Work Packages

WP1: Consortium coordination and project management

Leader: UNIVERSIDADE DE VIGO (Spain). D. Fernández-Calviño.

Deputy Leader: CONTACTICA S.L. (Spain)

The overall objective is to lead and coordinate the project by providing a clear management structure and procedures to ensure the effective management and technical coordination of the project, building strong communication with the consortium and external interactions.

WP1 is linked to all WPs and partners.

The specific objectives are:

  • To stablish project management procedures and structures to ensure an effective project management.
  • To perform a correct and appropriate scientific coordination to ensure all the project objectives are clearly defined and efficiently achieved.
  • To guarantee that project activities are executed with efficient use of resources, time and budget. To identify risks and issue corrective action plan as necessary.
  • To ensure an efficient financial and legal management.
  • To facilitate an adequate project coordination with other related projects and the European Commission.
  • To guarantee that gender equality issues are taken into account in the project.

WP2: Identification of main challenges in European agricultural cropping systems and data mining

Leader: EESTI MAAULIKOOL (Estonia). M. Shanskiy.

Deputy Leader: UNIVERSIDADE DE VIGO (Spain).

WP2 will involve the identification and documentation of a key set of agronomic problems faced by practitioners in various European cropping systems using literature review and surveys of end-users’ needs, together with possible management alternatives involving soil biodiversity enhancement and ecosystems services delivery.

It will follow a multi-actor approach, in line with the objectives of WP8.

The specific objectives are:

  • To collect data from finished and ongoing projects, databases and research literature to identify the main challenges in relation to soil biodiversity for European agricultural systems and selected crop types.
  • To identify the main agronomic problems faced by European agriculture, as well as the related end-users needs, that can be met through the management and enhancement of soil biodiversity.
  • To identify the strengths, opportunities, limitations and drawbacks of the different cropping systems in terms of integrating farming practices that enhance soil biodiversity.
  • To identify possible adaptations of farming practices and strategies that contribute to the solution of the identified problems through the enhancement of soil biodiversity at EU level.

WP3: Soil biodiversity assessment in European cropping systems


Deputy Leader: LUONNONVARAKESKUS (Finland)

The main objective is to establish a reference for biodiversity assessments during the further progress of the SoildiverAgro-project by determining the current status of the biodiversity in different European croplands across the major European pedoclimatic regions in relation with climate conditions, soil characteristics, cropping and management systems.

The results will be used as a reference for the establishment of soil biodiversity target (WP7).

The specific objectives are:

  • To provide a consortium-wide common framework for standardization of procedures for sampling, sample processing, data acquisition, data storage/sharing, and data analysis.
  • To review existing knowledge on the current diversity status of soil micro-organisms and soil fauna along the major European pedoclimatic agricultural regions.
  • To experimentally assess the relationship between soil biodiversity, soil properties and climatic conditions.
  • To experimentally evaluate the variation of biodiversity in long-term cropping systems under different agricultural management regimes (conventional and organic) in Europe.

WP4: Best tools for soil biodiversity evaluation

Leader: KOBENHAVNS UNIVERSITET (Denmark). K.K. Brandt


The objective is to contribute to ongoing development of protocols to assess soil biodiversity.

The specific objectives are:

  • To implement and further optimize a novel high-throughput quantitative PCR (HT-qPCR) chip for simultaneous quantification of 64 microbial functional genes of key significance for biogeochemical cycling of C, N, P and S in soil.
  • To implement and further optimize assays for nematode biodiversity determination in soils via the implementation of a molecular method (NGS based DNA-metabarcoding).
  • To optimize a FTIR spectroscopy based chemometrics approach to high-throughput monitoring of changes in soil biodiversity.

WP5: Impacts of soil biodiversity on crop production and other ecosystem services



The WP5 objective is to provide sound and robust scientific understanding of the impacts of sustainable management practices and cropping systems on the improvement in soil biodiversity and how this is related to crop production (yield and quality) and other ecosystem services such as soil fertility and carbon sequestration in the different pedoclimatic regions.

