Welcome to the first call for Transnational Access (TNA) to EMSO ERIC observatories.

The objective of this call is to offer free-of-charge access to three EMSO ERIC facilities where external measuring systems can be installed, including instruments, systems, new technologies and where new procedures/experiments can be tested/take place. The list of observatories offered for TNA are designed to offer the broadest scientific and technological capabilities to future users in the framework of TNA.
This is a unique opportunity for scientists and engineers to avail of high-quality, interlinked instrumented infrastructures operating in open ocean observatories for carrying out research and/or testing activities.
All material for responding the call and requesting access will be made available through this website section: Eligibility and Access Rules, Selection Process, Facilities Available, Application Form.

Opening of the call: 16 April 2018
Submission deadline: 30 September 2018
Evaluation and Selection deadline: 31 October 2018
Feedback to applicants: 9 November 2018

APPLICATION FORM: EMSO_ERIC_TNA_proposal_submission_form

Signed submission forms should be sent in PDF to tna[AT]emso-eu[DOT]org


Eligibility and access rules

To be eligible to benefit from access to the infrastructure, a user group must satisfy the following two conditions:

a) The user group leader and the majority of the users must work in an institution, SME or industry established in an EU Member State, Associated Countries and Third Countries;
b) The user group leader and the majority of the users must work in a country other than the country(ies) where the legal entity(ies) operating the infrastructure is(are) established.

Applicants originating from member states where no similar infrastructures are available may be prioritised for proposals with equal scores, in accordance with the TNA principles set down by the European Commission.
Where the infrastructure is composed of several installations operated by different legal entities, this condition shall apply to each installation.

Only user groups that are entitled to disseminate the foreground they have generated under the project are eligible to benefit from access free of charge to the infrastructure. The EMSO data management policy will also apply, where specific provisions for TNA are foreseen. In accordance with this policy, the release of data to the public with minimum delay is required, where the details of the method of data accessibly should be agreed by EMSO ERIC, the access provider and user group.
Regarding the access rules, the access provider shall:

  • Provide access free of charge to selected user groups to the infrastructure or the installation(s) managed by it, including the logistical, technological and scientific support as well as specific training, that is necessary for successful use of the infrastructure by external researchers;
  • Publicise the access widely, including on a dedicated Web page on the Internet. This includes a description of the infrastructure and its data, as well as means of access;
  • Ensure that users comply with the terms and conditions set up for the use of the infrastructures, and fulfil eligibility criteria for TNA;
  • Maintain appropriate documentation to support and justify the amount of access reported. This documentation shall include records of the names, nationalities, and home institutions of users, as well as the nature and quantity of access provided to them.

The access provider and the user group leader shall inform the other Party of the occurrence of any event which constitutes a force majeure, preventing it from executing its obligations set out under TNA.
Any event which is unforeseeable, and the effects of which are uncontrollable, which prevents one of the Parties from executing its obligations shall be considered to be a case of force majeure. The obligations of the Party impeded shall be suspended for as long as the force majeure subsists.

If the work is interrupted by such events, the Parties shall quickly consult each other in order to study the postponement or possible termination of the access or the adaptation of the TNA.

The access provider shall ensure that the users enjoy, on a royalty-free basis, access rights to the background of the access provider and to the foreground, if needed to carry out their own work under the project.

The access provider shall ensure that the users have the same rights and obligations in regard to confidentiality and publicity as referred to for the access provider. In particular, the access provider shall, throughout the duration of the project, take any appropriate measure to ensure that, in their publications, users make suitable acknowledgement about the support given by the European Commission for the access provided to them. All material should include the following: e.g., “Access to the observatory infrastructure [add infrastructure name] was facilitated by funding supplied by the EC (EU-H2020 EMSO-Link, grant agreement no. 731036).” The Commission shall be authorised to publish, in whatever form and on, or by whatever medium, including the Internet, the list of the users.

Modality of access

A user or a user group shall be given access to an infrastructure listed in this CALL to test an instrument or collect data and samples.
Modality of Access (MoA) can be of the three following types:

MoA 1 – Remote: the presence of the user or user group is not required at any time during the access period
MoA 2 – Partially remote: the presence of the user or user group is required at some stage, e.g. for installing and uninstalling an instrument
MoA 3 – In-­‐person (“hands-­‐on”): the presence of the user or user group is required/ recommended during the whole access period

If unspecified, the default MoA will be considered as likely to be partially remote (MoA 2).

