Maynooth University to help Ireland tap into Earth observation data

26 May 2022

From left: Maynooth University Copernicus Academy and Relay lead Prof Tim McCarthy, Damien English, TD, Maynooth president Prof Eeva Leinonen, and Enterprise Ireland’s national ESA delegate Conor Sheehan. Image: Maynooth University

Ireland’s Copernicus Academy and Relay is part of a Europe-wide network that aims to promote and develop the use of Earth observation data.

A new initiative at Maynooth University is part a European network designed to educate the public, industry and governments about the benefits of Earth observation data.

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English, TD, launched Ireland’s Copernicus Academy and Relay at the university this week.

The Copernicus Academy is designed to connect universities, researchers and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and best practices on the use of Earth observation data. The Copernicus Relay looks to ensure that the benefits and potential applications of this data are unleashed at a local level.

Earth observation is the gathering of information about Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems, usually through the use of satellite imaging.

This data is used in various areas of society such as agriculture, forestry, spatial planning, infrastructure and development. It is also useful in dealing with global issues such as natural disasters and the climate emergency.

“Now, more than ever we need to realise the power of Earth observation data available to us, enabling users – industry, Government and academia – to access Earth observation data, toolsets and expertise in order to tackle global issues,” English said.

As part of the launch, an online discovery portal has been made available to the public, which was designed by Maynooth’s Copernicus Academy and Relay team.

Users are able to explore Earth observation data using digital toolsets and find out more about topics such as training and courses, along with potential funding and tender opportunities.

“We have a long tradition in the teaching and research of Earth observation at our university and we look forward to working with academic, industry and policy stakeholder partners going forward,” Maynooth president Prof Eeva Leinonen said.

“Research is an important focus for Maynooth University and the work undertaken in Earth observation will add to these ongoing activities, and most importantly benefit communities at a local and national level,” she added.

Maynooth’s Academy and Relay team is led by Prof Tim McCarthy, who said the initiative will support the technological and economic development of Earth observation “for the benefit of industry, Government, the research community and wider society in Ireland”.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic