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TOPIC : Robotics Advances for Precision Farming

Topic identifier: SFS-05-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
DeadlineModel:
Opening date:
single-stage
04 October 2016
Deadline: 14 February 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Updates
  • 11 January 2017 16:26

    As of 1st January 2017, Switzerland is associated to the whole Horizon 2020 programme instead of the previous partial association. More information on this matter can be found here.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The specific challenge here is to help attain high levels of precision in modern farming through the smart use of robotics. The technological challenge is to develop and demonstrate new robotics technologies in real-world scenarios involving such as automated mobility around irregular farmland areas, accurate sensing of crop and livestock conditions, and dextrous manipulation of farmed produce. Farming is facing many economic challenges in terms of productivity, cost-effectiveness and increasing labour shortage. Precision farming automation will increase farm productivity, reduce manual labour for laborious tasks and help to make farm holdings more sustainable. Many modern farmers already use high-tech solutions, e.g. digitally-controlled farm implements and even unmanned aerial vehicles. There are partially and fully automatic devices for most aspects of agricultural functions from grafting to seeding and planting, from harvesting to sorting, packaging and boxing, and livestock management. However, current systems still have significant drawbacks, in particular in terms of flexibility, efficiency, robustness, high operator cost and capital investment.

Precision farming using robotics technology applied to existing systems on a 1:1 scale where appropriate (the scale may differ according to the specific agricultural application) can lead to more resource-efficient and environment-friendly agricultural production. Roboticised precision farming not only promises to increase yields by optimising growth and harvesting processes, but could also lead to lower fertiliser and pesticide usage and improved soil quality through more targeted interventions. Robots can also gather operational data on a broader basis than human-operated devices. However, there is insufficient cross-over between emerging generic advances in field robotics and the more specific, practical needs of the modern farming community.

Scope:

Research and Innovation Actions will focus on the design, development and testing of robotics systems for precision farming, including autonomous or semi-autonomous farm vehicles or sophisticated sensors and intervention mechanisms. The actions will prioritise technologies such as selective harvesting, more targeted weed reduction or environment friendly fertilization, and / or livestock management, based on better planning and targeted intervention, using sensors (local and aerial, even maybe earth observation satellite). This will also allow the tagging of agricultural produce or livestock for better traceability and subsequent big data processing, optimizing the whole agricultural process.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 2 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • significant increase in farm productivity with more environment-friendly processes (e.g. reduced water use, toxic substance use and soil compaction);
  • increase in the safety, reliability and manageability of agricultural technology, reducing excessive human burden for laborious tasks.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Contractual Public-Private Partnerships (cPPPs)
Robotics

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 (follow the links to AustraliaBrazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong & Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

     
  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 [, with the following exceptions]:

    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.

    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.

      
  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
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

 

  1. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    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.

     
  2. 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.
  • Further information on the Open Research Data Pilot is made available in the H2020 Online Manual.
  1. Additional documents
     

 

Additional documents

  • H2020-SFS-2017-1-single stage flash call info en

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