WP10: Empowering economic development Balkan region

Objective
This WP aims at building EO capacity of the Balkan region and at fostering its economic development
through the use of environmental Earth observation. To provide a comprehensive approach and successful implementation of the Project, WP 10 heavily relies on Balkan institutions that were identified in the BalkanGEONet and OBSERVE projects as being fully aware of all specific circumstances in the region, as well as of benefits of application of EO. The network of these institutions will be used to disseminate Project results and promote EO to decision- and policy-makers and various communities.

Task T10.1- Promotion of Earth observation
Promotion of EO and the EOPOWER project results will target decision- and policy-makers and various communities (professionals, researchers, educators, SMEs etc.) with the goal to spread knowledge about and foster implementation of EO technologies with a significant impact on economic empowerment of the region. This will be achieved through the following mechanisms:

  • Organization of custom-tailored promotional events - “CARAVAN”-type workshops that visit a targeted region/audience at their location rather than transporting them to the scientific and professional events. The workshops will be designed based on the results of the OBSERVE and BalkanGEONet gap analysis, to focus on topics that are of interest to the region or the host country and to directly answer the local demands and needs. They will also be used to promote and disseminate marketing toolkits developed within GEONetCab. Four workshops are planned for the duration of the Project. (AUTH, UNS). The 4 Caravan events will be organized with the help of the network of partners of the OBSERVE and BGNet projects. Local help as well as subsidizing part of the local costs are expected by them. The cost of each event (preparation, travelling, publications, etc) is estimated to 10.000€, making a total of 40.000€.
  • Publication of the South-Eastern European Journal of Earth Observation and Geomatics (SEEJoEOG) – SEEJoEOG (http://ejournals.lib.auth.gr/seejeog/index) has been launched in January 2012 as a scientific forum of EO experts in the Balkans, with the goal to enhance the scientific dialogue, fill the existing gap in policies and applications, build-up acquaintances, establish networks and co-operation and contribute to regional capacity building. For the duration of the project the e-journal will devote 2 thematic issues for specific themes of EOPOWER. In addition, the regular issues will still be open to the scientists of the two regions for contribution. (AUTH). SEEJoEOG is a free access e-journal, the publication costs of which is totally covered by AUTH. The two thematic issues for the second year of EOPOWER will be devoted for specific themes of the project. Editors will be invited from EOPOWER partners. The preparation / editorial etc. costs is estimated to 5.000€ per issue, making a total of 10.000€.
  • Set-up an e-forum or blog for thematic discussions to foster discussion of new ideas in the established network, and to strengthen the EO community in the region (also with connection to the Mediterranean region and Black Sea region) and to jointly contribute to European and international EO activities. (AUTH) This will developed and maintained together with the project’s website. However, the everyday maintenance will be undertaken by AUTH. The development (6 months) and everyday maintenance (18 months) costs is estimated to 12.000€.
  • Direct interaction with policy makers (governments and governmental institutions) to foster top-down support to development of EO in the region through development of various legislations and laws. (UNS, AUTH)

By using the existing contacts in the Balkans, we plan to conduct and sustain a continuous direct dialog with policy makers (governments and governmental institutions) to foster top-down support to development of EO in the region through development of various legislations and laws.

  • Promote EO in mass media to reach a wider non-specialist audience and to raise public awareness about the potential of EO for economic empowerment. (UNS)

Task T10.2- Development of the Permanent Networking Facility (PNF)
PNF is a web-based tool for stakeholders’ interaction developed within the BalkanGEONet project. It serves as a “Balkan EO Directory” and it enables easy and user-friendly partner search and provides links to relevant web-sites, projects, etc. PNF comprises of comprehensive and searchable databases of EO stakeholders and activities in the region, initially filled within the BalkanGEONet project, but also open to new users. To maintain and upgrade the PNF, the following activities are planned:

  • Update the PNF inventory of EO resources in the Balkans. Update PNF with new entries, both stakeholders and activities. (UNS, AUTH)
  • Link PNF to the Capacity building web developed in GEONetCab (see also work package 3). (UNS)
  • Maintain and further develop PNF to include tracking of incoming inquiries. This can be achieved by e.g. developing a simple and free-of-charge registration procedure. By analyzing data provided by PNF users in the registration process, a better insight into their actual interests and needs can be achieved, finally leading to development of various indicators and measures of success of outreach and capacity building. (UNS)
  • Promote PNF as a useful tool for communities outside the Balkans and provide support for their inclusion into PNF. (UNS)

Task T10.3- Set-up of a Balkan Liaison Office (BLO)
BLO will serve as a node for sustainable and continuous promotion of EO to various communities and as a source of certified information regarding EO, where interested parties could send their inquiries to. Furthermore, BLO staff will perform initial analysis of gathered data to point to strengths and weaknesses of the region. BLO will be promoted to all stakeholders listed in the PNF and identified within this Project, including policy- and decision-makers, researchers, academia, industry, SMEs etc. BLO will focus at the following activities:

  • Promotion and dissemination of marketing toolkits developed within GEONETCAB in the Balkans. (UNS)
  • Fostering education and life-long learning in the field of EO: Identify and support mechanisms to create new EO-related initiatives in national higher-education systems, such as BSc, MSc and doctoral programmes in environmental engineering, bioengineering, bio-resource engineering and similar programmes, to provide sustainable development of EO in the future through raising awareness about potentials of EO in the stage of education of future professionals and decision-makers; (UNS, AUTH)

By using the existing network of academics, industry and governmental bodies related to education, identify and support mechanisms to create new EO-related initiatives in national higher-education systems, such as BSc, MSc and doctoral programmes.

  • Using the existing regional network, identify best practices in the region, and develop success stories, both in English and in national languages, with a special focus on SMEs.Promote a market-niche that application of EO can present for SMEs in the region. (UNS, AUTH)
  • Using PNF and EOPOWER activities, analyze in detail gaps and complementarities in EO activities across the wider Balkan region and identify and coordinate the strongest regional players in different aspects of EO towards economic empowerment of the region. (UNS, AUTH)

Apart from a large number of academic institutions, our major industrial and governmental partners in the region are:

  • Vode Vojvodine (Waters of Vojvodina, public water management company, Serbia),
  • Delta Agrar (part of Delta group, leading economic company in Serbia with significant investments into new technologies in agriculture),
  • Provincial Secretariat for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management (local government, Serbia),
  • ILTER network (Serbia & international),
  • Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops (a leading national institution in the field of biotechnology in agriculture, Serbia),
  • Institute of Marine Biology (Monte Negro),
  • SME Photon (Croatia).

There will be links with a.o. the following potential resource providers:

  • Provincial Secretariat for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management (local government, Serbia),
  • Vode Vojvodine (Waters of Vojvodina, public water management company, Serbia),
  • Delta Agrar (part of Delta group, leading economic company in Serbia with significant investments into new technologies in agriculture).

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