*Alfred Grand is an organic farmer and entrepreneur. His farm is 200 acres and located in Absdorf, Austria, Europe. In 1997 he started a side business in thermophilic composting and soon later in vermicomposting (composting with the help of epigeic earthworms). He developed his own continuous flow vermicomposting business and also small scale vermicomposting systems for indoor use. In 2006 the farm was converted into organic certification. In 2009 he met his future partner Leopold Fischer and they started to work together. In 2010 VERMIGRAND Naturprodukte GmbH was founded. The company offers vermicompost as a fertilizer, thermophilic compost, compost tea, vermicomposting systems and peat free organic soil. Most resources are coming directly from the farm and are therefore already organic certified. Consulting, training, publishing, licensing for the continuous flow vermicomposting system and research and development is done in Austria, several other countries within Europe and Asia.

*ERF (Exploitatie Reservegronden Flevoland) is and wants to be and remain Flevoland’s most important partner for the temporary management of agricultural land. We can add new bases to the management at any time. Or transfer land to the owner or new user. During management, we invest a lot in soil improvement. Organic farming means that cleaner, more fertile soils are developed instead of fallow land. Since no chemicals are used, there is no disturbance to local residents, neighboring crops and surface water. As a result, healthy soils can be used for many purposes: agricultural land, urban sprawl or nature.

Climate Farmers is building essential infrastructure for policy and industry to scale regenerative agriculture in Europe systemically. The organisation develops Carbon+ Credits, high-quality carbon credits from agriculture that serve as a transition finance tool for farmers on the journey of shifting their farming systems towards regeneration. At the same time, Climate Farmers uses data-supported methods and works together with local coaches to help interested farmers to transition their farms towards regenerative agriculture. Applied methods and tools are designed to holistically generate context-specific impact. A monitoring system determines the benefits of regenerative agriculture that go beyond carbon capture and include biodiversity, water retention & quality and nutrient cycling. *Commonland brings a holistic approach to landscape restoration. Our international team of specialists offers our partners a wide range of support tools, advice, guidance and global network to maximize the 4 Returns framework at scale.

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is the largest public research institution in Spain. Its main objective is to develop and promote scientific research to contribute to advancing knowledge and economic, social and cultural development. CEBAS-CSIC is one of its multidisciplinary institutes located in south-eastern Spain and dedicated to performing applied research in the fields of Agricultural Sciences, Food Science and Technology, and Natural Resources. At CEBAS-CSIC, the Soil and Water Conservation Research Group performs interdisciplinary research to identify and evaluate Sustainable Land Management and landscape restoration strategies to increase soil health and ecosystem services in agricultural and (semi)natural ecosystems.

*Earthwatch is an environmental charity with science at its heart. We connect people with the natural world, monitor the health of our natural resources, and help people take action to have a positive impact.

We are an IRO (independent research organisation) and we use science to better understand the environmental challenges we face, and to find solutions to these issues. We are leaders in – and passionate advocates of – citizen science: engaging the public in research. We empower people from all walks of life to gather data, generate environmental insights and inform future policy. We connect these people through inspirational experiences around the globe, enabling them to make a direct contribution to scientific research.

The National Research Council (CNR) is the largest Italian public research institution (more than 8.000 employees) performing multidisciplinary activities.
The Institute for Mediterranean Agricultural and Forestry Systems (ISAFOM), belong to CNR, will participate to BENCHMARKS project. Its mission is to pursue better understanding of biophysical processes in agro-forest systems for improving the productivity of agriculture and forests through a sustainable land and water use.
CNR-ISAFOM has high expertise on soil hydrology, pedology, soil spatial variability, modelling of the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system, GIS and DSS. This expertise has been consolidated in the context of both national (e.g., PRIN, PON) and international projects funded by EU (e.g., LIFE+, ERANET, H2020).

*The Regional Directorate for Agriculture and Fisheries of the Center Region (Portugal) has the mission of participating in the formulation and execution of policies in the areas of agriculture, rural development and fisheries and, in conjunction with the competent central bodies and services and in accordance with the norms and guidelines established by these defined, contribute to the implementation of policies in the areas of food safety, animal protection, plant health, nature conservation and forests, within the framework of efficient local management of resources.

