Maynooth University chosen to coordinate European wide Copernicus Relay and Academy

Friday, November 3, 2017 - 13:15

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) today announced that Maynooth University has been selected by the European Commission to coordinate the Copernicus Relay and Academy. Copernicus is a European Union programme aimed at developing European information services based on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non-space) data with the goal of enhancing strategic decision making regarding climate change.

The announcement was made as Maynooth University held the first ever Copernicus Information Day in Ireland, with over 220 delegates drawn from public sector, research and industry attending. Maynooth University is one of the world’s leading research centres in climate change and Earth Observation.  Maynooth University will also provide scientific support input for the new National Earth Observation Scientific Advisory Group.

Commenting, Minister Halligan, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development, said: “I am delighted that Maynooth University has been chosen to coordinate the Copernicus Relay and Academy and host the new National Earth Observation Scientific Advisory Group. The awarding of this position will help drive awareness of the value of the important “Big Data” opportunity developing in Ireland. I would urge my Ministerial colleagues to encourage their Departments to examine opportunities to implement activities based on the Earth Observation data now available to Ireland.”

Commenting, Dr Tim McCarthy, from the National Centre for Geocomputation at Maynooth University, said, "Maynooth University is committed to supporting the long-term development of Earth Observation (EO) activities here in Ireland through coordination of the Copernicus Academy and Relay and expanding our broader EO data-science teaching and research programmes.  Earth Observation (EO) is making an increasing impact on our all our lives in recent years, from rapid storm damage-assessment through to supporting natural resource-management and strategic decision-making for climate change."

The Copernicus Relays act as local champions, coordinating and promoting activities around the Copernicus Programme and the use of Earth Observation data to assist in national and local policy making as well as driving a strong business development culture. Ireland now counts as one of 60 such Relays across Europe.

The Copernicus Academy connects European universities, research institutions and business schools with the goal of developing lectures, training sessions, traineeships as well as educational and training material to empower the next generation of researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs with suitable skill sets to use Copernicus data and information services to their full potential.

These two Relay & Academy initiatives have been merged into one organisational structure based at Maynooth University to enable more effective coordination.

These activities will build on the recently established national Earth Observation Data Hub, EirHUB, that is currently being set up subsequent to the signing, on 13 October last, of the Collaborative Agreement with the European Space Agency.

The National Earth Observation (EO) Advisory Group, comprising inputs from the National EO Scientific & Policy committees will help form future strategy and focus for Ireland in figuring out how these powerful monitoring and mapping technologies can be exploited for wider economic, societal and environmental benefits.