ESA_Lab@ initiative is a hub for disruptive innovation and cross-fertilisation.
Enabling & Support

The ESA_Lab@ Initiative

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Preparing for the Future / Space for Earth

ESA launched the ESA_Lab@ initiative in 2016 to create a hub for disruptive innovation and cross-fertilisation. An ESA_Lab@ is:

  • joint initiative between ESA and academia/research institutions located within their own premises.
  • Supported by ESA via open data access policy and expertise.
  • An institutional link between ESA and universities/academia/research institutions.
  • Part of a wider network of ESA_Lab@s.

Each ESA_Lab@ is a partnership based on a "no-exchange of funds" principle but with both sides contributing in other ways.

  • Academia/research institutions contribute proposals for interesting research linking space and scientific expertise, students, teaching and research.
  • ESA contributes competence through experts, proposals of interesting topics, contracts with space entities, access to other ESA programmes (e.g. Education, Discovery, Preparation & Technology Development, Business Incubation Centres, General Support Technology Programme) and more!

Each ESA_Lab@ is established through a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC)

Signing the MOC for ESA_Lab@CH at ESA Headquarters on 4 October 2019.
Signing the MOC for ESA_Lab@CH at ESA Headquarters on 4 October 2019.
  • An MOC is a non-binding agreement between the academia/research institutions and ESA.
  • It is open for multiple parties to join, including academia, research institutions and industry.
  • It is signed between the dean/president of the institution and ESA’s Director General.
  • It establishes a steering committee to guide the foreseen ESA_Lab@ activities.

Each ESA_Lab@ is administered through an ESA/partner steering committee co-chaired by the ESA Director General and the partner's dean/president.

The steering committee defines and creates research groups to achieve the purpose of the ESA_Lab@.

Primary points of contact within each organisation act jointly as coordinators, facilitating an effective implementation of the ESA_Lab@.

ESA_Lab@ is a network that:

  • Strives for interconnected intelligence.
  • Connects individual ESA_Lab@s.
  • Links ESA_Lab@s with other ESA platforms (e.g. OSIP, CDF, ACT, BIC).
  • Fosters cooperation between ESA directorates on transversal topics.
The ESA_Lab@s that have already been set up (as of March 2020).
The ESA_Lab@s that have already been set up (as of March 2020).

Interested in the initiative?

Please click here to discover a further introduction to the ESA_Lab@ initiative.

As ESA_Lab@ coordinator for your university/research institution you would:

  • Stay connected with ESA, reporting back to the internal ESA_Lab@ coordinator who is your ESA counterpart.
  • Promote and help implement the activities related to the research topics of your ESA_Lab@.
  • Foster the growth of the whole ESA_Lab@ network.
  • Foster the contribution of other European space (and non-space) actors through their participation in ESA_Lab@.
  • Promote key areas of future importance to ESA by bringing the expertise of your university into the Agency.
  • Disseminate knowledge and support by creating new educational materials.
  • Support the organisation and communication of joint seminars, conferences and events.

To start your own ESA_Lab@ please contact ESA_Lab@ initiative Coordinator Isabelle Duvaux-Béchon (isabelle.duvaux-bechon @ and ESA_Lab@ initiative Deputy Coordinator Elisabeth Sourgens (elisabeth.sourgens @

If you would like more information on the existing ESA_Lab@s please follow the links below:

ESA_Lab@HEC ESA_Lab@Azores
ESA_Lab@SEELab ESA_Lab@Ca’Foscari
ESA_Lab@TUDa ESA_Lab@PoliBa
ESA_Lab@CentraleSupelec ESA_Lab@Oxford (signature of MoC on 3 March 2020)