Establishment of European Geological Surveys research area to deliver a geological service for Europe
MORE than 45 national and regional Geological Survey Organizations (GSOs) from over 30 European countries, including the British Geological Survey (BGS), have joined forces to launch the Horizon 2020 ERA‐NET co-fund action ‘Establishing the European Geological Surveys research area to deliver a geological service for Europe (GeoERA)’, which has just begun and will complete in 2021.
The integration of the participants’ knowledge and information on subsurface resources, to support the optimal and sustainable management and use of the subsurface while minimizing environmental impacts and footprint for geo-energy, raw materials and groundwater challenges, is the key aim of GeoERA.
The programme was initiated through EuroGeoSurveys – the organization of European Geological Surveys, as part of the realization of its ‘vision towards a Geological Service for Europe’ and extended to all GSOs on the European continent.
It has an overall budget of €30.3 million, of which €10 million is provided by the European Commission, with the remainder provided by the GeoERA participants as in-kind contributions to the funded transnational projects.
GeoERA will provide interoperable, pan‐European data and information services on the distribution of geo-energy, groundwater and raw material resources and harmonized methods to assess these.
It will also develop common assessment frameworks and methodologies for supporting European national and regional policy-makers in achieving better understanding and management of the water-energy-raw materials nexus, to determine the potential impacts and risks of subsurface use.
Mrs Teresa Ponce de Leão, president of EuroGeoSurveys, said: ‘GeoERA represents the key step for establishing a common European Knowledge Base and to a joint provision of a Geological Service for Europe.
‘The Geological Knowledge Base will provide European stakeholders with open access to objective and seamless data, information, knowledge and expertise on subsurface resources and their sustainable use and management.’
Mrs Yvonne Schavemaker, GeoERA project manager, highlighted the large impact GeoERA will have in integrating and harmonizing national and regional research resources, and optimizing pan-European coverage of geological knowledge, data and information.
According to Mrs Schavemaker, GeoERA results can support policy- and decision-making at European level related to the accessibility, availability and sustainable use of subsurface resources, which plays a major role in one of Europe’s societal challenges.
‘There is a need to facilitate economic growth and common welfare, and at the same time maintain a healthy and safe living environment for its citizens,’ she said.
GeoERA is co-ordinated by the Geological Survey of Netherlands (TNO) and supported by a consortium of 45 partner organizations, both national and regional GSOs, qualifying as programme managers and/or owners, from more than 30 countries.
National and regional GSOs are the main institutions responsible in European countries for the collection, management, interpretation and delivery of data and information relating to the land and marine subsurface, as well as subsurface resources.
As the key objective of GeoERA is to deliver integrated information at a pan-European level on geo-energy, groundwater and mineral raw material resources, the large European coverage of the consortium is imperative to GeoERA’s success and provides a critical mass for achieving high-impact results.
GeoERA builds on the long-standing collaboration between the partners, partly within the framework of their umbrella organization EuroGeoSurveys, as well as in many past and ongoing European and regional projects in all fields addressed by GeoERA.