29 November 2010. ESPI was invited by the European Science Foundation (ESF) to introduce its contribution to a study on ‘Forward Look’ Technology breakthrough for scientific progress, which was presented today in Brussels.

A two day conference was organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) as a kick-off of a two year project “ESF-ESA ‘Forward look’ TECHBREAK Technology breakthrough for scientific progress”. The aim of this forward look is to identify the technology areas that could benefit the space sector. The advancement of some technologies opens up new fields of research and give scientists new tools to push the boarders of knowledge beyond of what is know today. Space organisations are not always aware of such developments in terrestrial sectors, where some technologies might be developing faster. In the conference presentations were given from representatives from the ESA, European Commission, academia, space and non-space industries.

ESPI Resident Fellow Christina Giannopapa presented the main findings of the study previously conducted for ESF and provided essential input in the discussion regarding innovation and knowledge transfer between space and non-space sectors. The ESPI study was distributed to all participants and contributed to ESF’s preparatory work by identifying the key enabling technologies (KETs) - nanotechnology, photonics, advanced materials, micro-nanonelectronics and biotechnology- and relevant European Technology Platforms to be used as the ‘common language’ for innovation partnerships between space and non space sectors. It also looked at different sectors -space, aeronautics, transport, energy, pharmaceutical, ICT and biotechnology- and what is their how they reflect innovation, drawing lessons that can be transferred to improve innovation. At the same time it identified the main actors and their strategic areas interest and give an overview of existing institutions and mechanisms set up were the space sector could benefit from by providing comprehensive recommendations under the concept of open innovation for space. This contribution was also published as an ESPI Report on “Key Enabling Technologies and Open Innovation. New Impulse for the Space Sector” (related webnews here).

ESPI is planning to extend its research in this field under its Workplan 2011, where Christina Giannopapa will lead a project on streamlining the implementation of open innovation in the space sector under “Europe 2010”. It will look how key enabling technologies and open innovation can be used for international cooperation. It will identify the focal areas and propose new or existing partnerships, structures, programmes, and mechanisms which can be suitable for consideration as the space relevant component for Europe’s Innovation Policy, the European Space Policy and eventually for a European Space Programme.



ESPI Resident Fellow Christina Giannopapa with ESF representatives (from right) Jean-Claude Worms, Head of Space Sciences Unit, Jean-Pierre Swings, Chairman, European Space Science Committee and Marc Heppener, Director of Science & Strategy Development. 


- Presentation: Main lessons from the ESPI preparatory report
- ESPI Report 24: Key Enabling Technologies and Open Innovation. New Impulse for the Space Sector

Related Webnews
9 July 2010. ESPI Report 24 on “Key Enabling Technologies and Open Innovation. New Impulse for the Space Sector” online 










photo credits: ESF, ESPI

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