Horizon Europe igniting innovative space downstream applications

Opportunities for development of European space downstream applications

EUSPA is involved in Horizon Europe to stimulate the market and support mainly the creation of commercial solutions for the EU space downstream sector. Space is placed under the pillar II of Horizon Europe, where specifically Cluster 4 of the Work Programme focuses on Digital, Industry, and Space.

The first Horizon Europe Call with an overall budget of 32.6 million EUR for the development of innovative space downstream applications is closed for submissions (the deadline was on 16 February 2022). 

The second Horizon Europe Call is now open with a deadline in March 2023 and an overall budget of 48.1 million EUR for the development of innovative space downstream applications. 

The Call is structured in the following 6 topics:

The action focuses on the development of close-to-market EGNSS transport applications and mobility services through the realisation of large-scale demonstration and implementation projects, indicating the necessary scale-up needs to wide adoption in Europe and worldwide and associated standards and certification. Applications in aviation, maritime, rail, road transport areas will be considered, as well as multi-mode approaches.

The topic is dedicated to public administration entities to procure research and experimental development that exploits space data and services (e.g. Galileo and/or Copernicus) and that meets their needs. In addition, the proposals should build on the procurement needs of the participating organizations, supporting the EGNSS, Galileo and/or Copernicus market take-up across Europe and demonstrating a sustainability of solutions beyond the lifespan of the proposed project. Find more information about this topic here.

The action aims to support the adoption of Copernicus and state-of-the-art ICT technologies (e.g. Big Data and AI), and make use of existing European data infrastructures, such as Copernicus DIAS platforms, European open data portals, and industrial data platforms. The topic will contribute to the digitization challenges of the European industry fostering the integration and uptake of Copernicus into the economy and opening up innovative business opportunities, supporting societal challenges. 

The action aims to facilitate the Copernicus data uptake and commercial exploitation by fostering the collaboration of ICT actors, both from industry and academia, with the earth observation/space stakeholders and Copernicus users. It also creates a significant opportunity to innovate by inter-linking data infrastructures, exploiting the AI/HPC paradigm, while responding effectively to user needs.

The action focuses on technical developments of EU-space based applications/solutions, dissemination, awareness-raising, as well as provide opportunities for the creation of business-oriented partnerships of European industry with international partners. By doing so the action aims be achieve a critical mass of space based-application success stories, demonstrating the advantages and differentiators of EU space-based solutions and services and making it an attractive option for public authorities, private industries and private investors in Europe and elsewhere.

The action supports the consolidation of integrated use cases and demonstration of EU GOVSATCOM service interoperability in real user environment, addressing service developments in support to all High Level User Needs, including direct involvement of users and with emphasis on civilian users and interoperability of services.


Important information

Two topics are Innovation Actions” (IA) directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes, or services. For this purpose, they may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation, and market replication. In addition, a Business Plan and evidence of user engagement are compulsory for all three topics and must be submitted as part of the proposal.  

The funding rate of Innovation Actions is 70% except for non-profit legal entities, where a rate of 100% applies.   

Three topics are “Research and Innovation Actions” (RIA) which include activities that aim primarily to establish new knowledge or to explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service or solution. This may include basic and applied research, technology development and integration, testing, demonstration and validation of a small-scale prototype in a laboratory or simulated environment.

The funding rate of Research and Innovation Actions is 100%.

One topic is a “Pre-commercial Procurement action” (PCP) aiming to help transnational buyers’ groups to strengthen the public procurement of research, development, validation and, possibly, the first deployment of new solutions that can significantly improve quality and efficiency in areas of public interest, while opening market opportunities for industry and researchers active in Europe.

The funding rate of Pre-commercial Procurement actions is 100%.

The Call and topics detailed description and the application templates will soon be available on the EU's Funding & tender opportunities portal.

During EU Space Week 2022, the Horizon Europe initiative was presented within the session Horizon Europe, Investing in Research - Upcoming Opportunities. Check the presentation here.

Clarification on Horizon Europe Calls.

Cassini initiative

On top of the €80 million that are part of the EUSPA calls for 2021 and 2022, the Work Programme further foresees additional opportunity in terms of prize.

CASSINI is the European Commission’s new initiative to support innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs in the space industry, including New Space, during 2021-2027. The initiative is open to all areas of the EU Space Programme, and covers both upstream (e.g. nanosats, launchers, etc.) and downstream (i.e. products/ services enabled by space data). In particular, the Work Programme 2021-2022 includes the CASSINI Prize for digital space applications.

Additional €2.4 million are dedicated to hackathons and mentoring under the CASSINI umbrella, with the goal of further developing prototypes into viable business propositions and providing training opportunities on how to access and use data from Copernicus and EGNOS/Galileo with data analytics tools and artificial intelligence.

Finally, €5 million are intended to fund innovation activities for improved EGNSS operations and service provision: as mentioned in the Work Programme, “actions under this area will cover the development and use of service demonstrators to consolidate the future EGNSS services, the optimization of the operation schemes using advanced dynamic strategies […] for Galileo constellation / system management for the efficient and continuous provision of the full portfolio of Services in EGNOS and in Galileo, and others”. 


EU Space Research

EU space research aims to foster a cost-effective, competitive, and innovative space industry and research community. It ensures that space technology, services and applications meet EU policy needs, as outlined in the Space Strategy for Europe (COM(2016) 705) and the R&I needs of the Space Programme in the period 2021 to 2027 (COM(2018) 447). EU-funded space R&I provides cutting-edge solutions to everyday societal problems, which benefit EU citizens. It also ensures that the EU remains competitive in space and can access and use space with a high level of autonomy.

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Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus in other non-space calls

The importance of EGNSS and Copernicus services and data is acknowledged in the Horizon Europe Strategic plan for 2021-24, which defines the key strategic orientations for the first four years of Horizon Europe. The Strategic Plan strongly encourages the use of Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus services and data in Horizon Europe. 

On top of the nine topics managed directly by EUSPA, the use of EGNSS and Copernicus is widely anchored in concrete calls and topics within the Work Programme for 2021-2022, with over 100 non-space topics recommending or requiring the use of Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus. 

The focus of the topics ranges from health to cultural heritage, from climate change and resilience to fight against criminal activities, from mobility to big data; all areas that can strongly benefit from the space capabilities offered by EGNSS and Copernicus. A list of examples can be found here, while further details can be found in the Funding & tender opportunities portal.

Updated: Dec 21, 2022