Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Airworthiness of mass-market drones

Topic identifier: MG-2-3-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
31 October 2017
Deadline: 04 April 2018 17:00:00

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

Recent research work[1] carried out on 10 year-long set of reported civil incidents involving drones around the world has found that technical problems (most notably, broken communication links) rather than errors by operators are the major cause of those incidents (circa 64% of the total). This evidence points to the need for adequate airworthiness rules for drone safety and better reporting of accidents.

Whilst multiple local or regional initiatives by aviation safety regulators have emerged worldwide to address this issue, they have been often impacted by the needs for providing timely responses to regional market demands, eventually resulting in significant regional differences in the technical requirements of recreational, professional-grade and specialized industrial drones. The growth in the number and diversity of mass-market drone operations – cf. delivering packages, taking photos, geo-surveying, firefighting or search and rescue – make it essential that safety regulations, including relevant technical aspects, ultimately keep-up with this buoyant and rapidly-growing industry.

In parallel, penetration in the Europe market is often hampered by a lack of mutual recognition of drones-based products and services between States – obliging manufacturers and operators to seek certifications with multiple national authorities.

The EU, through EASA, is currently developing a harmonised performance-driven regulatory framework building upon "best practice". This framework should ultimately ensure safe and environmentally sound operations and reduce the barriers to market entry for businesses that would like to integrate drones in their value chain. The implementation and effectiveness of such a framework will depend eventually on a relevant body of appropriate technical standards – supporting demonstration of compliance of product features or technologies with applicable requirements. Such over-arching framework could equally serve as an input for global standards and procedures.


Gather comprehensive global information on on-going[2] and planned work on technical rules, standards and procedures for civilian markets and/or use in civilian airspaces,;

Critically assess and benchmark the gathered information, providing a knowledge-base of "best practice" and data aimed at supporting the EASA's regulatory due-process; particular emphasis shall be given to the provision of data for purposes of validation of specific product or technical requirements;

Contribute to the development and subsequent validation of a well-reasoned set of technical standards that are appropriate for all relevant categories of drones.

Consortia should include organisations from all parts of the drone value-chain – drone/part suppliers, operators, academia, and safety regulators – to ensure the triplet of user-producer-oversight competences required for full performance and swift delivery of the work.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 3 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Support to the on-going EU regulatory process for technical rules, standards and procedures for civilian drones to enable safe, environmentally sound and reliable operations in Europe with a view to accelerate the timing and enhance the quality of such due-process. Generate additional leverage for Europe in the international negotiations for global rules and standards.

Increase the acceptance of EU standards in the global drone product and service marketplace, generating economies of scale towards reducing costs whilst de-risking customer choice.

Offer better opportunities for European drone designers, manufacturers and operators in accessing global markets.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation
Blue Growth

[1]Graham Wild, John Murray, Glenn Baxter; "Exploring Civil Drone Accidents and Incidents to Help Prevent Potential Air Disasters"; Aerospace, 2016; 3 (3): 22 DOI: 10.3390/aerospace3030022

[2]Including activities at ASTM, JARUS, EUROCAE (WG73, WG93, and WG105)

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):

Coordination and Support 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.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20 

11. Smart, green and integrated transport 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.


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