20 November 2017. On the 30th-31st October, ESPI Resident Fellow Dr.Stefano Ferretti chaired the concluding round table of a two-day conference, entitled "Space uses for the benefits of humanity: the wealth of space based data for manifold purposes".

Organized by NEREUS and IEST, and hosted by the Veneto Region and the University of Padova, the event, which was well attended by representatives of the European Union, the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, industry, academia and by the regional and local actors. It was aimed to increase the awareness and stimulate an open exchange on the potential uses and applications of the Copernicus and Galileo programs, which offer open data, innovative services and new tools for accessing information which is particularly useful for land and ocean monitoring, coastal areas management, cultural heritage preservation, agriculture and security.

The conference identified some recommendations for the key stakeholders, that can now be considered by the relevant decision-makers at regional, national and European level. In particular the relation between the EU future space activities and their societal implications was explored from different perspectives, identifying the current and future roles of the participating institutions, the priorities that could be envisaged within the current and future EU Space strategy and policies, and their impact on future programs planning.

The Copernicus Relays and Academy network were presented, highlighting the importance of creating a European network and community, which will promote, at local and regional levels, the benefits of this valuable European program. But even more importantly, the Relays will function as the designated interface between the local and the European institutions, in order to respond to user needs by integrating them in the Copernicus program and by maximizing its use at operational levels. They will function as regional centres of excellence, coordinating and promoting all Copernicus-related activities, and the resulting opportunities for citizens and local businesses. The members of this network will work to expand the Copernicus user community, fostering the development of new services and thereby increasing the value extracted from the available data.

The conference also initiated a fruitful exchange on the changing needs of our societies and how they can best be addressed by regions, provinces and town halls through the exploitation of Copernicus and Galileo based services. It was highlighted how these European programs provide decision-makers critical information to improve their decision-making processes, thereby supporting them in long-term planning activities.

In conclusion, the debate focused on the synergies among the Copernicus and Galileo programs, in the fascinating setting of the University of Padua, where both scientists conducted research in the XVI century. Today, common European efforts are being spent for the benefits of the citizens, with a public investment of more than 20 billion Euros, and both programs can already provide solutions in positioning, navigation, land monitoring and agriculture, fishing, energy, health, transport and urban planning.

Round Table
Chair: S. Ferretti, ESPI - European Space Policy Institute
M. Facchini, European Commission
S. Jutz, European Space Agency
M. C. Falvella, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana
Prof. A. Caporali, Universita’ di Padova
Ing. M. De Gennaro, Regione del Veneto
Ing. O. Pozzobon Qascom S.r.l.
Prof. S. Gandolfi Universita' di Bologna
Ing. A. Di Federico E-Geos

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