Planets, stars and galaxies have always fascinated human imagination but only recent generations can boast about living in the Age of Space.
Despite their inherent romanticism, space endeavors have also an economic dimension to them and as such attract EUs attention: they have a potential to turn into world class scientific programmes and strengthen European leading role in this area, they can help to achieve the optimum balance between technological independence, strategic cooperation with international partners and reliance on market forces as well as maintain and increase the presence of innovative European companies on the market by placing them on a path of accelerated growth.
Yes, you heard it right: EU recognizes that innovative space research can be done also on the SMEs level!
“Your company may receive € 50,000 under Phase 1 and between 0.5 and € 2.5 million under Phase 2”
However, market barriers ARE plentiful:
- extremely intricate nature of space-related undertakings
- a need to be a part of a strong network of partners (research institutes, technical suppliers and services providers, investors etc.)
- long decision cycles, involving governments and other public bodies and/or huge companies.
To help you overcome them, a dedicated topic of Horizon 2020's SME Instrument has been introduced: SMEInst-04 aims at supporting SMEs involved in space research and development that show a significant growth potential and truly cosmic ambitions. The programme is structured in phases. Your company may receive € 50,000 for a feasibility study under Phase 1 and between € 0.5 and € 2.5 mln to bring the innovation to market under Phase 2. You may also receive free coaching and support in commercialization.
A kaleidoscope of possibilities
So far, a total of € 28.6 million has been invested in 77 space projects: 64 in Phase 1 and 28 in Phase 2. In 2017 alone there is € 12.6 million to be allocated.
What to do then? Make sure your idea covers any aspect of the Specific Programme for Space, is connected to the flagship programmes Galileo and Copernicus or deals with spinning-in (i.e. application of terrestrial solutions to challenges in space) and the development of certain critical technologies.
Not sure whether you’re thinking right? Here are some examples of space-related projects that received financing so far:
A) Space around our planet is slowly getting filled with orbital junk composed of old satellites and debris floating aimlessly. D-orbit is cleaning up space with D-3, a decommissioning device that removes broken or old satellites at the end of their mission. D3 is installed on the satellite prior to launch and can be remotely activated to drive it out of its orbit in a safe and controlled way. 1)
B) Vessels in the Artic need to know how fast ice fields move in order to be able to react quickly and avoid them. Iceye offers almost real-time imagery from space, using imaging radar technology installed on microsatellites that see through clouds and in the dark, unlike camera-based satellites. The technology has many concrete applications from forest fires, to floods, to industrial platforms to search and rescue operations. 2)
Still hesitating? Come to us!
The rocket launcher
In GAEU Consulting we are proud to be a part of the ecosystem that makes European innovations come to life. We handle projects in ICT, Life Science, Cleantech and Space Technologies with equal ease, assisting clients in all European countries.
By professional advisory services, we guide your company towards optimal sources of project financing. Our experts assess the competitiveness of the idea and, if needed, assist you in developing it into an eligible project proposal.
Now, would you like to be our next supernova?
Piotr Putaj PhD, Research and Innovation Funding Expert
GAEU Horizon 2020 Centre of Excellence