Horizon Europe grants €166m to boost EU space research

8 Sep 2023

Image: © Sono Creative/Stock.adobe.com

The selected research projects will work on innovations around Earth observation, secure telecommunications and more, in order to boost the EU’s competitiveness in the space sector.

The EU has awarded 54 projects a total of €166m in order to support the discovery of breakthrough innovations in various fields of space research.

The successful projects are being funded to work on various topics such as Earth observation, secure telecommunications and autonomous access to space. It is hoped that these projects will boost competitiveness and technological autonomy of the EU and lead to the development of new services.

Some of these projects are also focused on creating new applications for the EU’s existing satellite networks, such as Copernicus, Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service.

The European Commission said a significant number of new space companies are among the successful projects. Start-ups and SMEs represent around 25pc of the selected participants and will receive nearly 30pc of the allocated funding.

One of the chosen projects – Space USB – aims to develop new standards to connect modules of space objects in a universal way, with the goal of making it possible to build or repair satellites in space.

Another project – Soler – will study energetic solar eruptions from the sun in order to improve our understanding of how eruptive phenomena are linked, how they interact with each other and how they result in the acceleration of high energy particles.

The funding comes from Horizon Europe, the largest funding instrument for research and innovation in Europe and the successor of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The European Commission said space-related projects are expected to receive roughly €1.6bn throughout the lifetime of Horizon Europe, which will run until 2027.

This programme has a budget of more than €95bn to fund scientific endeavours across EU member states and other countries. Yesterday (7 September), the UK government secured a bespoke deal that will enable the country to rejoin Horizon Europe, following years of uncertainty and failed negotiations in the aftermath of Brexit.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic