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BELS Report Summary

Project ID: 636853
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BELS (Building European Links toward South East Asia in the field of GNSS)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

BELS implements a set of coordinated actions to promote EGNSS technologies in South East Asia (SEA), a fast growing market of more than 600 million people. BELS activities span a 3-year period (2015-2018) in which the Galileo constellation is expected to reach its IOC Phase and to move forward towards the final full configuration. These years will be fundamental to pave the way for the introduction of Galileo services in SEA, both for European companies that can enter a new growing market and for the South East Asian countries that can discover the potentialities of the EGNSS technology. BELS is funded by the European Union within Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under grant agreement no 636853. The H2020 calls related to Galileo are managed by the European GNSS Agency – GSA.

The main objective of the BELS project is to facilitate the breakthrough of EGNSS technology, with a particular focus on South East Asia (SEA), conducting a set of coordinated activities for awareness raising and capacity building which are cooperatively implemented by different European and Asia-Oceania actors such as universities, research and technology transfer centres, governmental agencies, companies and industries. The project has a strong focus on industrial partnership and support to enterprises.

In addition, the project aims at consolidating the results achieved in past years by two former EU funded projects so as to maximise their outcomes: Within the first project “SEAGAL” the NAVIS Centre in Hanoi, Vietnam was build up, which has the mission to act as linking entity between Europe and SEA in the field of GNSS aiming to ease cross-links between EU and SEA actors, to promote European Global Navigation Satellite System technology, and reinforce international collaboration among players. The second project “Growing NAVIS” has contributed to the growth of the NAVIS, enhancing its technical capabilities and strengthening its cooperation with Europe, while starting a fruitful cooperation with important actors in the region.

The Region around the NAVIS Centre has the highest multi-GNSS coverage and is therefore the natural place where performance and opportunities offered by the different GNSSs are compared and tested. Further it is noted that important ionospheric scintillation phenomena, affecting GNSS systems, take place in subtropical regions and can be observed in SEA. Mitigation of the consequences of scintillation is crucial for ensuring better equipment and services that are key factors for gaining larger market shares. BELS will therefore contribute to facilitate the exploitation of the NAVIS Centre by European companies. Its peculiar geographic position (excellent visibility of all the GNSS systems today available in the world, the so-called Multi-GNSS environment, and high ionospheric activity) makes it a perfect site to test GNSS solutions of European companies so as to make them ready for the global market.

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

Project activities have proceeded quite smoothly thanks to the commitment of the BELS partners and to the very good collaboration among the BELS team which has been set up from the very beginning of the project. The project kicked off on May 2015. The first months were mainly devoted to set up the plans for activities and dissemination as well as the instruments for internal communications and document management. The project website was prepared and published. It has been used from the very beginning to advertise the project activities, in particular organised events and Calls for Expression of Interest reserved to European companies and South East Asian researchers. A total of four workshops in Germany, Spain, France and Italy have been organised to advertise the opportunities that BELS offers to companies. Companies partners in BELS have prepared and started their experiments, while some European companies that applied to the calls visited the NAVIS Centre in Hanoi establishing fruitful contacts in the region. Two editions of the MGA Conference (formerly AOR Workshop) have been co-organised in Brunei and The Philippines and one round of short workshops in Indonesia, Laos e The Philippines was conducted.
The BELS competition has been set up as the BELS Special Prize in the ESNC 2016. The Expert Panel selected the winning idea and a second placed one. A representative of the winning team attended the ESNC Award Ceremony in Madrid on October 2016 and a smaller ceremony with both first and second placed teams was organised in Manila on the occasion of the 8th MGA Conference. Some PhD students working in the NAVIS Centre have spent training periods in Europe and three SEA researchers have been selected for a 3-month period in European research centres and companies. Particular attention has been constantly put on communication and dissemination activities exploiting different channels, from social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn to brochures and other printed material. Three papers to relevant conferences in Europe and Asia have been published.
Overall, the project has achieved its main objectives in the period.

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)

BELS will help EU Companies in testing their EGNSS solutions using the NAVIS Centre in Vietnam where a truly Multi-GNSS environment, not present in Europe, is available. Contacts initiated within the BELS project by EU enterprises with SEA GNSS stakeholders, technicians and researchers will facilitate their future actions to develop market opportunities in SEA. In addition, collaborations set-up during the project will facilitate the continuation of experiments and tests in NAVIS Centre also after the end of the project.
BELS will promote the European GNSS initiatives in all SEA countries through both workshops and other specific initiatives such as training sessions, competition for SEA entrepreneurs, etc.
BELS will support the readiness of the NAVIS Centre to act as a linking entry between EU and SEA to promote EGNSS in the whole region.

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