NEREUS, in collaboration with the Basilicata Region, co-organised the European Regional Symposium, which is an annual event format for regions to discuss solutions and share regional best practices and success stories about the use of space in a plethora of public domains, this time on tourism and agriculture.
The panels, all moderated by NEREUS Secretary General Roya Ayazi and NEREUS members, featured high-profile institutional and political representatives. Adolfo Urso, Italian Minister of Enterprises and Made in Italy, Vito Bardi, President of Basilicata Region and NEREUS Vice President, Thierry Cotelle, NEREUS President, and Member of the Regional Council Occitanie Region, and Luisa Riccardi from the Italian Ministry of Defense highlighted the leadership imperative in space endeavors. They emphasized the centrality of the space economy in fostering interregional exchange and partnerships. Vito Bardi and Thierry Cotelle underscored the advantages of Earth Observation, especially in promoting sustainable environmental tourism and facilitating the green transition. For Vito Bardi the key challenges for Nereus regions are to support Research and Innovation and clusters , to increase regional demand of space services/applications/data, to facilitate the interconnection of regional smart specialization strategies (S3) and innovation ecosystems and to reduce administrative and legal obstacles to facilitate the use of spatial data.
The symposium revealed the strategic importance of regions in formulating space strategies, exemplified by Occitanie’s forthcoming vote on its space strategy in autumn 2023. NEREUS through initiatives like the Copernicus4regions flagship project, offers a platform for regions to achieve their objectives.
In a symbolic handover ceremony, President Cotelle presented a satellite trophy to Basilicata, expressing gratitude for hosting the event.
In return, President Bardi and the Basilicata Region presented a commemorative postal stamp to NEREUS. This stamp, featuring a phoenix soaring upwards, symbolizes “Matera The emblem of Basilicata’s rebirth” and the stability through the use of space grounded on solid foundations and was crafted by a Lucanian artist.
Furthermore, institutional representatives, such as, Luca Fasano (European Commission, DG DEFIS), Nico Bonora (Italian delegate Copernicus and NUF), Alessandra Tassa (ESA) and Federico Fierli (EUMETSAT) stressed the importance of coordinating EU space governance, the value chain, and maintaining the Sentinel mission’s benefits for various public domains. Antonio Colangelo (CLAS), Maria Libera Battagliere (ASI), Jacopo Ovarelli (EUSPA), Prof. Vito Albino (ECSECO) and Prof. Valerio Tramutoli (University of Basilicata) underlined the importance of space data market and of the skills for space sector. Valentina Superti (European Commission DG Grow) stressed the importance of EU space programmes (Galileo and Copernicus) to offer solutions for tourism sector. She underlined that common EU data space for tourism would make data sets interoperable regardless of their source, so that information can flow across borders and sectors. For EU Data strategy open data are a reality to the best possible extent, while taking into account security concerns.
During the symposium, representatives from different regional tourist/agricultural departments discussed their strategies and challenges. They also met with representatives from SMEs, research organizations, and academia who presented space-based solutions for the region.
The main topic of discussion was how space data can enhance regional agriculture and tourism policies. During the event, the Earth Observation Working Group together with Ms Margarita Chrysaki (NEREUS Comm/Project officer) organised an informal meeting to discuss the next steps of drafting and publishing a scientific article related to satellite data.
The social dinner, held at Palazzo Ducale Malvini Malvezzi, provided a networking platform for participants to bolster partnerships and explore optimal ways of utilizing space tools for sustainable development. A pleasant surprise awaited attendees in the form of a beautiful card featuring the commemorative stamp, as mentioned above.
Post-symposium, participants were treated to a visit to the Italian Space Agency’s “Giuseppe Colombo” Center for Space Geodesy in Matera, offering insights into Italy’s contributions to space science and technology. A subsequent social event, organized by SPARKme Space Academy at the Museo della Scienza di Matera, featured interactive activities and networking opportunities, showcasing the outcomes of the SPARKme Project initiated in 2018 with the support of Italian and European Space Agencies.
Remarkably, it should be noted that more than 130 participants (representatives of politics, administration, business, SMEs, research, and space clusters) attended both events. All presentations and video recording of the event can be found on the region’s website here: LINK
Conference language was English/Italian (simultaneous interpretation). More images are available after request.