Sirius is now in orbit. The "Space Institute for Researches on Innovative Uses of Satellites" is born of a unique public, academic and industrial partnership between EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, the most significant private actors of the space sector in Europe, the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES), and two academic excellence establishments. Lucien Rapp, Professor at Toulouse 1 Capitole University, will provide scientific leadership for SIRIUS, alongside Denis Lacoste, Director of Research at TBS. Under their aegis, a team of top-ranking international experts will carry out research work on the legal and managerial challenges currently posed by changes in the aerospace industry. Seldom explored until recently, these themes feature amongst the priorities for France and Europe, but also for the Midi-Pyrénées region, given the 12,000 employees which work there today - close to one quarter of the European space industry. Sirius: an initiative which took shape on Monday October 21, 2013 with the signing of the partnership agreement between its five co-creators.
Sirius Chair: public and private actors of the space sector are actively involved
The three partners associated with the creation of the Sirius Chair,Astrium, CNES, and Thales Alenia Space, have actively participated in the creation of a unique research space. Their common interest for the creation of a chair dedicated to the legal and managerial challenges of aerospace activities is an echo of the leading role played by these major industrial actors on a European scale. The Sirius Chair will also strengthen the expertise of Aerospace Valley, a Toulouse-based business cluster of international caliber which leverages a dense network of 150 SMEs, engineering schools, universities, and research laboratories.
Eric of Saintignon, director of Astrium in Toulouse, underscores the benefits of having an international research group pertaining to the legal and economic issues of space activities: "How will the legal framework evolve for companies of the space sector on a worldwide scale? Why is innovation managed differently in the space sector than in other industrial sectors? It is on this type of issues that the best experts, lawyers and economists, gathered within the SIRIUS Chair, will be working. Astrium wanted to be a part of this, because our position as number two worldwide, and especially as the only company in the world to be present in all space activities, led us to face very different issues in a sector that is perpetually evolving".
Marc Pircher, Head of Toulouse Space Center, agrees with this idea: "We are always on the lookout for new applications, which often raise important questions. The example of observation and location satellites is enlightening: what indeed is our legal responsibility in case of poor integrity of space-based signals or data, or in terms of privacy? What are the legal issues with regards to insurances, individual freedom and image rights? This example is a good illustration of the issues which can come across our research and development".
"The creation of the SIRIUS chair is an excellent initiative which confirms that Space is a sector with a strong potential that has only been very partially tapped until now", Jean-Pierre Vialaneix, director of Thales Alenia Space in Toulouse explains. "The topics that will be addressed in depth by top-ranking researchers and PhD students will make it possible to compare expectations and constraints from institutions, territorial authorities, citizens and businesses to unearth new political, financial, legal or industrial models paving the way for future developments which will generate employment and economic benefits for France".
TBS and Toulouse I Capitole University, an exemplary partnership between Business School and University
Under the scientific leadership of Professor Lucien Rapp, research teams from UT1 Capitole and TBS will initiate studies on behalf of businesses belonging to the French aerospace industry. They will contribute to their broadcasting through the organization of specialized and dedicated symposiums, seminars and workshops. "This is why the Sirius Chair is an ambitious project, and a very symbolic one with regards to the partnerships implemented and the services provided, Lucien Rapp, professor at UT1 Capitole, scientific director for the Chair, and one of the best international legal experts in aerospace and telecommunications, stated. Denis Lacoste, scientific co-director of the Sirius Chair, indicated for his part that his research themes, "unexplored to date, will have a very strong added value from an industrial standpoint", and will benefit from the "proximity between research teams and the industrial and institutional environments linked to the aerospace industry."
The two scientific co-directors have both pointed out the significance of aerospace in Europe: "The Treaty of Lisbon has given Space a truly strategic dimension. This momentum continues today within the framework of the Horizon 2020 program, which has replaced the 7th European Research Framework Programme, making aerospace one of the 6 priority industrial sectors to support". A European priority which will echo favorably within the Sirius Chair, as evidenced by the ambitious research program announced by the partners. "We will strengthen our understanding of the legal and regulatory phenomena and mechanisms, as well as those pertaining to management or economy, which are directly linked to the specificities of the space sector. I am thinking in particular of market procedures, litigation, intellectual and industrial property, competition law applied to space activities, or even to personal data and privacy protection", Jacques Igalens, Director of TBS, specifies. These themes will build on the strength of a wide network of qualified researchers, in France and abroad.
An international scientific recognition
The Sirius Chair is based upon a skills network composed of doctoral students, post-doctoral students and experts, hailing from various geographic backgrounds. The Sirius Chair will place this skills network at the service of the European space industry. Astrium, CNES, and Thales Alenia Space will be involved with the organization of international symposia and specialized seminars in Toulouse, on topical subjects relating to the whole space industry.
Sustained support for research
A chair makes it possible to finance research activities (supervision of PhDs, studies, symposia) over time through the support of private or public actors. Created for a first period of 5 years, the Sirius Chair is financed by CNES, Astrium and Thales Alenia Space through the Toulouse Business School Foundation.
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