Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Agricultural digital integration platforms

Topic identifier: DT-ICT-08-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Digitising and transforming European industry and services (DT)

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
26 July 2018
Deadline: 14 November 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Agricultural research and innovation supports the sector in coping with a complex mix of challenges it is facing, including for example the pressures on natural resources and farm revenues. Knowledge creation and accessible information systems and tools to monitor, gather, transform and above all share vital information between key stakeholders can help the sector to become more sustainable. However, as well as the potential for new knowledge, a substantial part of the existing knowledge and its underpinning information flows, has yet to be exploited to its full potential. The resulting performance gap has strong social, ecological and economic implications. An improved functioning of the agricultural knowledge and innovation systems is needed, for timely innovation and to speed up the rate of knowledge creation. One of the most important constraints concerns the limited interoperability and lack of openness of different technical systems, thus limiting the choices farmers can make between suppliers of new technologies. An enhanced interoperability would allow for increased data sharing and the resulting knowledge generation. Another main constraint is the lack of information on the effectiveness of new technologies which slows down their take up.


Pilots should address all of the below aspects:

  • Building platforms integrating different technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, cloud, photonics, networks, geolocalisation (including through Galileo and EGNOS (the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service)) and robotics combined with applications based on data analytics and knowledge management. There is a need for a wide adoption of open, interoperable standards to ensure that all connected systems can talk to each other, allowing the farmers and relevant other stakeholders to pick and choose the most appropriate combination of tools from different suppliers. Pilots will validate the means to achieve high level of interoperability of different systems through reference architecture, semantics technologies and standardisation framework that demonstrate communication exchange of data across different systems and platforms.
  • Sharing data and generating knowledge via capturing and translating more and precise information. High precision data capturing and a high degree of data sharing should serve as basis for decision support systems delivering tailored advice at farm level, complementing and/or extending advisory services. The core technical enablers for analysing the amounts of data will be low-maintenance, robust and scalable monitoring and communication systems as well as artificial intelligence and semantics technologies. These services should include direct and detailed feedback to the farmers on appropriate practices and management strategies.
  • Developing decision support systems that will include, but are not restricted to, a benchmarking system on the productivity and sustainability performance of farms, services, technologies and practices. For this purpose data models and semantic standards need to be defined to elicit performance indicators and derive decision making, as well as allowing sharing the data from the different farms.

Pilots in the selected areas should clearly cover the supply and demand sides. For large-scale piloting and ecosystem building, projects in this topic may involve financial support to third parties to extend the digital innovation space for farmers, advisory services and innovators, based on a network of farms and in close cooperation with existing agricultural knowledge and innovation infrastructures of the different Member States and Associated Countries and regions. For farmers, the platforms should have a mass-tailored advisory and knowledge dissemination service, including economic and technical benchmarking. It shall cover a large number of farms, including small farms. Advisory services based on local eco-systems should be investigated and linked in the pilots. For innovators, the platforms should work as test-bed, testing and benchmarking new technologies and services. This should be made possible by allowing for recruiting pilot farms and/or making available the necessary data.

Proposals should fall under the concept of multi-actor approach[1] and allow for strong involvement of the farming sector in the proposed activities. Projects are required to develop adequate data governance model(s) defining the terms for access to data owned by another party. Activities should allow for a wide geographic coverage within Europe. In addition, proposals shall cover at least three sub-sectors (e.g. arable crops, livestock, vegetable and fruit production).

For this topic, the four activities and impact criteria described in the introductory section 'Platforms and Pilots' have to be applied. Pilot projects are expected to contribute to the consolidation and coherence work that will be implemented by the CSA supporting the activities defined under the topic "DT-ICT-13-2019: Digital Platforms/Pilots Horizontal Activities".

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU up to EUR 15 million would allow the areas to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • Demonstrate measureable benefits from intensified data and information flows across a wide range of farm types, notably small farms;
  • Improved and inclusive information flows and management within and among the targeted agricultural sectors based on transparent and fair data governance practices;
  • Identification of user needs, validation of user acceptance, especially demonstration of viable concepts addressing privacy, security, vulnerability, liability and trust in connected data spaces;
  • More information on environmental, social and economic performance of technologies, practices and management, increasing their respective adoption;
  • Creation of opportunities for entrepreneurs by promoting new market openings, providing access to valuable datasets and direct interactions with users, expanding local businesses to European scale;
  • Exploration and validation of new industry and business processes and innovative business models validated in the context of the pilots.

[1]For further information on the multi-actor approach concept please refer to the Introduction to SC2 Work Programme

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
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 Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.


Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

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

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
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

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

For grants awarded under this topic for Innovation actions beneficiaries may provide support to third parties as described in part K of the General Annexes of the Work Programme. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. The respective options of Article 15.1 and Article 15.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

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. See the Online Manual.

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:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) WP 2018-20
5i. Information and communication technologies (ICT) WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

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