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Assessment of the role and participation of the European services industry in the EU Earth observation research and innovation actions

The Copernicus programme launched in 1998 under the name GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) is the European flagship Earth observation programme, created with the objective of collecting Earth observation data to support, mainly, policy making.

The management of the Copernicus programme falls under the competence of the European Commission, while the development of the observation infrastructure is performed by ESA (European Space Agency), – the latter being responsible for the deployment of the “space component” of the programme. The in-situ component is itself managed by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which coordinates Member-States in-situ generated data. According the Copernicus Market Report issued in November 2016, the investment in the Copernicus programme is EUR 7.4 bn and the cumulated monetary benefits after 1 year of operations is estimated to be EUR 13.5 bn for the added-value created in the upstream space industry, the sales of Copernicus-based applications by downstream service suppliers and the exploitation of Copernicus-enabled products by end-users in various economic sectors. Among others, non-monetary benefits include 12,450 job years supported in the downstream markets and 15,580 job years supported in the upstream. The free and open data policy of the Copernicus programme enabled the creation of new business model and strengthen the Earth observation markets in Europe, in particular the downstream sector. Concrete examples of operational benefits thanks to Copernicus include an improved safety at sea thanks to risk forecasts, an improved air quality monitoring or the support to marine renewable energy thanks to tidal predictions.