BELS Project presented at GSA

On June 15, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) hosted an high-level meeting on the arising opportunities in the field of EGNSS between Vietnam and Europe.

The Vietnamese delegation was led by Prof. Mai Ha, Director General of the Office of the Vietnam Space Commission and Assistant of the Minister of Science and Technology, with the participation of Dr. Ta Hai Tung, Director of the NAVIS Centre in Hanoi (Vietnam). All the Vietnamese and European delegates attending the meeting are all involved in BELS - Building European Links toward South-East Asia in the field of EGNSS, a new Horizon 2020 project managed by GSA started at the beginning of June 2015.

Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director at GSA, presented GSA activities and its role within the European Union. Justyna Redelkiewicz, GSA project officer, presented to the Vietnamese delegation the most relevant EGNSS applications and the EGNSS added value towards the already existing GNSS. GSA stressed how innovation has been placed as one of the most important pillars of the European Union strategy to create sustainable growth and new jobs for its citizens. Galileo and EGNSS in general represent the perfect outcome of this strategy. Gabriella Povero, BELS project coordinator, presented BELS and provided on overview on why South East Asia is so relevant for the EGNSS development. South East Asia hosts 600 million inhabitants and can be identified with the ASEAN - Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Cambodia. In particular, Mrs. Povero underlined that the collaboration between the European partners and South East Asia in the last years covered many important scientific fields like the study of the ionosphere, the study of Intelligent Transportation Systems for Asian cities and the Multi-GNSS environment, opening new opportunities for companies and researchers. Prof. Mai Ha provided a wide overview on the Vietnam situation and on future developments, presenting the most relevant space activities carried on by Vietnam. Prof. Mai Ha and Dr. Ta Hai Tung discussed with GSA officers on the importance to establish stronger links between Europe and Vietnam in the field of EGNSS both for research and economic reasons. 

As a direct result of the discussion carried on by the attendees of the meeting came out the need to foster the collaboration between EU and Vietnam in the field of satellite navigation, also thanks to specific action like the BELS project.

BELS involves twelve partners from Europe, Asia and Australia among universities, research centres, companies and industries. The project will run from 2015 to 2018 and aims to raise awareness on European Satellite Navigation (EGNSS) technology in South-East Asia. BELS will exploit the potentialities of NAVIS, a centre focused on EGNSS located in Hanoi (Vietnam), setup and funded by previous FP7 projects. NAVIS peculiar geographic position (excellent visibility of all the GNSS systems today available in the world and high ionospheric activity) makes it a perfect site to test GNSS solutions of European companies so as to make them ready for the global market. BELS will focus on three main pillars:
• to bring EU companies to South-Est Asia, opening new markets to those companies;
• to conduct awareness activities, through workshops and other initiatives;
• to carry on capacity building actions so as to prepare a generation of researchers used to EGNSS technology.