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Copernicus and the EIT Raw Materials: skills development through 3 post PhD projects and a lifelong learning course

Copernicus Applications

The population increase confronts our societies with major and complex challenges regarding the production of raw materials, recycling, and the management of waste material.


Thanks to the geospatial data it collects and provides free of charge to users, Copernicus has a strong potential for contributing to meet these challenges, either by improving existing applications or by enabling new applications to emerge.


In this context, three post-doctoral research scholarship projects co-funded by the European Commission and the EIT RawMaterials under the RawMATCop project are going to develop skills and expertise, as well as demonstrations and new applications at the intersection between Earth observation data and the raw materials sector.


The outcomes of these 12-month projects will serve as a basis for the elaboration of a lifelong learning course to be executed in the second quarter of 2018. The course will aim at training raw materials practitioners, professionals and researchers in how to use Copernicus data in their daily work. It will be open to participants from both inside and outside the EIT RawMaterials community.


The three awarded projects are:


  • "Integration of Copernicus data in a multi-scale and multi-source exploration scheme". Raw materials security in the EU requires exploration discoveries that increase reserves of strategically-important raw materials. The project intends to demonstrate that Copernicus can provide the backbone to boost the performance of traditional exploration techniques while making them more acceptable.
  • "Spatiotemporal mapping of dust dispersion around mining sites using remote sensing". Sentinel 2 has a proven potential for mapping iron oxides and offers a high revisiting time. The project aims at exploring the potential of Copernicus data in mine site monitoring and especially in mapping dust dispersion patterns around active sites.
  • "Earth’s Critical Zone Early Warning System (CZ-EWS) by integrating SAR and seismic data in a mining context". The public perception of mining industry is usually negative due to the impact that mining activities have on the near surface environment where Earth, water and life interact (known as the "Earth’s Critical Zone" – CZ). The project aims at improving mining viability by developing a CZ Early Warning System and guaranteeing ground/underground CZ integrity.





The European Commission is developing a "Copernicus Skills Programme" to promote and achieve data uptake and digital skills development in the downstream sector aiming at the use of the Copernicus data and information (Copernicus Services maps and data based products) for education with a particular attention to academics, universities and educational organisations.


In 2016, after consultation with DG EAC and the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology), the Copernicus Programme Committee approved to include in the work programme some grant actions for building skills capacity targeting the partnership with existing KICs (Knowledge Innovation Communities). The core objective was ensuring the uptake and exploitation of Copernicus data and services and developing the identified synergies and networking economies of scale. Today this is becoming a reality. Moreover, some KICs and their members are also taking active roles as member of the newly established Copernicus Academy and Relays networks.

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