NovaUCD joins ESA consortium to support Irish space start-ups

16 Mar 2021

UCD's Tom Flanagan. Image: Nick Bradshaw, Fotonic

The ESA-funded programme is led by UCC’s Tyndall National Institute and supports space-tech start-ups at its five locations in Ireland.

NovaUCD, the start-up centre based at University College Dublin’s Belfield campus, has joined the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland consortium to help grow budding start-ups in the space industry.

The consortium is led by UCC’s Tyndall National Institute with funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Enterprise Ireland.

It supports start-ups developing technology for the space sector as well as in agriculture, medtech and data analytics.

NovaUCD will now become one of the five business incubation centres in Ireland operating under the consortium. The others are Tyndall, the MaREI research centre, and centres at Maynooth University and Athlone Institute of Technology. There are 22 such centres around Europe.

Start-ups that are eligible will be able to join the ESA Space Solutions Centre and locate at NovaUCD to build their technology, as well as receive €50,000 in funding to help get business off the ground.

“This positive development will help to increase awareness of the supports that companies can access through our various initiatives,” Peter Finnegan, ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland manager, said.

Tom Flanagan, UCD’s director of enterprise and commercialisation, added that the programmes at NovaUCD will facilitate collaboration and exchange among start-ups in the space and non-space sectors alike.

“At NovaUCD we recently expanded our capacity to house start-ups by over 50pc and we plan to dedicate a portion of this capacity and our company development programmes to support a cluster of space-active and related companies to achieve their global ambitions,” Flanagan said.

NovaUCD has housed several start-ups working in space technology or related fields, such as OCE Technology and ProvEye.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Damien English, TD, said that ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland has supported more than 20 new companies in the country to date.

“It is important that we continue to back the talent of the people and the organisations in this sector so that they can continue to make an impact in their respective fields of excellence,” English said.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin