The BEYOND operational Unit develops research and provides disaster management services addressing priorities and needs in South Eastern Europe, Mediterranean, N. Africa, Middle East and the Balkans. The Unit’s creation supported by the competitive framework of EU FP7-REGPOT-2012-2013-1 and costed 2,3 ΜEuros. It generated unique excellence and EO research infrastructure for the region. It maintains a fully operational and self-sustained activity, through competitive funding from Space research and operational projects supported by EU, ESA and International Funding Organisations (FP7, H2020, ESA EOEP, WB, EIB, etc.). The operational activity of the BEYOND Unit serves the Civil Protection and Decision Making Process for disaster management, and the stakeholders acting in Institutional Disaster Management Authorities at International level. The Unit in its activity has been validated, and is performing in compliance to European Copernicus and ESA standards (set by the SAFER project – see description below) in the provision of disaster management services. The Unit’s activity focuses on Emergency Response (during crisis) and Emergency Support (preparedness and recovery) (according to the Copernicus EMS standards), the protection of Sea and Atmospheric environment, as well as advanced topics relating to Agriculture and Food Security, improved Access to Renewable Energy Resources, and Climate Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change. Many Institutional Authorities and International Organisations have profited from the services offered by the BEYOND Unit such as The European Forest Fires Information System/EFFIS, the Global Fire Monitoring Unit-GFMC, the European program for disasters Copernicus EMS, a large number of Civil Protection Authorities in countries over EU, Africa, Latin America, and Asia, as well as a number of Fire Brigade authorities, Forestry Departments, Directorates for the Protection of Forests and Natural Ecosystems, Environmental Agencies and Ministerial Bodies, Rehabilitation Services, etc. Indicatively and only over the period of 2016-2018, the BEYOND Unit has been activated more than 20 times by the Copernicus EMS for the purposes of civil protection authorities worldwide, in order to address multi-hazard management needs, in cases of devastating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, soil and coastal erosion, wildfires, floods, toxic gas emissions, duststorms, industrial accidents.
The activity of the Unit is supported by a multidisciplinary team of experts comprising of more than 35 scientists (17 at M.Sc and 7 Ph.D. level).
The BEYOND Unit is funded from competitive programs (EU, ESA, National Programs), as well as from International Funding Organisations amounting 1.2-1.5 million Euros per year. At the same time, it supports with its infrastructure and research, the activity of other researchers in the country, providing an additional equal inflow of research funds at IAASARS/NOA.
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