First Copernicus National Conference Takes Place
The Portuguese Space Agency will hold the first National Conference on the Copernicus program. Scheduled for December, the event aims to be the meeting point for the national Copernicus user community, also serving as a showcase for new products, services and funding opportunities. Participation is free of charge.
On December 13 and 14, the University of Évora will host the first Copernicus National Conference, an event that aims to bring together Portuguese users of the European Earth Observation Program, for two days of sharing and exchanging experiences. Participation in the event is free, but registration is required.
Organized by the Portuguese Space Agency – Portugal Space, the Copernicus National Conference takes place within the FPCUP* program and follows the completion of three workshops focused on the potential of the European Union Program for the creation of applications and services in the Marine and Land Monitoring components, also expanding its view toward opportunities that exist for funding and developing a business model based on satellite data. The Conference will be held presentially, and will be supported by the University of Évora, which is an integral member of the Copernicus Academy network.
“The Portuguese Space Agency, national representative in the Program, is a member of the Copernicus Ambassadors network, whose main objective is to promote the dissemination and use of the data generated by the program and the training of Copernicus users. At this conference we aim to bring together the members of this network, mainly those who already use the images captured by the Sentinel satellites and those who intend to do so in the future, including academia, industry and public administration in the same forum,” explains Carolina Sá, responsible for Earth Observation projects at Portugal Space. “This exchange of knowledge and experiences is essential for the growth of the user base of a system that is fundamental in the most varied areas of human activity, whether in the economy, in education and research, and in culture, among others, and which still has enormous growth potential in Portugal.”
Carolina Sá refers not only to the possibility of creating new businesses, but also to the potential for growth for Portuguese companies in the Copernicus universe: “We want national suppliers to be aware of the opportunities that exist in terms of providing services for Copernicus, so that Portugal can significantly increase its presence in the program.”
The application domains for Earth Observation data are very broad. They range from agriculture to fisheries, from tools for improving mobility and monitoring air quality to detecting soil movements in infrastructures. In fisheries alone the possible applications are many, and include monitoring harvests, maximizing resources, monitoring fishing stocks, detecting illegal activities and more.
“The Copernicus program, which is governed by a full, free and open data policy, is the backbone of a thriving downstream ecosystem where new space-related companies flourish,” says Joan Alabart, Industrial Relations & Projects Officer at the Portuguese Space Agency.
Companies and researchers invited to present case studies
The Copernicus National Conference will be held in the Auditorium of the Colégio do Espírito Santo, at the University of Évora (UÉvora), in a decision that embodies the strategy of the Portuguese Space Agency to decentralize the dissemination activities of its operations.
Additionally, the University of Évora is currently one of four institutions in the national network known as Copernicus Academy, which recently created the Earth Remote Sensing Laboratory – EaRSLab. Adélia Sousa, lecturer and researcher at the University of Évora and point of contact for Copernicus Academy, considers that the connection to the network allows “to be up to date with the news of the Copernicus data user academy and transmit more knowledge of this space sector to our students”. “The conference at UÉvora will reinforce this connection, being a privilege for the entire academic and research community and of course to awaken the young students of this institution to the new world that is opening up with Copernicus data,” she says.
“The realization of this conference at UÉvora is a good opportunity to make the community aware of the EaRSLab and the ongoing research, which uses various Copernicus data services. The occasion will also allow us to meet the current and potential Copernicus users and to understand possible needs to which the EaRSLab may contribute”, says Maria João Costa, responsible for the EaRSLab. The researcher believes that the Conference “will provide an opportunity to young students, and inspire them to get to know the potential of the space sector and Earth observation, in concomitance with EaRSLab’s mission”.
To ensure greater community involvement in the conference, all Copernicus data users, either for research or for the development of services and/or applications, are invited to present their case studies during the conference. In addition to an exhibition area, where participants can have a small stand or a poster, it is also possible to make oral presentations in sessions focused on the various themes relevant to Copernicus. Participants should submit an abstract on the registration form by October 31 (23h59 GMT).
Although participation in the Conference is free of charge, the Portuguese Space Agency is available to assess logistical support (travel and accommodation) to national students.
[*This event is supported by the European Union’s Caroline Herschel Framework Partnership Agreement on Copernicus User Uptake under grant agreement No FPA 275/G/GRO/COPE/17/10042, project FPCUP (Framework Partnership Agreement on Copernicus User Uptake), Action No 18, Action title “Portuguese users coordination and training – Part II (Portugal Space, Direção-Geral do Território and Air Centre)”, SGA grant no 10.]