Satellites are ideally suited for keeping an 'eye on our Earth'. From satellite data, important information can be extracted about the state of the Earth, from climate change to deforestation, and from air quality to volcanic eruptions. Spacecraft can also collect a great deal of information about other planets in our solar system.
Scientists in Earth and environmental sciences and planetary research can make an important contribution to modeling and analyzing the data coming from satellite sensors in order to extract those important new insights about the planet. But satellite data also helps scientists to actually ‘see’ what is happening on the planet and to predict how those processes will continue in the future. Among other things, this is very important for a proper 'care for the Earth'. In the Dutch space policy we therefore want to support researchers at Dutch universities in making better use of space infrastructure. This is an important goal of Dutch space policy: to improve the benefits of space for science, society and the economy. On behalf of the Ministry of OCW, NWO and NSO therefore jointly realize the GO program:
Through the programme Use of space infrastructure for Earth observation and planetary research (GO), we aim to support researchers making use of (international) research facilities in space. This programme is realised jointly by NSO and NWO. The GO programme was previously called User Support for Space Research.
Various national and international space organisations and institutes have launched and maintain an advanced and diverse infrastructure in space. This space infrastructure and the data and signals it produces are available to scientific (and other) users. In the context of the space policy of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), NWO in collaboration with NSO wants to encourage the use of this infrastructure by Dutch researchers for the benefit of science and society. Therefore, the aim of the GO programme is:
Supporting researchers who work in the Netherlands in making substantial use of infrastructure in space for the purpose of high-quality scientific research.
Within this objective, the GO programme is open for scientific research in the area of two themes: Earth observation and planets (and other objects) within our solar system. These themes are scientific priorities under the current Dutch space policy.
In 2021 the Ministry of OCW decided to continue the financial support for the GO programme, following the positive outcome of an evaluation by an external committee. For 2020-2022 the budget amounts to 7.2 million euros, which will be divided over two subsidy rounds.
General information about the GO programme on the website of NWO can be found here.