Influenced by strong technological, societal and political forces, the geospatial industry is one of the fastest emerging technology sectors at the global level. There is an evident gap in geospatial research and innovation, as well as market performance, between the “advanced countries” and “widening countries” in Europe. The reasons are in particular due to rapid technological developments, limited national investments in research and innovation, and, consequently, a lack of human capacities and research infrastructure in the widening countries.
The SLICE3D (Slovenian Centre of Excellence on 3D geodata) one-year project, financed in the framework of the widening actions under the Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation part of Horizon 2020, is dedicated to the preparation of a scientific and innovation strategy together with the business plan for the realization of the Centre of Excellence. The main idea of the centre is to strengthen the research and innovation capacities of Slovenia in the fields of geo-data acquisition and 3D/4D geo-data modelling, consequently also in the other fields related to geo-data and spatial decisions.
The ambition is to create a Centre of Excellence, which will achieve strong medium and long term scientific presence at the European and at the wider international level. The focus of SLICE3D will be to realize excellence through education programs and R&I projects using cutting edge geospatial technologies, resulting in tangible results which are supplied to market players. The Centre will thus be an important technology bridge for the industrial use of research results. Beside the scientific goals, the societal and economic contributions are emphasized. For this purpose, in synergy to the scientific agenda, a clear innovation path is foreseen. These will ensure scientific excellence and a strong positioning of Slovenia within the aforementioned domains.
The SLICE3D partnership consists of leading European scientific institutions in the geospatial field (Fondazione Bruno Kessler – FBK from Italy, KU Leuven from Belgium and University of Twente – UT from The Netherlands), a geo-business SME (Valorisation from the Netherlands) and a national mapping agency (swisstopo from Switzerland), which join and share their expertise and know-how with partner institutions in Slovenia (University of Ljubljana – UL, Surveying and Mapping Authority – MOP-GURS, and the IT-company XLAB) for a long-term joint venture.