Smart cities and European navigation: how innovations come to Ukraine thanks to Horizon 2020

This article will tell you about what Ukrainian scientists are developing with the support from the EU, and answer the most frequently asked questions about the EU’s Horizon 2020 Program


The ERA-PLANET Program has been implemented since 2016 within the Horizon 2020 framework. Its ultimate goal is to enhance Europe’s role in creating the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) by building a European research network in Earth observation. Ukraine is represented in this program by the Space Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the State Space Agency.

ERA-PLANET includes four separate projects in various areas of observation. Ukraine participates in three of them. Let’s take a closer look at the SMURBS project. It is devoted to development of cities of the future and implementation of systems allowing to monitor the condition of air and pollution levels, respond to natural disasters and handle the problem of growing urban agglomerations as the population of Europe and Ukraine continues to steadily migrate from small towns to megacities.

Kyiv became one of the pilot cities for implementation of this project. It will allow to assess the existence and proportions of buildings and green areas in the city, “measure” temperature in particular neighborhoods and correlate it with the density of urban development, and obtain other important quantitative indicators of the city’s development. Gathering this information requires a lot of data and algorithms realized with the help from artificial intelligence. The results of their joint use will be presented in a convenient visual medium.

Kyiv Urban Atlas is a project created on the basis of developed technologies. It is a geospatial atlas of the city allowing to analyze its growth, showing its greening level and helping analyze temperature abnormalities. The atlas, ordered by Kyiv City State Administration and Kyiv Smart City, was developed by specialists of the Space Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the State Space Agency of Ukraine. The project was presented on 30 May.

Growth of Kyiv urban agglomeration from 1990 to 2018

This digital atlas is the first solution of its kind for cities of Eastern Europe, and moreover, it is standardized according to EU rules, Professor Natalia Kussuhl, Doctor of Sciences, ERA-PLANET Project Coordinator in Ukraine, Deputy Director of the Space Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the State Space Agency of Ukraine and the head of laboratory at Noosphere Engineering School explains. Moreover, the atlas developed by Ukrainian scientists has important advantages, Mrs. Kussuhl believes: “The atlas works solely on the basis of open data, updated annually. The European product is updated once every six years, and it was created on the basis of paid data. The Ukrainian atlas will allow to better see changes in urban environment.”


The scientist also says that the implementation of SMURBS in Ukraine is also notable for how the project’s financing is organized. According to Horizon 2020 terms, it was intended to be co-financed: Ukrainian scientists were able to receive support from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

The laboratory of Noosphere Engineering School, opened this year at the Space Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the State Space Agency of Ukraine, also participates in this project. This lab is also headed by Natalia Kussuhl. That’s where students from various universities and young scientists are working on the Horizon 2020 project, improving satellite monitoring algorithms on the equipment bought by NES. And sensors for ground measurements are being developed at Noosphere Engineering School Dnipro laboratory. Other talented students who want to develop their abilities on professional equipment and under the guidance of the school’s mentors may also join the work on this project.

Presently, the Ukrainian Urban Atlas went operational in Kyiv and has been tested on other cities (Rivne, Lublin). However, other regional and city administrations (for instance in Lviv and Bila Tserkva) and private companies are interested in this project as well.


AMMODIT project is a research initiative of Ukrainian scientists from Ukraine (Kyiv, Donetsk, Sloviansk), Austria, Italy and Germany concerning application of mathematics in medicine. The range of objectives is wide, and the international team conducts research in six areas:

  • studying mathematical methods of imaging using magnetic particle method;
  • entropy-like measures and system complexity calculations;
  • coarse-grained modeling of (bio)polymers;
  • diagnostic methods in cardiac surgery;
  • regularization methods for identification of cause-and-effect relations;
  • meta-learning approach to forecasting of nocturnal hypoglycemia.

Every development assignment sets ambitious objectives. This way, a study of hypoglycemia will help people with diabetes. Hypoglycemia is a condition in which glucose content in blood falls below the acceptable minimum. This problem can be provoked by numerous factors ranging from late eating to excessive physical exercising. But the consequences could be serious, up to the so-called hypoglycemic coma (loss of consciousness). In collaboration with Austrian scientists, researchers from Kyiv Polytechnic Institute have developed an application helping patients monitor the level of sugar in blood.

Another area of research concerns cardiac surgery. Ukrainian scientists are helping surgeons from a hospital in Milan safely perform heart surgeries on patients with mitral valve prolapse (MVP). With a defect like that, heart does not receive sufficient quantity of blood because of an abnormal valve between the left atrium and ventricle. This is a prevalent disease (contracted by up to 2.4% of the humankind), but it often goes on without visible symptoms.

