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Call: Upscaling (real-time) sensor data for EU-wide monitoring of production and agri-environmental conditions

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Programme
Acronym HORIZON-CL6-GOVERNANCE
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 7: Innovative Governance, Environmental Oberservations and Digital Solutions in Support of the Green Deal"

Transformative changes such as the ones required within the Green Deal are dynamic processes that require appropriate governance. At the same time, to ensure coordination and for collaborative decision-making, governance requires multiple channels and networks that provide readily available data and information coming from different sources.

R&I activities under this destination aim at both: experimenting with new ways to govern the transition process and modernising the governance, in particular by making information and knowledge available and accessible. R&I for governance to support the Green Deal shall provide insights into institutional barriers such as lock-ins, path dependency, political and cultural inertia power imbalances and regulatory inconsistencies or weaknesses.

Innovative governance supporting the Green Deal objectives needs to recognise, cope with and promote resilience in the face of on-going shocks and disruptions both globally and across Europe, whether these be climatic, ecological, economic, social, geo-political or related to health. Critical risk assessment and reduction strategies need to be incorporated, including the diversification of infrastructures, resources and knowledge through more self-sufficiency and autonomy.

Taking advantage of the use, uptake, deployment and exploitation of environmental observations[[The capacity to observe the environment, including space-based, in-situ-based (air, sea, land) observation, and citizen observations]] as well as digital solutions, assessed through the “do not harm” principle of the Green Deal, is key for innovative governance models and a more science-based policy design, implementation and monitoring. To maximise impacts of R&I on the ground and spark behavioural and socio-economic change, the knowledge and innovation produced throughout the whole cluster should be widely disseminated to key stakeholders of the relevant sectors of the cluster. In particular, the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) needs to be reinforced to accelerate the required transformative changes.

Data and information obtained through Environmental Observation is of great value when assessing the state of the planet and is delivering crucial information to support the Green Deal and the climate and ecological transition. Integration of this information from different sources (space-based, airborne including drones, in-situ and citizens observations) with other relevant data and knowledge while ensuring (better) accessible, interoperable or deployable information, delivers information necessary for shaping the direction of the development of policies in the broad context of Cluster 6 of Horizon Europe. A strong link to the European Earth observations programme Copernicus (in Cluster 4) and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth observation programme, as well as support to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), its European regional initiative (EuroGEO) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is foreseen for topics on environmental observations under this destination. R&I activities relevant to ocean, seas and coastal waters will complement and support the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and UN Decade on Restoration, the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative, the pan-Commission Destination Earth initiative, the European Global Ocean Observing System (EOOS) and the GOOS 2030 strategy.

Digital innovation, in complementarity with Cluster 4 and Digital Europe Programmes activities, should bring benefits for citizens, businesses, researchers, the environment, society at large and policy-makers. The potential of the ongoing digital transformation, and its wider impacts, positive and negative, need to be better understood and monitored in view of future policy design and implementation, governance, and solution development

This destination will develop innovative digital and data based solutions to support communities and society at large, and economic sectors relevant for this cluster to achieve sustainability objectives. R&I activities will add value to the knowledge and cost-effectiveness of innovative technologies in and across primary production sectors, food systems, bioeconomy, ocean and biodiversity.

Knowledge and advice to all actors relevant to this cluster are key to improve sustainability. For instance, primary producers have a particular need for impartial and tailored advice on sustainable management choices. Knowledge and Innovation Systems are key drivers to enhance co-creation and thus speed up innovation and the take-up of results needed to achieve the Green Deal objectives and targets. This will include promoting interactive innovation and co-ownership of results by users, as well as strengthening synergies with other EU Funds in particular the CAP, reinforcing the multi-actor approach and setting up structural networking within national/regional/local AKISs. AKIS goes beyond agriculture, farming and rural activities and covers environment, climate, biodiversity, landscape, bio-based economy, consumers and citizens, i.e., all food and bio-based systems including transformation and distribution chains up until the consumer.

Expected impacts

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to innovative governance and sound decision making in policy for the green transition, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:

  • Innovative governance models enabling sustainability and resilience notably to achieve better informed decision-making processes, societal engagement and innovation;
  • Green Deal related domains benefit from further deployment and exploitation of Environmental Observation data and products ;
  • A strengthened Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) [[The European Commission is a member and co-chair of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), as such the European Commission adopted the GEO Canberra Declaration (https://earthobservations.org/canberra_declaration.php and Commission Decision C(2019)7337/F1) and committed to contribute to the GEO objectives, including to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).]];
  • Sustainability performance and competitiveness in the domains covered by Cluster 6 are enhanced through further deployment of digital and data technologies as key enablers;
  • More informed and engaged stakeholders and end users including primary producers and consumers thanks to effective platforms such as Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS)
  • Strengthened EU and international science-policy interfaces to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

When considering their impact, proposals also need to assess their compliance with the “Do No Significant Harm” principle [[as per Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 2020/852 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (EU Taxonomy Regulation)]] according to which the research and innovation activities of the project should not be supporting or carrying out activities that make a significant harm to any of the six environmental objectives of the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

Topics under this destination will have impacts in the following areas: “Climate change mitigation and adaptation”; “Clean and healthy air, water and soil”; “Enhancing ecosystems and biodiversity on land and in water”; “Sustainable food systems from farm to fork on land and sea”; “High quality digital services for all”; and “A Competitive and secure data-economy”.

