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more than 10% of the whole surface of the country as primarily natural

forest and national parks, which is enormous, and consequently we have

to develop strategies to deal with the population around the national parks.

“The next step will take place later this year. After discussing the proposal

with Rwandan and European partners, it should be possible to determine

how exactly such an application could be undertaken and what needs

to be included. It is a huge topic and it’s important to review and ensure

it is feasible. Pre-research will also be undertaken and data accumulated

for the future project.”

Call focus

Despite optimism in submitting an application to Horizon 2020, Fischer

still hopes that Horizon 2020 calls will be announced that are more

suitable for his areas of research.

“We are looking for calls that focus on biodiversity, but also land use,

reduction in soil erosion and other related topics. It would be great to see

one main topic call that focuses on biodiversity conservation and developing

models for future climate change by understanding past adjustments.

“Biodiversity is an essential topic in order to deal with climate change,

and we have to understand the biotic nature of climate change. It’s

important to see how past climate change has affected organisms,

helping us to learn from previous changes and to develop scenarios and

strategies to cope with future climate change.”

Later this year, the 2016-2017 work programmes will be published,

indicating if the Commission has heard the calls requesting change.

important to Horizon 2020 and subsequently

detailed another potential study where he

hopes to receive funding.

“The Rwandan biodiversity study is just one of

the projects which fits into the topic ‘Climate

change and biodiversity conservation’. The

study assesses how plants, and animals, have

survived during past climate change. We have

experienced climate change in the Nyungwe

National Park and mountain forest for at least

1.5 million years, and we see the environment

as getting both warmer and colder between

certain intervals. It is therefore a good model to

see how future climate change will affect

biodiversity and one where we can also assess

the wider impact on areas connected

to biodiversity.

“Another good project could be an assessment

of the hydro region around the main streams

of the Congo and the Nile. We have partners in

several other European countries, especially in

Belgium but also Sweden and the UK, which

are interested in collaborating, and this could

be a suitable joint project.”

Making it happen

Fischer intends to realise the hydro project

through using collaborative networks and aims

to submit a project proposal to the European

Commission via Horizon 2020 later this year.

“Because these contacts have been established

for at least ten years, and we have close co-

operation in many fields, it’s been possible to

build a long term network and use these

contacts for an application to Horizon 2020.

With Rwandan partners especially, we have

developed possible strategies for both

conserving and using biodiversity, which is

extremely beneficial as the population around

the rainforest will benefit from biodiversity

conservation and from these national parks.

“Besides questions of biodiversity research, or

model systems for surviving climate change, we

have also developed ideas on how to add an

economic aspect to the project, for example how

small scale farmers around the rainforest can

profit from producing special rainforest products

and their agri-forestry systems. Rwanda is

heavily overpopulated as we now have around

ten million people on 26,000km

2

. We have

Professor Dr Eberhard Fischer

University of Koblenz-Landau

B R OW S E

http://www.uni-koblenz-landau.de

H O R I Z O N

2 0 2 0

www.horizon2020projects.com

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

213

S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : C L I M AT E A C T I O N

Fischer intends to work

with his network of

contacts to apply for

Horizon 2020 funding