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10th VAO Board Meeting – March 19, 2024

Members of the meeting in Innsbruck

On March 19, 2024, the 10th VAO board meeting took place in the city of Innsbruck. It was hosted in the premises of the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention which is in the same building as the famous ‘Goldene Dachl’. Remarkable highlights on the agenda were three new research institutions that were welcomed to the Virtual Alpine Observatory. With the two brand new VAO members GEORESEARCH Kitzsteinhorn and the BAdW "High Altitude Research Lab Vernagtferner", VAO has now gained two more important research partners in Austria in addition to the Sonnblick Observatory. As the newest associate member, the "Aragats Space Environmental Center" in Armenia will strengthen cooperation with Eastern European research institutions within the VAO.

Once again, the European Committee of the Regions, represented by Dr. Christian Gsodam, who has accompanied and supported the VAO for many years on the long road to the VAO EGTC, provided the VAO with expert advice on the subject of the "European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation", or EGTC for short.

It was also a great honor to have Secretary General Alenka Smerkolj in attendance, whom we would like to thank, together with her team from the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention, not only for her hospitality, but also for the lively discussions on shaping further cooperation. The Alpine Convention has been a VAO Observer since 2018.

Race Symposium - February 23, 2024

Members of the Race symposium

The VAO presented itself at the symposium on "Rapid adaptation in a changing climate and environment (RACE): coupled geo-, bio- and hydrosystems” on Feb. 23rd 2024. The program included talks by renomated professors of the TUM to explore future collaborations directed at joint observation, modelling, predictons and measures in coupled geo-, bio- and hydrosystems in the Alpine/Pre-Alpine environments. The Novelty of a combined proposal lies in the complete system approach, anticipating the required speed of change, and addressing the anticipation of nonlinear and non-stationary system transition. The VAO introduced its work to potential partners in this process.

Copernicus Proposal – October 31, 2023

Copernicus

The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport Affairs (BMDV) is striving to maximize the use of Copernicus data from the European Earth observation program for German users such as authorities, companies, science and the public. For this reason, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.) has approved funding for projects in the area of "Development and implementation preparation of Copernicus services for public use in Germany". The VAO partner TU München under the umbrella of Prof. Dr. Michael Krautblatter and Dr. Sabine Kraushaar submitted the SNOWCOP project in cooperation with the Weilheim Water Management Office. The project aims  to improve runoff modelling and flood forecasting by& recording and characterizing the snow cover using Copernicus data.

9th VAO board meeting in Munich (Bavaria) - October 26, 2023

Members of the VAO Board

On October 26, 2023, the 9th VAO board meeting took place in the rooms of the Technical University of Munich under the leadership of the new coordinator, Prof. Dr. Michael Krautblatter.
During the meeting, the "International Space Science Institute" and the "A. I. Alikhanyan National Science Laboratory Foundation", research institutions from Slovakia and Armenia, were accepted as associated partners in the research network. VAO also includes Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland.
In addition, the "International Space Science Institute (ISSI)" was welcomed as a new "observer". ISSI now supports VAO in this capacity alongside the Alpine Convention and the European Space Agency (ESA). We are very happy about the extension of our network and the future cooperation with new and old VAO members!

Networking at the INTERREG BAY-AUT Meeting in Salzburg – October 11, 2023

Logo of Interreg

On October 11, 2023, the INTERREG Programme BAY-AUT for the funding period 2014 – 2020 was concluded with a closing event. Selected projects of the programme were shown to give an overview of some of the funded topics. At the same time, information about the new funding period 2021 – 2027 was presented. We used this meeting to gain some insights into past and current INTERREG projects and cooperation opportunities as well as networking with fellow stakeholders.