Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Novel in-situ observation systems

Topic identifier: SC5-18-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
08 November 2016
Deadline: 07 March 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

A more systematic observation of the Earth system is required at a resolution and accuracy that cannot always be provided through remote sensing technologies. There is therefore a need to extend and improve the in-situ component of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and of the EU Copernicus programme in order to collect the relevant data necessary to cover observation gaps, calibrate and validate remote-sensing data and deliver Earth Observation services, including monitoring variables, for policy makers, local users and citizens.

However, components of existing in-situ observing and monitoring systems are too often bulky, expensive and power hungry, which hinders their wide-scale deployment for continuous environmental monitoring. The challenge here is to explore and test new technological solutions that would lower the costs of acquiring, deploying and maintaining monitoring and observing stations which would contribute to filling the in-situ observational gaps of Earth observation systems. This issue is especially acute in less developed countries where in-situ Earth observation capacities have deteriorated.


Actions should develop new, in-situ Earth observation systems, taking advantage of new technology and the latest developments in sensor science so that measurements can be performed using low energy sensors and communication systems, requiring less demanding maintenance. Actions should focus on the transfer and adaptation of new technologies into operational systems, enabling a real breakthrough in the efficiency of deploying and maintaining new in-situ observing systems in a cost-effective way. The research and innovation activities under this topic may take into account concepts such as citizens' observatories, disposable sensors, and the use of unmanned platforms. The project should take into account as much as possible relevant research outcomes from programmes of the European Research Council, the Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies and the European Metrology Research Programme[1].

Prominent criteria for the selection of the projects will be fulfilling agreed European and international standards regarding the quality of the measurements, and the interoperability for data exchange with other existing monitoring and observing platforms and with user applications. Proposals should establish formal links, where appropriate, with the GEO Global Initiatives (e.g. GEOGLAM, GEOBON, GFOI, GMOS, AFRIGEOSS, BLUE PLANET) and with the relevant Copernicus services so that the new monitoring and observing platforms fulfil well-identified needs under these two major initiatives. Test phases enabling proof-of-concept of the observation and monitoring platforms in real conditions should be organised during the course of the project. Participation of SMEs in project consortia is encouraged in order to facilitate the development of innovative and operational systems.

Projects should foresee activities to cluster with other projects financed under this topic and – if possible – also under other parts of Horizon 2020.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 million and EUR 5 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 in-situ components of the GEOSS and Copernicus programmes;
  • cost-effectiveness of the new systems when compared to previous ones;
  • new opportunities and market development of the European Earth observation commercial sector and for downstream users;
  • measurable added value for the Copernicus and/or GEOSS initiatives;
  • the provision of information necessary to ensure food, water and energy security, to cope with the scarcity of natural resources, to develop mitigation and adaptation solutions to climate change, and to make communities more resilient to natural hazards;
  • implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 9 'Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation'.


Topic conditions and documents

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

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: 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. See the information in the Online Manual.

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: 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. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

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

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

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

  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 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.
    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  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.

    - 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:

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
Additional documents

  • Flash Call Info SC5 2016 OneStage en
  • Flash Call Info SC5 2017 One Stage en

Submission Service

No submission system is open for this topic.

Get support

H2020 Online Manual your online guide on the procedures from proposal submission to managing your grant.

Participant Portal FAQ – Submission of proposals.

National Contact Points (NCP) - 
contact your NCP for further assistance.

Research Enquiry Service
– ask questions about any aspect of European research in general and the EU Research Framework Programmes in particular.

Enterprise Europe Network
– contact your EEN national contact for advice to businesses with special focus on SMEs. The support includes guidance on the EU research funding.

IT Helpdesk
- contact the Participant Portal IT helpdesk for questions such as forgotten passwords, access rights and roles, technical aspects of submission of proposals, etc.

Contact the EIT for further assistance related to the call, topics and the content of proposals via the Contact Page on the EIT website.

– for compliance with ethical issues, see the Participant Portal and Science and Society Portal

European IPR Helpdesk
assists you on intellectual property issues

and CENELEC, the European Standards Organisations, advise you how to tackle standardisation in your project proposal. Contact CEN-CENELEC Research Helpdesk at

The European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their recruitment

Partner Search Services
help you find a partner organisation for your proposal