The applications of space and earth observation permeate increasingly day life of European and national citizens and businesses. Example is the popular diffusion of applications related to our geo-location, but also to the optimal management of our daily routes, inside and outside the cities. This creates the absolute need for new skills and competences, which must be supposed and implemented mainly in the university context, but more generally in all training processes.
This includes activities of knowledge and awareness related to the space issues and earth observation, widespread in every levels of education, and even at the level of Primary Education. In the meantime, training programs will be mandatory for a new generation of EU researchers, teachers, and new professional profiles, both for Public Administration and for new entrepreneurship. This action is required in order to widespread methodologies and tools related to Earth observation, in all different domains of the professional careers and in the market services, focused on the real needs of end-users in the civil society.
The Copernicus European Earth observation program is a complex set of systems collecting data and information from multiple source, mainly Earth observation satellites and earth, sea and airborne sensors. Copernicus integrates and elaborate all this information, providing to users, both institutional and belonging to industrial sector, a comprehensive reliable and updated set of information through a number of services covering land, sea, atmosphere, infrastructures and security related issues.
Among its goals, Copernicus also aims to guarantee to Europe a substantial independence in the detection and management of data and information on the Planet’s health status, supporting the needs of European and national public policies, by providing accurate and reliable services. The services are divided into six main thematic areas: soil, sea, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security. These services, provided by operators appointed by the Commission, sustain a wide range of applications in support of management of urban areas, regional and local planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, health, transport, climate change, sustainable development and civil protection.
This is the reason why Copernicus has deemed necessary to define and carry out an action within it, which would pursue the objectives of training of the new researchers and new teachers, systematizing the European and national academic capacities within the Copernicus Academy.
The aim is to foster the development of interdisciplinary masters and educational classes, strengthening the skills and professional training programs, Universities sectoral training ship and creation of spin-offs. The networks that will be created are already perfectly in line with the new idea of the European universities, an innovative initiative conceived on the framework of the Erasmus plus program, that is financed by the Commission with Member States support, started with the first pilot call launched in October 2018. The European Universities are essentially aimed at the creation of University joint curricula, shared between European universities, and guarantee the complete circularity of the students and academics, as well as the reciprocity of the services connected with the Right to education.
The Copernicus Academy can find provision and financial support in the mechanism of the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA). FPA is aimed at developing, coordinating and integrating all User Uptake tools, active within the Copernicus Program itself. The implementation is achieved through events and training activities at national, European and international level. FPA is signed by 23 European countries, including Italy, in order to promote the diffusion and the use of Earth Observation data and information, produced and made available by the Copernicus program.
In this historic moment of the European higher education system, celebrating the twentieth anniversary in 2019, a close dialogue is needed between the Academic world, the Commission and Member States within the Copernicus program, in order to maximize the overall financial and political commitment, avoid duplication and enhance specific skills, including those related to local communities.