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Downstream applications
Deadline: Mar 1, 2017  

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Horizon Europe
 Climate Sciences

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Copernicus, the Union's Earth observation and monitoring programme entered into force in 2014 and produces a wealth of data and information regarding the Earth sub-systems (land, atmosphere, oceans) and cross-cutting processes (climate change, emergency and security). Copernicus data and information are mainly made available on a free open and full basis. This is expected to unleash unique market opportunities. It is important to foster market development exploiting the added value of integration of EO observation technologies (both satellite, airborne and ground based) with positioning ones and ICT (enhancing new frontiers opened by web) across different market segments through the development of applications, and encourage their insertion into the market.

For such applications and developments to succeed in the market, the product needs to be shaped according to users’ needs and their value to users must be openly demonstrated to the wider user community. This needs to be achieved in an environment integrated at the level of the user, in order for users to accept the innovative potential which the product promises. This will require also specific attention to be given to the various processes in place in the users’ workflows which incorporate the EO information. Furthermore, the transition of R&D product prototypes to viable commercial product lines after the end of the EU funded phase remains a challenge to be addressed early on during product development.


Proposals may address a wide variety of applications stemming from the use of Earth observation and its smart integration with other related technologies. Copernicus should be considered as part of the solution which may include other space or non-space inputs. This is likely to lead to greater value, opportunities and especially market uptake. To this aim, a business model, which includes the phase of the project following the end of the public funding, should be part of the proposal.

The outcome of this innovation project should be a commercial service platform, sustained by a production process capable to deliver to the user a product which is validated and accepted as a marketable product. Transnational collaboration has a key role to play in this context, as it enhances access to markets beyond the national borders, notably by enabling space application providers to absorb market-related tacit knowledge and know-how of their partners. Corresponding validations and customisations are to be undertaken, and the business case for the application is to be demonstrated. Service level models are to be developed, with appropriate quality of service definitions for the application. Application products are expected to adopt open standards for data documentation, data models and services including data processing, visualisation and cataloguing.

The choice of EO application is left to the proposer.

Applicants are advised to consult further information on availability of Copernicus Sentinel Data, access to Copernicus Contributing Mission data, as well as issues recommended to be detailed in the proposals at the Commission’s website[[]].

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 1 and 2 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:
  • Establish sustainable supply chains for innovative EO value added products and services with demonstrated commercial value with targeted client communities. Complete integration, based on international standards, into the customer’s existing business processes and processing chains, as well as the economic viability of the application is to be demonstrated;
  • Enhance the European industry’s potential to take advantage of market opportunities and establish leadership in the field, and to boost business activity;
  • Lead to new or improved products, processes or services on the market, which are capable of generating within 3 years after the end of public funding a significant turnover for the participants, and create new jobs.

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