natural resources and capital so that the effects of various factors of pressure can be managed by reducing the overall footprint of human production and consumption.

Managing soil and land resources appropriately is essential to ensure a sustainable future for Europe's citizens. Applying results and knowledge from research is fundamental to improve ways of preserving soils and lands for future generations and to maintain competitive economies and healthy landscapes.  Efficient use of the ecosystem services provided by the soil-water-sediment system can offer solutions to meet the needs and challenges facing societies.

A demand-side approach

The aim of the INSPIRATION project was to develop a strategic research agenda (SRA) for Europe on soil and land use management.

The INSPIRATION project developed a bottom-up approach based on understanding the needs of stakeholders in the public and private spheres, the scientific community, financial agencies and society.

Some 500 players working in soil, water and sediment management in 17 European countries were consulted.

The research needs expressed were collected in three phases:

  • consultations via individual interviews,
  • national workshops,
  • transnational workshops for EU-wide consolidation purpose.

39 topics making up a research agenda for Europe

39 research topics were finally selected for inclusion in the INSPIRATION SRA agenda.

22 of these are organised into 4 themes:

  • demand for natural resources,
  • functions of natural capital,
  • local and regional land management,
  • impacts at the global, European and local scales.

These are completed by 17 further topics for integrated research.

Additional briefing notes were produced for some specific fields where more in-depth collaborative research across Europe would be needed.

Preparations for funding for the INSPIRATION research agenda

The second phase of the project will lay the groundwork for a network of public and private funding organisations interested in funding the execution of the SRA agenda.

The research agenda developed under INSPIRATION will help public and private research funding organisations to identify research projects on soils and land use in which they should invest to support innovation and contribute to a greener, more competitive and more resource-efficient Europe.

Drawing on the experiences of funding agencies involved in SNOWMAN and other networks, a new self-financing platform is being considered for funding agencies aiming to support integrated multidisciplinary research and meet knowledge needs identified by INSPIRATION and other initiatives.

The national contact points for each of the 17 countries have agreed to continue to act as ambassadors to promote the INSPIRATION research agenda and facilitate the necessary funding.


Go to the INSPIRATION project website

See the strategic research agenda

INSPIRATION project webinars

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