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Underlying models for the European Digital Twin Ocean

Underlying models for the European Digital Twin Ocean - Κεντρική Εικόνα

HORIZON-MISS-2021-OCEAN-05-01

The objective is to prepare the next generation of EU digital ocean models (Twin Ocean) complementary 
to the Copernicus marine service. They should be integrated into the architecture of the European Digital 
Twin Ocean, a public infrastructure (linked action with topic “EU Public Infrastructure for the European 
Digital Twin”: EU Public Infrastructure for the European Digital Twin Ocean, included under Other actions) 
to ensure access to required input and validation data (e.g. from EMODnet, EuroGOOS etc.), high 
performance and distributed cloud computing facilities. It will support the development of the Mission 
lighthouses and will be aligned with developments of Destination Earth under the Digital Europe 
programme. Projects may benefit from the experience and knowledge of the Joint Research Centre in the 
areas of marine ecosystem modelling at European scale that is supporting impact assessments by 
dedicated scenario simulations linked with policy frameworks.

The project should address all activities and tasks as described below, in cooperation and 
complementarity with the linked action and other relevant actions:

1. Ocean twin: The project should develop the reference models suite for the European Digital Twin Ocean 
and should include:
• the preparation and development of model and data assimilation schemes, enabling simulation 
and development of what-if scenarios based on, but not be limited to, a global high-resolution 
kilometric ocean physics model from the IMMERSE project, that complement the Copernicus 
forecasting capacities and support on-demand simulation services;
• a suite of configurable coastal models to reach the local scale, as part of the twin ocean suite or 
the toolkit (see below) in line with state-of-art science proposed in the UN Decade of Ocean 
Science.
The project should ensure that these models can be used coupled with biogeochemistry, marine 
ecosystem models (including higher trophic layers) and other integrated models of the marine 
environment/human activities, etc., used already by policymakers and their scientific advisors. It should 
be based on state-of-art science, bringing significant innovation to existing EU programmes modelling 
capacities in support to policy making and implementation (MSFD, Habitats Directive, Common Fisheries 
Policy, etc.).

2. Developer’s toolkit: the ocean twin should be complemented with a toolkit to favour its exploitation 
including by additional models or software following specified quality standards. It should include:
• a scientific software library with open and free, easy-to-use software, models, AI algorithms (e.g.: 
addressing coastal circulation, particle tracking, aquaculture cultivation and emissions, 
ecosystems, hydrodynamics, etc.) that can be enriched progressively;
• a virtual development environment, dedicated to scientific validation where groups of users can 
assess their results, develop validation and product quality campaigns for their models and 
explore what-if scenarios;
• tools to retrieve data and products in suitable form for producing indicators for EU reporting (e.g.: 
Application Programming Interfaces for MSFD, Habitats, Birds directives reporting).

3. Use: The Ocean twin models suite should enable the development of what-if scenarios and simulations 
to support the Mission Ocean lighthouses. Therefore, it should be demonstrated and validated end-to-end with beta-testers on one what-if scenario in line with the Mission priorities and representative of the 
complexity of lighthouses.
For all of the above, the proposal should favour access to public-oriented models and algorithms free of 
licensing restrictions. The necessary service pre-operations, should be put in place including at least an 
online scientific helpdesk (cascading to Copernicus Marine Service and EMODnet if needed). The project 
should set up the required scientific governance and technical coordination to link closely with the project 
related to the twin architecture (topic “EU Public Infrastructure for the European Digital Twin”, linked 
action, included under Other actions), Copernicus and EMODnet for the implementation, with the other 
components of the Destination Earth initiative, with the EC/ES Joint Earth System initiative and with the 
Mission lighthouses to develop fit-for-purpose solutions in the frame of the Mission as well as with 
projects funded under the Green Deal call in 2020 topic LC-GD-9-3-2020 Towards a digital twin of the 
ocean.

The Mission Implementation Support Platform will support and facilitate synergies between the 
lighthouses and the European Digital Twin ocean developments and ensure appropriate communication.
Proposals are expected to show how their activities and results will achieve the Mission’s objectives, in 
line with the timeframe of the Mission phases, i.e.: by 2025 for the ‘development and piloting’ phase and 
2030 for the ‘deployment and upscaling phase’.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
• A suite of models, including at least a high-resolution global ocean circulation model and coastal 
models at the land-sea interface ready for configuration and simulation;
• Interoperable standards and APIs so that the twin models can be interfaced with Copernicus 
models (coupling, forcing, boundary conditions, …) or external models (hybrid twins) and run in 
conjunction;
• Enhanced on-demand ocean forecasting and ocean climate prediction capacities;
• Scientific toolboxes to be used in a (co-)working virtual environment;
• Improved capability to support EU legislation on the marine environment;
• Capacity to support the three priorities of the Mission (biodiversity, zero pollution, zero carbon) 
and supporting the lighthouses;
• A sustainable and integrated set of models and services that contribute to and benefit from 
developments in the Digital Europe Programme, contributing to Destination Earth;
• Significant contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
The outputs of the project should rely on the state of art of science in ocean modelling and digital tools, 
existing assets at EU level (e.g. from EuroGOOS, Copernicus, EMODnet, Regional Sea Conventions, etc.) 
and EU and international data management standards.

Link with CMA Goals
Goal II: A competitive, innovative and sustainable blue economy for the Black Sea / Priority 1: Foster innovative business models, stimulate research and innovation, and sustainable growth and up-to-date jobs

Deadline: 
12/04/2022
Country: 
Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine
Fund: 
Horizon Europe
Budget: 
€7,000,000
Sector of activity: 
Blue Economy, Digitalisation