A written contract or agreement between the “Access Provider“ or the “Infrastructure Operator” and the “End User” will delineate the actions to be undertaken, the resources that will need to be allocated, the length of planned user stays (if any), and the period of use. It will also define the rights and obligations of all the Parties involved, including data sharing and eventual provisions for early termination of the conferred access.

As multidisciplinary installations are generally able to host multiple users and handle multiple activities simultaneously, the access can be shared simultaneously by several user groups. The start and end of the access will preferably coincide with maintenance operation on the installation for financial efficiency. More specific and detailed modalities may be specified in the description of the infrastructure and will also be addressed and updated during the project in WP4 and WP9.

Unit of Access: As agreed within Annex 1 of the EMSO-Link Grant Agreement, for the ‘Unit Cost’ based TNA sites, such as EMSO SmartBay, time is a practical unit of measure for access and the Unit of Access was chosen to be ‘a Day’, a base unit that can scale up to months and years in the project. Alternatively, the EMSO-PYLOS and EMSO-NICE sites will use Actual Costs and the access is not depending on duration. One to two years corresponding to an agreed deployment date when maintenance can be scheduled is proposed for TNA project duration.

The quantity of access includes preparatory work, installation, operation duration of the instrument in place, and uninstalling. When the installation is shared by several user groups, the unit will be shared accordingly for the period of joint operation: if there are measuring systems of n simultaneous user groups, each group will be accounted for 1/n unit. This does not apply for periods (e.g. the duration of the expedition) that require presence and accommodation of users at the installation. For practical and logistical reasons, the final decision remains with the access provider as to whether multiple access users can be facilitated at the same time.


Applicants will be informed via comprehensive online resources, and encouraged at proposal stage to contact owners/operators about access plans and to ensure the viability of the proposals. This evolution of how to prioritise TNA will be another advance of TNA framework for EMSO-Link and is especially critical in a limited funding environment.

Scientific and/or technical excellence and societal impact will also be key criteria in selecting cases for TNA. An Evaluation Panel formed of 4 experts from EMSO-Link membership (one from each TNA site and one from EMSO ERIC) covering each of geophysical, physical oceanographic, biogeochemical, ecological, platforms and sensors and information technology, as well as 3 independent peer-reviews from across those disciplines (which will be drawn from a confirmed pool of 6 experts). The role of the Evaluation Panel will be to provide advice on the technical feasibility of various aspects of call proposals, and incorporate the peer-reviews into a final ranking of proposed projects. In so doing, it will apply the principles of transparency, fairness and impartiality. The evaluation panel will assess the suitability of the proposed access for the suggested user groups that should benefit from access free of charge. The process will also value proposals from user groups composed of users who have not previously used the infrastructure, are working in countries where no such research infrastructures exist or have no prior experience accessing such infrastructures, in accordance with the TNA principles set down by the European Commission.

The selection process starts as soon as the TNA call is launched: the applicant is asked to contact the Observatory Manager for a pre-feasibility evaluation of their project. The application should include a confirmation letter/letter of support from the Observatory Manager as part of the application to the EMSO-Link TNA Office; who will then check it and send it to the Evaluation Panel.

After the closing date of the call, the proposals will be transmitted to the Evaluation Panel. Proposal evaluation and selection will be based on advertised evaluation criteria, following rules of transparency, fairness and scientific merit. The evaluation panel and access providers will be asked for input on profiling the selection process, (e.g. upon the suitability of prior technical assessment of proposals, specific eligibility thresholds, and any aspect relevant to optimizing the process). A specific meeting will also be organised for the final selection of project proposals. Outcomes of the evaluation will be relayed to infrastructure owners/operators and users groups to make final arrangements. Benefits of TNA will be captured into a final Recommendations and Guidelines document made available to all access providers.

