News & Events

The UK reunites with Copernicus and Horizon

The National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) is pleased to highlight that the UK’s formal participation in Copernicus and Horizon began this week on January 1st 2024. The EU-UK Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes adopted the political agreement on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe and to Copernicus in early December following a period of intensive negotiations to finalise a deal which has been on the agenda since 2019. NCEO’s view is that this renewed participation is in the interests of all and reflects the UK EO sector’s long-held belief in international collaboration.

Copernicus is a system of satellites that support in-situ measurements and models, delivering datasets that inform us about our changing planet at regional and global levels. The deal also grants access to Horizon Europe, the world’s largest research collaboration programme giving UK researchers the opportunity to apply for grants and bid to join projects under the programme. This includes research funds for Copernicus development and also significant investments to exploit the satellite data in exciting and challenging new science.

The renewed Copernicus programme is incredibly valuable for the UK, enabling our scientific experts to contribute fully to its system of satellites and datasets, building on our intellectual and practical contributions hitherto. NCEO have been continuing to drive the UK’s access to environmental satellite datasets and models through the Earth Observation Climate Information Service (EOCIS) and Earth Observation DataHub (EODH), and through European Space Agency and EUMETSAT programmes. We are excited to re-join the Copernicus programme with new opportunities for support and collaboration leveraging  our national Earth Observation programmes. UK science and innovation will be at the forefront of addressing key climate and environmental action through this re-energised partnership.

Professor John Remedios, NCEO Director commented:

This marks a hugely significant moment for our community in the UK, in Europe and internationally. Our involvement in Copernicus brings financial and expert contributions which will reinforce the quality and useability of a world-leading Copernicus system. Never has the need for detailed observations of our planet been greater. We in NCEO recognise that delivering trusted, high quality, environmental information from satellites in space is our duty and our contribution to improving the lives of people and growing economies through services. We look forward to the next years of Copernicus and working with colleagues to realise the promise of the high priority missions adding to the current operational backbone. A very happy New Year to all!