Serco Europe, a provider of services to the space sector, has just launched a research incubator at its Italian Head Office near Rome.
Two colleagues in a space control centre looking at data on multiple computer screens.
The Red Lab is a research hub which aims to strengthen Serco’s relationships with universities and research institutes and encourage cooperation in space research and innovation.
Through the Red Lab, Serco will provide research opportunities in the field of Earth Observation and will host students and young scientists conducting their research at Serco’s sites. Two partnerships between Serco and Sapienza University and Tor Vergata University Space Science and Technology Master in Rome have recently been announced and more agreements will be concluded over the next few months.
As part of these partnerships, Sapienza University students have started working with Serco on snow measurements in central Italy by using Copernicus Sentinel-1 data and students from Tor Vergata University are focused on using satellite imagery to improve agriculture monitoring systems. Serco employees are also being invited to participate in the Red Lab activities in order to foster innovation in their own services and develop their scientific skills.
Raffaele Crapolicchio, Serco Red Lab Manager said about the project he initiated: “The Red Lab is an invaluable opportunity for young researchers and scientists to receive mentoring opportunities and gain industry experience and for Serco to proudly contribute to Earth Observation Research and Innovation.”
He added: “It is an honour for the Red Lab ambassadors and me to be at the forefront of space research together with prestigious universities’ students and young scientists. We have great IT infrastructure and processing capabilities, based on the ONDA DIAS Serco's cloud-based platform with access to geospatial data, to ensure ideal conditions for conducting research.”
Research calls will be released every year between March and May. The grant opportunities will take the form of curricular internships for university students or young scientists and Serco will also provide grants for PhD students for a duration of three years.
Roberto Mulatti, Serco Italy’s General Manager, said: “This is an exciting pilot project that will help strengthen Serco’s scientific capabilities in the field of Earth Observation and support the development of new applications based on satellite data to always improve our services”
Francesco Berrilli, Professor at the Tor Vergata University said about the initiative: “Industry–university collaborations are much needed, and I am very positive about this initiative which opens new avenues for interaction between students and the industry.”