The Evaluation Panel will review the applications and establish a ranking based on the evaluation criteria below. All proposals will be reviewed by three evaluators. Specialists from the consortium will be invited by EMSO ERIC if specific expertise is missing in the panel. A consensus review meeting will be held to finalize the individual review reports and the final consensus review report.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the proposals (which is included on TNA Proposal Submission Form)

Evaluation Criteria (& maximum number of pages) Max score Threshold
Scientific and technical objectives (Potential interest to the research/service provider community; Originality and innovation, European relevance) – 2 pages 5 3
Quality of the methodology and implementation: clarity, adequacy in relation to set objectives, work plan, adequacy with the infrastructure (incl. e.g. prior scientific, technical or logistical arrangements, risk table) – 2 pages plus risk table 5 3
Scientific and/or technical excellence of user group – 2 pages 5 3
Links or potential for seeding links with Industry (e.g., European enterprises interested in the measurements, participating to the project, e.g. testing new measuring systems or methods, etc.) – 1 page 3
Applications from Member States where similar infrastructures are not available as well as from user groups with no prior experience accessing an infrastructure 2
Total score 20 ­

The ranking and reports will be sent by the EMSO-Link TNA Office to the Observatory Manager, who will be responsible for choosing the project(s) (requesting the infrastructure) that will be funded. The final ranking of the submitted proposals will be sorted in descending order. Approval will be granted in descending order, starting with the proposal that has the highest rating. The final decision will be directed to the TNA Office who will communicate to the applicants the status of their project (accepted or refused).
Projects may be facilitated at an equivalent installation to match scientific ratings and demand, wherever needed and practical, if available.

After final selection has been announced, the leader of each selected user group will be contacted directly by the Observatory Manager chosen for its activities to receive additional information/guidelines and to allow the EMSO-Link TNA Office to start drafting the TNA grant agreement. The agreement will delineate the actions to be undertaken, the resources that will need to be allocated, the length of planned user stays if any, and the period of use. It will also define the rights and obligations of the Parties involved, including provisions for force majeure or early termination.

The diagram below illustrates the TNA process, from the launch of the call to the project implementation:

The EMSO-Link TNA Office will monitor and document the access provided under this project.


The observatories offered for Transnational Access (TNA) offer a unique opportunity for scientists and engineers to avail of high-‐quality, interlinked instrumented infrastructures operating in coastal and/or open-ocean observatories for carrying out research and/or testing activities.
Interested users can request access to one or more infrastructures and installations. They will be provided with technical assistance and ancillary data that may be necessary to their work. Visitors and projects will be selected on the basis of the scientific and technical quality and novelty of the proposed activities.

1. EMSO PYLOS (Hellenic Arc)

Access Provider: Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR)
Location: 36°84′ N, 21°61′ E; Depth: 1670m.
The station is located in the South East Ionian Sea, offshore Pylos (Peloponnese), Greece
Website address:
Contact: George PETIHAKIS (gpetihakis[AT]hcmr[DOT]gr)

Description of the infrastructure:

The infrastructure operates since May 2007 in the SE Ionian Sea at a depth of 1670m, comprising three major parts: the water-column component with a surface buoy; an autonomous seabed platform and a cabled seabed observatory. The water column component consists of a surface Wavescan type buoy equipped with sensors for meteorological, waves and surface oceanographic parameters (temperature, salinity, current) as well as a suite of CTD sensors attached on the inductive mooring line (20, 50, 75, 100, 250, 400, 600, 1000m). All sensors provide real-time hydrological observations of this key area where the Cretan Intermediate and Deep Waters (CIW, CDW) spread northwards towards the Adriatic and meet with the Eastern Mediterranean Deep Waters (EMDW). The seabed component consists of an autonomous platform equipped with a high accuracy and sampling frequency pressure sensor for tsunami detection as part of an early warning system. The platform is also equipped with a CTD probe, dissolved pCO2, dissolved CH4, pH, and dissolved O2 sensor, offering at the same time near-floor deep observations in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. Data from the deep platform is transmitted through acoustic modems to the surface buoy at a 3-hour standard interval of the POSEIDON network. However, in the case that a tsunami event is detected the deep platform switches into an alarm mode sending data at a higher rate of 15-60sec to the surface buoy and from there to the operational centre. The mooring line also hosts a Passive Aquatic Listener (PAL) for rainfall estimates and marine mammal acoustic detection. The PAL system have been recently evaluated against X-band radar measurements in this area and were found to provide very realistic estimates of precipitation. The Hellenic Arc site, part of the deep-sea observatories will soon have a fixed deep-sea observatory platform that connects to land via a submarine cable providing high-bandwidth data connection and power supply. The cable seabed platform will have one (1) spare ODI wet-mateable connector with 4 FO @ 380 VDC at the CTA and four (4) spare EIA232 connectors @ 12, 24, 48 VDC on the platform itself.

