Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : ICT Innovation for agriculture – Digital Innovation Hubs for Agriculture

Topic identifier: DT-RUR-12-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Digitising and transforming European industry and services (DT)

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
31 October 2017
Deadline: 13 February 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 08 June 2018 16:12

    Letters informing on the results of the evaluation have been sent to applicants.

    Under the tab 'Topic conditions and documents' the following document is available in the last section "Additional documents": H2020-RUR-2018-1-single stage flash call info



  • 05 March 2018 11:31

    An overview of the number of proposals submitted is now available under the ‘Topic conditions & documents’ section on the topic page.

  • 23 January 2018 17:31

    This topic now correctly dispose of the rectified PART B template, which includes the sub-sections on financial support to third parties, under chapter 4.2.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

European agriculture could gain a decisive competitive advantage if the ICT sector and the farming community could work together to generate a wave of bottom-up ICT innovations across Europe designed to create more productive and sustainable agricultural systems. The topic will facilitate the adoption and widespread transfer of ICT-based solutions for agriculture.

The Digitising European Industry Strategy[1] aims to ensure that every business in Europe has access to a Digital Innovation Hub at ‘a working distance’. A Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) helps companies become more competitive by improving their business/production processes, products and services through the use of digital technologies. DIHs offer services to test and experiment with advanced technologies and produce innovative products/solutions. They should also act as a broker between user companies and technology suppliers.

Many components of Digital Innovation Hubs already exist at European, national and regional level.[2] Through this topic, the European Commission is adding value to these existing investments by supporting highly innovative experimentation on a pan-European scale.


The topic calls for promoting Digital Innovation Hubs in agriculture. It should address the adoption of ICT-based solutions for more productive and sustainable agriculture systems. The focus is on innovative technologies that need to be customized, integrated, tested and validated not only by technology developers but also the farming community before they are placed on the market. Special emphasis is on the strengthening of European start-ups and SMEs by adopting new concepts linked to innovative agri-business and/or service models, and connecting them with actors that can provide access to finance, advanced training skills, knowledge and needs of the farming community.

Hence, the following is requested for this topic:

  1. Organisations participating in the call should demonstrate that they are deeply rooted in a digital innovation hub that offers digital transformation services to companies in its proximity. They should provide a clear analysis of how the proposed project will add value to the existing service offer, and how it is aligned with the national or regional digitisation initiative. Every project should support a critical mass of dedicated pan-European innovation experiments that bring together technology suppliers and the farming sector. At least 50% of the budget should directly benefit SMEs. The action may involve financial support to third parties. The proposal will define the process of selecting entities for which financial support will be granted, typically in the order of 40.000 – 100.000 per party[3];
  2. Activities proposed should be sustainable in the long term and must include a business plan for the Digital Innovation Hubs, a plan to attract investors, to address needs of the farming sector and dissemination activities. The use of established networks for SMEs such as the Enterprise Europe network is encouraged;
  3. The project should create a network and help achieve a broad coverage in terms of technological aspects, application, innovation and geography. It should also link up with regional/national innovation initiatives and other DIHs. This shall include maintaining a single innovation portal, sharing of best practice, dissemination, brokerage between ICT suppliers and farming users, leveraging investment and training;
  4. Selected projects are expected to collaborate on building a network of Digital Innovation Hubs, covering most regions in Europe[4].

Proposals should fall under the concept of the multi-actor approach[5].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU up to EUR 10 mill would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Proposals must promote the creation of a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem of competence centres, farming users and suppliers supported by services available through a marketplace, covering a large number of regions. Through the creation of a sustainable network of Digital Innovation Hubs, proposals will provide European added value to investments made at national and regional level in DIH. It should have a high leveraging effect on other sources of funding, in particular regional and national funding.

In the short to medium term work will:

  • Attract a significant number of new users of ICT in the agricultural sector;
  • Attract a significant number of innovative and competitive technology suppliers (start-ups and SMEs) able to supply the farming community with new solutions for improving farming operations;
  • Create a critical mass of pan-European experiments that explore new application areas for ICT in agriculture in general;
  • Increase deployment of technologies in the agriculture sector.

In the longer term funded activities will create sustainable production systems and increase the competitiveness of the farming sector.

Cross-cutting Priorities:




[3]In line with Article 23 (7) of the Rules for Participation the amount referred to in Article 137 of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded, since this is necessary to achieve the objectives of the action.

[4]Please refer to topic DT-ICT-06-2018, Call "Digitising and transforming European industry and services" H2020-DT-2018-2020 published under Annex 6 of the WP 2018-2020 " Information and Communication Technologies"

[5]See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part.

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.

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: 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 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.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
9. Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy 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

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.

Additional documents

  • Flash call info - RUR first stage_en en
  • Generalised_Feedback_RUR_01_2018_2019 en
  • H2020-RUR-2018-1-single stage flash call info en

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