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TOPIC : Earth observation services for the monitoring of agricultural production in Africa

Topic identifier: SFS-43-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
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 Fourth EU-Africa Summit of 2-3 April 2014 agreed on a roadmap for 2014-2017[1] including actions specifically targeted at delivering Earth observation services in priority domains for Africa such as food security. This topic aims to contribute to this roadmap by providing food supply projection and agricultural risk assessment for Africa. These kinds of projection remain very challenging tasks, requiring a lot of information on environmental and weather conditions, climate change, crops and livestock. This information is usually derived from both remote and in-situ Earth observation systems. The challenge is therefore to make agricultural production in Africa more predictable by using Earth observation assets, including – but not limited to – those made available through the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and Copernicus programmes.


The action should lead to substantially increasing the use of Earth observing capabilities and supporting application systems to produce timely, objective, reliable, and transparent crop and livestock production projection at the national and regional level for the African continent. It should support the GEOGLAM[2] and AfriGEOSS[3] initiatives and relevant aspects of the EU's development policy. Moreover, it should design and develop methods to assess/monitor agricultural production in Africa, taking into account its main drivers and the longer term impacts of its dynamics. Building on the outcomes of existing EU projects stimulating innovation for global agricultural monitoring – such as SIGMA[4] –, the research and innovation activities should cover as a minimum all the following domains: crop and livestock identification and crop and livestock area estimation, crop and livestock condition and stress, yield prediction and forecasting, crop cover mapping, and the impact of extreme events on food production.

The action should foster participatory approaches to collecting relevant information and data, taking advantage of the growing number of mobile communication devices owned by African citizens. The participatory approaches should also take into account, and build on, widespread women’s engagement in agricultural production and food supply. There should be an emphasis on ‘consensus of evidence approaches’, integrating data from multiple sources including Earth observations, crop models, weather forecast, climate predictions and projections, surveys and ground observations to reach evidence-based assessments using repeatable and scientifically sound methods.

Large proof-of-concept actions, showing the capacity to deliver food supply prediction and agriculture risk assessment beyond the current state-of-the art at regional/pan-African level should be performed by the action. Proposals should contribute to supporting the implementation of an EU-Africa partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture and should include partners clearly representing the diversity of African countries.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged, in particular with African countries. The action should establish cooperation with institutions/networks engaged in the development of climate services in Africa and with agencies which have developed mapping and assessment tools used in humanitarian decision making.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 10 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:

Proposals are expected to:

  • move projection of food supply and agricultural risk assessment at the level of the African continent beyond the current capability;
  • improve decision making capacity regarding food supply and management in Africa;
  • contribute to independent and neutral evaluation of agricultural production in Africa;
  • strengthen collaboration between EU and African organisations in the domain of food projection;
  • increased involvement of citizens and stakeholders in food production and food supply chain management in Africa, taking into account the gender dimension and women’s role in food production and supply;
  • provide a strong Earth observation building blocks for an EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership focusing on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture;
  • improve participation of African organisations in GEO and Copernicus (GMES & Africa initiative);
  • foster cooperation with initiatives developing the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS)[5] in African countries;
  • contribute to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 2 'End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture' and SDG 13 'Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts'.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation






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 Australia, Brazil, 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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