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TOPIC : Copernicus evolution – Research activities in support of cross-cutting applications between Copernicus services

Topic identifier: LC-SPACE-04-EO-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
16 October 2018
Deadline: 12 March 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Copernicus produces a wealth of data and information regarding the Earth sub-systems (land, atmosphere, oceans) and cross-cutting processes (climate change, emergency and security). The wealth of information delivered by the Copernicus operational programme is not fixed but needs to evolve further with recognised and emerging user requirements and state of the art methodologies. The potential for new products and applications needs to be exploited, especially as regards cross-cutting cases not yet realised. A process has been set-up by the Entrusted Entities, together with the Copernicus User Forum and Copernicus Programme Committee, operating the core services to review the evolution of the services and any emerging adaptation needs as to their urgency, closeness to the operational delivery process, and availability of capacities. Specific and well-targeted applications involving the outcome from multiple core services need to be developed in the mid-term. R&D activities are to be conducted such that results are available in a sufficiently timely manner to support an informed discussion, if and under which conditions the proposed new applications should be integrated into the operational service portfolio of the Copernicus programme. Furthermore proposers should highlight where results could also be valuable for GEO, considering Copernicus as the European contribution to this global initiative.


Proposals shall demonstrate the technical operational feasibility of one specific cross-cutting thematic application. The proposers are expected to demonstrate that their proposal is relevant for the enhancement of Copernicus core services and capitalise from the corresponding product portfolio.

The output of this research and innovation action should provide a proof-of-concept or a prototype including a benchmarked selection of concurring methodological approaches, where feasible, that shall complement and broaden the panoply of information made currently available by the core services and which can act as reference for the independent assessment of Copernicus services evolution, in light of product extensions and service improvements.

These applications may concern areas in relation to domains such as energy, agriculture and forestry, health, water resources, security, natural environments and manmade disasters, resilience of built environment, cultural heritage, coastal monitoring, urban planning, climate adaptation, biodiversity and eco-system preservation, exploration and mineral resources, and others. Proposals are encouraged to use the Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS), or other existing data access solutions instead of setting up their own download and processing infrastructure. They are also encouraged to integrate third-party data (including in-situ data) and envisage data assimilation into models and products made available on the Copernicus platform of the Copernicus services..

The proof-of-concept or prototype should allow demonstrating the relevance and suitability to implement the proposed application later on at European level in a cost efficient manner, i.e. potentially with operational Copernicus funding. To allow a discussion of such potential operational funding, the activity should also result in one or more possible scenarios on how this application could potentially be integrated into the existing service architecture.

Proposers are invited to investigate synergies with the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), in particular Raw Materials and Climate[1].

Proposers are advised to consult information on the Copernicus programme in general at, the evolution topics identified there, the guidance document provided[2] together with this work programme, as well as the availability of Copernicus Sentinel Data, access to Copernicus Contributing Mission data available via the Commission’s website[3].

The proposal should:

  • Demonstrate to what extent the proposed evolution could be a candidate for the operational Copernicus service in terms of cost-benefits, calendar and operational feasibility;
  • Specify the conditions for making available, for use and exploitation, the results (including IPR) to the entities implementing the EU Copernicus programme, including its contractors and service providers;
  • Foster innovation and enhance applications which exploit Copernicus service information from across the service domain.

For proposals under this topic:

  • Participation of industry, in particular SMEs, is encouraged;
  • Coordination and partnership with KICs is encouraged;
  • Involvement of post-graduate scientists, engineers and researchers is also encouraged, for example through professional work experience or through fellowships/scholarships as applicable.

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

This topic contributes to the Horizon 2020 focus area "Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future".

Expected Impact:
  • Enable Copernicus services to better serve cross-cutting applications on European scale;
  • Enhance European industry’s potential to take advantage of emerging market opportunities and capacity to establish leadership in the field;
  • Reinforce the link with academic and scientific sector for scientific exploitation of Copernicus data;
  • Boost competitiveness of the industrial actors in EU and national procurements;
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Blue Growth

[1]Please see further information on ongoing projects with KICs financed by the Copernicus programme at:;;



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 (single-stage call): 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
Standard proposal template
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
5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) WP 2018-20
5iii. Space 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

Copernicus evolution - Research activities in support of cross-cutting applications between Copernicus services: Guidance document for Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2019

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.


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To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Research and Innovation action [RIA]
Topic Copernicus evolution – Research activities in support of cross-cutting applications between Copernicus services - LC-SPACE-04-EO-2019-2020
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