an EU-funded project

ACTIONr is EU-funded project under the HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-03 funding scheme that aims to unravel the scientific excellence and innovation potential of the University of Thessaly by establishing new tools and pathways to optimise nitrogen use efficiency, decelerate the N cycle, and decrease the environmental footprint of Nr. To achieve this, UTH will twin with two internationally leading partners in the ecogenomics (University of Vienna) and microbial ecology (École Centrale de Lyon) of the soil N cycle.


University of Thessaly

The University of Thessaly (UTH) is the 3rd largest University in Greece with 8 Schools and 36 Departments.

École Centrale de Lyon

École Centrale de Lyon (ECL) specialises in applied sciences and engineering and is one of 12 members of the University of Lyon.

University of Vienna

The University of Vienna (UNIVIE), founded in 1365, is one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe.

The Project

Globally, 50-70% of the N fertilizer applied to cropping systems is lost as nitrate and N-oxides, raising agricultural production costs and contributing to environmental pollution and climate change. These losses are directly linked to the nitrification process catalysed by soil nitrifying microbes. The mitigation of reactive nitrogen (Nr) loss via nitrification inhibitors (NIs) is a promising solution for increasing N use efficiency (NUE) in agriculture. ACTIONr aims to unravel the scientific excellence and innovation potential of a Widening country (Greece), through a European network of excellence on establishing novel tools and pathways for optimized NUE, reducing the continued acceleration of the N cycle, and decreasing the environmental footprint of Nr. As a centre for Greek agricultural production, Thessaly is suited to serve as a model for research on microbial N transformations for optimizing NUE in agroecosystems, but local capacity is not fully explored yet. Twinning of UTH with two internationally leading partners in Ecogenomics (UNIVIE) and Microbial Ecology (ECL) of the soil N cycle will: (i) further develop research excellence of UTH, (ii) improve its networking efficiency and interdisciplinarity, and (iii) have broad societal and environmental impact towards more efficient N management in agricultural settings.

The Team

ACTIONr will build on a strong tripartite interaction and collaboration between UTH (Departments of Biochemistry and Biotechnology and Environmental Sciences) and two internationally leading research groups, the Environmental Microbial Genomics Group in Laboratoire Ampère, at Ecole Central de Lyon and the Archaea Ecology and Evolution group in unit of Archaea Biology and Ecogenomics at University of Vienna, which bring expertise in soil microbial ecology, and the ecophysiology and ecogenomics of N microbial cycling. The twinning partners will provide complementary expertise to UTH research personnel through short scientific missions, training visits and secondments.