Visit to CDF by Minister Maxime Verhagen (NL)
As part of his visit to ESTEC on the 13th December 2010, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Mr. Maxime Verhagen, was given a tour and presentation of the CDF.
Accompanied by the ESA Director General Jaques Dordain, ESA Directors, leading members of Dutch industry and Dutch authorities, the Minister learnt not only about how the CDF has been instrumental in reducing the cost and time taken to carry out space mission assessment studies for ESA, but also how the Concurrent Engineering (CE) approach is being used by non-space organizations, both in Holland and the rest of Europe, inspired by the ESA approach .
In the Netherlands, these applications are as diverse as applying CE to design sustainable, energy efficient, social housing; choosing options for the design of an Arctic trencher ship to lay oil and gas pipelines; to the development of a fishing /farming agriculture scenario where a feasibility assessment is being carried out to determine the most efficient harvesting equipment for soles, shellfish and cutworms in Zeeland.
All these non-space applications are using the methods, technologies and tools, as well as the facilitator led, multidisciplinary team approach developed within the CDF over the past ten years.
Indeed, the ESA CDF has had a prominent role in pioneering the application of CE and then promoting it both within the space and non-space sectors.
Amongst various spin-off initiatives, ESA facilitates the transfer of its technology and innovation via companies nurtured in the ESA Incubator (ESI), partly funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Indeed, all the above cases have been developed by a Dutch company started in the ESA Incubator.
The Minister appreciated that space technology can foster innovation in areas such as construction, shipbuilding, agriculture.