Call for French projects: all you need to know to apply

Published on 29/10/2020
SCO France is hoping to receive many proposals for its 2021 call for projects, open until 30 November. But what is the SCO label? Is a certain project eligible? How to apply With what funding? These are some of the questions that potential project leaders asked SCO France directly during two virtual classes held on 15 October and 5 November 2020, attended by more than 40 participants. Let's take another look at these dynamic and informative discussions, from which we can already see some great projects emerging!

In their introduction to each session, the facilitators reiterated that SCO is a project factory for studying and planning for the impacts of climate change. Created in November 2019, SCO France certified 14 projects out of 20 applications in 2020. For its 2021 edition, it is launching a second call for projects on the theme of Biodiversity.

If you can’t find the answer to your questions here, please contact Frédéric Bretar or Laurence Monnoyer-Smith directly. They will be glad to help you submit your file, review an unofficial draft version and, more generally, give you advice. A spontaneous testimonial in the chat confirms that “CNES provides excellent advice ahead of submitting applications. Don’t hesitate, it’s very useful”. You can also contact project leaders who have already received the label directly via the website.

Criteria for an SCO project

To be SCO certified, a project must meet a certain number of precise, essential criteria:

  • Specifically meet a need,
  • Develop an operational tool in 18 to 24 months,
  • Make the best possible use of all available satellite, environmental, climate and socio-economic data,
  • Draw upon research, production and data provision infrastructure (Data Terra, Copernicus, DIAS, Geoportail, existing GIS platforms, etc.) as well as upon operational services (Copernicus, etc.),
  • Enable the duplication/adaptation of tools across several regions,
  • Meet SCO community feedback criteria.

What is the benefit of receiving SCO certification?

  1. Promoting the work carried out upstream: the proposed projects have generally reached a sufficient readiness level for a solution to be rolled out in a region. Once certified, it is widely shared and enhanced, thus benefiting from international recognition.
  2. Obtaining special access to a funding portfolio.
  3. Accessing sharing: made public, the projects enrich the SCO “community feedback”, which is demonstrated by the availability of their data and algorithms.
  4. The consortium sponsoring a project benefits from customised SCO support based on its needs (expertise, consultancy, access to specific data, etc.).

How to apply

The application form, brought in line with that of SCO International, must not exceed four pages. All information and documents are online in the News section of the SCO website in French. The SCO France Charter is also available online.


There were about fifteen questions for clarifications on the following:

SCO project leaders

All organisations and companies are eligible: regardless of their size - only the project counts. The project must be represented by a consortium, which should include institutions.


At its most comprehensive level, a consortium consists of:

  • public authorities (local authorities, regional agencies, etc.) who have a specific need that the project meets;
  • scientists, who ensure the robustness of the data and the models;
  • private companies which, often responsible for some of the project management, ensure the service continuity of the projects implemented;
  • data providers from all backgrounds;
  • space agencies, which intervene to facilitate access to certain data, participate in developments, or even help the consortium run smoothly.

Nature of space data

Imagery, positioning/navigation or satellite telecoms: a project may use all types of space data which, remember, is all interoperable with other data sources.


SCO is not a funding agency, but its certification enhances the visibility of the project to potential funders, in this case the member organisations of SCO France but also of SCO International (space agencies and UN organisations). Contributions may be financial but can also be in the form of HR, via the secondment of specialised staff to a project. The 2020 label enabled 13 projects to initiate funding or find additional funding sources and windows. => One section of the project sheet requires the breakdown of funding.

France or International, single certification

Whether the calls for projects are launched nationally or internationally, there is only one SCO certification. If your project is sponsored by a French or French-international consortium, you can apply to SCO France's call for projects. On the other hand, if it is led by a fully international consortium, you will have to apply to the international call for projects.

The SCO label is valid throughout the life of the project. It can be revoked if the project is abandoned, if it does not meet the required criteria, or if it does not find funding within a reasonable time.

End users

End-users may be varied (local authorities, cities, businesses, insurance, protected natural areas, regional agencies, NGOs, etc.) and must present an issue linked to the impacts of climate change. => The end user must be identified and represented in the project, to ensure that the project meets a specific demand and that it will be sustained.

Readliness or TRL

Applying to SCO requires a certain TRL (technology readiness level) so that the project can be quickly converted into an operational tool (within 24 months maximum). Theses and research projects are therefore not eligible.


An SCO project must be replicable, especially internationally in order to allow vulnerable countries to benefit from solutions imported by the SCO community.

Data infrastructure

While SCO France works primarily with the Climate Data Store supported by C3S (Copernicus Climate Change), it is possible to call upon other structures such as Google Earth Engine. The important thing is the ability to show actual results and develop operational tools.


Recurrence of calls for projects and acceptance rate

The SCO launches one call for projects per year, at the end of the year. The next one will therefore take place in the final quarter of 2021 for the 2022 label.

There is no acceptance rate: all submitted projects that meet the specifications will be labelled.

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