The site is located in the SE region of the Ionian Sea 15 km NW of the town of Pylos in SW Peloponnese and at depths ranging from 1400 to 1800m. The location is scientifically representative of the wider area of the west Hellenic Arc from western Crete up to south- west Peloponnese focusing on geo-dynamics, hydrologic and climate processes.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure: The Pylos observatory is carrying out meteorological observations (wind speed and direction, temperature, pressure), oceanic observations in the surface ocean (wave height-period- direction, salinity, temperature, current speed and direction), as well as observations in the ocean interior (Salinity, temperature at different depths down to 1000m), and at the seafloor (salinity, temperature, depth, dissolved O2, pCO2, CH4 and pH). Data are provided as: a) visual products through the web page, b) near-real-time data as daily files encoded in NetCDF/OceanSITES format through ftp services. The cabled platform will extend the measurements for the Pylos observatory, providing real time measurements at a depth of approximately 1800m with instruments measuring conductivity, temperature, pressure, dissolved O2, turbidity, currents (upward looking 500m), tsunami monitoring system, pH, CO2 partial pressure, passive acoustics, magnetic data, seismic data, gravity data and capturing HD video and still images. Data are stored from the instruments into a locally stored database and access is provided via an ftp portal.

2. EMSO SmartBay (Ireland)

Access Provider: Marine Institute, Ireland (MI)
Location: SmartBay Observatory, Galway Bay, Galway, Ireland.
(The observatory is co-located at the Irish national ocean energy test site in Galway Bay).
Website address:
Contact: Alan BERRY (alan.berry[AT]marine[DOT]ie)

Description of the infrastructure:

The EMSO SmartBay observatory is a cabled observatory which has been operational since 2015 in Galway Bay. The observatory includes a fiber optic data and power cable which provides connectivity to a sub-sea sensor hosting platform located at a depth of ~25m. The sub-sea platform includes 17 electrical input/output “science” ports, 4 hybrid input/output “optical” ports and one coaxial port. The science ports can deliver 75W at different combinations of 12, 15, 24V DC with either serial or ethernet communication protocols (up to 100 Mbps) to scientific instruments. Instruments can be deployed and recovered on the science ports year round. The optical ports can deliver 1.2 KW at 400V DC with an optical link up to 1 Gbps. Instruments can only be deployed or recovered on the optical ports during scheduled on-shore maintenance.
The sub-sea platform includes a number of permanent instruments which are used to monitor background environmental parameters and against which new and novel sensors can be tested. The permanent or ‘core’ suite of sensors deployed on the EMSO SmartBay observatory includes:

  • Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD)
  • Dissolved Oxygen (D02)
  • Turbidity / Fluorescence
  • ADCP
  • HD TV (and associated lights)
  • Hydrophone
  • Fish Tracker

The EMSO SmartBay observatory will support an acoustic array by mid-2018 on one of the optical ports. The array consists of 12 hydrophones and 6 particle velocity sensors (6 landers with 2 hydrophones & 1 PV per lander). The acoustic array allows focused monitoring and measurement of ocean noise in relation to marine ecology, ocean energy devices, sub-sea devices and other related purposes.
The observatory provides a variety of research opportunities from the testing and development of novel marine equipment and sensors to camera and acoustic software analytics. There has also been considerable interest in using the HDTV camera to monitor how various materials degrade or withstand degradation at the seabed.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure:
A specialist team of marine operations and instrumentation technicians provides a range of supports to all users of the facility. This enables users of the facility to focus on data analysis, device validation and product development. Each project is guided from initial concept through to deployment and proof of concept validation. Users of the EMSO SmartBay observatory will be offered a high-quality, end-to-end service including:

