1. As an open call winner, will I have access to the ATLAS pilot locations? What resources will be provided to me by the consortium to implement my solution?
Yes; as an open call winner, you will have full access to our testing facilities and interact with end-users while implementing your solution. Besides the technical foundation of the interoperability network, you will receive access to the ATLAS ecosystem and benefit from our extensive network of end-users, service providers, researchers, and policymakers. All the data and other ATLAS resources will be available at the pilot locations. Moreover, you will gain a mentor – an industry expert to support the implementation of your application.
2. Who will own my application?
The awarded projects need to connect their services to the ATLAS interoperability network using one of our defined service templates, but they are free to commercialise their applications on their own. Applicants will remain the sole owners of their projects and retain the IPR to their respective solutions.
3. Where can I get more information about the ATLAS Consortium?
ATLAS, a joint research project funded by the Horizon 2020 initiative, is bringing together a consortium of 30 agricultural stakeholders and researchers from seven European countries. You can find out more about each partner and its role in the project here.
4. What will be the input for the ATLAS interoperability network? Only the results/output of our model for the duration of the project (in GIS format, for instance), or will we have to share information on the algorithms and models used?
The input for ATLAS should be a service which farmers can use directly. Companies will need to integrate their services into the ATLAS network, so it is the usable results for farmers that we are interested in. Each company will retain all the IPR to their solution and decide on the price for its service. Since the awarded companies have to demonstrate their applications and have an interest in advertising their services, they should consider allowing access to their applications for the test sites or select farmers.
5. What is the ATLAS exactly? Has it been already operating for some time?
ATLAS (Agricultural Interoperability and Analysis System) has been developing an open, distributed, and extensible interoperability network to exchange data based on a service-oriented architecture. It will offer a means to interconnect innovative, data-driven services in agriculture to help improve farmers’ efficiency in a sustainable way. We started creating architectural concepts and specifications in April 2020. The key-infrastructure components have been developed, and the first versions are ready to be used by the end of April 2021. First reference implementations of various ATLAS services will be available in the first half of 2021.
6. Chapter 6, “Applicant Ethics and Conflicts of Interest”, states the following: “No third countries may be involved in use case development.” What does this mean? If my solution would be applicable to other countries besides those in the EU, am I not eligible to participate in the open call?
The sentence in the question means that if you receive funding through this open call, you will not be allowed to involve any third-country resources in the implementation of your solution at the pilot site of the project.
7. The application template wants me to explain “how relevant my solution is to the ATLAS interoperability network”. Once I complete this answer, would it be possible to get some feedback from you?
Preliminary feedback from the consortium is not foreseen in the open call. However, we can make exceptions in some cases. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. To help you write the “Relevance” part of the proposal, we have uploaded the Service Architecture Specification to our web page. Please check it out beforehand.
8. Is it possible to discuss a potential use case with someone before applying? Who should I talk to?
There are no plans to discuss use cases before proposals are submitted. However, we can make an exception if needed. If you could specify what your questions would be and what exactly you would like to find out before submitting your proposal via email@example.com, we will connect you to the right person.
9. Are greenhouses also considered agriculture?
Yes, we would welcome your solution for greenhouses in our open call! Check out our challenges and find the most suitable one for your solution.
10. I have developed an app for my farm which could be suitable for one of the topics of the ATLAS open call. What data will I receive from ATLAS to implement my app in your network?
Please check out our Service Architecture Specification to find out what data and other resources are available. In general, it will be a two-way interaction between you and ATLAS: You can both take what is (or will be) available in the network and specify the kind of data you need in order to develop your solution.
11. What is the minimum-maximum duration of the pilot project that we should be proposing?
The implementation period of the funded solutions will be six months.
12. Is it possible for our start-up to apply to the open call if it has not yet been legally established?
To be eligible for funding, your start-up has to be legally established and based in one of the countries eligible to take part in Horizon 2020. A list of these countries can be found on the open call submission form and the Horizon 2020 portal.
13. Can we apply as a consortium of two companies? We have a partner we would like to include.
No. According to paragraph 7 of our terms of participation, only single companies are eligible to apply to the open call and receive funding.