This WP also aims to produce industrial innovation by testing of new plant growth promoting products based on formulations of soil microorganisms in order to reduce fertilizer application in crops and promote crop growth and development by development of soil microorganisms In particular, this WP aims to evaluate how cropping systems that foster soil biodiversity can:

  • Effectively enhance genetic and functional microbial diversity, with decreases in soil-borne diseases.
  • Effectively increase the diversity of biological regulators (nematodes) and ecosystem engineers (earthworms).
  • Increase crop growth and yield and reduce the incidence of pests/diseases.
  • Improve crop quality and nutritional characteristics.
  • Improve soil fertility retaining nutrients in the soil, preventing them from leaching and increasing the plant cover and thus reducing soil erosion.
  • Improve soil structure and quality, increase soil C sequestration, foster natural soil functioning and promote the formation of stable aggregates that improve water infiltration, root penetration and water-holding capacity of the soil.
  • Optimise use of agrochemical and tillage.
  • Reduce GHG emissions.

WP6: Environmental and socioeconomic assessment of soil biodiversity management and conservation

Leader: LUONNONVARAKESKUS (Finland). E. Pouta


The general objective of WP6 is to perform ‑on the basis of results from other WPs‑ an environmental, economic and social assessment of tested management practices and cropping systems that enhance soil biodiversity in agro-ecosystems. Besides looking at ecological aspects and societal benefits, a particular attention will be given to end-users` needs considering economic feasibility, producers’ profitability and market requirements. The relationship between the economic and the ecological system is recognized and the underlying central aim is to provide knowledge for a sustainable management of this relationship.

The specific objectives are:

  • Provide an approach that brings benefits and costs of environmental outputs (e.g. variations in C sequestration, biodiversity, pollution, erosion and GHGs emissions) associated with tested management practices available for decision making.
  • Provide, using outputs from the previous WPs, an integrated estimate for the direct economic benefits costs and risks for farmers associated with each management practice within each pedoclimatic area, accounting for variations in crop yield, machinery fuel, fertilisers, pesticides, water, energy, labour, etc.
  • Provide a holistic understanding of the hindrances of and solutions for implementing soil biodiversity enhancing management practices focusing on social, cultural and institutional factors behind the choice of management practices.
  • Provide an integrated assessment of costs and benefits on the level of society to facilitate the necessary policy changes leading to a wider implementation of the tested management practices.
  • Peliver aggregated information on the socio-economic benefits and risks associated with the assessed practices – including feasibility, usability, long-term sustainability aspects – between pedoclimatic areas.

WP7: Development of strategies and tools for sustainable crop management

Leader: UNIVERSIDADE DE VIGO (Spain). J.C. Nóvoa Muñoz


The main goal of WP7 is to analyse all the project outputs as a whole, to identify how to let practitioners benefit from the results of SoildiverAgro and how to deploy them into European policies.

The specific objectives are:

  • To define operational biodiversity targets from the field to regional levels.
  • To develop best cropping systems and agricultural practices guidelines and tools.
  • To deploy recommendations for updating the EU agricultural and environmental policies for the enhancement of soil biodiversity.

WP8: Communication, dissemination, exploitation and stakeholders engagement


Deputy Leader: CONTACTICA S.L. (Spain)

The main objective is to ensure smooth and efficient communication for the project, with proper transfer of knowledge channels and a tailor-made dissemination and exploitation strategy. Participation and dialogue with stakeholders and other networks are a key point and will follow a multi-actor approach.

The specific objectives are:

  • To define, implement and evaluate the communication strategy of the project.
  • To set-up the SoildiverAgro web page which will be the main connection between the project and its target audience (all stakeholders and the wider public).
  • To identify potential stakeholder in SoildiverAgro, promoting and launching specific consultations for their engagement and collection of the necessary inputs to better address their needs.
  • To define a tailor-made and effective exploitation and dissemination strategy during and after the project, ensuring it is aligned with exploitation requirements and IPR procedures.

© SoildiverAgro 2020