"Copernicus Goes Local” Session in EP and General Assembly of Copernicus Academy and Copernicus Relays – 6 June, 2017
The first General Assembly for two networks, namely, Copernicus Academy and Copernicus Relays has been held in Brussels on 6th June 2017 in Brussels. The event was proceeded by the special session at the European Parliament named "Copernicus Goes Local – Implementing the Space Strategy for Europe". The last one gathered more than 300 participants representing both networks and the major European Union bodies, including European Parliament and Commission. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs welcomed the new members of the “Copernicus family” at the ceremony officially launching both networks by the following words:
"Copernicus is a user-driven programme and we need the Copernicus Relays and Copernicus Academy to help us reach its full potential! […] We [EU] also want to go a step further by creating the conditions for a new downstream ecosystem to develop. The Copernicus Relays and the Copernicus Academy will be the backbone of our strategy."
Following Commissioner Bieńkowska opening address a number of speakers underlined the importance of the Copernicus Programme and Europe’s Space strategy. The following high-level representatives presented their views: Monika Hohlmeier, MEP, Chair of the Sky and Space Intergroup, who hosted the meeting; Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions; Philippe Brunet, Director of the Directorate for Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence at EC’s DG GROW; Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation Programmes of the European Space Agency; Constanze Krehl, MEP; as well as Marian Jean Marinescu, MEP and Vice Chair of the EPP group and Vice Chair of the Sky and Space Intergroup.
After the event at the European Parliament, all present Copernicus Academy and Relays members participated in the first annual General Assembly at the premises of the European Commission’s Directorate-General GROW. 36 members of Copernicus Academy were present (45% of all members), representing over 20 countries and international organisations. The session has been opened and moderated by Andreas Veispak, Head of Unit for Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth at the European Commission. He pointed out the role of the Copernicus networks and the EC’s expectations. During the General Assembly some members of the Copernicus Support Office (DG GROW) presented the first achievements of the networks as a whole, and of their individual members in particular. Best practices were emphasised, innovative planned activities presented, and – most importantly – the floor was given to a variety of network members to introduce their initiatives to showcase some exciting examples.
AGILE is a founding member of the Copernicus Academy. The network contributes on spreading awareness and knowledge about Copernicus across and outside the EU. It is assumed that “…the combined joint actions of the Copernicus Academy Network should contribute to foster the uptake of the existing open and free space data and information products by boosting the development of the professional skills needed by space data potential users, where a key value added is given to merging skills and knowledge from either different sectors, or different transversal skills such as IT, GIS and data handling skills.” Read more about Copernicus Academy at http://copernicus.eu/main/copernicus-academy.
Prepared by Marek Baranowski