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Copernicus Relays for digitalisation spanning a Network

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CoRdiNet (Copernicus Relays for digitalisation spanning a Network)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-12-31

As part of the "Space Strategy for Europe", the European Commission fosters the creation of voluntary participative networks related to Earth Observation (EO) and Copernicus. Two such networks have been set-up, the network of Copernicus Relays and the Copernicus Academy Hub, mostly under own funding acting as channels of promotion to target intermediate and end-user communities. With the "Space Hubs for Copernicus" calls EC offered limited funding within H2020: CoRdiNet - "Copernicus Relays for digitalisation spanning a Network" and CopHub.AC - "Copernicus Academy Hub for Knowledge, Innovation and Outreach" are two partner projects, which emerged from these two groups focusing on the activities adequate for these two types of networks: CoRdiNet members acting as regional Copernicus info points and coordinators, while CopHub.AC emphasizes its work related to research, teaching, training and didactics. Both started work in October 2018 for 27 months onwards.
CoRdiNet is an open network of five Copernicus Relays each having a coordinating function on a regional, cluster and or national level, while supporting, promoting and stimulating digitalisation and new business solutions based on EO i.e. Copernicus data. CoRdiNet bundles the local expertise in the civil use of EO, close to the needs and offers of citizens, administrations and businesses, and shares them with other Copernicus Relays, Academy members and new EO players. Moreover, CoRdiNet has set up a specific “fund” of 100 k EUR which has supported 14 joint activities between the consortium and Associated Partners to CoRdiNet.
CoRdiNet offers tangible opportunities through local expertise in sector-oriented European-wide working groups to design better strategies and guidelines for new digital services, supports the creation of pilot projects linking users & suppliers of services, organises awareness raising, provides user-targeted information, and bundle local key players and local societal challenges and needs that EO data are able to match and deliver.
Stakeholder analysis has revealed several challenges and barriers to increased uptake of Copernicus services, including a need for more education, training and information, as well as a lack of data quality and needed infrastructure and related costs. Suggested measures of mitigation include a strengthening of the Copernicus User Uptake initiative to foster better collaboration between Copernicus Relays and Academy.
The joint kick-off with the H2020 partner project CopHub.AC in Brussels on the premises of Nereus has been followed by a series of events in the five Copernicus relay regions of CoRdiNet, comprising info session and awareness raising events, meetings with stakeholders, and dissemination and outreach events, also including joint events following a common action plan of joint activities between CoRdiNet and CopHub.AC.
Details on the project can be found on the website, as well as on twitter (@cordinetB). A CoRdiNet flyer and a joint CopHub.AC & CoRdiNet flyer are both available for download from the project's website.
Copernicus Relays are dedicated to its regional key stakeholders who use or are supposed to use or offer services or are to develop services based on or related to EO data. Most of this knowledge is intangible and many of the stakeholders do not feel free to publish or to provide this information voluntarily. In order to attempt to improve on this situation, TeRN together with the partner CNR, both Basilicata, defined questionnaires and interview, did a collection of stakeholder feedbacks and published a report on the analysis of stakeholder feedbacks and strategies to cope with needs and “barriers”. The report is available through CoRdiNet’s webpage.
CoRdiNet Associated Partners have been identified through Calls for Expressions of Interest and evaluated by an independent Evaluation Board of external experts coordinated by CoRdiNet’s beneficiary Nereus. The calls were related to “organisation of info events”, “stake holder analysis”, “pilot action workshops supporting business development”, or the “Copernicus European Regional Strategy Panel, (CERSP)”. A total of 14 activities of the Associated Partners have been funded, and the activities condensed into reports and prototypes. The outcomes of the projects have been reported on CoRdiNet’s webpage.
The project was concluded by a Final Event, A hitchhiker’s guide to digitalisation in Europe – The detour through space, co-organized with the Copernicus Academy project CopHub.AC. The event was originally scheduled to take place at the premises of the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, Belgium, but due to the COVID-19 situation it was organized as a virtual event based in Salzburg, Austria. The event invited representatives of the Committee of the Regions from the Bavaria and Salzburg regions, as well as DG DEFIS of the European Commission, and offered presentations of the two projects. Achievements and offers to support regions, and roundtable discussions on the way forward to design supporting measures for the regions and recipes for the successful digitalisation by Earth Observation throughout European regions. In conjunction with the Final Event the two projects released a jointly designed booklet summarizing the two projects and their outcomes.
A stakeholder analysis carried out in WP2, based on a combined classification from the EARSC Market and GMES4REGIONS taxonomies, identified five main barriers for wider adoption of Copernicus EO data: education/training, information, technical, data quality, and costs. Complementing these findings, CRs, both partners of CoRdiNet and others, were surveyed to provide insights into best practices and challenges when engaging with stakeholders and foster adoption of Copernicus EO data and services among LRAs, SMEs, and academia. An analysis of the results shows differences between sectors with regard to both ease of engagement and potential for increased uptake. Furthermore, based on the outcome of the analysis, a series of webinars has been designed and provided to address the challenges raised by the CRs, building on success stories from champion CRs. The webinars were directed towards identified target groups and communicated to CRs and beyond, thereby building innovation capacity amongst CRs.
The project provides a legacy for Copernicus through a set of policy recommendations advising DG DEFIS and the Copernicus Support Office on how to guide the CRs to address stakeholder needs and maximize their impact based on analysis of best practices and champion CR successes, as well as CoRdiNet pilot project experiences.
Through the Evaluation Board of European EO experts, funded associated partner projects provide new and innovative stakeholder engagement activities that has been disseminated by the project.
The Copernicus European Regional Strategy Panel (CERSP), formed as a part of WP7, has provided a roadmap for European regions on improving digitalisation with the use of EO data. Moreover, as the only company active as a Copernicus Relay, GMV has led the CoRdiNet business support activities, with the objective to find out and foster reporting obligations resulting in the use of Copernicus and EO data when monitoring environmental indicators on soil, water or air. The work has provided a user uptake plan and a stakeholder analysis based on events and workshops that have been organised.
Joint CoRdiNet-CopHub.AC discussions during half-annual review meeting in Salzburg, Apr 2019
Group photo of CoRdiNet partners at kick-off meeting in Brussels, Oct 2019
Sentinel 3A and algal bloom (Emiliania huxleyi) in the Barents Sea (Photo credit: ESA/Copernicus)