New AGEMERA project kicks off in Oulu

Between 4-7 October 2022, the GEONARDO team joined the kick-off meeting of the recently launched AGEMERA at the University of Oulu in Finland. The meeting was the foundation for our future collaboration within the AGEMERA consortium, providing an overview of both the project's objectives and the ways to reach them. 

A new Horizon Europe project was launched towards the end of summer: AGEMERA (Agile Exploration and Geo-modelling for European Critical Raw Materials). This 3-year project aims to unlock Europe's Critical Raw Material (CRM) potential by using a combination of extensive geophysical surveys, innovative and non-invasive methods and technologies of mineral exploration, and educational activities and courses. AGEMERA will identify new areas that could be explored for raw materials - in geographical areas that have been neglected or not considered until now, will assess the general public opinion's with regard to mining, and will increase public awareness of the importance CRM have in our transition to a green economy.

Reuniting 20 partners from 11 different countries, from academia and research institutions to mining companies and SMEs, AGEMERA is an ambitious project: in terms of impact, it aims to reach more than 5 million people by 2030. And given the enthusiasm, knowledge, and collaborative spirit we've witnessed so far, we are sure that we will fulfill this mission. 

Nowhere was this good energy and team spirit more obvious than in our first meeting with the project's consortium, between 4-7 October 2022, in Oulu, Finland. The hosts' (University of Oulu, the project's coordinators) warm welcome more than made up for the not-so-friendly Finnish weather and we truly felt at home among our colleagues, getting to know each other, sharing knowledge, and discussing future milestones and tasks for a better coordination. 

The kick-off event started with an opening speech from director of the Kerttu Saalasti Institute, Matti Muhos, and a short introduction to the project and its goals by the Project Leader, Jari Joutsenvaara. 

We then listened to a brief presentation of AGEMERA's role in the "big picture": how do the project's goals align with the goals of the EU? How will the project's results contribute to the green and digital transition? These questions were answered by Emma Pirilä, (Director of the Research and project services at the University of Oulu), Tuija Mononen (the director of the Research Centre for Socially and Environmentally Responsible Mining, University of Eastern Finland) and Georgios Barakos (University lecturer at Curtin University, Australia). This compelling topic was followed by a short presentation of each of the AGEMERA partners, their expertise, and their specific tasks in the project. From general to specific, we then took a deep dive into the focus of each of the project's Work Package.

Geonardo came right after lunch - as we are the leaders of the Dissemination, Communication and Collaboration - Work Package 5 - we talked about our strategy, our next big tasks (the Communication and Dissemination Plan for one, which provides an in-depth overview of our work, from target audiences and social media channels, to the visual identity and key contacts), and the various opportunities for joint dissemination. Ömer Ceylan and Attila Némethy conducted this presentation and answered the questions from the consortium members. 

On the second day of the Kick-Off, the team was grateful to receive expert advice from our Policy Officer, Konstantinos Amolochitis, who walked us through the new requirements of Horizon Europe and what is expected from the project in regards of its outcomes and impact. The participants also enjoyed a presentation of the Scientific Advisory Board (Violetta Sokoła-SzewiołaRüdiger GieseMarja Jokinen, Juho RiskuSteve Beresford) and were introduced to the Ethical Advisor, Riitta Keiski

As co-creation and collaboration is at the core of European research objectives, there was also a dedicated time discussing potential partnerships and synergies with sister projects and related initiatives, such as GoldenEye, SEMACRET, EIS, and VECTOR

The last day of the event, on October 7, the AGEMERA Studia Generalia took place, a session that was open to the public, in which partners of AGEMERA (Muon Solutions, OPT/NET, RADAI, and LITHICA) presented the novel technologies that will be deployed in the project and their benefits.

But as the saying goes, all work and no play makes one dull! Which is why, during the three days of the Kick-off meeting, partners took the opportunity to network over coffees, discuss their latest achievements, get acquainted with each other's work and interests, and simply build valuable connections that will help make the project a success. We are very thankful to Minna Kilpeläinen for capturing these moments on camera and we cannot wait to roll up our sleeves and start working for a resilient Europe!