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24 April 2020 The ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence (ECoE) as a digital innovation hub for Earth observation
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Abstract
The "EXCELSIOR" H2020 Widespread Teaming Phase 2 Project: ERATOSTHENES: EXcellence Research Centre for Earth SurveiLlance and Space-Based MonItoring Of the EnviRonment is supported from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 857510 for a 7 year project period to establish a Centre of Excellence in Cyprus. As well, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is providing additional resources to support the establishment of the ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence (ECoE) in Cyprus. The ECoE seeks to fill the gap by assisting in the spaceborne Earth Observation activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and become a regional key player in the Earth Observation (EO) sector. There are distinct needs and opportunities that motivate the establishment of an Earth Observation Centre of Excellence in Cyprus, which are primarily related to the geostrategic location of the European Union member state of Cyprus to examine complex scientific problems and address user needs in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and Northern Africa (EMMENA), as well as South-East Europe. An important objective of the ECoE is to be a Digital Innovation Hub and a Research Excellence Centre for EO in the EMMENA region, which will establish an ecosystem where state-of-the-art sensing technology, cutting-edge research, targeted education services, and entrepreneurship come together. It is based on the paradigm of Open Innovation 2.0 (OI2.0), which is founded on the Quadruple Helix Model, where Government, Industry, Academia and Society work together to drive change by taking full advantage of the cross-fertilization of ideas. The ECoE as a Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) adopts a two-axis model, where the vertical axis consists of three Thematic Clusters for sustained excellence in research of the ECoE in the domains of Atmosphere and Climate, Resilient Societies and Big Earth Data Management, while the horizontal axis is built around four functional areas, namely: Infrastructure, Research, Education, and Entrepreneurship. The ECoE will focus on five application areas, which include Climate Change Monitoring, Water Resource Management, Disaster Risk Reduction, Access to Energy and Big EO Data Analytics. This structure is expected to leverage the existing regional capacities and advance the excellence by creating new programs and research, thereby establishing the ECoE as a worldclass centre capable of enabling innovation and research competence in Earth Observation, actively participating in Europe, the EMMENA region and the global Earth Observation arena. The partners of the EXCELSIOR consortium include the Cyprus University of Technology as the Coordinator, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) and the Department of Electronic Communications, Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy.
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