  1. Pre-deployment testing on a dedicated, custom-built test rig to simulate subsea conditions;
  2. Operational support providing bench testing, deployment, operations and maintenance, recovery of the sensor/ equipment;
  3. ICT team for data acquisition and data transmission support;
  4. Deployments at the EMSO SmartBay observatory will have access to the observatory’s power, data acquisition and data transmission systems;
  5. Near real-time data transmission and visualization via online data portal.
  6. Remote management of instruments via VPN connections to Virtual Machines (VM) installed on the observatory shorestation servers.

The EMSO SmartBay observatory has previously been successful in providing Transnational Access via the H2020 “JERICOnext” project for the following projects:

ECSyrinx: The project supported the validation of an acoustic doppler velocimeter sensor and was a collaboration between Sonardyne (UK), the Marine Institute and SmartBay Ireland Ltd. Deployed Nov 2017 – March 2018.
ADVANCE: The project will support the development of automatic data and video acquisition for underwater monitoring across coastal observatories and is a collaboration between the Marine Environment Research Center (Italy), the Marine Institute and SmartBay Ireland Ltd. Deployment in July 2018.
ANTEIA: The project will validate a directional wave measuring sensor and is a collaboration between Zunibal (Spain), the Marine Institute and SmartBay Ireland Ltd. Deployment in July 2018.

3. EMSO-NICE (Ligurian Sea)

Access Provider: IFREMER, France
Location: Ligurian sea, Nice, France
Coordinates: 43°38.6′ N, 07°13.2′ E ; Distance from land: 0.5 nautical mile
Website address:
Contact: Xavier BOMPAIS (xavier.bompais[AT]ifremer[DOT]fr)

Description of the infrastructure:

EMSO NICE is a shallow water cabled observatory. Deployed in October 2015, it consists of two junction boxes, set up at a depth of 20-30m and connected to Nice Airport by a 2-km long electro-optical cable. It is an exceptional site in marine sediment geology for the study of slope stability processes. Seafloor and sub-seafloor instrumentation is implemented and can be complemented by other instruments for R&D or pre-operational purposes.

Each junction box hosts six connecting ports (eight available for new sensors) offering 15 and 48 VDC power supplies with up to 75 W for each voltage. The sensor communication standard can be either Ethernet (10-100Base-T) or Serial (RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485) or 1-wire link.

Each junction box is fixed to a 2-ton metallic frame protected against water current and anthropic activities by a rugged cover. The communication between the junction box and the Communication and Data Center is handled by a 100 Mbits/s optical fibre link.

Data can be transmitted in real-time and stored locally too (up to 2TB available). A time server (PTP) is available. Users’ instruments are managed by Virtual Machines (VM) installed on the servers of the Communication and Data Center and are remotely accessible over the internet through VPN connections (downlink and uplink of 6 Mbits/s). Close attention is paid to the infrastructure security in order to prevent hacking, data leakage and even physical access by unauthorized people.

Four instruments are connected now to the EMSO NICE observatory: one broadband seismometer and three piezometers. They contribute to the study of slope failure processes and sediment response to active, if diffuse, seismicity in an area characterized by a narrow shelf bordered by a steep continental slope.

With eight ports still available, EMSO NICE also offers the opportunity to perform real-time testing of any other types of instruments, with a very simple access from the TNA PI’s office through a high bandwidth communication link, as if the instrument was on their own desk.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure:

  • Prior to deployment, instruments are connected to a bench test and their interfaces are validated in a lab at Ifremer Brest.
  • Virtual Machines and VPN are set up and tested by skilled staff.
  • EMSO NICE benefits from quick access from the harbours of Nice, Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Villefranche-sur-mer (<1/2 h).
  • Underwater operations are carried out by scuba divers, without expensive logistics.

The seismometer connected to EMSO-Nice is already associated to the French seismologic and geodetic network RESIF which is one of the French major contributions to EPOS (European plate observatory system). Its data can be visualized and downloaded via the Internet:

Place: Station name PRIMA.
Direct access to the piezometer data is in operation.