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Capacity Building in Earth observation for national water quality assessment – CORNELIA


As part of the UK-Ukraine TWINNING Initiative for research and innovation, a cooperation agreement was signed between the University of Stirling (Scotland, UK) and Odessa State Environmental University (OSENU). One of the steps in its practical implementation is the joint research project ‘Capacity Building in Earth observation for national water quality assessment’ – CORNELIA (03.05.2023-31.12.2023), aimed at remote monitoring of water quality during the war in Ukraine by means of satellite technologies, as well as advanced training on improvement and protection of water quality in the post-war period.


According to a preliminary assessment by the United Nations Environment Program and the research performed by an international group of scientists, including OSENU scientists, the war caused incalculable damage to water pumping stations and treatment facilities and led to the pollution of ground and surface water. Water quality is critical to human health, but sampling water bodies during military conflicts is challenging. The availability of free, consistent and long-term Earth observation data enables remote monitoring of water systems. The project objective is to strengthen the potential of researchers at Odessa State Environmental University to use the capabilities of new products for working with satellite data in national monitoring tasks. The grant to support joint research, which is provided by UK universities, will help strengthen the research potential of Ukrainian universities, help prevent the outflow of academic talents and strengthen the role of Ukrainian universities in post-war reconstruction.



The summer school ‘Estimation of chlorophyll in inland and coastal waters using observations from Copernicus Sentinel-2 MSI’ for students, post-graduates and academic staff of Odessa State Environmental University, which took place from 8 to 12 May 2023 in Sulina (Romania), was the first event under the CORNELIA project. The school was dedicated to the processing of satellite data and included field studies of the Danube Delta, as well as working with specialised software (SNAP – SentiNel Applications Platform) and open databases (SOAH – Sentinel Open Access Hub) for water quality assessment, in particular, measurement of the amount of phytoplankton in Danube lakes.



The second summer school for OSENU academic staff, students and young scientists was held from 6 to 18 August 2023 at the premises of the University of Stirling, Scotland (UK). The training included lectures and practical sessions led by experts from the University of Stirling, who conduct cutting-edge research into remote water quality monitoring by means of satellites, as well as field research on Loch Lomond and laboratory work.



The visit of Ukrainian academics was covered on 15 August 2023 by Scottish television in the evening news, at the official website and in the social networks of the University of Stirling.