Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Demonstration of applied solutions to enhance border and external security

Topic identifier: SU-BES03-2018-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union (SU)

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Planned opening date:
14 March 2019
Deadline: 22 August 2019 17:00:00

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Planned opening date:
15 March 2018
Deadline: 28 August 2018 17:00:00

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

Solutions at high Technological Readiness Levels (TRL; please see General Annex G) to enhance border and external security do exist, but if they are not to remain unused they need to be demonstrated in the context of actual operations or exercises for validation by practitioners.


Consortia are invited to propose demonstration of high (6-8) Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) systems applied in the context of border and external security. (TRL: please see General Annex G.)

Proposals should be submitted under only one of the following sub-topics:

  • Sub-topic 1: [2018] Remotely piloted aircrafts and underwater autonomous platforms to be used from on-board offshore patrol vessels

Remotely piloted autonomous platforms of all kinds should demonstrate innovative capacities for land border and coast surveillance. Underwater autonomous platforms are also of interest for choke points surveillance (i.e. a port entrance.)

Research on artificial intelligence is likely to facilitate the transition from innovation to operation. Such platforms play an important role in facilitating long range and persistent surveillance in wide maritime areas, complementing operation from offshore patrol vessels. Improving the cost effectiveness, reliability and availability of such platforms, either by increasing the performance of existing technologies or by developing innovative concepts of operation, would notably contribute to better situational awareness at the tactical level beyond coastal waters (up to 200 nautical miles), while reducing risks during search and rescue missions, including launch and recovery phases, even in adverse sea and weather conditions. Proposals should aim at improved cost effectiveness, in particular through the remote operation of sensors mounted on aerial platforms (including optionally and remotely piloted) and by improving the on-board processing of payload data, while minimizing the data transmission to the ground segment.

  • Sub-topic 2: [2019] New concepts for decision support and information systems

Information systems to support border and external security may combine a broad variety of data from very different sources, including personal data. Innovative solutions are needed to ensure the interoperability of surveillance systems, and the availability of information for maritime border surveillance coming from the area of operations in standardized formats, when and where it is needed, thus at enhancing situation awareness at strategic level (in National Coordination Centres), but also at tactical level (with assets deployed under the frame of surveillance operations). This would allow faster reaction to incidents in the maritime domain, and a reduction in the death toll at sea. Proposals should aim at optimize the exploitation of data for their specific use in surveillance is currently embryonic, and needs to take better account of the specific characteristics of the domain, with a view to provide the needed information reducing redundancies.

  • Sub-topic 3: [2020] Improved systems for the detection, identification and tracking of small boats
  • Sub-topic: [2018-2019-2020] Open

Proposals addressing other issues relevant to this challenge, based on a sound rationale and with the active involvement of a large number of relevant practitioners are invited to apply under this sub-topic (see eligibility and admissibility conditions.)

Proposals submitted under this topic should be coordinated by a competent authority under civilian authority and command, nationally identified as specialised border or coast guard, or border police force.

They should clearly demonstrate how they complement and do not overlap with actions undertaken in the Preparatory Action on Defence Research under topic PADR-US-01-2017: Technological demonstrator for enhanced situational awareness in a naval environment.

Certain operational costs are excluded from eligible costs (see eligibility and admissibility conditions.)

Proposals should lead to solutions developed in compliance with European societal values, fundamental rights and applicable legislation, including in the area of free movement of persons, privacy and protection of personal data.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of about EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Medium term:

  • Innovative solutions validated and qualified in the real, operational environment of civilian missions, defined in detail according to specifications set by the practitioners (authorities in charge of border surveillance and coast guard functions) and tailored to effectively meet their requirements within civilian missions.
  • Plans for the quick take up of qualified systems at EU level.
  • Plans for transnational procurement strategies.

Long term:

  • Improved cost-effectiveness and efficiency of systems for the prevention of cross border crime and for border surveillance for civilian purposes.
  • European standards for interoperable systems.
  • Substantial and tangible improvement of (maritime) situational awareness and reaction capability, as appropriate in surveillance for civilian purposes, fight against crime, and search and rescue missions by the National and European Border and Coast Guards.
  • Contribution to the concept of Common Application of Surveillance Tools, as for the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) and to its interoperability with other systems.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

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.

Predefined sub-topics require the active involvement of at least 3 Border or Coast Guards Authorities from at least 3 different EU or Associated countries. Where applicable Sub-topic: Open requires the active involvement of at least 5 such organisations, from at least 5 different EU or Associated countries.

Consortia must be coordinated by a practitioner organization under civilian authority and command.

The duration of the proposed activities must not exceed 18 months.

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.


Grants will be awarded to proposals according to the ranking list. However, in order to ensure a balanced portfolio of supported actions, at least the highest-ranked proposal per sub-topic will be funded provided that it attains all thresholds.

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):

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.

For grants awarded under this topic, the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:

Cost of fuel

The respective option of Article 6.5(c) [MSCA: 6.3] of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

For grants awarded under this Security call for Coordination and Support Actions, Pre-Commercial Procurement Actions, Innovation Actions and/or Research and Innovation Actions, the Commission or Agency may object to a transfer of ownership or the exclusive licensing of results to a third party established in a third country not associated to Horizon 2020. The respective option of Article 30.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20

14. Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens WP 2018-20

18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation 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.


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To access the Electronic Submission Service of the topic, please select the type of action that is most relevant to your proposal from the list below and click on the 'Start Submission' button. 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.

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