NEREUS brings the benefits of space technologies to Europe’s citizens and regions.
By Federica Bordelot ÛÒ Assistant, responsible for communication
Roya Ayazi – Secretary General
NEREUS The Network of European Regions Using Space Technologies is an initiative of 23 regions and 40 associate members with the common objective to spread the use and understanding of space technologies across Europe for the benefit of regions and their citizens. As a voice of European Regions, NEREUS serves as an advocate for matters relating to the use of space technology and also as a direct channel to regional users (such as local authorities, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), universities and research institutes and citizens). The emphasis of the network is on the use of space technologies for Earth observation and monitoring. NEREUS strives to demonstrate and explain the added value ofåÊSpace technologies as a tool for problem-solving or meeting challenges at regional levels with a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens.
CopernicusåÊ (formerlyåÊ GMES)åÊ isåÊ oneåÊ ofåÊ theåÊ priorityåÊ fieldsåÊ of network cooperation, which led to the creation of an EO/(GMES) Copernicus Working GroupåÊ thatåÊ aimsåÊ toåÊ identifyåÊ andåÊ promoteåÊ regionalåÊ prioritiesåÊ withinåÊ theåÊ European CopernicusåÊ initiative.åÊ CopernicusåÊ servicesåÊ provideåÊ territorial,åÊ oceanographicåÊ and atmosphericåÊ dataåÊ foråÊ the environmentalåÊ protectionåÊ andåÊ securityåÊ ofåÊ Europe’s citizens. Consequently, CopernicusåÊ servicesåÊ haveåÊ aåÊ fundamentalåÊ economicåÊ andåÊ socialåÊ impactåÊ atåÊ the regionalåÊ level. Copernicus offers important information regarding the state of coasts, forests, land and atmosphere and provides vital support during civil emergencies and natural disasters.
SinceåÊ itsåÊ inception,åÊ NEREUSåÊ has devotedåÊ intenseåÊ communicationåÊ effortsåÊ to make the publicåÊ increasinglyåÊ awareåÊ ofåÊ theåÊ benefitsåÊ ofåÊ spaceåÊ technologies.åÊ Interregional collaboration and interaction has stimulated a number of initiatives,åÊ making regional spaceåÊactivitiesåÊ moreåÊ transparent.åÊ For example,åÊ inåÊ 2011,åÊ NEREUSåÊ launched its NEREUSåÊ SpaceåÊ Exhibition:åÊ aåÊ mobileåÊ andåÊ vividåÊ posteråÊ presentationåÊ ofåÊ 24åÊ NEREUS regions,åÊ enrichedåÊ withåÊ a åÊvideo,åÊ and availableåÊ inåÊ allåÊ eightåÊ nativeåÊ languagesåÊ ofåÊ theåÊ network. It showcases regional examples of space applications in different domains (security, civil emergency,åÊ agriculture,åÊ maritime,åÊ etc.).åÊ Additionally,åÊ inåÊ 2012,åÊ NEREUSåÊ startedåÊ a productiveåÊ collaborationåÊ withåÊ theåÊ EuropeanåÊ SpaceåÊ AgencyåÊ (ESA).åÊ TheåÊ firståÊ outcomeåÊ of this collaboration is the production of a publication on 67 uses of Copernicus in Europe’s regions.åÊ TheåÊ publicationåÊ isåÊ meantåÊ toåÊ beåÊ aåÊ sourceåÊ ofåÊ referenceåÊ foråÊ policymakersåÊ to understandåÊ theåÊ socialåÊ andåÊ economicåÊ benefitsåÊ derivedåÊ fromåÊ CopernicusåÊ servicesåÊ in Europe.
DespiteåÊ the variousåÊ CopernicusåÊ servicesåÊ andåÊ productsåÊ alreadyåÊ available, their takeÛup within Local and regional Authorities (LRAs) is still very slow. Against this background,åÊ NEREUSåÊ andåÊ ESAåÊ initiatedåÊ aåÊ projectåÊ titledåÊ ÛÏImproving GMES/CopernicusåÊ takeÛupåÊ amongåÊ LocalåÊ andåÊ RegionalåÊ AuthoritiesåÊ viaåÊ dedicatedåÊ thematic Workshops.Û It aimsåÊ atåÊ launchingåÊ aåÊ dialogueåÊ withåÊ LRAs,åÊ presenting examples of space services and products already available in certain application domains and promotingåÊ awarenessåÊ andåÊ learningåÊ about possibleåÊ needsåÊ oråÊ obstaclesåÊ foråÊ theåÊ serviceåÊ deployment. The project is based on the organization of few workshops dedicated to specific topic areas of interest for the European LRAs. In order to identify the workshop topics that are of priority interest for LRAs, an online consultation has been launched.
