Technology developed for space often finds wider uses. ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme facilitates the process of space R&D finding its way down to Earth through novel applications benefiting Europe’s citizens and industry. The programme has enabled more than 260 technology transfers into new industrial sectors during the last two decades.
Many of the best technology transfers take place smoothly, when a technology’s capability is there for all to see. In other cases it takes active effort to find a promising niche. ESA has established a Technology Brokers Network whose task it is to assess market requirements across Europe – looking for anywhere with the potential to utilise space innovations.
ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme allows wider European industry to reap the benefits from space R&D and opens up new markets for space companies. This steady stream of innovation boosts European competitiveness, bringing jobs and growth. The effect is greatest in the dynamic small- and medium-sized enterprise sector: around 80 new start-ups are created each year to bring space technologies and applications of space systems to terrestrial markets, supported through ESA’s network of Business Incubation Centres.
ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme has established the European Space Incubators Network, ESINET, consisting of 27 Business Incubation Centres (BICs) across Europe, including six ESA-run BICs, with a seventh on the way. These support entrepreneurs setting up new businesses applying space technologies or developing applications of space systems to the terrestrial market, offering comprehensive commercial and technical advice. More than 160 start-up companies have been supported by the ESA BICs to date. The centres also help to bring young firms into contact with forward thinking technology-focused investors. In addition, ESA has set up its own investment fund called the Open Sky Technologies Fund, to finance companies entering their market adaptation phase.
Last update: 13 November 2012