Success story: FRESHBIO

This project will study the diversity, biological states and uses of freshwater biotas in the insular biodiversity hotspots of Southeast Asia. It was funded under the 1st Call of the Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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Around the world, natural ecosystems are being put under increasing pressure by mankind. Maintaining high levels of biodiversity is vital to ensuring the continuing sustainability of ecosystems, and areas at particular risk are identified as ‘biodiversity hotspots’. There are three such insular hotspots in Southeast Asia, which are among the most endangered in the world.

However, there is a lack of consistent recording of animal and plant life within these ecosystems, which hampers conservation efforts. This lack of accurate and reliable databases in Southeast Asia, limits research on ecology and global climate change. Such research is becoming increasingly important as greater areas and populations begin to experience the effects of climate change – particularly those whose livelihoods depend on wildlife.

To get a clearer picture of the state of freshwater biotas in insular hotspots in Southeast Asia, urgent steps must be taken. Firstly, DNA-based methods of species inventory are needed to speed up the inventory of biodiversity, and accurate biodiversity mapping is urgently needed to guide conservation strategies.

For this work to take place, capacity building on wildlife forensics is needed to promote new and sustainable practices for species identification, while local populations living in these areas will also need guidance to adapt to the potential effects of biodiversity loss.

The project

The FRESHBIO project aims to address all of these issues through the following steps. Firstly, the team will support DNA barcoding campaigns to build-up reference libraries for automated species identification and its application in environmental DNA barcoding. They will then explore historical trends in population demography and species aggregation in ecological communities to address the state of aquatic biotas (expansion vs. contraction), and estimate the impact of land conversion on diversity patterns through a geographic information system approach. Finally, the project will explore the dynamics of adaptation and resilience of human populations to environmental changes.

The Science

Three main hypotheses are underpinning FRESHBIO: (1) DNA barcoding is an effective paradigm to document biodiversity as it is effective whatever the life stages, spectacular levels of cryptic diversity are often reported and libraries are publicly available. (2) Pleistocene climatic fluctuations predict diversity patterns. Emerged land in Sundaland represents only 50-75% of its maximal Pleistocene surface and its biotas are currently in a refugial state. By contrast, the Wallacea and Philippines hotspots have been continuously isolated from the main land during PCF. (3) Wildlife dependent peoples are sentinels of environmental changes. Resilience and adaptive responses of local fisherfolk to disturbed aquatic ecosystems may be assessed through the peoples’ capacity to anticipate ongoing changes. If addressed through time, people adaptive strategies might be indicative of early ecosystemic changes.

The FRESHBIO partners are:

Dr. Hendrik FREITAG: Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)

Dr. Daisy WOWOR: Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)

Dr. Nicolas HUBERT: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), France Sud

Dr. Thomas von RINTELEN: Museum für Naturkunde (MfN)

Dr. Philippe KEITH: Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)

Dr. Edmond DOUNIAS: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Indonésie


Nicolas Hubert:


***The 2nd Call of the SEA-Europe Joint Funding Scheme is now open! Click here for the full details.***

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Partnering Tool for the 2nd Joint Call

Find a research partner for your proposal with the partnering tool for the 2nd Joint Call
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A simple partnering tool was set-up to support the search for partners for interested applicants. Register with a profile indicating your resarch areas of interest or resarch idea. You will be able to search other profiles for potential partners and others will be able to see your profile and contact you. The partnering tool can be found under 


FNRS Belgium Joins 2nd Joint Call after ANR France and BMBF Germany

After the French National Research Agency (ANR) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) now also the Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) Belgium has joined the 2nd Joint Call for Proposals.
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The Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) Belgium, the French National Research Agency (ANR) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) have joined the 2nd Joint Call for Proposals after the official launch of the call on 18 June 2018. Belgian, French and German applicants are now eligible for funding in both thematic areas of the call namely bioeconomy and infectious diseases. For the update and national regulations please go to the call section.



SEA JFS logo

2nd Joint Call in the thematic areas Bioeconomy and Infectious Diseases launched!

The 2nd Joint Call under the SEA-Europe JFS in the two thematic areas BIOECONOMY and INFECTIOUS DISEASES has been launched. Deadline for the submission of proposals is 18 September 2018.
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On 18 June 2018 the 2nd Joint Call under the SEA-Europe JFS in the two thematic areas BIOECONOMY and INFECTIOUS DISEASES has been launched.

16 funding agencies and ministries from 14 countries have so far confirmed their participation and it is expected that more countries will announce their participation soon. Please re-visit on a regular basis to get the latest news about additional funders.

For the call text and national regulations, please visit our call section.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is 18 September 2018.

