Objectives

BEYOND aims at Building a Centre of Excellence for Earth Observation based monitoring of Natural Disasters, which will situate IAASARS/NOA as a dynamic actor for regional and potentially European hazard management. The means to achieve such a goal will be based on capacity building on top of the existing infrastructure and interdisciplinary staff collaborations, aiming at unlocking its potential through the systematic interaction with high-profile partners across Europe, and at consolidating state-of-the-art equipment and technological know-how that will allow sustainable cutting-edge research to take place with an impact on the regional and European socioeconomic welfare.

This vision was born by the clear need for a regional centre for disaster monitoring with remote sensing means, which will systematically provide products and services mainly for south-eastern Europe, including Balkan countries. The Centre will be established in such a way to allow its future access range to reach the wider Mediterranean region, through the integrated operation with twinning organisations in BEYOND. The technological expertise that will be brought together, will allow the potential participation to future research projects with focus on diverse regional characteristics.

The main objective of the project is to offer the opportunity to IAASARS/NOA to enhance its capacities, drawing new creative perspectives in EO-based disaster management, rendering IAASARS/NOA into the leading south-eastern Europe/Balkan research centre of excellence, and allowing sustainable collaborative schemes to be formed.

Strategic Objectives

  • Boosting innovative cutting-edge research in the thematic domains of interest by recruitment of experienced researchers. These researchers are expected to transfer their scientific skills and their research links across Europe, aiming at strengthening the human capacity base of IAASARS/NOA. They should bring expertise that will cover all aspects for the centre of excellence, starting from know-how to the usage of specialized equipment, to methods and approaches for integrated management of EO-based products and services.
  • Upgrading of the infrastructure on a hardware and software level, necessary to upscale research capacity. Existing infrastructure is adequate for individual innovative research to take place. However, a centre of excellence of EO-based disaster monitoring, requires additional hardware and software infrastructure that will enable integrated and complementary research to take place. The multidisciplinary nature of this centre calls for diversity in the available infrastructure.
  • Expanding visibility to the national, regional and European stakeholders. Both public stakeholders and regional industry should be involved in BEYOND, to help maximizing the visibility of the centre of excellence. The Greek GEO office, hosted in NOA should be utilized to ensure the effective participation of Greece to the global activities, address the EO capacities and ensure the visibility of BEYOND.
  • Enhancing research capacity via training and integration of new technologies developed within the ERA, by establishing sustainable strategic partnerships with high profile research entities in the ERA. There is no meaning in an isolated centre of excellence; in fact this is not achievable without systematic interaction with high-profile research entities. BEYOND, will aim at gaining expertise and technological know-how from pioneers within the ERA, in order to catch up with the current technological and scientific advancements. A distinct and well-designed scientific network should be constituted to ensure sustainable and strategic collaboration links, promoting IAASARS/NOA as a key player in EO-based monitoring of natural disasters.
  • Designing a robust Intellectual Property development plan for management and protection of the research output. An important aspect of BEYOND should be the focalization of technological know-how with respect to algorithms, techniques, products and services. A clear exploitation plan of these should be elaborated to secure the Intellectual Property that will be developed within BEYOND, and ensure its sustainability. Additional evaluations must be conducted on how this IP plan will be reflected to the involved stakeholders, boosting regional growth and allowing synergies and cooperation schemes to be developed in the future.

Conceptual Action Plan Diagram

Interactions

Vision

It is envisaged that BEYOND will substantially contribute to human, institutional and infrastructure capacity building, via the uptake of a crucial role on co-ordinating local and regional actions, at the same time creating multi-directional communication and co-operation channels with esteemed foreign organisations. Following a stepwise approach, emphasis will be first placed on upgrading RTD capacity, capability and quality of existing IAASARS/NOA potential, in human, institutional and infrastructure resources:

  • Set up innovative integrated observational solutions that allow to a multitude of monitoring networks (space borne and ground-based) to operate in a complementary, unified and coordinated manner.
  • Create archives and databases of long series of observations and derived higher level products.
  • Gather databases of raw observational data, added value products and geo-information layers into a single point (web portal) to become a benchmark for EO-based services for natural disaster management.
  • Make these observations and products available for exploitation with state-of-the-art science and models, hence providing the involved stakeholders, scientists and/or institutional users, with useful information for down-streaming to their specific needs in handling natural and human induced disasters.
  • Upgrade ground-based infrastructure component, to participate in European ground-based networks.
  • Timely follow research advances made by the European pioneers of the respective research fields.
  • Improve the researchers’ expertise, giving them skills in new techniques and state-of-the-art methodological approaches to analyse the data and generate useful information.
  • Involve industry, SMEs and public entities across south-eastern Europe, who have interest in exploiting the research potential that will be generated in BEYOND by adding new value to observations and derived information products, supporting their individual application domains.
  • Identify and collaborate with leading experts across Europe in the relevant research domains addressed by BEYOND.
  • Develop sustainable interdisciplinary collaborative schemes across Europe.
  • Examine the conditions, and get exact knowledge on the procedures and even more take actions for patent issuing in the lifetime of BEYOND.
  • Identify potential in commercially exploiting research outcomes after BEYOND.
  • Essentially increase the production rate of scientific publications by the end of BEYOND.

 


Mission

The mission of the project is not to build a new EO capacity from scratch, but seeks to coordinate and build upon existing efforts in south-eastern Europe, increasing the efficient use of limited resources. The current availability of observational capabilities in the regional research establishments are of isolated nature, therefore there is limited impact to sufficiently address an integrated environmental decision making approach. Based on the above, BEYOND will not be confined to national or local borders but rather requires a European approach, thus the support by this EU funding scheme and the participation of European Organisations of high relevant expertise is imperative for all capacity building dimensions and respective sustainability expected. The European approach is also present in the outcomes of the project, since the partnering entities will enhance their competitiveness and excellence in research, thus, becoming active players in ERA. They will gain potential to directly contribute to a national and European sustainable economic development. In this way the developed research potential will ensure future synergy between research, innovation and cohesion policies and will valuably contribute to boosting new sources of growth and social cohesion, major objective of Europe 2020.

 


Impact

The impacts after the project implementation to the national and regional economy and the society are expected to be significant. Given the novel techniques and methodologies to be developed and the dissemination activities foreseen, there will be an indisputable technological upgrade in the field and unique opportunities for link and canalization of research results in entrepreneurship. Additionally, the setup and optimization of the modeling parts to the BEYOND system will be used in the future for the provision, at an operational basis, of real-time forecasts for a number of hazards (e.g. fires, fire progression, smoke and toxic pollutant dispersion, accurate weather forecasts, dust forecasts). The above will constitute useful tools for decision making by policy makers for mitigation and adaptation measures regarding fire, weather and air pollution consequences. It is envisaged that BEYOND will fill the gap of EO-based disaster monitoring in south-eastern Europe, having direct impact on the protection of the citizens from natural hazards, even the limitation of human lives loss with careful planning and emergency response.
Moreover, boosting of regional cooperation of research entities with industry and SMEs is anticipated, focusing on knowledge intensive sectors, with a strong exports-orientation, resulting in economic growth, improvement of the business environment and social cohesion.