The UK government has announced that the UK will associate with Copernicus, the European Earth Observation program in which the UK has been prominent since its inception. It is a system of satellites, which with the support of in-situ measurements and models, delivers data sets that inform us about our changing planet at both global and local levels.
The National Centre for Earth Observation has welcomed this announcement, stating, “It is a hugely valuable step for the UK community, enabling scientific experts to contribute fully with the Copernicus system of satellites and the datasets that increasingly provide public benefit. Rejoining the Copernicus program offers numerous advantages for NCEO scientists, from improved access to data and collaboration opportunities, to enhanced capabilities for addressing pressing climate change actions. It will also help support the UK’s position as a world leader in Earth observation research and technology development.”
More than 20 UK universities and research laboratories contribute to and benefit from Copernicus, bringing discovery and insight to underpin safer and secure environments for the public.
The deal grants access to the world’s largest research collaboration program, Horizon Europe, allowing UK researchers to apply for grants and bid to take part in projects under the Horizon program.
Professor John Remedios, executive director of NCEO, said, “The importance of this step cannot be over emphasized. The UK has been involved in Copernicus since the start, bringing expertise, technology and innovation to the program. The Copernicus satellites are, and will continue to be, transformational in our understanding of how we live and make the most of our Earth.”
Professor Chris Merchant, NCEO climate data expert (University of Reading) and lead for the UK EO Climate Information Service, said, “Reassociating to Copernicus is very positive news for Earth observation in the UK, and for scientific cooperation in using measurements from space to help manage and protect Earth’s environments stressed by climate change and other challenges.”