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17th ESPI Autumn Conference: Essay Competition

Ahead of this year’s Autumn Conference, ESPI invites students and young professionals to participate in an essay competition based on the Conference’s theme, European Space Governance in a Transforming World. 


Two essays will be chosen as the winning submissions and the authors will each receive:

  • Free registration to both days of the Conference (24th and 25th October 2023).
  • Coverage of travel expenses up to €300.
  • One-night stay at a hotel in Vienna on 24th October 2023.


In order to qualify to apply for this essay competition, you must be:

  • A student or a young professional 35 years of age or younger.
  • A citizen of a European Union (EU), European Space Agency (ESA), or European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) member state.

Essay Guidelines

The essay can be written on any topic so long as it aligns with one of the Conference’s four thematic sessions:

  1. Embracing Multipolar Partnerships

As dynamics of global partnerships evolve, Europe should assess how it wants to position itself and interact with this competitive and diverse environment.  The aim of this session is to discuss the avenues by which Europe can become a fully-fledged space power, while also fostering robust alliances across the globe, enhancing Europe’s influence and competitiveness in this transformative era.  

  1. Bursting the Public-to-Public Bubbles

Current European space governance is defined by a combination of different actors, including ESA, the EU, and their respective Member States, without clear, consistent and robust cooperation and coordination mechanisms. This is increasingly resulting in policy and regulatory fragmentation, asymmetry in priorities, and potential duplication of efforts. Acting in accordance with their mandate, institutional bodies dealing with space in Europe will ultimately need improved coordination to unlock the full potential of the European economy and society.  

  1. Comparing and Contrasting European and U.S. Space Ambitions

This discussion will examine differences in approach by European and American public actors in balancing the interests of both public and private entities. It will address the transformation of the industrial ecosystem and the underlying public-private relations and procurement strategies.  

  1. Leveraging a Multistakeholder Environment

The unfolding space transformation is further characterised by transformed public-private relations that play a crucial role in fostering the development of industrial capabilities, overall sectorial innovation, and industrial competitiveness in global markets. This session will build on the need to re-think the public-private continuum in order to move towards frameworks that serve the broader set of European and national policy objectives.  

The essay submission should adhere to the following requirements in order to be considered for the competition:

    • No more than 2,000 words in length (excluding table of contents, abstract, citations, and bibliography).
    • Submitted as a Word document (formatted in Times New Roman, 12-point font).
    • Uses a consistent style of citation.
    • Please include your CV alongside your essay submission.


Submissions should be sent to: events@espi.or.at 

Winners will be announced mid-September

ESPI reserves the right to publish winning submissions as an ESPI Brief under the established ESPI processes. 

For any questions or to request more information, please send a note to events@espir.or.at or to alberto.rueda.carazo@espi.or.at. 

More information about the 17th annual Autumn Conference can be found here. The Essay Competition flyer can be found here.

The Autumn Conference, and subsequently the Essay Competition, is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Federal Ministry Republic of Austria Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK), and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)

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