Social innovation is recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake.

Link Link to Programme
Call
Upscaling (real-time) sensor data for EU-wide monitoring of production and agri-environmental conditions
Description of call
"Upscaling (real-time) sensor data for EU-wide monitoring of production and agri-environmental conditions"

Expected Outcome:

In line with the farm to fork strategy and the headline ambitions of a ‘Digital Age’ and an ‘Economy that works for people’, leaving no one behind, and the biodiversity strategy, the successful proposals will support smart-farming and agri-environmental monitoring. They will therefore contribute a) to the enhancement of the sustainability performance and competitiveness in agriculture through further deployment of digital and data technologies as key enablers, and b) to make agriculture benefit from further deployment and exploitation of Environmental Observation data and products through research and innovation related to sensors and sensor data.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Strengthening capacities for smart farming, and thus to enhance the environmental and economic performance of the agricultural sector.
  • Strengthening capacities for agri-environmental (climate) monitoring, particularly of soil and crop conditions.
  • Provision of inputs to the work of the Horizon Europe candidate partnership “Agriculture of Data” and the potential R&I mission on soil health.

Scope:

Sensors are increasingly used to enhance agricultural production e.g. through the assessment of environmental and crop conditions as well as through livestock monitoring. The information value of data collected through sensors can be increased through the analysis of the data in combination with other data sets. Reference data may, e.g. be formed by data sets generated by sensors at other places or by satellite and earth observation data or other data sets reflecting on environmental conditions. Data generated locally through sensors is often more precise, in comparison to global / EU-wide / national / or regional data sets.

The interpretation of local data sets benefits from such supra-regional data sets allowing e.g. for comparison of crop conditions, e.g. as basis for developing approaches to adapt agricultural production to climate change or for market analyses. In addition, there is the possibility to upscale the more detailed through sensors locally generated information through the application of data technologies, allowing to generate a data, information and knowledge base. Such bases can serve as input for analyses to serve the agricultural sector as well as environmental, climate, and wider policy monitoring purposes.

Of particular interest in agricultural production are approaches of real-time data generation and processing allowing for instance to better tailor certain production steps, combine different production steps or operate Internets of Things (IoT). Edge computing can play a key role to facilitate and enhance such sensor-based analyses and production approaches.

Proposals should cover all of the following aspects:

  • Development of innovative approaches to use in-situ data collected through sensors used in agricultural production as input to the application of data technologies.
  • Development of approaches to analyse the data in real time through processing at the source (edge computing) associated with analytics (including AI) in combination with e.g. earth observation data.
  • Development of innovative approaches to benchmark and tailor agricultural production through sensor data sharing at regional level including the development of business models.
  • Development of approaches to generate EU-wide data sets through the upscaling of data collected through sensor used in agricultural production (in combination with other data sets, such as satellite data).
  • Demonstration of how sensor-generated data can be further capitalised for the development of the agricultural sector, other sectors and the public good (including policy-making and implementation).

Based on a stock-taking analysis, proposals should (also) focus on crops currently covered less by (private sector) sensor developments. Approaches towards livestock monitoring and/or approaches towards monitoring of agri-environmental conditions through livestock data should be considered. Proposals should reflect on different bio-geographic conditions in Europe.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate governance and management structures allowing for a steady adaptation of the work schedule of the projects (like a rolling plan); this is expected to allow to adapt the work to the most recent developments and innovations in the field of sensors and sensor data in the public and private domain.

Proposals are expected to reflect on possibilities to interlink (interim) project results or parts of them to the functioning of the forthcoming common European agriculture data space and/or the common European data space for research and innovation, the European Open Science Cloud in cooperation with the European Commission. The potential of internet of things (IoT) technologies should be considered.

The possible participation of the JRC in the project will ensure that the approach proposed will be compatible with and improve the tools used and or developed at the European Commission.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Administration & Governance, Agriculture & Forestry, Fishery, Food, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Rural & Peripheral Development, Regional Development & Regional Planning, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Competitiveness, SME, Employment & Labour Market
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Public Services, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, National Government
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Call opens 28.10.2021
Call closes 15.02.2022
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of between EUR 5.00 and 7.50 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 15.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project.
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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