Project background and objectives


How we use and manage land does impact nature and the ability to sustain biodiversity and provide ecosystem services. Land management needs to focus on sustainable use of natural capital and resources. The underlying premise of INSPIRATION is that land and soil services are fundamental for:

  • Meeting societal needs (food, drinking water, energy production, shelter, infrastructure)
  • Overcoming societal challenges (climate change mitigation and adaptation, increasing demands on non-renewable natural resources, environmental justice).

The main aim of INSPIRATION was to develop a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) to inform environmentally friendly, socially acceptable and economically affordable soil and land use management that meets societal needs and challenges. A SRA built on end-user knowledge needs is more likely to be enthusiastically adopted by funders in order to promote the knowledge creation, transfer and implementation agenda.

INSPIRATION envisaged a SRA, which funders, end-users and researchers recognize and take ownership of, thereby supporting its successful implementation. Such a SRA must

  • stimulate research funding by public and private parties ,
  • ensure that knowledge is widely taken up and applied, that SMEs and other industries will innovate and the EU Member States (MS) will become greener, more socially cohesive, smarter and more competitive.

INSPIRATION tackled the following questions:

  • How can land management contribute to balancing the demand for and supply of resources and natural capital (including ecosystem services, the services of the Soil Sediment Water system)?
  • What research is needed to widen the extent to which land management can contribute to reducing the ecological footprint and to optimising the desired quality and availability of resources at different scales?
  • What EU-knowledge creation and transfer on soil, land use and land management are therefore needed?
  • What are the priority research demands of different stakeholders in the Member States?
  • Which networks and coalitions of funders and other stakeholders are most suitable to deal with these knowledge gaps (matchmaking)?
  • What are strengths and weaknesses of various possible funding models for executing the SRA?

How INSPIRATION will achieve the overall aim?

INSPIRATION had set the following specific objectives as steps to enable the achievement of the project aim:

  1. Establish the state-of-the-art in balancing supply and demand in resources and natural capital by land management and the way soil, sediments and water (SSW) contribute at the national and European level.
  2. Identify and prioritise key knowledge, technology, policy and understanding gaps in current activities in meeting soil and land use related societal needs and challenges across Europe and beyond.
  3. Develop a needs & challenges focused strategic research agenda (SRA) that can be tackled on a national and European level.
  4. Identify relevant existing and new funding and delivery models for implementing the SRA.
  5. Bring together European public and private research funders willing to collaboratively and synergistically invest in delivering the SRA, or parts thereof, at local, regional, national and transnational scales.



General Outline

INSPIRATION was delivered in 5 phases:

  1. Establishing the demand from end users and funders – what are the soil and land related challenges for society?
  2. National audit of activities and capacities through National Focal Points and National Key Stakeholder engagement
  3. Establishing thematic knowledge needs to satisfy the as yet unmet societal challenges
  4. Formulating a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) to meet those needs
  5. Identifying pathways to implementing the SRA

Dernière mise à jour le 28.02.2018