AnåÊ overallåÊ analysisåÊ ofåÊ theåÊ outcomesåÊ ofåÊ theåÊ seriesåÊ ofåÊ workshopsåÊ willåÊ be carriedåÊ outåÊ andåÊ aåÊ finalåÊ reportåÊ willåÊ beåÊ presentedåÊ andåÊ discussedåÊ onåÊ theåÊ occasionåÊ ofåÊ anåÊupcoming eventåÊ atåÊ theåÊ EuropeanåÊ ParliamentåÊ inåÊ Brussels.åÊ åÊMore information on the project is available here: www.nereus-regions.eu/Regions_use_copernicus.
In addition to the collaboration with ESA, NEREUS is also a dynamic platform for its members to facilitate their involvement in several EUÛfunded activities and mobilize projects and initiatives,åÊ oftenåÊ aimedåÊ atåÊ developingåÊ jointlyåÊ spaceåÊ applicationsåÊ oråÊ promotingåÊ space
DORIS Net (Downstream Observatory organized by Regions active in Space ÛÒ Network), was the first EUÛfunded project mobilized on the NEREUS platform. Bringing together 13 NEREUS partners, it was nominated as flagship project of the network. The key outcome of the project, which ended in February 2013, is a network of Regional Contact Offices (RCOs)åÊ whichåÊ serveåÊ asåÊ aåÊ meeting/informationåÊ pointåÊ amongåÊ localåÊ authorities,åÊ providers andåÊ potentialåÊ usersåÊ ofåÊ CopernicusåÊ servicesåÊ andåÊ otheråÊ stakeholders.åÊ DespiteåÊ the termination of EUÛfunding, the RCOÛnetwork still exists and strives to find new ways of fundingåÊ toåÊ ensureåÊ itsåÊ sustainability.åÊ ItsåÊ missionåÊ isåÊ toåÊ increaseåÊ theåÊ useåÊ ofåÊ spaceåÊtechnologies, helpåÊ createåÊ businessåÊ opportunitiesåÊ toåÊ demonstrateåÊ the broadåÊ arrayåÊ ofåÊ existingåÊ CopernicusåÊ servicesåÊ atåÊ the regional åÊlevelåÊ inåÊ Europe,åÊ andåÊ toåÊ boost the useåÊ ofåÊ CopernicusåÊ applications.åÊ SinceåÊ JulyåÊ 2011,åÊ sevenåÊ RCOsåÊ haveåÊ been established in NEREUS members regions and some other regions are currently exploring theåÊ opportunityåÊ toåÊ openåÊ aåÊ newåÊ RCOåÊ inåÊ theiråÊ territory.
Finally,åÊ theåÊ dialogueåÊ withåÊ EuropeanåÊ institutionsåÊ isåÊ alsoåÊ amongåÊ theåÊ prioritiesåÊ ofåÊ theåÊnetwork.åÊ NEREUSåÊ introducesåÊ theåÊ regionalåÊ dimensionåÊ in European space policymaking, and offers a unique platform for regions to share ideas, develop joint strategies, and speak as a sole body with European institutions. AsåÊ anåÊ advocateåÊ foråÊ regionalåÊ concerns,åÊ NEREUS contributesåÊ toåÊ theåÊ developmentåÊ ofåÊ new policies and programs.
ToåÊ quoteåÊ fewåÊ examples,åÊ withåÊ respectåÊ toåÊ theåÊ longåÊ andåÊ complexåÊ debateåÊ onåÊ the financingåÊ ofåÊ theåÊ CopernicusåÊ programåÊ post -2014åÊ oråÊ inåÊ theåÊ lateståÊ ECåÊ proposalåÊ foråÊ a RegulationåÊ onåÊ establishingåÊ aåÊ EuropeanåÊ EarthåÊ ObservationåÊ ProgrammeåÊ (Copernicus)åÊ; NEREUSåÊ playedåÊ anåÊ importantåÊ roleåÊ toåÊ highlightåÊ theåÊ regionalåÊ perspectiveåÊ andåÊ extreme needåÊ foråÊ aåÊ broadåÊ useåÊ ofåÊ CopernicusåÊ dataåÊ andåÊ servicesåÊ acrossåÊ Europe.
In the second half of 2014, NEREUS will organize its annual General Assembly in Brussels. The 6th Assembly will be an occasion to sum up activities carried out and results achieved as well as to plan for upcoming actions and initiatives.