Scientific Data Exploitation is the programmatic element that addresses the needs of the EO and Earth-system science communities in terms of new methods, advanced tools, innovative products and Earth-system science results. This programmatic element is composed of five interdependent Action Lines aiming at ensuring that ESA scientific activities remain main catalysts for innovation. It is a vibrant, dynamically evolving programme, driven and assessed continuously by leading international science communities.
→ engaging international science communities
ESA’s structured dialogue with international EO science communities are strengthened through regular series of dedicated conferences, thematic workshops and user consultations. EO scientists, Earth-system scientists, and modellers are brought together for a continuous exchange of ideas. As a result, various multi-disciplinary expert communities periodically assess the state-of-art in their fields and prepare research roadmaps jointly with relevant international scientific programmes, recommending priority topics for future ESA projects and work plans. Education and training opportunities for young scientists, including advanced ESA EO training courses, Massive On-Line Open Courses (MOOCs) and the Living Planet post-doctoral fellowship, are offered to prepare the next generation of EO scientists.
→ developing open science practices and tools
Open source science practices are being developed to enlarge the user base for European Earth Observation and broaden participation. EO data, information and tools are being made readily accessible to scientists promoting the sharing of data, knowledge, tools and results. Open source scientific toolboxes are being developed to animate science communities, capitalising on various ESA toolboxes experiences and assets. Virtual research laboratories promoting a collaborative research approach are also being developed. Stronger links are being forged between EO scientists, data scientists, social scientists and communication specialists.
→ advancing EO methods and techniques
Targeted research projects are developing cutting-edge methods, novel algorithms, new products, and extending the use of European missions into domains beyond their primary mission objectives. Opportunities are being provided to research and develop advanced methods for synergistic exploitation of data from multi-mission global observatories (Earth Explorers, Sentinels, meteorological, national and CEOS partner missions). The overall aim is to stimulate widespread scientific use of open data from research and operational missions (ESA and non-ESA) by pioneering the development of new EO methods to harvest the full scientific potential of these missions.
→ advancing Earth-system science
The specific goal is to maximize the scientific impact of ESA and European missions in terms of new discoveries in Earth system science and thereby ensure a major ESA contribution to global Earth Science endeavours. Dedicated projects are researching on priority questions posed by international Earth System Science communities (e.g. WCRP ‘grand challenges’) and exploring new research avenues opened up by the ESA EO science strategy.
→ translating exploitation into novel mission concepts
The role of exploitation results as a catalyst for novel mission concepts and future observational principles is being reinforced. Projects explore, develop, and consolidate the scientific aspects of novel mission concepts (observation gaps, science needs, retrieval methods, observational principles, assimilation techniques, model comparisons), and thereby stimulate ideas for future generation EO missions. This is being fully coordinated with the technology and Future Missions development teams in ESA. Finally, scientific activities are being launched in preparation for a fast scientific exploitation of coming missions.