Thessaloniki acquires a staircase to space development!
Companies and institutions based in Thessaloniki aspire to bring space boost resulting in million Euros of turnover by forming the first North-Greek cluster of companies working in the field of earth observations and space technologies.
A.U.TH. Professor George Zalidis who is also head of the Inter-Balkan Environmental Center said to www.thepresident.gr that already seven North-Greek companies are joining forces and are proceeding in joining the Hellenic Association of Space Industry and si-Cluster, which has been operating for 10 years and is comprised currently of forty relevant companies.
It should me mentioned, that si-Cluster started with ten companies a decade ago and today it has forty members and turnovers of the order of 2-5 billion Euros with more than 2.000 dedicated scientists.
According to the coordinator of the venture in Thessaloniki, Mr. Stergios Diamantopoulos, who represents OMIKRON SA, the North-Greece cluster is operating as an autonomous branch of si-Cluster and will focus on the fields of agri-food, environment, water resources, natural disasters and maritime applications. The companies which are involved, with the support of relevant institutions, will be able to claim and implement large-scale projects, achieve dynamic growth in turnover and strengthen the local economy, but also they will be able to engage quicker in more specialized scientific fields through Universities and Research Institutes in the region and will contribute drastically in mitigating the brain drain phenomenon.
Founding members of the North-Greece cluster are companies: OMIKRON SA, GEOSENSE, DRAXIS SA, SCIENTACT SA, AEIFORIKI SA, CONSORTIS, USS, the Technical Chamber of Greece/ Section of Central Macedonia which will house the cluster in its premises, the Inter-Balkan Environmental Center and the Remote Sensing Laboratory of A.U.TH..
It worth noting that despite the existence of si-Cluster the Greek market has not managed to make a profitable use of the available resources coming from international space development. This technology sector reaches a global market of 200 billion Euros per year, with 70 billion Euros in Europe.
Worldwide, this industry is presenting growth rates of 9% over the past 10 years, providing investors with six Euros for each Euro invested. Additionally, the European Union will fund projects of 200 million Euros over the next three years for applications in “Defense and Security” and “Research and Development”.
Companies in the industry provide a wide range of products and solutions that appeal to both the private and the public sector and concern: maritime applications, weather and sea forecasting, environmental protection, agricultural production monitoring, defense, border protection, natural disaster management etc. It is characteristic that NASA’s latest Mars Mission includes Greek hardware for signal processing and data compression.
Other examples of implementation include tools development for the Integrated Coastal Zone Management of Thermaikos (EYCOAST), the RIVERALERT river flood warning system, illegal quarries monitoring systems etc.
Vaggelis Moisis (www.thepresident.gr, in greek)