Cooperation between ESA and EPB

On February 3rd the Chair of the European Polar Board (EPB), Maaike Vancauwenberghe, and the Director-General of ESA, Jan-Dietrich Woerner, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at ESA’s HQ in Paris.

ESA DG signs MoU with EPB

Signature ESA MoU EPB 03022016©ESA–Nadia Imbert-Vier, 2016

The MoU provides a framework for a wider cooperation between ESA and the EPB, and to define the use of European Antarctic Stations for scientific and technological purposes. As such an umbrella is formed under which the exchange of information on relevant technologies or procedures between ESA and EPB Members is facilitated. Joint activities envisioned under this MoU, will be implemented  in separate agreements directly with EPB member organizations, outlining the specific activities agreed upon and detailing the responsibilities of each party.

Based on the complementarities among the terrestrial, marine and space platforms for the study of Antarctica the MoU defines the collaboration and implementation of those technologies or procedures at European Antarctic Stations. At the same time harmonisation of research activities in the Antarctic in a number of fields is defined in the MoU.

This will expand the cooperation that started in 2002 between ESA, the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the Institut Français pour la Recherche et la Technologie Polaires (IFRTP) and the Ente per le Nuove tecnologie, l’Energia e l’Ambiente (ENEA) regarding the use of the Concordia Antarctic station for planetary missions simulations.

A Steering Committee will be established and will meet periodically over the lifetime of the cooperation. Each Signatory will bear the costs of discharging its responsibilities under this MoU. The technical data exchanged under the MoU shall be used only for the purposes of conducting the cooperation.

Signature ESA MoU EPB 03022016©ESA–Nadia Imbert-Vier, 2016

From left to right: Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Head of the ESA Strategy Department; Yves Frenot, Director of the French Polar Institute; Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV), French Delegate to the European Polar Board (EPB); Maaike Vancauwenberghe, Chair of the European Polar Board; Jan Woerner, ESA Director General; Isabelle Duvaux-Bechon, Head of the ESA Global Challenges and Partnerships Coordination Office; Marco Ferrazzani, Head of the ESA Legal Department; and Didier Schmitt, Space Policy at European External Action Service.

Yves Frenot, director of the French Polar Institute and member of the Executive Committee of the European Polar Board, was appointed by EPB for the preparation of this agreement which is the final output of an initiative launched in 2012. Yves Frenot was present in Paris at the occasion of the signature.

The EPB is an independent European Organization of Directors and Managers of the major European National Polar Programmes coordinating major strategic priorities in the Arctic and Antarctic with respect to European Arctic and Antarctic research and optimized use of European research infrastructures.

The EPB fosters multilateral collaborations between European national funding agencies, national polar institutes and research organizations and represents polar issues within European research framework programmes. Through its 26 members from national operators and research institutes in 18 countries and over 40 polar stations in the Arctic and Antarctica, the EPB is a major organisation that coordinates European Arctic and Antarctic research and liaises with polar programmes outside Europe and with international polar scientific organisations and agencies.