14. I am the sole owner of my company and do not have other employees at the moment. May I specify some freelancers that I hire on an hourly basis as my team members? May I reflect these costs in my proposal’s budget and receive funding for their time?
You may hire freelancers to help you develop the solution. However, they will be considered as your subcontractors. Subcontracting costs are eligible but may account for no more than 20% of your proposed budget.
15. What is required to join the ATLAS project?
You can join the ATLAS project through one of two open calls. In order to be eligible for funding, your company has to fulfil the following criteria: 1) be legally registered and based in one of the EU Member States or countries associated with Horizon 2020 (a list of these countries can be found on the open call submission form or the Horizon 2020 portal); and 2) be an SME according to the or a midsize enterprise (with up to €1 billion in annual revenues and up to 1000 employees).
More information is available in our terms of participation.
16. What is the maximum funding possible for one company in the open call?
An average of EUR 52,500 will be allocated for each use case to be supported via each open call. Each company selected for funding will need to contribute at least 30% of its proposed budget, resulting in an average total budget of EUR 75,000 per use case. Any in-kind contribution related to the development of a proposed solution is eligible as co-funding. The maximum cash payment to one company may not exceed EUR 60,000 according to the EU’s funding rules.
More information can be found in paragraph 8 of our terms of participation.
17. Where can I find more information on the eligible costs that will be covered under the open call? Is subcontracting allowed?
All budget items need to be directly related to the development of your proposed solution (office rent, for example, is not eligible). Please note that for costs to be eligible, they must be incurred by your company – that is, they have to constitute your own expenditures and involve your own accounts. Subcontracting costs are eligible but may account for no more than 20% of your proposed budget.
You will find more information regarding budgets and funding under section 2.6.3 of the application template and paragraph 8 of our terms of participation.
18. Could you elaborate a bit on the 30% each company is to contribute? Which types of contribution can be considered as “in-kind”? How can this be quantified?
The required 30% contribution does not need to be in the form of cash funds. Any in-kind contribution related to the development of your proposed solution is eligible as co-funding. You can claim any contribution you can quantify – for example, time that your team spent on application development or equipment that you already have on your balance sheet and will use for application development.
19. Where can I access the template for proposal descriptions?
The application template is available on our web page, where you can also find more information related to the open call.
20. Would the idea / solution / algorithm I’ve developed be a valid contribution to ATLAS?
If it adds value to the farming workflow and can be integrated into the ATLAS network, it is valid. We are looking for solutions that have at least TRL 6 and can be utilised by end-users. We have provided a list of challenges to address, please check them for more details.
21. What kinds of satellite data will be available, and from which satellites? What are the corresponding specifications (data processed, resolution, spectral bands, etc)?
ATLAS will provide access to processed satellite data and support participants in obtaining access to available data from ESA and NASA through their dedicated services. The particular kind of data you require should be included in your proposal.
22. Given the architecture described and our plan to develop a pest sensor, would you recommend sharing the related data with ATLAS directly through the sensor, or collecting the data in our decentralised cloud database and connecting it to ATLAS?
Both methods are possible, but the pros and cons of each depend on the specific scenario at hand. We are therefore unable to provide a recommendation in this regard.
23. How will our service be integrated into ATLAS? I understand that we can use data (like satellite data or weather data) from the ATLAS services, but I’m unclear on what our obligations in terms of ATLAS integration are. Do we need to offer special data that can be used by other services?
You can get access to data from other services through the ATLAS network. The ATLAS data service will define an API that supports self-description. The only requirement is that your service be accessible through the ATLAS network (i.e. you need to implement the ATLAS data service).
24. Can we include travel costs for performing field tests? Is there a limit on these costs?
You can, and you should. You can check the expected budget lines in the database or the application template. We haven’t set a specific limit because you have a better understanding of how often you need to travel to implement your use case. Your travel costs should be reasonable, however.
25. We are concerned about the IPR involved in our proposal. Is there an NDA that protects the proposals submitted?
Every member of our consortium is required to sign an NDA before they get access to your proposals. You can familiarise yourself with the text of our NDA here.