A session on Horizon 2020 success stories, held on the final day of European Space Week, highlighted some of the innovative projects that took advantage of EU H2020 funding to develop ideas leveraging Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus, or synergies between the programmes, to produce products for the market. The session included some valuable advice for anyone thinking about applying for funding.
Kicking off the session, GSA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa noted the importance of the downstream space sector in terms of job and value creation. “Innovation and the increasing volume of data and services available, are contributing to the sustainable growth of EU start-ups, SMEs and companies,” he said, adding that success stories from Horizon 2020 were proof that EU investment support is essential for innovation.?
Looking to the future, da Costa said that the GSA would continue its work with Horizon Europe, building on the successes of Horizon 2020. “The next period will bring additional investment and instruments to the downstream space segment,” he said.
The representative from the Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS) also noted that the downstream sector is an area of growth where many jobs are created, adding that tomorrow’s space applications would pave the way for a whole range of innovative applications for European industry. He also introduced the EUR 1-billion CASSINI (Competitive Space Start-ups for INnovatIon) initiative, which aims to expand the number of start-ups creating businesses based on innovative EU space technologies.
The voice of experience
A number of successful Horizon 2020 projects gave their advice to other projects considering applying for EU support. The need to put together a strong team was something that many of the successful projects advised. Isabel Botey from the DCS4COP project said that it is necessary to gather a strong team of experts, and have a strong vision and an easy to understand strategy. “Talk to customers. They are the best consultants for a successful business,” she said.
Ernst Pfeiffer from the Large European Antenna project (Project LEA) advised projects to apply for funding only if its fits exactly with their project’s specialisation. “Select your team carefully and involve your national contact point for advice and recommendations,” he said. Linda Moser from the EcoLaSS project advised applicants to have a strong vision that goes beyond tomorrow’s state of the art and meets societal challenges. She said that, as projects can last for a long time, it is important to ensure that the results will still be relevant by the project’s end.?
Raúl Arnau Prieto from Greenpatrol advised applicants to prepare their proposal well in advance and match their technical challenges to the scope of the call, while Pedro Russo from SpaceEU advised to build a consortium that truly cares about the challenge that the project addresses.
Winding up the session, MEP Cristophe Grudler noted that the projects presented during the session showed how dynamic the EU space sector is, and proved that EU investment is key to support competitiveness and innovation in the EU space industry.
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