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.
- 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
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.