European Research and Innovation Days

European Research and Innovation Days is the European Commission’s annual flagship Research and Innovation event, bringing together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and the public to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond.

The event will take place online on 23 and 24 June 2021, allowing everyone to get involved from anywhere.

This year marks the start of Horizon Europe, our most ambitious EU research and innovation programme ever and will be a decisive moment to strengthen our European Research Area. Cooperation in research and innovation is essential in our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and will pave the way to a greener and more digital future. The European Research and Innovation Days represent a unique opportunity to add your voice to the conversation.

The event is all about collaboration: bringing together individuals and experts from all areas to build connections and ignite a brighter future.

Astronet webinar 11 June 2021 – Defining a science vision and infrastructure roadmap for Europe

Astronet webinar 11 June 2021 – Defining a science vision and infrastructure roadmap for Europe

As a next step in developing a science vision, Astronet is holding an open webinar to present the current status and seek further advice from the European astronomical community via the EAS.  The webinar will include an overview of the process from the chair of the Astronet Board, with presentations from the panels who have been working on draft sections, and plenty of time for questions.

The aim is for further consultation in the next few weeks, followed by production of the report to Astronet before the end of 2021.

Astronet is a consortium of European research funding bodies and national representatives purposed with developing a new science vision and roadmap, taking forward the pioneering and influential reports last updated around 2015.  It includes as associates and observers ESA, ESO and the SKA and has close links to APPEC and the EAS.

The webinar is hosted by the EAS and will take place on 11 June, from 8h00 to 13h30 UTC (ie 9h-14:30h UK, 10h-15h30 CEST). 

Registration is open now and you can complete this here



A joint statement was issued on 18.05.2021 by the EIC Advisory Board and the ERC Scientific Council, which can be found on the European Research Council website.

“The societal benefits of successful research and innovation are so high that public investment in this sector remains essential for the future of our society. At the European level, this was recognised in 2007 with the establishment of the European Research Council (ERC) to fund the highest quality curiosity-driven research, and in 2021 with the founding of the European Innovation Council (EIC) to support ground-breaking innovations. Both institutions aim to nurture the best talent in research and in innovation. Their presence under the same framework programme, Horizon Europe, recognises that many ERC researchers are also innovators and many EIC innovators also are researchers.”

Action Plan on Synergies between civil, defense and space industries

Action Plan on Synergies between civil, defense and space industries

On 13 April, the ITRE had a presentation by the Commission on the Action Plan on Synergies between civil, defense and space industries, which aims to further enhance and shape these interfaces to the maximum extent.

During the ITRE committee meeting, the Commission presented the action plan that is built upon three overall objectives:

  • enhancing complementarity between relevant EU programmes (synergies)
  • promoting EU funding for research and development on defense and space for the economy at large
  • facilitating the use of civil industry research achievements and civil-driven innovation in European defense cooperation projects

To this end, the Commission proposes the launch of three flagship projects as possible game-changers:

  • EU drone technologies
  • EU space-based global secure communications system
  • Space Traffic Management

Action Plan

More information

2 billion Galileo-enabled smartphones sold until today

2 billion Galileo-enabled smartphones sold until today

The Galileo programme has reached an important milestone, with an estimated 2 billion Galileo-enabled smartphones sold until today. The first Galileo-enabled smartphone hits the market in 2016 and since then has expanded rapidly.

GSA Guerric Pont, Acting Head of Galileo Services Department said: “2 billion smartphones sold is a remarkable achievement, and bears testimony to the fact that the market understands and appreciates the added value that Galileo brings in terms of availability, robustness and reliability’’.

More information here

Training Webinars

Training Webinars

1. How to prepare a successful proposal in Horizon Europe (Webinar on 24 March 2021): Link: Recorded Session

2. A successful proposal for Horizon Europe: Scientific-technical excellence is key, but don’t forget the other aspects (Webinar on 21 April 2021): Registration here  This webinar is a continuation of the session on “How to prepare a successful proposal in Horizon Europe”, held on the 24th March 2021. It provides additional details on the preparation of a proposal for Horizon Europe, like open science, gender dimension or dissemination, exploitation and communication aspects.

