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Europe’s Leading Public-Private Partnership for Cloud

The Helix Nebula Initiative is a partnership between industry, space and science to establish a dynamic ecosystem, benefiting from open cloud services for the seamless integration of science into a business environment. Today, the partnership counts over 40 public and private partners.

"Engaging the Private Sector in GEO – A European Perspective" workshop

On Friday 26 September 2014, the Earth Observation sector of the Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission organised a dedicated workshop on engaging the European private sector in GEOSS. The workshop was held in Brussels on 26 September 2014 and attracted some 100 participants of which about 70 represented private companies (mainly value-adding, but also some end-users and NGOs). Also present were representatives of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) European Caucus, pan-European and international organisations, and other services of the European Commission.

An opening session set the scene and included a welcome by the Deputy Director General, DG Research and Innovation, Dr. Rudolf Strohmeier, and a keynote address by Dr. Alesandro Annoni, Head of the  Digital Earth and Reference Data Unit of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.  The session offered the opportunity to present GEO to participants new to the initiative, to provide an update on the preparation of plans for GEO post-2015, and to present draft orientations regarding the participation of the European business sector in the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). In addition, the evolution in the data 'landscape' since the establishment of the GEO initiative was presented. The resulting adaptation of the private sector, which today can no longer be categorised as either being data providers, service providers  or downstream users, but who provide intertwined and multiple functions and services, was highlighted.

A first round table considered the identification and interest in GEOSS of various business sectors in Europe. This round table provided an opportunity to present the different categories of the business sectors that might have an interest in utilizing GEOSS. A second round table looked at the best modalities for interaction between GEO and the private sector in Europe. This addressed the communication and liaison between GEO and the private sector.

Two breakout sessions were held: one on actions needed for the involvement of the private sector in the deployment of GEOSS; and a second on actions needed to help the business sectors in Europe to best exploit  the full and open access to Earth observation data provided through GEOSS.

Mick Symonds (Atos & Helix Nebula Initiative) gave the presentation "Helix-Nebula - a potential Market Place for EO" in the first breakout session collecting very positive comments on the HN model with the shared conclusion that it should be used for GEO.


Helix Nebula is a new, pioneering partnership between leading IT providers and four of Europe’s biggest research centres, CERN, EMBL, ESA and PIC, charting a course towards sustainable cloud services for the research communities - the Science Cloud.