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TOPIC : Towards operational forecasting of earthquakes and early warning capacity for more resilient societies

Topic identifier: SC5-17-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
07 November 2017
2nd stage Deadline:
27 February 2018 17:00:00
04 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 07 February 2018 15:00

    The page limit for a first stage proposal is 10 pages, including the cover page. You may remove the page break in that page so as to start drafting your proposal therein.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

To help mitigate the risks related to earthquakes, citizens need additional protection that goes beyond building codes and retrofitting actions. Early warning approaches and operational earthquake forecasting, which are under development, need to be seen in a Europe-wide perspective, building on improved, dense, robust and high quality seismic networks and new processing tools and activities. The practical applications and use of short-term forecasting, early warning methods, time dependent physical and systemic vulnerability estimates and rapid loss assessment for earthquake risk reduction are still far from being operational. Strong European and international scientific collaboration is needed to make substantial progress in the domain.


Actions should enable an effective, real time seismic risk reduction capacity, and the improvement of current observational capabilities, present forecasting modelling and testing- validation capabilities, also accounting for their uncertainties. They should also enable the designing of clear procedures and improved decision making schemes to respond to stakeholders' needs. Actions should also suggest how to move from a single, probabilistic hazard forecasting model to complex, short-term risk forecasting models. Research should focus on better understanding which conditions may lead to an increased likelihood of earthquakes and/or which transient geophysical properties should be monitored as precursors before a large magnitude and damaging earthquake.

Building on multi-disciplinary research, actions should develop a new generation of early warning systems to mitigate the impact of earthquakes on societies and infrastructures, integrating innovative concepts and technologies, such as low-cost wireless seismic sensors and big data, for more accurate and reliable quantification of ground shaking (during or soon after the earthquake occurrence). These new early warning systems should also include decisional expert systems and should combine local and regional information, including social and economic data. They should have the capacity to trigger automatic safety actions or reach people before ground shaking occurs to mitigate the human and economic impact of earthquakes. They should also contribute to the development of future multi-hazard early warning systems.

Furthermore, actions should develop effective methods and communication systems and structures to improve dialogue between science and relevant users within the decision making chain. Actions should capitalise on knowledge acquired in previous and ongoing initiatives such as GEO Supersites/observational network, EPOS (European Plate Observing System), ARISTOTLE (All Risk Integrated System TOwards Trans-boundary hoListic Early-warning) and the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, and ensure compatibility and appropriate liaising with these initiatives.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged[1].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 6 million and EUR 8 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:

The project results are expected to contribute to:

  • improved real time seismology and seismic risk reduction capacity;
  • improved short-term forecasting, real-time operational forecasting and fast, reliable alerts and information;
  • development of sound and rational risk reduction plans to manage low-probability/high-impact events;
  • improved preparedness due to more effective two-way communication on forecasts, early warning and uncertainties for users and the public;
  • improved capacity to tangibly reduce human and economic losses.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation
Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]e.g. with USA, New Zealand, Japan, Chile, Mexico

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 (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):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Proposal templates are available after entering the submission link below.
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
12. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials 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

  • Call Update-Call Results en
  • Generalised feedback after stage 1_SC5-17-2018 en

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