24 June 2008. Today, ESPI released the study report “Isolation of space research from space industry”. This study focuses on the relationship between research in its different forms and the space industry. It evaluates its evolution up to the current situation and provides recommendations for future improvements.
When the space age began 50 years ago it involved scientists’ contributions in many fields of technology development. Strong links were established between science and space activities. Over the years these links have weakened and space has lost some of its attractiveness to recruit the best scientists, researchers and engineers. The purpose of this study is to analyse a widely perceived isolation of space-related research from space industry and in a second step to develop recommendations how such a gap could be bridged. The study "Isolation of space research from space industry" - led by ESPI's Senior Research Fellow Rolf Skaar, who was assisted by Research Intern Katharina Stoffl – looks at the situation of this relationship on three different levels. To a large part it reflects the outcome of an ESPI workshop where participants from space industry, space agencies and academia discussed if an isolation between space research and space industry can be stated (see the webnews on this workshop here).
ESPI’s Katharina Stoffl and Rolf Skaar
The study presents first the role of the governments or governmental institutions responsible for support and funding on both the national and the supra-national level. Then the established structures and the hurdles for close cooperation are discussed. In the following the main reasons for the distance between industry and academia are identified. In the final part proposals for action to be taken by the different actors are laid down.
Summarizing the most important findings, the authors agree that it is beneficial for both academic institutions and space industry to strive for improving and strengthening their relationship. One of the best ways to reach a closer cooperation would be through joint initiatives pursued by integrated teams. Government institutions on their side should support space industry and academic institutions in a balanced way. In addition it is of major importance to support the cross-fertilization of ideas and innovation between space and non-space.