FiBL is one of the world’s leading organic farming research and technology transfer centres dedicated to sustainable agriculture with about 300 staff members. It is an independent, non-profit research institute with the aim of advancing cutting-edge science particularly in the field of organic farming. The institute bridges basic and applied research and the team works together with farmers and farmers’ organisations to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions to boost agricultural productivity while never losing sight of environmental, health and socio-economic impacts. The Department of Soil Sciences focuses on improving the efficiency and sustainability of cropping systems. It has thorough expertise on soil quality and functions, with an emphasis on soil biology, including the diversity of soil microbial communities and their role in nutrient cycling.

At Ersilia we like to connect people and knowledge from different disciplines and facilitate generative dialogues that allow collective thinking and shared visions. We offer training schools and workshops that are designed using active deep learning approaches, helping to develop higher order skills as critical thinking, self & collective awareness, system and future thinking and the capacity to be agile, flexible and adaptable.

GENESIS is the rating and monitoring agency for the environmental impact (biodiversity, climate, water, and fertility) of agricultural sourcing. The rating system is based on real measurements of the soil health used for this sourcing, based on soil sampling, analysis, and scoring of biological, carbon, and pollution parameters.
GENESIS’ goal is the development of greener agricultural sourcing. GENESIS’s strategy is to contribute through the development of knowledge of the environmental impact of agricultural practices, as well as to develop a standard to measure the state of soil health and the environmental impact of agriculture. In this context, Genesis is involved in a number of standardization projects for impact indicators (European Union, SBTN, ISO-AFNOR, WWF, etc.).

Brief description

INRAE is the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. Its mission is to carry out excellent science in order to provide innovative solutions addressing global challenges, notably climate change, biodiversity and food security while at the same time enabling the much needed agro-ecological, nutritional and energy transitions. This research also serves policy making from regional to international levels, thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. The INRAE teams participating to BENCHMARKS are covering several disciplines (e.g. soil research, data sciences, monitoring, agronomy, forestry, modelling…) and are highly involved in national and international initiatives and research programs on soil issues (e.g. EJP SOIL, GSP, EUSO).

AgroParisTech – the National Institute of Technology for Life, Food, and Environmental Sciences, is the leading French higher education and research institution aiming at addressing some of the main global challenges of the 21st century: feeding a growing population while sustainably managing territories, preserving natural resources, supporting innovation and integrating the bioeconomy. It offers high level training for Master of Science in Engineering, Master of Science and PhD students & lifelong learning programs, while focusing on research and innovation thanks to its 21 joint research units . In 2021, it was ranked 3rd at European level and 4th at global level by QS Ranking, subject “Agriculture and Forestry” and ranked 17th by the Shanghai Ranking’s global ranking of academic subjects (Agricultural Sciences). AgroParisTech is founding member of Université Paris-Saclay, ranked 16th globally and 1st in continental Europe by the 2022 Shanghai ranking (ARWU). AgroParisTech connects with its socio-economic environment through different activities including setting-up Research and sponsored chairs.

Institute for applied plant biology (IAP) – Experts for monitoring programs in forest ecosystems and urban trees

We have been conducting research in the fields of forest ecology and plant physiology for over forty years. Our main concern is the health of forests and urban trees in Switzerland. The IAP is a private research institute founded in 1980 by Prof. Dr. Walter Flückiger, Dr. Heidi Flückiger and Dr. Sabine Braun in Schönenbuch (BL). Our main clients are several Swiss cantons and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The main projects are the Intercantonal Forest Observation Monitoring Programme with about 190 managed forests sites all over Switzerland and the long-term monitoring of soil solution sampled monthly at 45 forests site. The data are analysed for effects of excessive nitrogen deposition, soil acidification and ozone on forest health and the results are used in national negotiations on pollution control and in UNECE working groups on effects for setting critical levels and loads.

