Space research in Horizon 2020 

The EU invests in the development of a competitive and global European space industry by dedicating a part of the Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies programme to space research.

Results from space research have various economic and social purposes. In fact, many space-based applications and technologies help tackle societal challenges, and data collected from space can be exploited on all scientific, public and commercial levels. The EU’s position on space RDI for the next seven years is to “Prepare for the increasing role of space in the future and (to) reap the benefits of space now”.

Space research for Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies

The main objective of the Horizon 2020 space programme is to stimulate the innovativeness and competitiveness of this industrial sector and to harness research outcomes for a broader use, too. In line with the Commission’s communication on the 2013 Space Industrial Policy, the 2016-2017 Work Programme will focus on:

  • The existing two EU Space flagships of European Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS) and Earth Observation
  • The protection of space infrastructure and on the setting up of a Space Surveillance and Tracking System (SST) at European level
  • Maintaining the industry's competitiveness and its value-chain in the global market
  • Making Europe an attractive partner for international partnerships and ensuring research benefits citizens

Horizon 2020 calls for Space

The 2016-2017 Work Programme comprises five calls, totalling 22 topics on:

  • Earth Observation
  • Competitiveness of European Sapce Sector: Technology and Science
  • Applications in Satellite Navigation - Galileo - 2017

The budget for both years is approximately € 347 million.

Space research and the Societal Challenges

Horizon 2020 also puts the focus on space as a means to tackle societal challenges, such as climate change and natural disaster monitoring. Hence, space-related topics can be found in some calls under the  "Societal Challenge" part of Horizon 2020.

Space-enabled applications will be particularly important in dealing with the  Societal Challenge on Food Security. For example, the ‘Blue growth’ call ( H2020-BG-2016-2017) will require coordination with monitoring activities from the Earth Observation flagship programme.

Complementing Member States’ and ESA’s work

These activities will complement and be coordinated with Member States’ space research programmes and activities undertaken by the European Space Agency (ESA), and other various national stakeholders in the space field.