On 6 March 2013, representatives from European Institutions, European Space Agency, European Science Foundation, European research organisations and universities were invited to join the NEREUS panel debate the “Role of the EU-flagships project (EGNOS/Galileo and Copernicus) to respond to societal challenges of HORIZON2020 program”. The event was organized within the conference EU science: Global Challenges and Global Collaborations (ES: GC2) and brought together more than 80 participants from all over Europe.
MEP Antonio Cancian when opening the session pointed out that Copernicus and Galileo programs play a key role in the process of developing effective strategies to respond to societal challenges. Then Mauro Facchini, EC-DG Enterprise, Head of Unit Space Research, gave a clear overview of the EC’s ideas on the Horizon2020 program (“Towards the implementation of space in H2020”). Josef Aschbacher, Head of ESA-GMES office (ESA/ESRIN), presented the potentials of GMES/Copernicus for the Societal Challenges of Horizon2020 and stressed the importance to ensure free and open access to GMES Sentinel data (video) in order to create more business opportunities in Europe.
Examples of FP7 funded projects that demonstrated how space uses can contribute to advance EU science, research and innovation were presented during the second part of the debate. Prof. Alan Wells (East Midlands) presented THE ISSUE project as a clear example of the importance of space in response to societal needs in different sectors (Transport; Health; Food-Security; Sustainable Agriculture; Efficient Energy). Paola Carrara, (CNR-IREA and DORIS_Net coordinator) presented the RCOs network giving evidence of their important role for raising awareness on the benefits of Copernicus services in European regions. To conclude the session, Prof. Dr. Frans G. von der Dunk, ESSC/ESF, introduced the international dimension of space into the debate, emphasizing that the benefits of Europe’s space systems have to be seen in terms of strategic benefits towards other global powers like the US and China.