Sustainable soils by quality compost with defined properties

Project Details


Main research question/goal

The North Sea region is an area of intensive farming characterised by rapid soil degradation, a challenge that cannot be mitigated by currently available solutions like compost products or biological residues. The demand for soil-improvers for these intensively utilised soils is increasing. The main barriers to meet this urgent need are a) a lack of suitable and stabilised soil amendments for resource-efficient improvements of soil quality and b) the absence of an alignment in demands and risks in European and national regulations.

Research approach

These shared challenges are tackled in this project by designing and producing tailor-made composts based on biological residue flows, both at on-farm (local) and compost-company (regional) scale. Furthermore, quality indicators are developed for testing and defining quality standards for composts for specific uses instead of general applications. Last, guidelines are developed to align and improve certification and regulation for quality compost.


This project will involve research/extension centres, compost and horticultural producers and regional authorities in five North Sea Regions to align with local, regional, and trans-European needs and barriers. Eventually, SOILCOM will transform ‘waste’ to ‘resource’, supporting EU policy on circular economy and increasing carbon storage, water and nutrient use efficiency, productivity of horticultural and compost enterprises, and reducing pesticide use.

Funding provider(s)
Interreg VB North Sea Region
Provincie Antwerpen
Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen

External partner(s)
PCA - Interprovinciaal Proefcentrum voor de Aardappelteelt vzw
PCS - Proefcentrum voor de Sierteelt
Effective start/end date6/04/1930/06/23

Flemish Discipline list

  • Horticultural crop production
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Microbiomes
  • Soil ecology
  • Recycling
  • Soil biology
  • Analysis of next-generation sequence data
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Soil chemistry
  • Sustainable development
  • Soil sciences, challenges and pollution not elsewhere classified