Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Copernicus evolution –a gap analysis to prepare future activities for Copernicus data and information validation and quality enhancement

Topic identifier: LC-SPACE-05-EO-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support 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 is a European system for monitoring the Earth. Copernicus consists of a complex set of systems which collect data from multiple sources: earth observation satellites and in situ sensors such as ground stations, airborne and sea-borne sensors. The processed data are made available to the users as reliable and up-to-date information through a set of services related to environmental and security issues. The services address six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security. They support a wide range of applications, including environment protection, management of urban areas, regional and local planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, health, transport, climate change, sustainable development, civil protection and tourism.

A number of in-situ research infrastructures built by national or international programmes provide not only data of national interest, but also essential data for Copernicus. This is particularly true for observations done at global and European regional level. There is a need to develop mechanisms to help giving recognition to those observations by research infrastructures which support operational Copernicus services in meeting their objectives. In particular, in situ networks providing data for calibration and validation activities give a fundamental contribution to the Copernicus Services and the Copernicus Space component. It is therefore mandatory to map the requirements (type of measurements, geophysical parameters acquired, resolution in space and time, data uncertainty and quality, timeliness…) for in situ data and compare it to the existing observation system to find gaps.

The scope and potential of such contribution expands continually as research infrastructures evolve e.g. as European Research Infrastructures Consortium (ERICs), international partners gradually make their data available and as the relevance of no-space data is increasing in the context of Big Data applications.

Beyond the content generated by the infrastructures described above, most of them operate a bespoke and thus heterogenic IT infrastructure to collect, compute, store and distribute their data. Harmonisation and evolution initiatives are underway in the form of:

  • the cloud infrastructures (EOSC) providing access to any type of data as well as virtually unlimited data processing and preservation capacity;
  • the supercomputing facilities High Performance Computing (European Union HPC Strategy);
  • the pan-European GÉANT network for scientific excellence, research, education and innovation already use by ESA and EUMETSAT to distribute a large portion of the data provided by the different contributing missions;
  • the Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) that offer access to Copernicus data and information alongside tools, storage and processing offerings.

At the same time there is also the need for a new, integrated and comprehensive Copernicus in-situ infrastructure which could be designed as an interface layer to make the collection of disparate observing networks (with different goals, methods, and governance) homogenously available to Copernicus users and operators in a cost-effective way.

The sustainability of in-situ observing systems remains a major concern, particularly at global and European level, and discontinued funding can pose a high risk for Copernicus.

There is a need to assess the current state of affairs in the areas described above and to propose a roadmap by establishing an inventory and performing an in-depth gap analyses in two main areas:

  1. in-situ data and its use in Copernicus by looking in particular at identified areas where the operational Copernicus data and information provision could be improved;
  2. On the basis of the work under 1, and taking into account the already ongoing initiatives in the IT domain, the areas where additional adaptations or additions to the currently implemented IT infrastructures would be needed or beneficial to facilitate the use of the related data within Copernicus.

The main purpose of this action is to devise a sustainable and cost effective Copernicus products validation framework capable of meeting present and future requirements for data and information validation and quality enhancement delivered by Copernicus services and Space Component.

The proposal should take into account the on-going activities in the Copernicus in-situ component with the European Environmental Agency (EEA) as the Entity entrusted by the European Commission to coordinate and develop this fundamental Copernicus component[1].

The scope of this call encompasses the following steps:

  1. Establish a complete inventory of the current and foreseen (when possible) use of in-situ data by the entities entrusted with the production and distribution of Copernicus data and information with a clear identification of the available and accessible in-situ and research data sources in Europe (at national, European or international level) and in the current and future non-European partner countries for Copernicus (US, Australia, South America, Africa, India).
  2. Perform a gap analysis mapping the Copernicus needs versus the in-situ observations for the following activities:
    • sensor calibration (including vicarious calibration), algorithm calibration and products validation (mainly level 2 data) for the Copernicus space component, Sentinel and essential missions[2], present and future;
    • products validation for the Copernicus Services;
    • cross-cutting multi purposes products validation, not tailored on specific service or component.
  3. Gaps shall be characterised as a minimum by identifying:
    • Missing data (completely or partially);
    • Data accuracy and uncertainty;
    • Procedural issues (such as delivery delay, obsolescence of the infrastructure, lower quality of data, automatic processing, standardization and coordination with Copernicus services).
  4. For the identified in-situ infrastructures the following points should be analysed to help reveal any existing gaps:
    • the maturity level and missing steps to become operational for Copernicus (e.g. new design, pure research, pre-operational ….) and the priorities due to their impact on Copernicus;
    • the sustainability of the existing observations, update of observing infrastructure to cover missed parameters and improve the accuracy of the measurements and the IT specific needs e.g. connection to get the data, tools to exploit and process them, distributing data and products taking into account the already existing activities or projects like EOSC, HPC, GEANT and DIAS;
    • Related ongoing projects (H2020, ESA, JRC, EEA…) and their respective budget(s) when available.
  5. Propose a priority list of elements to be addressed and a set of related research road-maps that allow addressing the identified gaps. This should include relevant inter-dependencies between research areas, such as:
    • Research into expansion of in-situ networks or improved in-situ data accuracy and quality, formats etc. to sustain and improve the Copernicus data and information veracity and accuracy;
    • Research into potential expansion of Copernicus and Copernicus-derived services building on additional in-situ resources and non-environmental data;
    • To propose a potential evolution of existing infrastructures as a Copernicus interface layer to make the collection of disparate observing networks homogenously available and accessible to the Copernicus users and operators;
    • Propose a detailed roadmap for the implementation of the Copernicus interface layer considering the different starting level: e.g. transition, new research, research to make them operational etc.

Proposals are expected to integrate relevant and knowledgeable actors from at least the four core domains covered by this topic:

  1. Copernicus services
  2. Copernicus space data providers
  3. In-situ national and European (research-) infrastructures
  4. European e-infrastructures

For proposals under this topic:

  • Participation of industry, in particular SMEs, 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 in the range of EUR 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nevertheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • To complete a comprehensive overview of the status of research infrastructures already used by Copernicus;
  • To enable the identified research infrastructures to better respond to Copernicus operational needs;
  • To enable the identify missed in situ observation required to improve the accuracy of the satellite Copernicus products and monitor their quality in operation;
  • Reinforce the cooperation among different Copernicus actors (entrusted entities, space data providers, in-situ data providers and research infrastructures) on the in-situ data network.


[2]Essential missions are the ones with a well-known and demonstrated involvement in the services production chains: the actual involvement should be demonstrated in the proposal.

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: 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):

Coordination and Support 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

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.


Partner Search
Organisations are looking for collaborating partners for this topic
View/Edit Partner Search

LEARs, Account Administrators or self-registrants can publish partner requests for open and forthcoming topics after logging into the Participant Portal.

Submission Service

To access the Electronic Sumission Service, please click on the submission-button next to the type of action that corresponds to your proposal. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation, you will be linked to the correct entry point.

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 Coordination & support action [CSA]
Topic Copernicus evolution –a gap analysis to prepare future activities for Copernicus data and information validation and quality enhancement - LC-SPACE-05-EO-2019
Guidance on proposal submission: H2020 online manual
IT Guidance: IT help

Get support

H2020 Online Manual is your 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 in your national language(s).

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.

Ethics – for compliance with ethical issues, see the Online Manual and Science and Society Portal

European IPR Helpdesk assists you on intellectual property issues

CEN 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.