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E-KnoT Report Summary

Project ID: 641529
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - E-KnoT (E-GNSS Knowledge Triangle)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"Several studies and surveys (see for example [1][2]) highlighted how one of the main obstacles for the development and sustainability of the European space industry (and the delivery of cutting-edge scientific achievements) is the lack of scientists, engineers and technicians with specific interest on the area of space research and development.
Galileo, EGNOS and the satellite navigation field at large, are as well affected by this lack of skills and competence, and looking at the topic from an end-users perspective, space is only a part of a more complex knowledge system, needed to exploit the satellite navigation opportunities. Communications, applications development skills, creativity, and business competences are as relevant and essential to leverage on the Galileo and EGNOS initiative to make Europe a credible player in this international context and satellite navigation a concrete asset for the European economy in terms of innovation, market development resulting in job creations. With respect to the growing competition and resource optimization the sustainable success of industry is crucially linked to effective identification and transfer of knowledge, innovative technologies and solutions available.
Education is not a “per se”, but it is strictly related to the development of leading edge research and technology in the industrial world. Only a strong interaction and coordination among these three areas (Education, Research, Industry) yield a capacity building in the field of satellite navigation and related applications in Europe.

The scope of the project is to strengthen the interaction between the areas of education-research-industry in Europe, leveraging on past activities already undertaken in this field, in order to consolidate a strong EGNSS knowledge triangle, i.e. a solid network for the creation of a critical mass involving the relevant actors in the three areas with the final objective of supporting the European economy development. The project approach is in line with the general policy of the H2020 programme, for the capacity building and critical mass creation in strategic areas, so to increase Europe competitiveness and attract investments from outside Europe. In GNSS this can only be realized by investing in a strong coordination among universities, research centers and industry to fill the gap with respect to other areas of the world.
The e-KnoT project started to address each of these areas by implementing activities aiming at strengthening the link in the European framework on a long-term basis. Each area involves different actors, whose interactions will be stimulated by the project’s activities.
Thus, the project provides a platform and structure for collaboration, coordination and knowledge sharing. The project connects the various research and innovation environments with EGNSS developing industry. In fact, industry is involved in the project activities, in order to directly benefit of the project results, through the cooperation with universities and research centers.
The activities of the project are organised according to the different aspects of the triangle:

• education and industry
• education and research
• research and industry
• cross-layer objectives

The objectives and the activities of the e-KnoT rely on concrete results of previous projects in this field of Education in GNSS and on educational initiatives already in place in Europe.

[1] Description of topic of H2020-LEIT-Space-Competitiveness of the European Space Sector-2014,
[2] Communication from the Commission of 26 April 2007 on the European Space Policy [COM(2007) 212 final:

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The activities of the project are organised according to the different aspects of the triangle:

• education and industry
• education and research
• research and industry
• cross-layer objectives

- Education-Industry -

The project implemented all the actions foreseen by the work packages (WPs), however the results are not always so promising, especially in terms of the impact in the industry world, which seems to be hard to get significantly involved in the matter.
The scholarships foreseen in WP2 have been issued, and the only minor problem is due to the lack of students with proper background, so one scholarship had to be moved to the next academic year.
WP3 and WP4 set-up and started to successfully implement the professional training program. In 2015, two professional trainings were given, as this was the first year of the project. In 2015 65 participants in total were recorded. In 2016, 5 tutorials are planned and three events were already implemented with an attendance of 73 participants.
The internships grants for the specializing Master in GNSS in WP5 have struggled to find the required co-funding by the companies, as foreseen by the action, and only one has been issued so far. A reshaping of this activity, preserving the same objectives, is already being discussed for a different implementation in the next reporting period.
WP6 has been fully successful funding, in 2015 and 2016, 4 internships for students in GNSS companies. The creation of the links promoted even more students’ internships not funded by the project for a total of 8 internships performed in 2015 and 5 internships performed in 2016.
WP7 successfully implemented the workshops with students to promote the development of downstream applications, inviting them to submit proposals to the European Satellite Navigation Competition for the University Challenge prize. In 2015 and 2016 workshops have been organized, at Politecnico di Torino, ENAC, UPC, UniBwM, in the April-May period.

- Education-Research -

In order to foster the scientific quality of the research in GNSS for young researchers two events are addressed.
WP8 reviewed and designed the PhD training event, to be implemented in WP9. The PhD training foreseen within this reporting period, in the first half of the project, was initially planned for May 9 - 13, 2016 in Warsaw. However, in order to ensure a larger involvement of PhD students and a successful event, the PhD Training has been moved to 10-14 October 2016.
This change is not considered as a major risk, since the event is already planned and organized in term of logistics and lecturers and the decision to move the event has been discussed and made by the consortium for the sake of having a successful event.
WP10 successfully planned the 3 “Excellence Weeks”:
• 1st Excellence Week at UPC, Barcelona, Spain in January, 19-21, 2016
• 2nd Excellence Week at ENAC, Toulouse , France in November 2016
• 3rd Excellence Week at POLITO, Turin, Italy in April 2017
The first event took place successfully in Barcelona at UPC premises, registering a good participation of young researchers and the attendance of prof. Juan Blanch of Stanford University as main lecturer.

- Research-Industry -

WP11 defined a scheme for the Industry consultancy vouchers with the objective of one call every 4 months - 8 consultancies maximum per year meaning the selection of 2 or 3 proposals per call. WP12 started the implementation, and for the time being there is a limited response from industry: 5 Vouchers out of 12 expected at mid –term, arising from the 4 calls launched during this period. It is recognized that, despite the effort in designing the action, the raising awareness efforts have not proven fully productive so far. Several mitigation actions are contemplated, such as a better promotion through the GSA channel, actions to increase awareness by the team, etc; they will be implemented during the next months.

WP13 defined a con

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The relation between Education and Industry in the GNSS field is one of the critical “knots” addressed by the project. In specific, actions are being implemented to facilitate the technology transfer of the latest advancements in the GNSS technology in the companies working in the field. This is implemented according to two main strategies: through the placement of students and young researchers, trained on the last mile GNSS technologies in companies, and by providing specialized training to professionals, filling the gap between the education (students) and industry (companies) sides.

The actions implemented by the the project eased the networking between industries and universities/research centers. The professional training programme, the technology roadshow, student’s internships and industrial PhDs are successful concrete actions that created links that aim at lasting beyond the specific event or the project duration.

Improved competitiveness is fostered by promoting innovation in the industrial world. International activities aim at creating links with new markets, also promoting European knowledge as well as industrial skills.

Linking education and research with industry aims at supporting the development of innovative applications based on Galileo and EGNOS. This task is also addressing students, by supporting their creativity as an opportunity for business, by means of the workshops organized at the universities.

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