3. Other specialised webinars for participants will be announced in the news section of the F&T Portal

Establishing the space programme of the Union and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme

Establishing the space programme of the Union and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme

RECOMMENDATION FOR SECOND READING on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Union Space Programme and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme and repealing Regulations (EU)

Date appointed
Massimiliano Salini


More information here

Introducing ESA Agenda 2025

Introducing ESA Agenda 2025

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher has worked with the Member States to define new priorities and goals for ESA for the coming years.

ESA Agenda 2025 outlines the challenges ahead but also for the longer term in maintaining and growing Europe’s role in the space economy.

Main priorities:    

  • Strengthen ESA – EU relations  
  • Boost commercialization for a green and digital Europe  
  • Strengthen space for safety and security  
  • Address programme challenges  Complete the ESA transformation

More information here

European Ways Forward for Space Traffic Management

European Ways Forward for Space Traffic Management

SPACEWAYS intends to create a common understanding of the guidelines and standards necessary to develop a Space Traffic Management concept for the European Union.  The 18-month program aims to analyse the policy, legal and economic context of STM.

SPACEWAYS intends to provide guidelines to support European policy making thereupon.

SPACEWAYS will identify stakeholders and users’ needs by associating them with the project through a networking platform.

Moreover, specific attention will be devoted to mega constellation management, on-orbit operations or launch and re-entry future  activities.

More information here

Conference on the future of Europe – campaign materials

Conference on the future of Europe – campaign materials

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a chance for all Europeans to make their voices heard. Use the recommended tools and get involved in shaping the EU’s future.

The EU is looking for your ideas on what Europe’s future should look like as part of its Conference on the Future of Europe initiative.

More information here

European Health and Digital Executive Agency

The European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) manages European programmes and initiatives on behalf of the European Commission, and it works closely together with its parent Directorate-Generals such as DG CNECT, DEFIS, GROW, RTD.

The HaDEA addresses the European Commission’s ambition to help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe at its heart, which will be greener, more digital, more resilient and better fit for the current and forthcoming challenges.

The expected total budget managed by the HaDEA will amount to over €20 billion over the 7 years period of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework.

More information here

First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council ERC Kicks off Horizon Europe

First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council ERC Kicks off Horizon Europe

The EU institutions reached a political agreement on Horizon Europe on 11 December 2020 and set the budget for Horizon Europe at €95.5 billion in current prices. On this basis, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU proceed towards the adoption of the legal acts. The work programme for the European Research Council was adopted on 22 February 2021. For additional information: Click Here

European Research Council approved a €1.9 billion financing package to allow some 1,000 top researchers to pursue frontier research.

The funding will support jobs for an estimated 6,860 postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and other research staff employed in ERC-funded teams.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Research, Innovation, Culture, Education and Youth highlighted the importance of the adopted Work Programme as that will support top researchers and their teams to pursue frontier research at different stages of their careers.  Top researchers considered as the future of European research.

Additionally, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council welcomed the adopted Work Programme as an important tool to back Europe’s researchers and their most innovative ideas. Thanks to the European Commission’s commitment, and the outstanding dedication of the Executive Agency staff the first call for proposal have already launched in 25 February.

First Calls for proposal in 2021

  • European Research Council’s Starting Grants as supporting top researchers to start their own independent research team or programme. Total budget: €619 million. The call launched it on 25 February and a deadline of 8 April. 
  • Consolidator grants for researchers who are consolidating their own independent research team or programme. Total budget of €633 million. The call launched it on 11 March and a deadline for applications is 20 April.
  • European Research Council will launch a call for Advanced Grants for leading advanced investigators. Total budget of €626 million. The call will be launched on 20 May and a deadline on 31 August.

