NEREUS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPACE4YOU “Space, a driver for competitiveness and growth” Inspiring the next generation

The Space4You conference, promoted by NEREUS and the Apulia Region in collaboration with the Apulian Aerospace Cluster, was held in Bari on the 27-28 February.

Attracting almost 300 participants and reaching around 800 000 followers on Twitter according to statistics, the conference brought together representatives from European institutions, regional and national institutions and organisations as well as universities and end-users to highlight the fundamental role of space in driving competitiveness and growth. 

NEREUS and its partners put lot of efforts to promote space towards the young network community and a broader public. Two conference-sessions were particularly targeted at young people. Against the background that the sector needs a well educated workforce in the coming years to stay globally competitive, education and training is increasingly moving up on the political agendas of all European countries. In this respect the event strived to show young people the potentials of the space domain and to encourage them for space professions. While sensitizing for the high competitiveness in the sector, the invited speakers and space professionals portrayed space as an exciting field to study and work in.

Among the speakers of the Space for Careers Opportunities roundtable was Senator Tilmans, a member of the Belgian Senate and former chairperson of the EISC 2013, who reported on her experience with the European Interparliamentarian Space Conference (EISC) and described the challenges of attracting the youth to space and scientific professions. Francesco Emma, Senior Staff at ESA, introduced the main ESA education and training activities, while putting emphasis on the different professional opportunities that space gives beyond being an astronaut. Paolo Nespoli, Italian ESA-Astronaut, shared his first-hand experiences of being in space, encouraging young people to pursue a career in this fascinating field. Nicola Zaccheo, CEO of Sitael, from the Apulian Aerospace District, represented the entrepreneurial side of the profession. He underlined the importance of collaborations between universities and the space industry as well as the efforts to foster STEM subjects and provide students with a future full of jobs opportunities.

The Space4You conference gave students the opportunity to meet representatives of space agencies, industry and other institutions to share their ideas, learn more on different careers and dispel their doubts. During the Speed professional networking session participants had the opportunity to talk and interact with space professionals individually and discuss their career prospects.

The NEREUS-community will continue to outreach to the young network community and attract them to space.