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Increasing UK downstream environmental Copernicus applications through upskilling and cross border collaboration

Point of contact
Lynn Heeley
Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
Monkstone House, City Road
PE1 1JY Peterborough
Phone: +44-1773-562626


By 2020 to have enabled multiple environmental Copernicus applications, which help deliver UK, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish national and subnational public environmental functions more efficiently, effectively or in a more customer or citizen focused way across multiple policy areas including forestry, waste, agriculture, nature, water, coasts...

The action will build on the successful Defra UK Earth Observation Centre of Excellence programme, which has delivered user dialogue, piloting and implementation of applications, and cross cutting Copernicus products and facilities to reduce the cost and complexity of applications for individual public bodies.

A key focus of the action is helping bodies make the transition from pilot and investigative activities, into use Copernicus data and services as part of business as usual. It will tackle the barriers faced by bodies of mainstreaming Copernicus usage identified from existing facilitation and pilot work. Barriers include i) lack of understanding and willingness to spot and test where new applications are of value, ii) uncertainty over the skills needed to produce solutions, iii) uncertainty on how to integrate Copernicus solutions with corporate geographical information and information mechanisms, iv) uncertainty on how to develop sustainable relationships with SMEs.

The action will foster collaboration between public bodies so that the solutions, knowledge and skills (incl cross border) can be shared across environmental domains, creating the environment for more rapid understanding and uptake. This is based on the experience so far where methods in one area are transferable to unrelated domains, and momentum and success inspires more bodies to attempt adopting Copernicus solutions. This action will:

  • Deliver a regular forum for actors in public service where they can present potential Copernicus applications and draw on the collective intelligent customer and technical skills across bodies to problem solve, or share skills, collaborate or learn from external academic and industry partners.
  • Deliver thematic workshops to clarifying user priorities and challenges, and engage academic, commercial and cross border expertise in identifying solutions. Priorities for workshops will be in areas where requirements have not yet been explored, or in areas of considerable activity to identify fresh opportunities, such as waste crime, and how to mobilize legacy data assets and field activities to provide the in situ data needed
  • Will provide targeted transitional support to individual user bodies to help them take the results of research and methods development into operational business processes by helping them overcome skills and technological barriers, or by building intelligent customer skills for partnering with SMEs.
  • Develop a skills framework to help public bodies plan the development of their capacity to use Copernicus data which requires a challenging range of data management, earth observation, data science and computing knowledge, and work with the UK Copernicus Relay to identify how training can support the skills framework.
  • Deliver practical hands on group workshops, based on case studies, to facilitate public bodies in making successful transitions from requirements to operational Copernicus applications.

Outputs and Results

  • Use case summaries
  • Training material
  • Digital blogs
  • Series of thematic workshops including one cross border workshop
  • Workshop presentations and write up
  • Skills framework
  • Series of five practical workshops focusing on targeted skills and knowledge transfer
  • Open source code from applications and practical workshops