FutureEO, critical enabler of EO benefits for the European economy and society

FutureEO, critical enabler of EO benefits for the European economy and society [Oct/2022]

FutureEO (formerly called Earth Observation Envelope Programme) is ESA’s cornerstone of Earth Observation. The programme develops pioneering Earth Observation systems that respond to major science, societal and environmental challenges concerning the Earth system and climate, while expanding the use of EO-based information in society at large.

FutureEO is at the core of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes and carves out their long-term vision. This forward-looking research and development programme harnesses novel ideas and concepts to forge pioneering satellite mission to understand the Earth system for a more sustainable future and strategic autonomy for Europe. It is a critical enabler for major EO benefits for the European economy and society.

A study by the consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was conducted to update the large 2019 socio-economic impact assessment of the FutureEO Programme. The work demonstrated that the programme acts as a foundation upon which Europe can build its EO infrastructure. An EO infrastructure, such as Copernicus, which provides massive benefits to society.

The study considers two periods: 2018-2021 (ex-post period) and 2023-2030 (ex-ante period). In the ex-post period, FutureEO (and EOEP-5) generates a value added of €1.8 billion in ESA Member States, from an initial investment of €954 million. In the ex-ante period, FutureEO activities are expected to generate a value added of €3.2 billion for Europe from an initial investment of €1.6 billion.

FutureEO also supports the development of novel technologies and knowledge, as well as supports industry through multistakeholder projects. These projects enable participating firms to generate further revenues outside FutureEO. These “spillovers” and related quantitative estimates have been assessed using data collected through consultation with a sample of entities participating in the programme’s activities.

As a research programme, the value of FutureEO comes from when its innovations are scaled up in programmes like Copernicus. To illustrate this effect qualitatively, PwC conducted three case studies to demonstrate the utility of the programme. The case studies covered water management, agriculture, and societal resilience.

FutureEO was found to support new technology through provision of novel data generated from unique sensors, as well as supporting the development of novel knowledge in all three case studies. Some of the key areas included developing high resolution hydrology products across Europe, which could feed into improved water management, development of crop monitoring solutions that are under investigation for expansion as Copernicus Services, algorithms to monitor many ECVs to support climate modelling, products for risk assessment and response to extreme events like fires, floods, storms, and many other cases.

For more information on FutureEO, please click here.

To access the full study report, please click here (please log-in to access).

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