Brief description

The Jozef Stefan Institute is a research institution for basic and applied research in natural sciences and technology based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Institute is specialized in research in physics, chemistry and biochemistry, electronics and information science, nuclear technology, energy utilization and environmental science. The proposed project BENCHMARKS is carried out by the Knowledge Technologies Department, which conducts research in the field of artificial intelligence (machine learning, data and text mining) and knowledge technologies (decision modelling and decision support systems). The department applies scientific methods to research and practical problems in the fields of agronomy, forestry, environmental and life sciences.

*Mission of ZALF is to deliver solutions for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture – together with society. As a contribution to overcoming global challenges such as climate change, food security, biodiversity conservation and resource scarcity, we develop and design crop systems, integrated in their landscape contexts, that combine food security with sustainability. Therefore we process complex landscape data with a unique set of experimental methods, new technologies and models as well as socio-economic approaches.

ZALF research is integrated systems research: starting from processes in soils and plants to causal relationships on the field and landscape level up to global impacts and complex interactions between landscapes, society and economy. According to its statutes, ZALF serves “the public welfare by communicating scientific insights to the relevant sections of the population, technical communities and business circles”. ZALF research stands explicitly for scientific excellence and social relevance.

RECETOX, as an independent REsearch CEntre for TOXic compounds, operating within the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, in Brno, Czech Republic, fulfils three roles – AN ACADEMIC INSTITUTION providing university education, A RESEARCH CENTRE working on the transformation of research into practical applications & A BODY supporting the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS).
We closely cooperate with the Region of South-Moravia and the City of Brno to innovate the living conditions of Brno citizens. RECETOX is leading the EIRENE Research Infrastructure aiming to pioneer the first EU infrastructure on human exposome.

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is a research organisation that builds sustainable future and well-being from renewable natural resources. Luke is operating under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland.

Luke resolves challenges in the sustainable and profitable use of renewable natural resources in four phenomenon-based research programmes: 1. Climate-Smart Carbon Cycle, 2. Profitable and responsible primary production, 3. Adaptive and Resilient Bioeconomy, 4. Circular bioeconomy.
In addition to research activities, Luke has statutory duties, and it compiles Finland’s official food and natural resources statistics.
Luke employs some 1,300 people and operates in 24 locations in Finland. Headquarter is in Helsinki.

The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) is Norway’s leading institution for applied ecological research, with broad-based expertise on the genetic, population, species, ecosystem and landscape level, in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal marine environments. Areas of international-level applied research relevant for BENCHMARKS are the Centre for Biodiversity Genetics, monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem change, carbon turnover and sequestration, indicators and assessments of ecological condition, GIS and remote-sensing enabled indicators, restoration ecology, environmental governance and participatory processes. NINA researchers participate in the IPBES assessments (Global Assessment 2019, Values assessment 2022, Transformative change (ongoing)

AGES operates the federal laboratories related to food safety (food and feed analysis, water analysis, residues analysis) and radiation protection, the main diagnostic laboratories related to food safety and human health, animal health, and plant health. AGES conducts research in these areas and is responsible for integrated risk assessment. Approximately 1,430 persons are employed at AGES with more than 40% of scientists or experts with academic degrees in nearly all disciplines related to food and health safety. The department for Soil Health and Plant Nutrition is responsible for soil analysis, soil monitoring and fertilisation tasks in the context of sustainable plant production as well as for national fertiliser control.

The Regeneration Academy is an organization whose mission is to use education as a tool to regenerate the land. We give young entrepreneurs, farmers and students the knowledge and resources to become innovators in the fields of regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration. In our regenerative agriculture HUB, we connect young entrepreneurs, students, farmers and academics to find solutions to revitalize the Spanish countryside, contributing to the transition to a better future. These connections create opportunities for innovative regenerative farming methods for semi-arid areas which then are tested through our (student) research programs to ensure they are truly beneficial in our context.

ISRIC – World Soil Information is an independent, science-based foundation under Dutch law. The institute was founded in 1966 following a recommendation of the International Soil Science Society (ISSS) and a resolution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
ISRIC has a mission to serve the international community with information about the world’s soil resources to help addressing major global issues. With partners, it produces and serves quality-assured soil information at global, regional and national levels. It stimulates the use of this information to address global challenges such as improving food security, combatting land degradation, and mitigating and adapting to climate change through capacity building, awareness raising and direct cooperation with users and clients.
ISRIC has a dedicated capacity-building programme for soil information gathering, handling and provisioning, consisting of on-the-job training, guest research and an annual spring school on these topics.
ISRIC has been accredited as World Data Centre for Soils (WDC-Soils) in 1998 by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU, now ICS (International Council for Science). Member organizations of the ISC-World Data System (WDS) have a strong and tangible commitment to open data sharing, data and service quality, and data preservation. For this, implicitly, they need to develop and maintain a comprehensive spatial data infrastructure (SDI) to secure storing, handling, and provisioning of a wide range of soil data, using defined workflows and standards, as required for CoreTrustSeal certified repositories.ISRIC operates in four priority areas:
• Setting standards and providing reference for soil information;
• Providing of soil information;
• Education, capacity building and advocacy; and
• Innovative data and information products for development.

The University of Coimbra (UC) is the oldest Portuguese higher education institution, developing activities since 1290 AD. UC offers an appropriated infrastructure supporting cultural, training, and educational activities, such as the Common Library, the University Stadium, and a Botanical Garden. UC is part of a UNESCO World Heritage place, “University of Coimbra, Alta and Sofia”, since 2013.
The Centre for Functional Ecology – Science for People & the Planet (CFE) is an R&D unit of UC that brings together researchers from all fields of ecology, integrating knowledge from gene to the biome level to disentangle the mechanisms responsible for biodiversity maintenance and the composition, structure and functioning of biological communities and ecosystems.

CRISP is an Interdepartmental Centre of University of Napoli Federico II specifically devoted to research in Geospatial Decision Support System also incorporating the Earth Critical Zone concept and addressing applications in sustainable agriculture and environment.
CRISP is constituted by highly selected transdisciplinary professionals from four different Departments of University of Napoli Federico II (Agricultural, Earth Science, Architecture and Humanistic Studies). Its activities include soil database and mapping, Land Evaluation, hydropedology, soil spatial variability, applied geology, hydrogeology, soil modelling, micromorphology, soil degradation studies.
CRISP team has obtained both international scientific credit and much contract work to handle practical landscape issues.

With 62,000 students and an outreach across 2 metropolises (Metz & Nancy), Université de Lorraine invests wholeheartedly in knowledge production and sharing. It is committed to raising the level of citizens’ educational attainment through intensive research involving both the basic and applied strands. From basic research to the humanities, UL is building cross-disciplinary ecosystems to drive innovation, which are accelerating the transfer of knowledge to practical applications. UL joined the European alliance EURECA-PRO, which now comprises nine universities. In order to maintain its status as a European university, this European scientific network is pursuing its strategy focused on the major challenge of the ecological transition.

Global Change Research Institute CAS (CzechGlobe) conducts comprehensive research on issues of the global climate change and its impacts on the atmosphere, terrestrial ecosystems and human society. The institute operates extensive research facility CzeCOS consisting of network of permanent
ecosystem research stations (contributing to ICOS), atmospheric research station (contributing to ACTRIS), laboratory of metabolomics, system of long-term impact experiments (contributing to AnAEE and eLTER) and a flying laboratory of imaging systems (contributing to EUFAR). CzechGlobe developed Czech drought monitoring system, national early warning systems for crop yield forecasting, monitoring of selected biotic and abiotic risks for farmers, wild-fire forecasting.

Brief description

*WCMC is a UK charity that promotes for public benefit the conservation, protection, enhancement and support of nature and natural resources worldwide. We do this by collecting, storing, processing, analysing, interpreting and sharing data that increase our knowledge and understanding of biodiversity and the conservation of nature. Good data are the foundation of informed decision-making and we work with many partners to help them develop their knowledge and capacity to make good decisions.

We collaborate with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) within the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).