Opportunities in Horizon Europe for Govsatcom, Quantum and AI

 Opportunities in Horizon Europe for Govsatcom, Quantum and AI

Join the webinar on opportunities in Horizon Europe for Govsatcom, Quantum Technologies and AI, organised with the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), this Monday 25 October 2021!

Funding calls for the space sector

In the webinar we will highlight a selection of Horizon Europe calls that will benefit from Govsatcom, Quantum Technologies and Artificial Intelligence data as part of the solution. These and other selected space calls in Horizon Europe have been collected in the new Open Calls Portal on this website, which is freely accessible to anyone interested.

The funding calls that are collected in the portal include the new Horizon Europe calls, but also calls from other sources, like the European Development Fund (EDF) and Digital Europe. Initially, the calls in the portal cover potential space applications in sectors like health, civil security, climate, energy, mobility, and bioeconomy, with more sectors being added over time.

The open calls portal offers great opportunities for a wide variety of space organisations, including those specialising in space, Earth observation, remote sensing, and satellite navigation technology and applications.

Prepare Yourself: Join our information webinars!

This October and November the Netherlands Space Office and dotSPACE organise a new series of webinars, in which we will highlight some of the best calls for the Dutch and European space sector. Please join these webinars to learn more about these great (new) business opportunities, to find potential consortium partners and find out about the dotSPACE services for writing successful proposals!

Next webinar: 25 October 2021

The next of these webinars will be on Monday 25 October 2021, from 16:00 to 17:00 CET.

This webinar will focus on the opportunities of Govsatcom, Quantum Technologies and AI. We will specifically zoom in on collaboration opportunities between Dutch and European space organisations.


The European Union Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) programme aims at providing secure and cost-efficient communications capabilities to security and safety critical missions and operations managed by the European Union and its Member States, including national security actors and EU Agencies and institutions.

Supporting the EU Space Policy 

GOVSATCOM is intended to be a user-centered programme with a strong security dimension. It is one of the elements of the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy of June 2016. The Programme will contribute to the EU’s response to specific threats, provide support to the EU Maritime Strategy and the EU Arctic Policy. 

Three main use cases have been identified:

  • Crisis management, which may include civilian and military by Common Security and Defence missions and operations, natural and man-made disasters, humanitarian crisis, and maritime emergencies;
  • Surveillance, such as border and maritime surveillance, or surveillance of illegal trafficking;
  • Key infrastructures, including EU space infrastructures such as Galileo and EGNOS.

The implementation of the GOVSATCOM component of the EU Space Programme started in 2021, under the new Space Programme Regulation, while the GOVSATCOM Preparatory Action, initiated by the European Parliament started already in 2019.


In a highly fragmented landscape, with telecommunications services being offered by both nationally owned and commercial satellite infrastructures, a mismatch currently exists between governmental satellite communications (SatCom) needs and available solutions. As a result, key missions, operations and infrastructures of the Union and its Member States are exposed to security risks.

Access to secure SatCom services is key in case of network interruptions (e.g. in case of natural or man-made disasters), unavailability (e.g. in maritime areas or in the Arctic region), humanitarian missions in hostile territories and operations of critical infrastructure.

Secure satellite communications that can be timely and efficiently deployed are critical for governmental security actors such as police, border guards, firefighters, civilian and military crisis forces. SatCom services can assist in securely operating response missions, which may not be able to rely on the traditional networks or may be subject to cyber threats.

To address existing challenges and ensure an appropriate level of European non-dependence on third parties’ technology, the European Council on its 19-20 December 2013 meeting welcomed the preparations for the next generation of Governmental Satellite Communication (GOVSATCOM) through close cooperation between the Member States, the European Commission and the European Space Agency.

More on Govsatcom…

Quantum Technology in Space

Classical communication and computing methods in future communication networks present intrinsic limitations in software, distributed computing, big data, and security. These limits are inherently present in most modern communication technology. To overcome these limits, quantum computing and communications may provide solutions. Future quantum communication networks will be integrated with classical communications to realize a full classical-quantum network infrastructure.

Satellite and space networks have also been used to overcome the technological limitations of long-distance quantum communications. In fact, quantum repeaters are necessary for quantum communications and entanglement distribution among nodes farther than 100 km. The research community has started the design and testing of satellite-based quantum repeaters, using nanosatellites to achieve a cost-effective and efficient solution.

More on Quantum Technology in space…

Artificial Intelligence in Space

When we think of robots, we tend to personify these non-human aids and give them human-like features. But even though a lot of research has gone into developing these humanoid machines, we are still a long way from a world where they could take over, or even mimic the actions of a person.

Robots are machines that have inbuilt artificial intelligence. They are used in all kinds of situations, especially where they can alleviate strenuous tasks or complete missions that are too dangerous for a human to undertake.

The term ‘artificial intelligence (AI)’ comprises all techniques that enable computers to mimic intelligence, for example, computers that analyse data or the systems embedded in an autonomous vehicle. Usually, artificially intelligent systems are taught by humans — a process that involves writing an awful lot of complex computer code.

But artificial intelligence can also be achieved through machine learning (ML), which teaches machines to learn for themselves. ML is a way of ‘training’ a relatively simple algorithm to become more complex. Huge amounts of data are fed into the algorithm, which adjusts and improves itself over time. In ML, machines process information in a similar way to humans by developing artificial neural networks. This type of artificial intelligence has taken major leaps forward since the dawn of the internet.

Deep learning (DL) is a specialised technique within ML, whereby the machine utilises multi-layered artificial neural networks to train itself on complex tasks like image recognition. This can happen via supervised learning (e.g. feed the system Moon and Earth pictures until it can successfully identify both types) or unsupervised learning, where the network finds structure by itself. Good examples of deep learning are online translation services, image libraries and navigation systems for self-driving cars or spacecraft.

More on AI in space…

Remco Timmermans

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