Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : High speed data chain

Topic identifier: COMPET-3-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
08 November 2016
Deadline: 01 March 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Updates
  • 03 July 2017 16:45

    The evaluation results (flash call info) for the COMPET calls are now available under the "Additional Documents" section.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Satellite missions with higher productivity add growing data requirements on missions. As a result high speed data handling, processing and transfer are required. These growing requirements are shared among a variety of applications, with a main focus on Earth observation and Telecommunication systems, and with applications also in Science and Exploration. Data challenges have to be addressed within the data chain on-board the satellites (e.g. processing, storage, compression, optimisation), between the satellite and other terminals that can be located on ground or air-borne platforms, on-board other satellites, and mission ground segment. In particular, next generation Earth observation sensors pose the most challenging requirements for data links (in the Gbps range), including links from orbit to ground and inter-satellite communications between different orbits and constellations, and including technology transfer related to very small LEO satellites (nano and cubesats), as well as direct ground link to very small LEO satellites (nanosat and below, including cubesats) considering optical technologies.

Faster processing, larger storage, and high bandwidth transmissions to users will be needed. Moreover, smart on-board data compression and optimisation will become a growing necessity. All these improvements will be required to efficiently support the next generation of data intensive missions. To support this future scenario, innovations must be brought to the payload data management system (including data optimisation processes), to inter-satellite links, to satellite-ground communication, and to the ground segment data handling system.

Moreover, within the context of preparatory work for the next generation of the Copernicus space component, mission concepts will be developed by European industry based on mature Earth observation technologies and solutions.


Activities shall aim at providing advanced on-board data handling and transfer for Earth observation and Telecommunication systems, and its management and exploitation in mission ground segment. These activities shall address the future challenge of high data rates transmission and significant improvements in data throughput:

  • Re-configurable high data rate links including high frequency RF bands and optical communications: direct and interoperable links between LEO satellites and links to Earth and mobile or aerial platforms (including X band, Ka band and optical), or direct links between GEO satellites and Earth or mobile or aerial platforms, and inter-satellite links (beyond the specifications of the European Data Relay System – EDRS and its evolution in support to Copernicus).
  • On-board data processing, implementation of complex data algorithms (e.g. by means of programmable Digital Signal Processors – DSPs).
  • On-board data compression systems to improve on-board data storage (memory modules for new memory devices).
  • High data rate image (optical and/or radar) and video processing, such as lossless compression, image enhancement techniques or on-board SAR image generation.
  • Improved on-board data storage ensuring efficiency and reliability (management of memory modules for new memory devices).
  • Anticipate how the ground segment will cope with higher data rates to improve the overall data throughput. In particular to address the required evolution of technologies, architectures, products, end-user expectations, including the challenges associated with optical ground stations for data uplink and downlink.
  • Anticipate the need to link innovative ground segment architectures based on new ICT technologies, including cloud, in the “Big Data” domain and the rise in user demand for wide access to Near Real Time (NRT) and Quasi Real Time (QRT) data in social media and mobile applications.

A maximum of one proposal, exploiting NRT/QRT quality of data, with due regard to interoperability of interfaces to both innovative ICT dissemination architecture and applications, will be selected for funding.

In projects to be funded under this topic participation of industry, in particular SMEs, is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals addressing the full data chain (processing and compression, storage and transmission), or a coherent part of it, requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 to 7 million, and proposals addressing the rise in user demand of NRT/QRT data, requesting a contribution of between EUR 2 to 3 million would allow this specific topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • To provide elements for the high speed data chain management (including processing and compression, storage and transmission) and to support technologies for data intensive next generation of Telecommunications and Earth observation systems.
  • Greater industrial relevance of research actions and output as demonstrated by deeper involvement of industry, including SMEs, and stronger take-up of research results including support to standardisation (CCSDS[1]).
  • Fostering links between academia and industry, accelerating and broadening technology transfer.

[1]Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme. Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exception: considering the nature and objectives of the action, and in view of favouring wider competition and participation, the European Space Agency will not participate in consortia of proposals submitted under this call for proposals.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

    Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

    Open access to research data
    The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

    Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

    Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

    - Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs.

    - Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

    The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

8. Additional documents


Additional documents

  • Presentation on evaluation criteria given to Space National Contact Points 9.11.2016 en
  • Flash call info en

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