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Industry and science join forces to strengthen the UK’s capability in monitoring the environment from space

02.05.2007
Issued jointly by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Department of Trade and Industry, the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and Astrium Ltd.

A new Earth Observation Centre that will enable the UK to further strengthen its position in international Earth observation programmes is announced today.

The CEOI is a new initiative from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department for Trade and Industry, as members of the British National Space Centre (BNSC). It brings together scientific expertise and industrial capabilities that will put the UK in a much stronger position to win international contracts for the development of new, technologically advanced space instruments.

As our planet’s climate changes, such instruments on board Earth observation satellites are becoming essential tools to monitor the changes and provide a health check on the environments in which we live.

Science and Innovation Minister Malcolm Wicks said, “ We’ve come a long way from the first basic satellite of 50 years ago to the sophisticated instruments we use today. Earth observation technology is becoming increasingly important for monitoring climate change. This new centre will boost the UK’s capability in international programmes and ensure that it remains at the forefront of Earth observation technology well into the future. “

Driven by the UK’s science objectives, the centre’s first development programmes will focus on key environmental issues relating to climate and air quality. They will provide the collaborative expertise and training to develop new remote sensing technologies to understand how atmospheric chemistry affects climate; detectors that measure pollutants in the atmosphere; novel space-based instruments to analyse the quantity and flow of carbon dioxide; and to monitor trace gases in the lowest part of the atmosphere.

Dr Arwyn Davies, Director of Earth Observation for both NERC and BNSC, said, “I am delighted that the CEOI is now established. It is an important strand in taking our Earth observation strategy forward, and will cement relationships between our scientific and industrial communities in this crucial area.”

CEOI Director Mick Johnson added, “ This is good news for the UK. I am looking forward to the task of bringing together the best capabilities in science and industry to deliver new instruments and new technologies.”

For more information contact:

NERC:
Marion O’Sullivan, Senior Press Officer, tel. 01793 411727
Claudia Hawke, Senior Science Programmes Officer, tel. 01793 411781
Dr Arwyn Davies, Director of Earth Observation, NERC and BNSC,
tel. 01793 411961 or 020 7215 1422
DTI:
Rebecca Underhill, Senior Press Officer, science & innovation, tel. 020 7215 6403
BNSC:
Azara Bibi, Head of Communications, tel. 020 7215 0806
Astrium Ltd:
Jeremy Close, Director of Communications, tel. 01438 773872

Marion O'Sullivan | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nerc.ac.uk

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