Climate-KIC and DG GROW partnership to accelerate use of Copernicus satellite data for upskilling next generation of climate leaders

– BRUSSELS, Belgium.  10 August 2017 

Together with the European Union’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), Climate-KIC is enabling Copernicus satellite data application by entrepreneurs, universities, cities and regions to innovate for the climate.

The collaboration is an opportunity to combine the impactful education programmes of Climate-KIC, with the available data from Copernicus to develop Europe’s human capital and create innovative solutions for addressing the climate challenge.

This will lay the foundation for a longer-term strategy for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Knowledge Innovation Communities (KIC’s) to leverage opportunities in Copernicus data and services, such as the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Pilot activities will take place over the next 12 months, which will see the inclusion of Copernicus space data into Climate-KIC’s Climathon and Journey programmes.

Climate-KIC’s 24-hour climate innovation challenge, Climathon, will kick off the pilot activities in October this year. Climathon is a global programme which will take place simultaneously in major cities around the world on 27 October 2017. It brings together the challenges of the world’s cities with the people who have the passion and ability to solve them.

Through the collaboration, at least ten European cities will address their city challenges using Copernicus data applications. Climathon participants will use Earth Observation (EO) and Geographic Information System (GIS) space data for developing innovative solutions to their city’s challenge. Another 50 cities around the world will be given access to Copernicus data sets to be used for their specific challenges.

Further to this activity, a dedicated Journey – Climate-KIC’s flagship 5-week summer school – will be delivered in April 2018 going through 3 countries of Europe with a focus on Copernicus data to upskill the next generation of leaders in the space sector.

The targeted Journey will foster entrepreneurial thinking among students and increase awareness of EO and GIS innovation opportunities. Over the course of the summer school, students will develop the skills to translate their ideas into working solutions and be provided with a protected testing-ground for entrepreneurial development.

Through this collaboration with DG GROW, Climate-KIC’s education programmes will emphasise the importance of space data to better understand the challenges our planet and humanity face, and build the capacity and skills required to solve them.  

Dr Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer, Climate-KIC:

“Climate-KIC’s new partnership with DG GROW heralds a new constellation of innovation opportunity for Europe. Climate-KIC will promote downstream applications of Copernicus data, developing the knowledge, skills and human capital needed to unlock the potential value of Copernicus data. We look forward to a long-term partnership that will make a significant contribution to addressing climate change and at the same time drive positive economic outcomes.”

Emanuele Barreca, Policy Officer – Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence Directorate, DG GROW:

“Copernicus is also targeting to find solutions for the development of downstream applications, entrepreneurship and skills. These are some of the key drivers of the overall measures identified within the Copernicus user uptake strategy. A set of actions under that strategy is planned for delivering sustainable solutions as: entrepreneurial education, educational and training materials dissemination, enabling tools for applications based on space data, digital environments, etc. Actions such as the creation of a Copernicus Academy Network is contributing ensuring the guided development of training and networking initiatives allowing the matching of university curricula and industry professional profiles, vocational and cross sectorial training, research knowledge transfer business (spin-offs), networks empowerments, etc.

In this respect, the cooperation with the Climate KIC is a mean to develop the strategy and support its concrete actions.”




Stefan Denig, Director – Marketing & Communications, Climate-KIC
Tel:      +32 (0) 473 632 825

Emanuele Barreca, DG GROW


Climate-KIC is the EU’s largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero-carbon economy. We address climate change across four priority themes: urban areas, land use, production systems, climate metrics and finance. Education is at the heart of these themes to inspire and empower the next generation of climate leaders. We run programmes for students, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centres in major cities, convening a community of the best people and organisations. Our approach starts with improving the way people live in cities. Our focus on industry creates the products required for a better living environment, and we look to optimise land use to produce the food people need.

Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.


The Directorate-General (DG) for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs is the European Commission service responsible for:

  • completing the Internal Market for goods and services;
  • helping turn the EU into a smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy by implementing the industrial and sectorial policies of the flagship Europe 2020 initiative;
  • fostering entrepreneurship and growth by reducing the administrative burden on small businesses; facilitating access to funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and supporting access to global markets for EU companies. All of these actions are encapsulated in the Small Business Act;
  • generating policy on the protection and enforcement of industrial property rights, coordinating the EU position and negotiations in the international intellectual property rights (IPR) system, and assisting innovators on how to effectively use IP rights;
  • delivering the EU’s space policy via the two large-scale programmes Copernicus (European Earth observation programme) and Galileo (European global navigation satellite system), as well research actions to spur technological innovation and economic growth.

More information about DG GROW on


Copernicus is the European Union’s Earth Observation and Monitoring Programme.

Copernicus consists of a complex set of systems which collect data from multiple sources: earth observation satellites and in situ sensors such as ground stations, airborne and sea-borne sensors. It then stores and processes these data and provides users with freely available, reliable and up-to-date information through a set of services

The services address six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security. They support a wide range of applications, including environment protection, management of urban areas, regional and local planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, health, transport, climate change, sustainable development, civil protection and tourism.

More information about Copernicus on –


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