First EUSPA Horizon Europe funding calls worth 32.6 million euro open until 16 February 2022

 First EUSPA Horizon Europe funding calls worth 32.6 million euro open until 16 February 2022

The first EUSPA Horizon Europe calls are open for submissions with a deadline of 16 February 2022, with an overall budget of 32.6 million euro for the development of innovative space downstream applications.

Horizon Europe Space Calls

Horizon Europe is the EU programme to stimulate the market and support the creation of commercial solutions for the EU space downstream sector. Space is placed under pillar II of Horizon Europe, where specifically Cluster 4 of the Work Programme focuses on Digital, Industry, and Space. The European Union Agency for the Space Programme EUSPA plays an important role in these calls.

The first Horizon Europe Call by EUSPA is structured in the following 3 topics:

EGNSS and Copernicus applications in support of the European Green Deal


With a budget of 14 million EUR, this area aims at developing innovative EGNSS and Copernicus-based solutions that contribute to the implementation of the European Green Deal. These solutions will play a major role in the transformation of the EU economy into a climate-neutral economy by 2050, as well as support environmental protection, maintaining biodiversity, etc. Proposals submitted in this topic should focus on the development of innovative EGNSS and Copernicus applications that support the Green Deal objectives and its related policies, for example, solutions that are:

  • increasing the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050,
  • supplying clean, affordable and secure energy,
  • mitigating natural hazards,
  • accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility,
  • building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way,
  • preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity
  • contributing to the “Farm to Fork” strategy and the creation of a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system.

EGNSS applications for safety and crisis management


With a budget of 9.3 million EUR, this area looks to roll out innovative EGNSS-based solutions contributing to a resilient and more stable Europe that protects citizens. The proposals should support the implementation of EU policy priorities relating to the safety of citizens, improved disaster risk management, better security and resilience of infrastructure and vital societal functions, cybersecurity, and crisis management. Proposals submitted in this topic should complement the products delivered by the Emergency Management and Security Services of Copernicus and raise awareness on the benefits of using EGNSS and Copernicus for emergency disaster risk management, and EGNSS for timing and synchronisation for critical infrastructures.

EGNSS applications for the digital age


With a budget of 9.3 million EUR, this area will accelerate the adoption of EGNSS in mass and professional markets. Moreover, it will develop applications that will make the best use of EGNSS innovative features such as better multipath resistance, authentication, etc. Applications addressing this topic should maximise public benefits by supporting the development of EGNSS applications that will address major societal challenges in focus areas such as health, citizen safety and security, mobility, and the sharing economy. EGNSS solutions can be submitted in the following application areas (but not limited to):

  • Internet of Things
  • Mobile solutions
  • mHealth-solutions for ‘silver economy’
  • robotics
  • Cybersecurity- solutions that are stimulating privacy, security of location data, exploiting synergies with quantum
  • Sharing economy- solutions for logistics, mobility services, goods and food
  • Sports and fitness – smart wearables.

Important information

The use of other space components such as Copernicus is highly encouraged in all topics. In addition, the solutions may integrate other non-space technologies like IoT, big data, artificial intelligence, drones, 5G, augmented/mixed reality, etc.

All three topics are ”Innovation Actions” directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes, or services. For this purpose, they may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation, and market replication.

The funding rate of Innovation Actions is 70% except for non-profit legal entities, where a rate of 100% applies.

In addition, a Business Plan and evidence of user engagement are compulsory for all three topics and must be submitted as part of the proposal.

The Call and topics description and the application templates will soon be available on the EU’s Funding & tender opportunities portal.

Cassini prizes and upstream

On top of the €80 million that are part of the EUSPA calls for 2021 and 2022, the Work Programme further foresees €18 million for other opportunities in terms of prizes, hackathons, mentoring, and upstream applications.

CASSINI is the European Commission’s new initiative to support innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs in the space industry, including New Space, during 2021-2027. The initiative is open to all areas of the EU Space Programme, and covers both upstream (e.g. nanosats, launchers, etc.) and downstream (i.e. products/ services enabled by space data). In particular, the Work Programme 2021-2022 includes the EIC Horizon and CASSINI Prize for digital space applications and the EIC Horizon and CASSINI Prize for space technology products and services, for more than €8 million in total.

Additional €2.4 million are dedicated to hackathons and mentoring under the CASSINI umbrella, with the goal of further developing prototypes into viable business propositions and providing training opportunities on how to access and use data from Copernicus and EGNOS/Galileo with data analytics tools and artificial intelligence.

Finally, €5 million are intended to fund innovation activities for improved EGNSS operations and service provision: as mentioned in the Work Programme, “actions under this area will cover the development and use of service demonstrators to consolidate the future EGNSS services, the optimization of the operation schemes using advanced dynamic strategies […] for Galileo constellation / system management for the efficient and continuous provision of the full portfolio of Services in EGNOS and in Galileo, and others”. 

Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus in other non-space calls

The importance of EGNSS and Copernicus services and data is acknowledged in the Horizon Europe Strategic plan for 2021-24, which defines the key strategic orientations for the first four years of Horizon Europe. The Strategic Plan strongly encourages the use of Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus services and data in Horizon Europe. 

On top of the nine topics managed directly by EUSPA, the use of EGNSS and Copernicus is widely anchored in concrete calls and topics within the Work Programme for 2021-2022, with over 100 non-space topics recommending or requiring the use of Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus. 

The focus of the topics ranges from health to cultural heritage, from climate change and resilience to fight against criminal activities, from mobility to big data; all areas that can strongly benefit from the space capabilities offered by EGNSS and Copernicus. A list of examples can be found here, while further details can be found in the Funding & tender opportunities portal.

Consultation on Research & Innovation Priorities for Space Downstream

With the present Research and Innovation (R&I) consultation, EUSPA aims at receiving inputs on the needs and priorities for downstream R&I related to the EU Space programme components: EGNSS (Galileo, EGNOS), Copernicus and EU GOVSATCOM, in particular information on the major technological and application trends and challenges for the next 5-10 years. This consultation builds on the “European GNSS downstream Research & Innovation, priorities and consultation results” gathering updates on GNSS and other EU Space Programme components downstream. 

More information about these calls can be found on the Groundstation.Space and Netherlands Space Office Open Calls website and at EUSPA.

Remco Timmermans

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