Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Systems of materials characterisation for model, product and process optimisation

Topic identifier: NMBP-07-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
11 May 2016
2nd stage Deadline:
27 October 2016 17:00:00
04 May 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Updates
  • 11 January 2017 10:28

    Switzerland as associated country

    From 1 January 2017 Switzerland is associated to the whole Horizon 2020 programme instead of the previous partial association.

    This applies to all the grant agreements signed on 1 January 2017 and afterwards.

    For more information please see the relevant Note on the Participant Portal.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

As material systems and device structures become nanosized and nanostructured, significant challenges exist with respect to their design and the tailoring of their functions in a controlled way. The use of discrete materials models, as a bridge for linking and coupling nanostructure features to macroscopic device functionality is gaining increasing importance in the fast and reliable development of new materials, devices, and the control of the related production processes. Characterisation techniques and experimental data for process optimisation and model validation are key in such developments.

Europe has a large number of first-class laboratories for characterisation in the field of advanced materials and nanotechnologies. In some cases, regional hubs of laboratories addressing characterisation for specific industrial or application sectors have already been successfully established. Nevertheless, there is an ever increasing need for a strong transnational and trans-sectorial coordination and optimisation of existing characterisation technologies and their utilisation for the benefit of widespread process optimisation and model validation. This includes the need for widely agreed experiment protocols, multi-technique and multi-scale characterisation approaches, metadata descriptions of interpretation tools and accessible, relevant, and reliable data bases for raw and interpreted data.


In the triangle of manufacturing, modelling, and experimentation, the projects should develop an open innovation environment for the optimisation of materials, materials behaviour and/or nano-device manufacturing processes, and for the validation of materials models[1] based on experimental characterisation.

An open innovation environment should be created linking characterisation laboratories with capacities adapted to process optimisation and model validation needs. Also information on characterisation tools and expertise should be included.

Commonly agreed validation and measurement protocols should be developed which address the most relevant issues related to experiments, process optimisation and model validation. Projects should also document their protocols for the interpretation of raw experimental data and document reliable models for data interpretation where needed. The project may seek to agree standards for interpretation protocols. Meta data to describe all protocols should be agreed.

The same metadata should be used for interfacing existing characterisation databases to make search and linking between different, distributed databases effective and easy. The metadata should allow future extension to other sectors. Strategies and test rules pertaining to data integrity and quality mechanisms should be established. A concept to make raw and interpreted data citable should be developed and implemented for this system. The project should ensure wide spread participation.

Projects should bring together a representative number of players from public and industrial nanoscale characterisation laboratories, from manufacturers, and from the academic and industrial materials modelling communities. To ensure a wide coverage, these players should cover several industrial or application sectors. Existing regional/national hubs may also participate, but they need to connect in the project to players in other countries, possibly also other regional/national hubs.

The proposal should present a credible business plan for the maintenance of the open environment after the project duration.

Proposers are strongly encouraged to consult the stakeholders outside the consortium through existing groups such as the European Materials Modelling Council or the Characterisation cluster. Appropriate resources should be foreseen for clustering activities.

The implementation of this topic is intended to start at TRL 4 and target TRL 6.

This topic is particularly suitable for SMEs.

International standardisation, e.g. with the ISO, may be considered.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • Increased speed of material and/or nano-device development through development of an open innovation environment;
  • Wide acceptance of the proposed solutions beyond the consortium;
  • Use of the protocols and systems in other relevant areas or sectors beyond the ones covered by the project;
  • Use of the protocols in the development of new standards;
  • Clear, prospects for quantified, socio-economic gains from the proposed solutions should be addressed, supported by quantifications;
  • The maintenance aspect of the developed databases beyond the lifetime of the project should be addressed.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation


Topic conditions and documents

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

    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 (follow the links to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong &Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).
    described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

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


    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold:
    The criteria, scoring and threshold are described in General Annex H of the work programme.
    The following exceptions apply:

    For single-stage and second-stage evaluations, the threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4. The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

    The procedure for setting a priority order for proposals with the same score is given in General Annex H of the work programme. The following exceptions apply:

    Under 3 (a)
    Proposals are first ranked in separate lists according to the topics against which they were submitted (‘topic ranked lists’). When comparing ex aequo proposals from different topics, proposals having a higher position in their respective 'topic ranked list' will be considered to have a higher priority in the overall ranked list.

    Under 3 (b)
    For all topics and types of action, the prioritisation will be done first on the basis of the score for Impact, and then on that for Excellence.

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


    Information on the outcome of two-stage evaluation:
          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.

    for the type of action 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

    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.


    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.



    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Cross-cutting activities (Focus Areas)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes


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