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Copernicus evolution – Research activities in support of cross-cutting applications between Copernicus services (RIA Research and Innovation action) - LC-SPACE-04-EO-2019-2020
Deadline: Mar 12, 2019  

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Cultural heritage
 Climate Sciences

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, resilience of built environment, cultural heritage, coastal monitoring, urban planning, climate adaptation, biodiversity and eco-system preservation, exploration and mineral resources, and others. Copernicus DIAS facilities leveraging the big data collection and processing should be taken into account, in order to exploit the potential of data fusion to its maximum, especially in the case of huge data extent (i.e. long time series of multisensory data, which may bring additional value to cross-cutting new applications).

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 advised to consult information on the Copernicus programme in general at, the evolution topics identified there, the guidance document provided 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.

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.

Participation of industry, in particular SMEs, is encouraged.

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;

For the benefit of users, the Copernicus programme is setting-up several data and information access services (DIAS) to ensure that access and processing of Copernicus Sentinel data and service information are done in a state of the art computing environment. As a principle, the project shall use the DIAS instead of setting-up their own download and processing infrastructure. Where research projects need such services they shall receive access from the DIAS operator (for free or charged, depending on the nature of the service provided). In case the access is charged, the cost to use any DIAS for the purpose of the project shall be eligible.

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