ESA Funding Opportunity: Space in Response to Humanitarian Crises

 ESA Funding Opportunity: Space in Response to Humanitarian Crises

Lviv, Ukraine – March 6, 2022: Refugees near railway station of Lviv waiting for the train to Poland.

Funding Opportunity

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the end of 2020, 82.4 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced due to persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, or events seriously disturbing public order, resulting in multiple humanitarian crises.

ESA is currently in discussions with leading humanitarian organisations including the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) to understand their needs.

Space holds remarkable potential to support responses to humanitarian crises – satellites can operate worldwide, including areas with protracted conflict or political instability, to provide synoptic data and unbiased information as well as deliver basic services to vulnerable communities. 

ESA is launching this funding opportunity to deliver operational services that support efforts in response to humanitarian crises. ESA will support Feasibility Studies and Demonstration Projects, which use space assets or space data like remote sensing, global navigation satellite systems, satellite communication or weather satellites.

Refugees leaving Ukraine into Poland (image: Wikimedia)

Relevant Topics

ESA would like to see proposals that focus on any of the following key pillars: 

  1. Supporting the physical, emotional, psychological, social, or economic well-being of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). 
  2. Supporting organisations to forecast, respond to, and manage humanitarian crises. 
  3. Supporting communities hosting displaced people to adapt and respond to the challenges associated with migrant flows
  4. To support post-conflict recovery efforts

About the Opportunity

ESA will support Feasibility Studies and Demonstration Projects under this ‘Announcement of Opportunities’:

Feasibility Studies will allow successful teams to analyse, design and plan their intended service. Studies should last for 6 months and must include a proof of concept. 

Demonstration Projects will allow successful teams to put their intended service into practice. Teams will test their service in the market by running a pilot with significant users and, by the end of the project, the service should be operational. Projects should last for 9 months and, due to the pressing nature of this initiative, the service must be rolled out for trial by month 5 of the project.


Opening Date: 25 April 2022

Closing Date: 31 October 2022

ESA is aiming to select studies and projects that can be implemented as quickly as possible. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to submit an outline proposal by 20 May 2022. However, outline proposals submitted after this date will still be reviewed.

Value of Space  in Humanitarian Crises

Satellite Communications (SatCom): 

  • Enable secure connection in remote places without land-based communication channels.
  • Operate as back-up for land-based communications systems
  • Enable machine-to-machine communication in remote areas

Applicants should make it clear in their proposal if they intend to use secure satellite telecommunications. 

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO): 

  • Provides imagery enabling mapping, risk detection and situational awareness 
  • Allows remote monitoring of people, objects, and surrounding environments. 

Satellite Navigation (SatNav):

  • Provides accurate Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) 
  • Allows tracking and tracing of vehicles, people, and resources. 
  • Allows navigation of autonomous vehicles

Intended services can integrate space-based technologies with non-space technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and internet of things (IoT). 

More information and how to apply

You can find all information about how to apply, including proposal templates, at the ESA Space Solutions website for this opportunity

More Open Calls

At Groundstation.Space we always have an updated list of available funding for space data projects in Europe. Have a look at our Open Calls section for the list.

Space for Ukraine

Groundstation.Space supports the people of Ukraine by publishing useful background information about the use of space assets for information about the war, the prosecution of war crimes and support of humanitarian crises. See our special ‘Space for Ukraine’ pages here.

Groundstation #StandWithUkraine

Remco Timmermans

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