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


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

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.

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"".

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.

  • 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;