Eurisy General Assembly 2023

On June 19th the brand-new ESA headquarter opened its doors to the Eurisy community to host its 2023 General Assembly. The General Assembly is the key annual meeting to take stock of the activities performed by the secretariat to meet the objectives set and to share information, exchange experiences, discuss potential partnerships. To address all possible needs the event has been organised in hybrid format counting 25 participants present on site and 17 members participating remotely, altogether representing 19 countries and 23 organisations. 

Dominique Tilmans, President of Eurisy, kicked off the meeting welcoming the participants and expressing sincere regret for those who could not make their way to Paris. Ms Tilmans also thanked Mr Eric Morel de Westgaver, ESA Director of European, Legal and International Matters, for hosting the General Assembly in the newly refurbished ESA building. 

Ms Annalisa Donati, Secretary General, emphasized that this year Eurisy took a different approach to the meeting and gave the floor first to the members to let them tell in their own words what the association has been doing, what kind of collaborations have been established, which lessons have been learned for future improvements and benefits.

Mr Josep Colomé Ferrer, Director of the Area for the Promotion of the Catalan Space Sector from IEEC, was the first to take the floor. He presented a new Space Strategy of Catalonia, the Digital Catalonian Alliance and other initiatives recently launched in the region and supported by Eurisy to raise their visibility and ensure the European outreach.  With his overview of the past events like a New Space Economy Congress held in 2022, he also introduced the initiative on promoting women in the space sector. Apart from it, the training course for public administration officers was presented.  

Dr Daniel Šagath opened his statement on behalf of the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency by expressing his appreciation especially for the Eurisy Members’ Corner, “it represented an excellent showcase for our companies, to present their products to European users as well as to exchange with international experts their business cases and how to thrive in the sector”. He expressed his gratitude to Eurisy for having endorsed the discussions on emerging space economies and ecosystems.  In the same spirit, Mr. Kamen Iliev, Director of Bulgarian Center for national security and defence research, shared his appreciation for having brought to Bulgaria on the occasion of the Cassini Hackathon in Sofia, international speakers from major European space institutions and for having supported the high-level conference which took place right before the beginning of the competition, the use cases presented sparkled numerous ideas in the participants, counting about 150 people.  

Watch the video highlighting the Cassini Hackathon held in Sophia on 24-26 March 2023:

Michael Quinton, Executive at the Malta Council for Science and Technology congratulated Eurisy with the success of the e-shape workshop on Biodiversity and Water management which met an unprecedented attendance and interest from the side of public entities, currently engaged in discussion with some pilots to further co-design dedicated solutions. Mr. Quinton, building on the experiences of other countries, is currently partnering up with local scientific institutions to prepare for the next Hackathon to be held in the country to inspire new generations. 

A joint effort of Eurisy and EUSPA in the field of raising awareness about the benefits of satellite data applications and favouring their uptake in the domain of disaster risk management was presented by Ms. Christina Giannopapa, Head of the Office of the Executive Director at the EU Agency for the Space Programme. Teaming up between the two institutions gave birth to several workshops coupled with search and rescue exercises to quickly locate and help people in distress. Through those exercise using a Galileo enabled radio beacon system, SAR/Galileo Return Link Service (RLS), demonstrated the potential to have a return link in less than 3 minutes, a capability unique in the world.  EUSPA together with Eurisy continue to organise such workshops across Europe, currently discussions are ongoing with Portugal and Hungary. Catalysing on the activities that were done in the past, Ms. Heather Britton from the UK Space Agency outlined the interest of the agency in raising awareness specifically about the space applications and data and the commitment of the agency to do so in the future according to the strategic priorities of the country in selected domains.  

Mr. Eric Morel welcomed the participants of the General Assembly in the new ESA premises and reminded of the upcoming association of Malta to ESA through PECS mechanism. Mr. Morel gave an overview of ESA perspective of the European Space Summit to be held in Seville, Spain, on 6 – 7 November 2023. The milestone steps of the preparation process are presented below. 

Ms. Sanneta Athanasopoulou, Electronic Communications Technician from the Department of Electronic Communications of Cyprus, reiterated Cypriot government’s commitment to the development of the space technologies sector in the country, which placed a great emphasis on EO data. Enhancement of cooperation with the EU Agency for the Space Programme was underlined together with the intention to make Cyprus a regional communication hub of the Mediterranean 

The activities of the International Astronautical Federation were presented by Ms. Martina Fabiani, Project Manager at IAF. She provided the audience with past and future events of the Federation, notably, the 74th International Astronautical Congress to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 2 – 6 October 2023. 

The session then continued with the presentation by Ms. Annalisa Donati who gave several insights into the ongoing and upcoming initiatives of the association, including a future partnership with EOTEC DevNet, EuroGEO, Space4GEO just to name a few and established once with associations like Nereus, EARSC, among others.  

Introducing Space4Geo Alliance, Ms Milva Carbonaro, Managing Director of the association GISIG, underscored the evolution from EO4GEO Alliance to a new Large-Scale Partnership on Space Data, Services and Applications, which placed focus on the development of skills and the up and re-skilling of professional to grow in the downstream segment of the space value chain. The new LSP is complementary and aims to collaborate with the existing LSP on Aerospace and Defence and with those LSPs representing the other vertical sectors, which could benefit from the provision of space-related data and services. These could be agriculture, natural disaster management, infrastructure planning and monitoring, tourism, health, forestry, insurance and finance, urban development, cultural heritage, road and automotive, maritime and inland waterways, energy, security and defence. For more information, please see the full version of the presentation here: Space4GEO. The kick-off event of the Space4Geo Alliance took place on the 22nd of July 2023 during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. The first part of the recording of the panel discussion, organised by the Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space, may be consulted under this link. The second part of the recording is availabel here.

The last presentation was provided by Mr Lionel Menard, Research Scientist at MIINES Paris PSL University ARMINES​, showcasing major products and results stemming from the eshape project. “e-shape has been an incredible, unique journey for all the partners” is how Lionel begun his speech. Eshape was indeed developed as one building block on the wider roadmap to establish the EuroGEO initiative. The project brought together 64 European and international organisations to pull European capabilities in 7 key domains of applications of EO data, namely disasters, ecosystems, health, water, agriculture, climate and energy. But the project went far beyond the identification and development of pilots it created teams of experts supporting the specific codesign of each solution, helping with the uptake, advising on business models and market sustainability. Now a lot of what has been developed within this framework will be accessible and utilised by the interested parties. Have a look at the resources developed through the project: Open Data and Open Knowledge workshop.

Finally, Annalisa Donati also described all the activities performed in one year time from last GA. Today all those information are available also for the public in our new Annual report.

Useful Links:  

Eurisy Annual Activity Report 2022-2023