STEREO III Programme

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The third phase of the programme started in 2014 for a duration of 7 years. Due to the Covid crisis, some projects had to be extended and will end in 2022. During its run time, it generated a large number of research projects covering a variety of project types and topics. A wide array of dissemination activities (workshops and conferences, website, newsletter, tweets, …) helped to publicise the outcome of the projects and supported the Belgian earth observation community.

Some facts and figures of the STEREO III programme can be found below:


STEREO in a nutshell

At the end of 2021, an external consultancy carried out an evaluation of the programme. It concluded that STEREO III is a successful and varied scientific programme in terms of types of funding, support, themes covered and application domains. In addition to supporting innovative and high-quality research, the programme was very successful with its dissemination activities, both for professionals and the general public. STEREO III has played a crucial role in lifting Belgian scientists and Earth observation expertise to the international level, enabled new international partnerships, and succeeded in attracting and training a new generation of scientists.

Evaluation of the STEREO III Programme - Summary

Organization

Duration of the research: 2014 - 2022

    Objectives

    STEREO III's goals evolved from those in the previous programmes and are:

    • Support innovative high quality research in the field of remote sensing.
    • Keep/put Belgium on the map as international centre of expertise in a number of remote sensing fields.
    • Stimulate international collaborations and to secure integration of Belgian teams in international partnerships.
    • Support Belgium’s remote sensing instruments and platforms.
    • Stimulate the development of new remote sensing applications.
    • Introduce the use of remote sensing in new disciplines and to new users.
    • Promote remote sensing and especially results of Belgian and STEREO research.

    Description

    Thematic priorities

    There was an obvious synergy between STEREO III, ESA and EU activities. Notably the thematic research priorities of STEREO III were in line with those of H2020. These are: 

    • 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 STEREO III programme was organized around three pillars:

        Scientific research

        The scientific research covers on the one hand the research projects  research projects (thematic networks, exploration, shared-cost and dissemination and support) as such and on the other hand the development of applications.

        Transversal support of scientific STEREO research

        The transversal support concentrates activities which are beneficial to the entire Belgian remote sensing community. The 3 main activities conducted in STEREO III are:

        • The further development of the Belgian BELAIR test sites, a string of locations in Belgium of which a high volume of both Earth observation data (hyperspectral, very high resolution…) and in situ data (field campaigns, flux towers…) is being collected and integrated.
        • In parallel with the BELAIR activities, a STEREO toolbox is under construction to offer everyone user-friendly access to software previously developed within the Belgian remote sensing community;
        • Support to “Belgian” Remote sensing instruments and infrastructure, e.g. through the organisation of dedicated APEX campaigns, support to the Belgian Copernicus Collaborative Ground Segment.
        User support and promotion

        The STEREO programme has always been keen to offer high quality user support and promote remote sensing and Belgian initiatives in the field of Earth observation.

        Support to satellite data users is achieved by offering information to the scientific community and by ensuring satellite image acquisitions for the needs of BELSPO funded projects.

        To promote Remote Sensing and Belgian commitment in Earth Observation, the STEREO team 

        • offers information to the public at large and answers your questions in the field of satellite Earth Observation;
        • develops educational and promotional material;
        • supports events;
        • publishes articles, booklets and reports;
        • promotes Belgian participation in the Pléiades programme.