World Space Forum 2020

World Space Forum 2020

The United Nations/United Arab Emirates Forum focused on ‘Space for our Future’ to maximize the efforts in ensuring that the benefits of space are brought to everyone, everywhere. The 2020 edition sought to facilitate the exchange of best practices and more inter-agency collaboration in support of the SDGs so that space assets, exploration and utilization finally become more universally used as one of the key tools for a better future.

Available materials (Presentations of the online virtual meeting): Click here

Video recordings of the session: Click here

Establishing the space programme of the Union and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme / ITRE (Committee on Industry, Research & Energy)

Establishing the space programme of the Union and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme / ITRE (Committee on Industry, Research & Energy)

Massimiliano Salini(Rapporteur/EPP) highlighted the importance of the reached agreement for the future of the European strategy in terms of guaranteeing services to the level that its citizens expects and deserves. Space sector is going to be a strategic sector for when it comes to the recovery from COVID 19. For additional information: Click here

13th European Space Conference Space Embracing a Changing World: Green, Digital, Resilience & Security

13th European Space Conference Space Embracing a Changing World: Green, Digital, Resilience & Security

Charles Michel, President of the EU Council laid out the overall strategy at a particular geopolitical moment for Europe. He stressed the importance of the Space Action in order to reach Europe’s strategic objectives:

  • Climate and Digital Transition
  • Mobilized unprecedented means to meet our objectives (Data, Cloud Computing and AI)
  • Europe should become more strategically autonomous where unified action of the 27 European countries is needed

For additional information (Video recordings): Click here

For the meeting minutes: Click here

Review of Europlanet Virtual Industry-Policy session at EPSC 2020

Review of Europlanet Virtual Industry-Policy session at EPSC 2020

This guest post by the Europlanet Industry and Policy teams summarises the Industry-Policy session that took place during EPSC2020.

A virtual Industry-Policy session was organised on 29 September 2020 as part of the Europlanet Science Congress 2020 (EPSC 2020), the largest planetary science meeting in Europe.

The session focused on:

  • Painting the landscape of planetary research in Europe – future missions and the role of Agencies
  • Industry – research collaboration for innovation: the benefits for society and growth
  • Funding opportunities; challenging decisions in the context of Horizon Europe in times of crisis
  • The essential role of space as a strategic asset for Europe
  • Raising awareness of the successes of European Space Programmes, in particular when it comes to inspirational science e.g. planetary sciences, and their potential for innovation

This was a high level event featuring among the main speakers MEPs, EC officials, agency representatives, SMEs and other stakeholders. 

The essential role of planetary exploration and the need to maintain generous funding for space programmes was particularly highlighted by the first speaker, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament Dimitris Papadimoulis. In the grim landscape of significant budgetary cuts announced by the EU leaders in July 2020 on the overall budget for science and technology, including space, it is important to highlight that: “planetary and space exploration is a human endeavor that encompasses scientific, technological and economic challenges and bears long-term benefits for society. It stimulates innovation, boosts technological development, motivates young people towards highly qualified careers and may lead to unique benefits for the planet”.

Dimitris Papadimoulis MEP

Space and planetary science, besides their own merit also teach us about our own planet and how we can live here in a more sustainable fashion.

“When it comes to green and digital transition, I think the space opportunities here are key for achieving it,” said Ville Niinistö, Finish MEP and former Minister of Environment, pointing out that space technology is about exploration but also about sustainability which creates benefits. MEP Niinistö challenged planetary research officials to give public decision makers more tools in order to make better decisions and reach viable solutions.

Ville Niinistö MEP

The need to establish a unique European space strategy was raised by Niklas Nienaß, German MEP, who stressed that: “we need to take the step forward from the science fiction side that we seem to be living in at the moment to the actual science that we actually have”. It is essential for society and politicians to realise how important European space faring programs are how much strategic value is embedded in space, to achieve more funding and establish a unique European Space Strategy. And for this to happen, we need more scientists to lobby politicians, as well as raise the profile of successful EU/ESA missions so that ESA (not just NASA) receives broader society recognition. MEP Nienaß also raised the important issue of science education proposing the establishment of a European Space Academy to introduce young people in all fields concerning space faring. 

