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Horizon Europe igniting innovative space downstream applications

By Peter Fitzgibbon - 8th December 2023 - 16:01

Opportunities for development of European space downstream applications

Horizon lead

The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) stimulates the market development of the EU space downstream sector and supports the uptake of space-based solutions, through its Horizon Europe calls. EUSPA’s space calls are placed under the pillar II of Horizon Europe, where specifically Cluster 4 of the Work Programme focuses on Digital, Industry, and Space.

The first EUSPA Horizon Europe Call with an overall budget of 32.6 million EUR is already in implementation phase with 13 ongoing projects that foster the European Green Deal, safeguard our society from crises and underpin Europe’s digital sovereignty. The second Horizon Europe Call comprises an overall budget of 48.1 million EUR.

Space Downstream Innovation Day

EUSPA's experts provided in-depth insights into the current Horizon Europe call, highlighting the most relevant aspects and showcasing the results achieved. Other funding opportunities related to the Fundamental Elements Programme, and the CASSINI initiative were also tackled.

Check and download the presentations

Third EUSPA Horizon Europe Call

The third EUSPA Horizon Europe Call with an overall budget of 34.5 million EUR is now open. The deadline for the submissions is 14 February 2024. Click here for the full overview of the call.

The Call is structured in the following 5 topics:


EGNSS - Transition towards a green, smart and more secure post-pandemic society (Innovation Action) 3.5mEUR

The scope of the actions is the development and use of commercial downstream solutions, based on synergies between the EU space programme components and digital technology for green, smart and more secure solutions addressing a variety of social and economic challenges which emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

EGNSS - Closing the gaps in mature, regulated and long lead markets (Innovation Action) 8mEUR

The topic aims to fulfill gaps in mature, regulated and long lead markets (including rail, maritime inland waterways, fisheries and aquaculture, road and automotive, and aviation) and, deliver concrete pathways to standardization and certification towards broader EGNSS adoption and its differentiators.

Copernicus Hub

Copernicus-based applications for businesses and policy-making (Research and Innovation Action) 7mEUR

The actions aim to enhance existing applications or develop new applications and products relying on Copernicus data and services including those based on in situ/ground-based information and, where relevant, other space capacities like data collection, satcom, navigation, in particular EGNSS technologies.

Designing space-based downstream applications with international partners (Research and Innovation Action) 6mEUR

The actions aim to enhance 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 and outside of Europe.


EU GOVSATCOM for a safer and more secure EU (Innovation Action) 10mEUR

The topic aims at identifying and address technological challenges related to the provision of GOVSATCOM services and increasing awareness on the benefits brought by the use of secure services provided by GOVSATCOM and will engage the users, public authorities and policy makers to the maximum extent. The actions should improve one or more operational terminals to demonstrate the access of the respective users to an early EU GOVSATCOM service, showcasing the benefits and fostering users’ uptake.

Cassini initiative


On top of the €80 million that are part of the EUSPA calls for 2021 and 2022, the 2023-2024 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 2023-2024 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.

Read more

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 2023-2024, with over 300 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.

Read More: Satellite Positioning, Navigation & Timing (PNT) Satellite Imaging Satellite Positioning Aerospace

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