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Editorial Summer 2015

The summer has arrived in Europe and everyone is taking off for their summer holidays. Before they leave EARSC has its annual general assembly which was quite a busy event this year. Last year was our 25th anniversary and we held a party on the evening before which proved so popular that we repeated it this year and which now feels like an annual event! Amazing how fast traditions can take hold. It was enjoyed by all and we were delighted to welcome Mme Iskra Mihaylova as our distinguished guest. Mme Mihaylova is a MEP from Bulgaria and Chair of the Regional Committee (REGIO) in the Parliament. Given the importance of regions in the Copernicus programme we shall certainly be seeking her opinion on future activities.

Another tradition after 2 years (!) is the EARSC Company of the year award. Also introduced as a part of our 25th anniversary celebrations, and presented on the occasion of the pre-agm cocktail, it seems to have caught the imagination of companies and Geoville, the first winners were sufficiently pleased last year to sponsor our event this year! The second winner of this now prestigious award is GAF. GAF is one of the longest-lived companies in the sector and this achievement was recognised by EARSC members in delivering the award to them this year. Congratulations to GAF.

Then we took the opportunity of the AGM to launch our certification scheme. This has been under trial last year with 4 companies testing the scheme documents either with their existing auditors or, in the case of companies not having a certification in place, with our own expert Peter Hollidge. Peter is masterminding the scheme which is now operational and open for companies to use. Further details can be found on our web-site

The scheme allows companies to achieve management certification to defined requirements without necessarily the need for full ISO9001 compliance. We offer it to help companies provide confidence to their customers and to ease their procurement process. It is suitable for all sizes of companies. We are also now looking to extend the scheme to cover product certification and we shall report on that early next year.

After the AGM we held a workshop focused on Copernicus Services. We were very pleased to welcome representatives from each of the 7 European Entrusted Entities (EEE’s) which are the organisations entrusted by the EC with the delegated authority to procure and supply the Copernicus Services. We consider that if the full benefits of investments in Copernicus are to be realised, it is essential to bring the EEE’s together with industry and to develop a much closer understanding on how to work together. The workshop was considered a great success as a first step in this process which will continue over the next few months. Our first goal is to generate a roadmap to ensure progressive industry involvement and increasing possibilities for commercial exploitation

As if all that was not enough (we held an AGM as well!), we also had a workshop to look at the first results coming from our 2015 industry survey. The survey took place from January to April and the results are just being analysed. The workshop provided a first opportunity to share some of the findings and to gather ideas on how to make the process easier and even more effective in the future. The results will be published in September and I shall no doubt write about them in the Autumn eomag.

So, happy holidays for all those reading this who have not yet left. I shall be busy wading through figures on industry statistics as well as wading through the sea (hopefully). I wish everyone a good summer break and to more success in the coming months.

Oh, and one last thing, we published an annual report for the very first time this year. You can read about our activities over the last few months and understand what the Association is doing! Please download a copy from our web-site and if you are interested in what we are doing, do not hesitate to contact us and even consider joining the Association

by Geoff Sawyer