Support to the Exploitation and Research in Earth Observation


Duration of the research: September 2013 - December 2020
Budget: 28.600.000 EUR


STEREO III's goals are in line with the previous programme and aim at supporting the Belgian space strategy. These are:

  • To support of innovative quality research in the field of remote sensing;
  • To stimulate the development of new remote sensing applications;
  • To keep/put Belgium on the map as international centre of expertise in a number of remote sensing fields;
  • To secure integration of Belgian teams in international partnerships;
  • To support Belgium's RS instruments and platforms;
  • To introduce the use of remote sensing in new disciplines and to new users;
  • To promote remote sensing.


Thematic priorities

The thematic research priorities are as follows:

  • Global monitoring of vegetation and evolution of terrestrial ecosystems;
  • Management of the environment on a local and regional scale (water, soil, forest, nature reserves and biodiversity, agriculture, coastal areas, urban and peri-urban areas):
  • Interaction between (change in) land cover and climate change;
  • Epidemiology and humanitarian aid;
  • Security and risk management.

Programme structure

The four-part programme comprises:

  • Scientific Research
  • Development of applications
  • Support of research and Belgian infrastructure and applications
  • EODesk services

1. The scientific research covers three types of projects:

Thematic networks projects

This refers to major projects lasting 4 to 5 years. They can cover fundamental and/or application oriented research. The research should be innovative and topics not studied before in Belgium are favoured. The research is conducted via partnerships involving 2-5 research teams (from Belgium1) inevitably rounded out by (an) international team(s).

Exploration projects

This involves small-scale projects associated with past BELSPO thematic projects, lasting 1 to 3 years for 1 to 3 teams whether or not rounded out by an international team. The goals of these projects are to: Investigate new concepts, technologies and sensors; Investigate a new research track resulting from previous BELSPO remote sensing projects.

Shared-cost projects

In these types of projects there is the possibility for a Belgian partner who was selected for international, bilateral, regional or national projects (in the programme for example) to be co-financed. There is also the possibility of co-funding for a Belgian participation in transnational programmes such as ERA-nets. These types of projects are not subject to a call for proposals.

2. The development of applications

These applications can be products, services, software codes or procedures. The goal of these projects is a transfer of technology and knowledge from scientific institutions to companies, administrations and NGO's. The proposal must result from a critical need of the institution or its customers and end users. A maximum of three scientific teams are responsible for the implementation of the project for a period of 1 to 3 years. The programme pays solely for the scientific partner(s) and the partner from administrations or NGOs (non-research partners). These non-research partners can get a maximum of 25 % of the STEREO III subsidy to the project and must contribute at least as much to the project via staff, information and equipment. The proposal must be submitted by the non-research partner who should also coordinate the project. Focus is on non-commercial re-use.

3. Support of research and Belgian infrastructure and applications

Support to "Belgian" RS instruments and infrastructure, e.g. through the organisation of dedicated APEX campaigns, support to Copernicus Collaborative Ground Segments,… The further development of the Belgian BELAIR test sites where EO data (Hyperspectral, VHR, …) and in situ data (field campaigns, flux towers,…) are collected and integrated.

4. EODesk services

  • Acquisition and archiving of remote sensing imagery for BELSPO projects;
  • Management of the websites and for the dissemination of information about earth observation and earth observation activities (with a focus on Belgium) to professionals and the public at large;
  • Development of educational products or contribution to third party educational products;
  • Promotion of remote sensing and valorisation of research results of Belgian scientists via posters, workshops and exhibitions in Belgium and abroad.