Niklas Nienaß MEP

The EU space policy and funding current and future strategy was outlined by Michal Spiechowicz, of the Space Policy Department of European Commission’s DG DEFIS, who put an emphasis on the need to foster better integration with space assets, in the context of the twin transition that Europe faces. “The EU space programs support both the digital and green callenges: Copernicus to monitor and map Earth, land, seas, and atmosphere, and Galileo, to help us navigate and position. They are in fact, nothing else than global-scale, autonomous European digital infrastructures.” The third EU priority being resilience, Mr Spiechowicz mentioned that, if we work on an ambitious project of secure connectivity by satellites, within five to seven years we could have an alternative European infrastructure that would drastically enhance Europe’s resilience. He also mentioned several upcoming funding opportunities for the space industry in the post-covid context. EU members states could embed data services in their national reform, recovery and resilience programmes, this would enable them to apply for funds under EU Regional and Structural funds.

Michal Spiechowicz, DG DEFIS

Fabio Favata from ESA highlighted Europe’s vast capabilities in science and industry. He noted ESA does regular industry days and showcases for member states, and builds up a portfolio of industrial capabilities. As an example, In Hungary, Tamas Bárczy from Admatis Ltd. who has been involved in three ESA missions, presented an association of 45 SMEs in the space sector called HUNSPACE. Fabio Favata also commented that academics shouldn’t feel reserved about speaking with industries and to initiate collaborations; there are great synergies in the skillsets repective to each domain. 

Fabio Favata, ESA
Tamas Bárczy, Admatis Ltd

The virtual session featured several examples of successful Industry-Academia collaborations. Jörn Helbert, the Department Head of Planetary Laboratories of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), highlighted quite a few: A Berlin facility to do measurements at very high temperatures, funded by the Europlanet 2020 RI project, is an extremely valuable asset for planetary scientists to measure the hot surface of Mercury and the even hotter surface of Venus, look at volcanic surfaces on Jupiter’s moon, Io, etc. And inversely, an example of a direct spin-off from astrobiology research: a team of scientists who are studying the effects of humidity on microbes, so basically how would potential life survive on Mars, are now also working with two small SMEs, developing a trace humidity generator that will be used for industrial applications. He highlighted the two-way nature of this collaboration, with commercial customers using a university facility that contains SME-built equipment. 

Jörn Helbert, DLR

In a similar manner, Giovanni Martucci (ALTEC) highlighted the value of collaborations between planetary science missions and industry, with the example of ALTEC providing operational support to ESA missions, with a co-located team at the ExoMars ROCC facility.

Giovanni Martucci (ALTEC)

Finally, Jeronimo Bernard-Salas, from one of our partner companies ACRI-ST, showed that collaborations with academic networks can lead to direct funding, with the success of the H2020 EXPLORE program selection, containing multiple Europlanet member organisations. This programme is based on collaborations with the planetary science community on exploitation of space science data including through the use of machine learning. Jeronimo also highlighted the potential for industry collaborations to valorise academic research, and open the door for new funding opportunities.

Jeronimo Bernard-Salas, ACRI-ST

A debate has followed the main deliberations, focusing on how Europe’s Planetary Exploration programme can drive innovation and competitiveness in European Research, Industry and SMEs, impact the society and inspire the next generation of Europe’s STEM workforce. The debate was moderated by Nigel Mason and it was possible for viewers to submit questions via the Q&A facility on Zoom. The questions, addressed mostly to the MEPs another policy speakers, concerned a range of subjects such as: best practices for scientists to lobby politicians and the underlying issue of lobbying time conflicting with research priorities, University Master programmes on space as an opportunity for collaboration with industry, or the organisation of large-scale space education opportunities with EU support.

The virtual event was very well attended by ~100 participants. The recording of the full session can be found here.

Europlanet Industry

Europlanet Policy