Eurochile reactivates the Copernicus network seeking to accelerate the presentation of projects in a key call
With the pandemic, the activities of the Copernicus programme were interrupted. Last October they were resumed in its 140 member countries, and at the local level Eurochile leads the participation of the Relay Center´s and Academy´s. The date to apply ends in the beginning of March 2023.
The Copernicus network is the Earth Observation Program, which is coordinated and managed by the European Union (EU) and is made up of the Relay Center and Academy from around the world. The network brings together 140 participants, including the Eurochile Business Foundation. Copernicus promotes the supply and access to technological applications based on satellite image, which are available to people, service providers, public administrations and other international organizations.
These tools are developed by those who are part of the network through projects that they present within the framework of the Copernicus calls. During these days, applications to the Horizon Europe program are open, which closes its process on the first days of March 2023. On this occasion the European Commission is very interested in financing Chilean initiatives, whose amounts can reach up to the US$3 million. To do this, it must be done with partners from Chile and Europe as a consortium.
In this context, and given the interest in strengthening the coordination of the network in Chile and connecting its Relay Centers and Academies to get to know each other and evaluate development of projects, Eurochile organised the event ´Copernicus: Opportunities for collaboration and challenges between Chile and the European Union´, which had as a guest the prestigious Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), with vast experience in the design of Copernicus applications and a potential European partner, who has previously worked with Eurochile on air quality measurement issues.
The Executive Director of Eurochile, José Aravena, remarked the reason for the activity, highlighting that it responds to the commitment that the foundation agreed upon when it held meetings with the Copernicus leaders during his visit to the city of Prague in last october.
He stressed that the existence of projects, collaborative work and having the experience of entities such as the FMI will be decisive when presenting the project on time in March, since it is a highly competitive process that requires a lot of dedication, human capital, and the result is difficult to achieve.
“Project approval rates are below 10%, that is, 1 out of 10 projects is being approved, or even less than 1. Therefore, if we want to present a project of these characteristics, we have to think carefully about whether we have the capacities to do so and whether we have European partners with expertise in the matter that can guide us”, he said.
He added that Copernicus is a very interesting program because it opens the door to a series of developments for a country like Chile, but at the same time, that there is still room to continue growing, for example, in areas such as mining.
Boost the network
Eurochile collaborated with the Copernicus project that the FMI began to implement locally a couple of years ago, led by Mikko Strahlendorff, space advisor for the Finnish entity and the European Commission, and whose visit to Chile in January 2023 will be an opportunity to continue evaluating the feasibility of applying together with the local Relay Center or Academy for the call of next year.
The institute is currently collaborating with the Ministry of the Environment in three projects for air quality control and management of monitoring, in charge of the air quality and energy expert of the FMI, Katja Lovén, who in her presentation during the activity described how the work methodology has been and shared some recommendations for the proper use of Copernicus applications.
Regarding the opportunities and challenges that the Chilean ecosystem faces in the use of this program, the IMF researcher, Edith Rodríguez, recognized the level of the air quality system, but also pointed to continue advancing in optimizing the use of Information from the network of stations of the Ministry of the Environment in those mining or volcanic activity areas.
“Longer-term work is expected to be done on data management and how that data can be used, for example, for air quality modeling and forecasting. As the FMI we are supporting and we want to continue supporting the ministry and other institutions involved in this task”, she added.
With Eurochile, the FMI already has a path together and both are studying the feasibility of raising an initiative, which would have to come from Chile. In parallel, the foundation talking with the EARSC (European Association of Remote Sensing Companies), which should be defined in these next months.
During the meeting an important milestone for Chile was announced. The Geospatial Projects engineer of the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) of the University of Chile, Roxana Trujillo, and the Director of the Antarctic Research Center of the University of Magallanes, Carlos Cárdenas, confirmed that both institutions are working on a Copernicus project to apply in March.
Representatives of other entities such as Paulina Vidal, from the Hémera Earth Observation Center, from the Universidad Mayor; Camila Barrera, Head of Strategic Programs at CIREN, and René Muñoz, professor at the Department of Agricultural and Aquaculture Sciences at the University of Magallanes also expressed their willingness to support the network.
In this sense, the Executive Director of Eurochile highlighted that “at Eurochile we work with European companies that use Copernicus applications, some Chilean, and we want to promote that.”
The event also gave rise to a discussion where collaboration projects between Chile and Finland in the field of air quality, which are carried out by the FMI together with the Ministry of the Environment, were studied in depth.
At the beginning of the activity, the first secretary of the Finnish embassy in Chile, Antti Kauttonen, recalled that cooperation between the two countries began in 2017, in a context in which environmental issues are becoming increasingly relevant for the governments. Regarding the history of the FMI, he highlighted that it is one of the most important public meteorological institutions in the world, with a cooperation network that covers 25 countries.
In this activity, the FMI’s expert on air quality and energy, Katja Lovén, spoke about the Plan for the Modernization and Redesign of the Air Quality Monitoring Networks that was applied in Concón, Quintero and Puchuncaví and in the municipalities of Calama, Huasco and Coronel, based on the analysis and evaluation of air quality monitoring data obtained over three years.
In her presentation, the expert highlighted a series of recommendations from the IMF’s work, including developing monitoring networks by adding new measurements and laboratory analysis while reducing the amount of monitoring of non-priority pollutants and focusing on priority particulate matter SO2 and PM2.5.
The other collaboration experience of the FMI has been with the María Molina Center since 2011. Felipe Reyes, a researcher from the Chilean entity, disclosed details of the projects developed jointly, most of them financed by the Ministry of the Environment and with the focus on identifying and understanding those measures that help reduce environmental pollution.
Also, during the activity, Matías Quintana, product manager of Metcom, representative of Vaisala, commented that it is key for the industry to understand how contaminants are dispersed beyond the surface level, how the boundary layer moves and how current analysis systems complement each other with new solutions.