Service Facility Team meets with Indonesian Science Fund

Training at the Indonesian Science Fund to take over role of the call secretariat

From 7-11 May 2018 the EC's International Service Facility Team gave a training to the Indonesian Science Fund in Jakarta/Indonesia which is the candidate to host the call secretariat for the 2nd Joint Call.
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From 7-11 May 2018 the EC's International Service Facility Team gave a training to the  Indonesian Science Fund (ISF) in Jakarta/Indonesia which is the candidate to host the call secretariat for the 2nd Joint Call.

The training went through all steps of the implementation of a Joint Call ranging from the moderation of the selection of topics to the evaluation procedure to the funding decision meeting. ISF's Team successfully mastered the training and now well prepared to host the upcoming 2nd Joint Call for Proposals.  

H2020 Naypyidaw

EU delegation presents opportunities for collaboration at 17th ASEAN STI Meeting

Horizon 2020 and Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme presented to ASEAN STI ministries in Naypyidaw, Myanmar
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A delegation of EU representatives presented the many opportunities available for increasing collaboration between Southeast Asian and European researchers at the 17th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on 19th October 2017.

The delegation, led by Konstantinos Glinos of the European Commission, highlighted the similarities between the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APASTI) and EU STI policy objectives, and presented the many avenues for collaboration open to researchers, including Horizon 2020, information services offered by EURAXESS, and opportunities for jointly funded SEA-EU projects through the Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme (JFS).

The delegation announced the upcoming calls for Horizon 2020 funding (the new Work Programme 2018-2020 was published on October 29 – visit this link), and presented the preliminary outcomes of the 1st call of the Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme (JFS) which had taken place on 16-17 October in Bangkok, Thailand.

In addition to this, a number of side events took place to further promote SEA-EU collaboration in science, technology and innovation. During the Ministerial Meeting, the delegation engaged in a number of bilateral discussions with Thai and Vietnamese funding agencies, while a European Union booth at the ASEAN STI week promoted all of the mentioned opportunities to interested researchers. The JFS Secretariat also held a side-event on the 20 October for representatives of ASEAN funding agencies which would be interested in participating in future JFS calls.

The JFS Scientific Council in Bangkok

SEA-EU Joint Funding Scheme holds successful funding decision meeting in Bangkok

First JFS Joint Call results in securing commitments to fund 10 projects
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The first Joint Call of the Southeast Asia-Europe Joint Funding Scheme (JFS) for research and innovation has succeeded in securing commitments to fund 10 projects, which will bring together research teams from both regions to tackle some of the most pressing issues faced today in the fields of health and climate change. 

The meetings of the JFS Scientific Committee and Programme Steering Committee were held in Bangkok, Thailand, on the 16 and 17 October respectively, and were attended by representatives from many research funding agencies from across South East Asia and Europe.The meetings were hosted by the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) Thailand and the  Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS).

In this first call, two areas of research were selected for funding; firstly projects related to health, focusing specifically on anti-microbial drug resistance and emerging infectious diseases, and secondly, on projects relating to the environment and climate change which have a specific focus on adaptation / resilience of food production systems, and the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity.

The successful proposals were announced in December, and are expected to start in the early months of 2018. Given the considerable success of the 1st Call, the JFS Secretariat received unanimous support from those present to hold a 2nd Call in 2018. It is hoped that this continuation will attract even more participating countries and funding agencies from both regions to fund many more joint projects in the future.

1st Joint Call: Announcement of 10 projects selected for funding

1st Joint Call: Announcement of 10 projects selected for funding

In its meeting in October 2017 in Bangkok the Programme Steering Committee (PSC) selected the following 10 projects for funding:

1) CWSSEA - Assessments of vulnerability of mature and secondary forests to climatic water stress in Southeast Asia

2) SKUD - The emergence of Skin Ulceration Diseases in Edible Sea Cucumbers in a Global Change Framework

3) ThaiVacc - Novel Leptospirosis and Dengue Fever Vaccines for Thailand

4) FRESHBIO - Freshwater biotas of the insular biodiversity hotspots of Southeast Asia: diversity, biological states and uses

5) PlasmID-SEA - Plasmid Identification and Detection in South-East Asia - Enterobacteriaceae resistant to last resort Carbapenems and Colistin

6) FarmResist - Occupational risks for animal farmers to be colonised with animal-associated resistant bacteria in Thailand, impact on the faecal microbiota

7) CAREChild - Containment of antibiotic resistance - measures to improve antibiotic use in pregnancy, childbirth and children

8) DeZi - A single component pentavalent Dengue-Zika vaccine preventing antibody-dependent enhancement phenomenon

9) RESCuE - Monitoring and REstoration for Sustainable Coastal Ecosystems

10) Strengthening rice breeding programs in Laos and Thailand and developing climate-resilient rice varieties

The project coordinators have been informed about this deicision by the Joint Call Secretariat. The total funding volume of the projects amounts to approximately 3,3 mio. Euros.

More information about the projects will be available soon.
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