Still, certain patients require surgical intervention — those experiencing dyspnea, tiredness, vegetative crises. Ukrainian scientists are helping surgeons develop instruments to calculate the length of connecting tissue. For that purpose, they take into account geometry and shape of vessels and other anatomical details. Their conclusions help surgeons avoid mistakes.


As part of the Ukraine project, Ukrainian scientists prepared the national aviation for expansion of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). It operates since 2009 on the basis of four Artemis and Inmarsat satellites. This system was developed by the European Space Agency and Eurocontrol on behalf of the European Commission.

The Ukraine project ended in 2016, and the first ranging and integrity monitoring station (RIMS) receiving signals from EGNOS was launched in Ukraine in August 2018. The new navigation system has a huge potential in the aviation, logistics, cartography and maritime sectors. For example, airliners can land on the runway more safely in the conditions of poor visibility, and agricultural producers can operate agricultural machinery with greater precision.

In addition, Head of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute’s international projects department Serhii Shukaiev says, EGNOS offers a number of substantial advantages in organization of logistics. The system was tested jointly with Metinvest and Ovinto, a Belgian manufacturer of navigation sensors. As a result, the company was able to track cargoes in transit with better accuracy, optimize its delivery system and reduce expenses.

The Horizon 2020 stand at the iForum-2019 conference

The most frequently asked questions about Horizon 2020

At the iForum-2019, the Horizon 2020 stand was visited by entrepreneurs and the conference’s guests. AIN.UA Editorial Office and the Program’s representatives answer the five most frequently asked questions about Horizon 2020 in Ukraine, from the search of opportunities to the search of partners.

When tenders are announced and where can I find information regarding deadlines?

 The European Commission announces open tenders on a special website: Funding & Tenders Portal. There, you can also find opportunities for doing business with the EU. You can find available offers by search using key words or using filters to make your search easier.

The basis of Horizon 2020 is grants described in the previous two articles. If your project concerns research, the EU would reimburse 100% of direct costs, and if it is an innovative undertaking, the refund would amount to 70% (if your organization is for-profit) or 100% (for nonprofit organizations).

The deadlines are individual for every project: there are terms for submission of applications and terms for their fulfillment. After successfully finding an offer, you’ll have to register in the system and submit an application. Details are available on Horizon 2020 National Portal.

What are NCPs, and what is their main function?

NCPs, or national contact points, are the organizations helping Horizon 2020’s potential participants learn about the Program’s details and specifics; however, they do not help with documentation — the applicants must prepare it themselves.

Ukrainian contact points are divided by areas. Their addresses and contact information of responsible coordinators are available on Horizon 2020 National Portal.

Where should I look for partners in the EU?

For certain Horizon 2020 projects you won’t need partners: for example, for certain subprograms of the Scientific Mobility Program “Marie Skłodowska Curie’s Actions” or “Instrument for SME”. However, one of the Program’s requirements for research and innovative research projects is to form a consortium of at least three unrelated legal entities from the EU or associated states. To facilitate a partner search, the EU has developed several instruments.

Each of these pages of tender contains the Partners Search rubric, where you can find offers of cooperation on a particular topic and publish your own offer. You can also use specialized services: CORDIS Idealist, NMP TeAm Fit for Health, IMI, EEN. All of them are put together on the pan-European Horizon 2020 portal. A detailed list is also available on Horizon 2020 National Portal.

You can also find partners via social networks (LinkedIn) or at thematic events. In addition, you can request information regarding the partnership with NCP.

Can a sole proprietor submit an application?

Horizon 2020 Program has an instrument of financing small and medium-sized businesses. It offers grants of up to 1.3 million euros for implementation of risky innovative ideas. Moreover, you can submit even an individual application, without searching for outside partners. But you will still need a legal entity to work on your project. Sole proprietorships cannot participate in the Program.

Why does Ukraine need Horizon 2020?

Like all EU member states, Ukraine pays a fee for the opportunity to be at par with its colleagues from the EU and to have access to all programs and subprograms of Horizon 2020. Even after the 95% discount, the fee still amounts to 35.5 million euros.

Today, Horizon 2020’s Ukrainian participants have access to all actions of the Scientific Mobility Program and Instruments for SME, and participate in technological initiatives. Ukrainian delegates attend meetings of Horizon 2020’s program committees. So now, it’s the turn of scientists and entrepreneurs. The opportunities for transparent funding are there; all that’s left is to find the right idea, prove its worthiness and implement it.

This special project was prepared under Communicating Europe in Ukraine project of the EU Delegation to Ukraine

By Mykhailo Sapiton

Source: AIN