Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Competitiveness in Earth observation mission technologies

Topic identifier: COMPET-2-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
08 November 2016
Deadline: 01 March 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Updates
  • 03 July 2017 16:45

    The evaluation results (flash call info) for the COMPET calls are now available under the "Additional Documents" section.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

European industrial competitiveness in Earth observation depends on the availability of demonstrated/validated systems and sub-systems for operational and advanced missions in the commercial and institutional domain, but also on the readiness in the emerging market for innovative missions relying on small and very small systems (constellation, formation flying and fractionated instruments).

The specific challenge, for the mid-term is to bring the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) forward for a number of Earth observation technologies and to ensure the readiness of European solutions to propose and support new mission concepts taking advantage of nano-, micro- and mini-satellites.

In recent years small satellites have become more attractive due to lower development costs and shorter lead times. There is a natural trade-off to be made between spacecraft size and functionality, but advances in both miniaturization and integration technologies have diminished the scope of that trade-off.

Moreover, within the context of preparatory work for the next generation of the Copernicus space component, mission concepts will be developed by European industry based on mature Earth observation technologies and solutions.


The aim of this topic is to demonstrate, in a relevant environment, technologies, systems and sub-systems for Earth observation. Proposals should address and demonstrate significant improvements in such areas as miniaturisation, power reduction, efficiency, versatility, and/or increased functionality and should demonstrate complementarity to activities already funded by Member States and the European Space Agency.

Proposals that develop technologies targeting TRL 6, or lower TRLs, are welcome.

Proposals are sought with relevance in the domain of technology development for space in the fields of:

  • Optical technologies for high precision sensing, including high stability structures, stable and lightweight mirrors, large focal planes, adaptive optics and wave front error (WFE) control techniques.
  • Detector technology and complete detection chain enhancement in the domains of CMOS and Infrared for Earth observations in orbit aiming at higher spatial or spectral resolution and performance.
  • Sensors and mission concepts delivering high accuracy parameters for emission measurements, particularly of climate change determining Greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane. High performance miniaturised optical and SAR sensors for Earth observation in support of the hydrological cycle modelling and prediction, and accurate weather forecast.
  • Active antennas for radar - exploring lower (P and S) and higher (X and Ka) frequency ranges - Transmit/Receive Modules (TRMs), digital beam-forming and waveform generation, large deployable reflectors.
  • Sensors, actuators and control technologies for high precision Attitude and Orbital Control Systems (AOCS), in particular for small satellites, and Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC).
  • Technologies to advance in fractionated systems and formation flying for Earth Observation.

In projects to be funded under this topic participation of industry, in particular SMEs, is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 to 3 million would allow this specific topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • The proposals must describe how the proposed developments will contribute to strengthening Europe's position in industrial competitiveness in technologies for Earth observation payloads and mission, despite the target platform size and scalability.
  • The technologies to be addressed in the proposals should represent significant improvements compared to existing Earth observation missions in terms of capability, precision, efficiency or other characteristics, opening new avenues for future space systems.
  • Substantially improved in-depth state-of-the-art technologies in key areas such as optical and radar systems, sounders, lidars and detectors for Earth observation.
  • Greater industrial relevance of research actions and output as demonstrated by deeper involvement of industry, including SMEs, and stronger take-up of research results.
  • Fostering links between academia and industry, accelerating and broadening technology transfer.
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, with the following exception: considering the nature and objectives of the action, and in view of favouring wider competition and participation, the European Space Agency will not participate in consortia of proposals submitted under this call for proposals.

    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
    Standard 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


Additional documents

  • Presentation on evaluation criteria given to Space National Contact Points 9.11.2016 en
  • Flash call info en

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