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Copernicus evolution: Research activities in support of the evolution of the Copernicus services


The proposal should tackle only one of the following sub-topics. For the chosen sub-topic the proposal should clearly identify one (or more) core product(s) to be developed as a completely new or improved product.

The Commission, together with the Entrusted Entities, has identified for each service (sub-topic) the areas of Copernicus R&D interests:

  1. Copernicus Emergency Monitoring Service (CEMS): resilience to climate risk, population exposure risk (e.g. in coastal areas, flood prone areas, areas exposed to droughts…). The proposed activities need to consider the existing CEMS framework and describe how they can contribute to a fully integrated risk cycle monitoring service
  2. Copernicus Monitoring Atmosphere Service (CAMS): Up-to-date emissions of reactive gases and aerosol based on inverse modelling, Improve atmosphere monitoring using data assimilation and preparation for upcoming sentinels (with a focus on Sentinel-4), Integrated soil-vegetation-atmosphere modelling and data assimilation for representing emission and deposition of atmospheric pollutants.
  3. Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S): exploitation of seasonal forecasting systems as natural integrator of Copernicus Services, enhancement of predictive skills at seasonal timescales, consistent climate re-analysis of the Earth system, improvement in predicting variations of the climate system over the next few years and decades, linkages between current extreme weather events such as droughts, heat waves or floods to anthropogenic climate change and/or natural climate variability.
  4. Copernicus Marine Environmental Monitoring Service (CMEMS): Advanced marine data assimilation techniques for physics (e.g. ensemble methods, assimilation of future satellite observations like swath altimetry and surface currents), improvement of biogeochemical products for the carbon cycle (CO2 ocean component), water quality and food security (food web modelling, habitats), with assimilation of satellite and in-situ data, improved biogeochemical models, coupled physics and biogeochemistry models and use of new in-situ observations (e.g. BGC Argo) to validate biogeochemical models.
  5. Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS): essential ecosystem variables for natural capital accounting, HRL for agriculture, forest and urban monitoring, CLC+, environmental compliance, support to sustainable development goals, exploitation of mid and high resolution satellite combination for continuous environmental change monitoring.
  6. Security New concepts for applications based on the integration of relevant information derived from space or non-space sources, current services or other value-added applications, targeted to support civil protection and security. New algorithms for automated monitoring and detection of changes and patterns of life. Those activities should also aim at bridging the gap between demand and supply, complementing the offer of the Copernicus Security services and enlarging its user base.

Actions should take into account the existing portfolio of the services and clearly define to what extent main model, algorithm, tool and technique should be improved to generate new or better products.

Actions aim at demonstrating the technical operational feasibility of the selected product(s).

The proposed development should be modular and scalable. The project should provide a proof-of-concept or a prototype (e.g. system element) demonstrating the feasibility of the integration in the existing core service. This new “system element” should also guarantee the expandability required for the integration of new data from potential space or no-space new mission/sensors.

During the development of the project, the team taking into account the delineation between Copernicus core services and downstream services, should clearly identify the right context of the proposed product(s). The border delineation takes into account the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, the avoidance of duplication, and the facilitation of user uptake.

The proposal should also investigate to what extent the proposed evolution could be a candidate for the operational Copernicus service in terms of cost-benefits, calendar and operational feasibility.

R&D activities should aim at a better integration of space research with other non-space domains (e.g citizen science including social media) focusing in particular on policy areas addressing global and societal challenges highlighting horizontal synergies and multidisciplinary approaches. In particular, proposals should clearly mention which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals the project will support.

New IT tools should be considered and innovative solutions should be proposed for a better data exploitation, processing and distribution, e.g.: cloud and HPC computing, distributed computing, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning (e.g. for automatic feature recognition), ensemble modelling, model coupling & nesting, software as-a-service.

Additionally, the operationalisation of the research results should receive active attention during the course of the project to strengthen the readiness for an operational deployment in the future, including the conditions for making available, for re-use and exploit the results (including IPR) to the entities implementing the EU Copernicus programme. The software should be open licensed in order to use, copy, study, and change it in any way.

Proposers are advised to consult information on the Copernicus programme in general at, the availability of Copernicus Sentinel Data, access to Copernicus Contributing Mission data at the Commission’s website (

It should be noted that funding of the H2020 project in no way commits the Commission or the Copernicus service operators to deploy the outcomes from the research in the Copernicus operational services.

For proposals under this topic:

  • Participation of industry, in particular SMEs, is encouraged;
  • Involvement of post-graduate scientists, engineers and researchers and promotion of gender balance is also encouraged, for example through professional work experience or through fellowships/scholarships as applicable.

At least one proposal per sub-topic shall be selected for funding.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Copernicus operational services are not static, but need to evolve with recognised and emerging user requirements and EU policies.

R&D activities which are suitable for this call are identified to this end by the Commission, together with the Entrusted Entities, for each service. The challenge is to clearly demonstrate if and under which conditions an evolution of the operational service portfolio is appropriate and in line with the Copernicus Programme.

  • Increased coverage of EU policies, clearly identifying which and how the project intends to address them;
  • Integration of different observation capacities with a clear demonstration of an increase in the service performance (compared with the existing one);
  • The proposed proof-of-concept or prototype, as outcome of the project, should clearly demonstrate an improvement of the Copernicus service evolution.