Focus on innovation workshop, Copenhagen 6-7 September

Technological innovation in modern life
Technological innovation in modern life
29 August 2001

On 6 and 7 September some 200 space technology experts from all over Europe, USA and Japan will meet in Copenhagen to discuss Space Technology Innovation at a Workshop organised by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Danish Ministry of Information Technology and Research.

"Innovation is a global economy driver and thousands of years of technological innovation have brought us from a farmer/hunter society to the high-tech world in which we live today. More recently, space technology has been a main driver in technological innovation, for example the landing on the moon required new and revolutionary technology" says Workshop Chairman Niels Jensen, ESA's Head of Technology Programmes Department.

Space technology now drives innovation more than ever, as the high performance and reliability needed for space missions place ever greater demands on leading edge technology. In the slipstream, modern society profits from these developments. To give just a few examples:

  • increasingly efficient solar cells can also be used on Earth
  • space recycling technology can improve spring water filtering
  • microgravity research can provide more reliable brakes for cars.

"For the years to come, space developments will continue to drive technology innovation and this is what we will focus on next week in Copenhagen".

Technology innovation is by definition a very risky business and it is clear that a strong public support is needed to foster the early stages of an innovation. The European Space Agency, the European Union (EU), national authorities and industry all have their own ways of allocating funds to technology innovation and different processes to select areas of particular interest.

The programme of the Workshop will give insight into all these aspects from most of the key players in the area of space technology innovation, and the results from ESA’s Technology Innovation Task Force will be presented. The Innovation Task Force was set up by the Agency in October 2000, composed of representatives of all relevant ESA directorates, with the mandate to make recommendations for a limited number of targeted high-risk/high-payoff developments for funding under the next ESA Technology Research Programme cycle.

The Workshop will be opened by Mrs. B. Weiss, Danish Minister for Information Technology and Research, and the programme will include presentations from NASA (USA), NASDA (Japan), JPL (USA), EU and eight national space agencies in Europe. The keynote address will be given by Prof. M. Kaku from the City University of New York.

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