Space has become an important vehicle for achieving objectives in key policy areas including environment, security, economic development, mobility and resource management. It generates knowledge and innovation and contributes to Europe’s identity and capabilities. Europe requires perspectives on how to manage mid- and long-term challenges in exploiting the full potential that space holds for society. The European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) responds to these needs through independent analyses and advice, with the aim of supporting space as a strategic policy area for Europe. To this effect, it provides recommendations, policy options and forward vision as to how Europe’s engagement in space can bring maximum benefit to society. ESPI’s work also reflects how space can sensibly contribute to Europe’s unique role in global politics as a strong and principled actor.

Mission and Objectives

Our Mission Statement:

“The European Space Policy Institute provides decision-makers with an informed view on mid- to long-term issues relevant to Europe’s space activities. In this context, ESPI acts as an independent platform for developing positions and strategies.”

The main goals and aims underpinning ESPI's activities are:

  • Promoting European space policy on a global level by setting-up an active forum for the analysis and discussion of European needs, capabilities and long-term prospects in space activities;
  • Facilitating European space policy research, academic interaction and the definition of long-term European orientations in astronautics;
  • Establishing a European and international cross-disciplinary network of researchers and experts in all sectors dealing with space activities to support an efficient and thorough exchange of ideas;
  • Identifying areas for further European space policy development and, in this regard, addressing proposals and recommendations to European decision-makers and institutions in an appropriate form;
  • Serving as a leading source of information for scholars, scientists, professionals and students who wish to meaningfully contribute to the development of European space policy;
  • Facilitating the exchange of information and opinions between those interested in space policy research through publications, workshops and other means required to perform the tasks of the Institute;
  • Supporting the training of young graduates interested in the development of space policy in Europe.

History and Governance

The creation of ESPI followed a decision made by the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA) in December 2002. The Institute is conceived as an Association under Austrian law and is based in Vienna, Austria. Its Certificate of Foundation was signed in November 2003 by representatives of its Founding Members the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Its statutes were signed in September 2005 and updated two years later in 2007.

The Institute is funded and supported by its two Founding Members and its regular Members. The latter include various institutions drawn from European agencies, operators and private companies. The European Commission recently became a member. ESPI is governed by a General Assembly, which supervises the Institute, lays down its budgetary and administrative rules, and approves the annual work programme. The ESPI Advisory Council supports the Secretariat by providing medium-term orientations with respect to the research and network activities of the Institute.