The TREASURE project is a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN), funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. The MSCA aim to support the career development and training of researchers with a focus on innovation, and in this context TREASURE will provide specialist training in the strategic and emerging area of European GNSS. Collectively, GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) includes systems such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS, as well as the new, under development systems like China’s Beidou and most importantly Europe’s Galileo.

Galileo is what we call the European GNSS (EGNSS) and is to be fully operational around 2020. Combining these different satellite systems to operate together is a new development known as multi-GNSS, which is key to provide instantaneous, high accuracy positioning anywhere in the world. TREASURE therefore addresses the pressing need to undertake research and training in this field. GPS has been the frontrunner of all these systems and has dominated the market for two decades. EGNSS is aimed at changing this market unbalance and is the main focus of TREASURE.

TREASURE will provide gap-bridging innovative training through an exceptional and unique network of industrial, research and academic beneficiaries.  The consortium is comprised of leading European universities, research centres and companies, with associated partners representing academic and industrial stakeholders from Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong and the US.

GNSS have a multi-billion Euro world-wide industry – the EC has predicted an annual global market for GNSS of €300bn by 2020. Extracting the best possible real-time accuracy of multi-GNSS is key to boost the use of Galileo worldwide in support of a range of applications and, more importantly, to inspire new ones that can arise when this is fully developed.

An example of a remarkable new market is in the global Agri-Tech field. By 2025, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.2 billion people, a surge in growth that presents a unique challenge – global food production must increase by 70% to be able to feed the world. Precision agriculture is a GNSS reliant technology that addresses this challenge, giving farmers access to real-time precise data gathering and analysis, maximising food production, reducing costs and minimising environmental impact.

To demonstrate the TREASURE concept and its market prospects, the project will concentrate on research that will pave the way for the development of a service that can ensure the enhanced real-time high accuracy positioning that is desperately needed by markets such the Agri-Tech market and potentially many others that will become apparent as the project evolves and results are disseminated.

Although GNSS is routinely used in smartphones and in-car navigation with an accuracy of a few metres, it can deliver positioning accuracy of centimetres in real time if advanced techniques and error modelling are employed, especially if different systems (e.g. GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou) can be used in combination, in what is known as ‘multi-GNSS’.

TREASURE will provide coordinated multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary cutting-edge research that will address this through an integrated programme of academic and industrial training that will be provided to a cohort of 13 Early Stage Researchers (ESR).

The research in TREASURE will include introduction to real-life applications of high-accuracy GNSS positioning and relevant topics related to the different specific projects to be undertaken by the individual ESRs. The training will also include a comprehensive set of summer schools, workshops and secondments.

TREASURE brings together four top universities, one research institute and four leading European companies to provide the research that will result in the ultimate high-accuracy EGNSS solution. The project team will train and work alongside the 13 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows – the ESRs, who will be earmarked as high-flying candidates for future employment in the burgeoning GNSS industry or as specialist researchers.

The ESRs will build a prototype to support the different needs of a range of GNSS tools and test what commercial interest there is to bring the future service to market. High accuracy EGNSS based positioning has the potential to add value to services responding to existing markets as well as to break through into new markets and, more importantly, inspire new applications that will come as techniques are developed and proven.

The project will be undertaken at the right time to carry out this specialised training and start forming a critical mass capable of supporting and strengthening innovation capacity in this area in Europe.