European Commission press release, 10 June 2010

The European Commission has initiated negotiations to sign research contracts worth EUR 324 million with 108 successful space and security research consortia. They represent strategic domains for the EU’s competitiveness and contribute to the implementation of a range of policy objectives, including the fights against terrorism and climate change, and the furthering of sustainable development, industrial renewal, economic recovery, leading to the implementation of the 2020 strategy. As a global actor and major space power, the EU relies on space and security research for strong border protection and enhanced environmental monitoring. Therefore funds also support the continued development of Europe’s Global Monitoring system for Environment and Security (GMES).

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: “In a time of crisis, strategic investments are essential for sustainable future growth. Security is a pre-requisite for business, and space is full of endless possibilities. This type of research is at the heart of the industrial renewal that Europe needs. It demonstrates the added value of European investments in high-end technology for innovation, and as a means to dealing more effectively with the major challenges that confront us.”

In cooperation with the Research Executive Agency (REA), 108 successful project proposals have been short-listed from amongst 732 proposals received in the third of six planned calls for proposals under the Space and Security themes of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7). They comprise 68 space and 40 security research projects: EUR 114 million for the FP7 space theme, and EUR 210 million for the FP7 security theme.

In the space domain, the short-listed Earth observation projects include support for the EU’s efforts to fight climate change by monitoring deforestation in Africa, whilst in the area of space exploration, research is set to improve the accuracy and robustness of spacecraft when landing on other planets. International cooperation has increased in space research, in particular with the United States, with American Universities and Research Centres, and major public research institutions such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) participating in a total of 15 proposals. The space domain also sees a high participation rate of 20 percent of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), compared to the FP7 average of 16 percent SME participation.

In the security domain, the short-listed projects include two large demonstration projects targeted at urban mass transportation and maritime border security, alongside projects furthering exchange of information to fight organised crime, mitigation of chemical, biological radiological and nuclear threats, and actions against money laundering, and counterfeit medicines. International cooperation is also strong in security research, with 40 project proposals bringing with them a total of 550 partners from 36 countries.

Throughout FP7 (2007-2013), EUR 1.4 billion and EUR 1.35 billion have been reserved for space and security research, respectively. With the third call, the number of space research projects is set to rise to 114, and the number of security projects to reach 130.

In July 2010, the European Commission foresees the publishing of the fourth FP7 space and security calls for proposals. Reflecting the political importance given to strategic R&D investment, a positive funding trend is anticipated.

(Ends)
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We’ll do our best to report any dodgy projects on this blog.

The European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC) reports that RapidEye, “the only geospatial solutions provider to own and operate a constellation of five identical Earth Observation satellites”, has signed a framework agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide “satellite imagery for monitoring and change detection in areas prone to natural disasters”.

See: http://www.earsc.eu/news/rapideye-to-supply-satellite-imagery-to-the-european-space-agency-monitoring-of-high-risk-emergency-areas

Revealing interview with Josef Aschbacher, Head of the GMES Space Office. GMES is the EU’s satellite earth monitoring system. Originally it stood for Global Monitoring for Environmental Security but the acronym was changed some time last year to Global Monitoring for Environment and Security. Aschbacher speaks here the potential of GMES for “huge applications in the security and defence realm”.

more about “Josef Aschbacher on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

 

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Leaving little doubt as to the trajectory of EU space policy, this conference on 3-4 December 2009 promises:

Due to their inherent technical capabilities, space systems have gained an important role in European Union as well as its Member States’ investment policies and respond efficiently to needs for security and defence.

Regardless of the aim, be it intelligence acquisition, navigation, or information transmission, space systems today are considered to enhance military operations, and will be indispensable in the future when applied to greater systems, for example, maritime surveillance, transport security and environmental safety.

See conference website and programme (pdf).

Ballistic missile threats of all types continue to expand in 2009. North Korea and Iran have both demonstrated short
as well as intermediate range missiles, highlighting the increasing threat to the United States, NATO, and Europe.
What does the increasing threat mean for European missile defense?
What is the political outlook for this US anti-missile system, not only in terms of public opinion in the U.S. and Europe
but also in light of NATO’s new Strategic Concept? Is there potential for a linked missile defence system for the US,
NATO and Europe, and if so, what are practical steps towards achieving that goal?

“Ballistic missile threats of all types continue to expand in 2009. North Korea and Iran have both demonstrated short as well as intermediate range missiles, highlighting the increasing threat to the United States, NATO, and Europe. What does the increasing threat mean for European missile defense?

What is the political outlook for this US anti-missile system, not only in terms of public opinion in the U.S. and Europe but also in light of NATO’s new Strategic Concept? Is there potential for a linked missile defence system for the US, NATO and Europe, and if so, what are practical steps towards achieving that goal?”

Join SDA and Boeing on 3 November 2009 to find out…

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Last month the European Defence Agency organised a workshop on “Space for Security and Defence: Towards increased synergies among European stakeholders”. According to the EDA press release:

Key note speakers highlighted the need to deepen the already existing dialogue on space and security among the European Defence Agency, the European Commission, the European Space Agency and the Council Secretariat General so as to address the integration of space systems into the wider ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) and NEC (Network-enabled capabilities) domain based on a capability and user-driven approach.

The workshop also set out a fairly wide-ranging policy agenda for the further militarisation of EU space policy and the development of space-based surveillance systems:

· The ‘Structured Dialogue on space and security’ among EDA, ESA, EC and the Council Secretariat General shall be strengthened and used as a platform to study the scope and conditions for future dual-use capabilities.

· Based on the mandate received by Defence Ministers in May 2009 on a ‘European Framework Cooperation for Security and Defence research’, EDA will look for synergies with the European Commission as well as other institutional players such as the European Space Agency in the wider area of ‘situational awareness’.

· EDA, the European Commission, ESA and the Council Secretariat General will explore civil-military synergies in the field of Earth Observation, incl. GMES and MUSIS and related standardisation issues, in a dedicated task force.

· The security dimension of GMES shall be further developed.

· ESA’s initiative on a European Space Responsiveness System (GIANUS), linking navigation, satellite communications and Earth observation, among others, into one coherent and user-driven system will be further examined by the other European stakeholders, also in view of synergy and complementarity with on-going activities.

· The European SSA (Space Situational Awareness) System will be further developed as a European autonomous infrastructure based on civilian (ESA-lead) and military (EDA-lead) user requirements, while the European Commission and Council Secretariat General will further provide guidance on governance and data policy issues.

See European Defence Agency press release.

For an overview of concerns about the security and defence aspects of EU space policy see pages 52-54 of the report: “NeoConOpticon: The EU Security Industrial Complex”.

See also Frank Slijper’s 2009 briefing paper for TNI “From Venus to Mars: The European Union’s steps towards the militarisation of space“.

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