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New Horizon Europe funding opportunities dedicated to Space

space in Horizon Europe 2023-2024
Yann Poulain

Yann Poulain


On December 6th, 2022, the new Horizon Europe work programmes have been published, offering relevant opportunities for space-related applications clustered under the Destination 5 of Cluster 4: Open strategic autonomy in developing, deploying and using global space-based infrastructures, services, applications and data.

Deadlines to submit your proposal is 28th March 2023 for the 14 topics that will be opened officially on 22nd December 2022 (12 RIA, 1 IA and 1 CSA). The topics cover several innovative activities such as end-to-end earth observation system demonstration, future space ecosystem support, low cost and flexible EU launcher development, test and production, new Copernicus-based services (for climate, emergency management, marine environment monitoring and in-situ component), quantum communication technologies and space gravimetry, space data exploitation, etc. Several kinds of stakeholders should be involved ranging from start-ups or SMEs, academic to major industrial players.

Four additional topics are also planned in 2024. They will be opened 21st November 2023 and their deadline will be 20th February 2024. Overall budget is almost three times bigger in 2023 than in 2024 (137,5M€ are planned in 2023 vs 46,30M€ in 2024). Do not miss this huge opportunity in March 2023 to support and fund your research and innovation projects.

Past funded projects integrating Space in Horizon Europe 2021-2022

Analysis of past work programme 2021-2022 dedicated to Space (Cluster 4 – Destination 5) shows an interesting success rate, with approximately 30% of applications presented being funded. In fact, a total of 185 projects were submitted for 54 expected projects funded, ranging from 16% for the lowest to 1 proposal submitted for 1 expected proposal to be funded.

Regarding space-related funded projects, not only integrating calls from Horizon Europe but also from its predecessor Horizon 2020, top 5 main funded entities are  Research and Technology Organisations such as Centre National de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, France), Deutches Zentrum für Luft und- Raumfahrt (DLR, Germany), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e. V. (FHG, Germany), Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V. (MPG, Germany), and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC, Spain). Top 5 countries are France, Germany, Italy, UK and Spain.

Do not hesitate to use our free access tool Kaila to check the past funded projects to give you a more precise idea of potential projects that can be supported by the European Commission in this Cluster 4 – Destination 5.

New opportunities for Space in Horizon Europe 2023-2024

Proposal budgets in the new work programme 2023-2024 are ranged from 0,50M€ to around 20M€, offering a large range of types of projects and also included some on a smaller scale. Several topics (four) have more than five expected projects to be funded up to eight, increasing the different types of projects to be funded.

Eligible costs will take the form of lump sum in most of the topics. This funding mechanism allocate fixed funding for the planned tasks and activities and remove the need to report actual costs. The objective is to facilitate access to EU proposals for non-experienced entities and reduce costs justification time. It seems a great opportunity for newcomers in space-related topics, especially for SMEs. Noteworthy, being very market oriented, some topics may require a complete Business Plan to be added as an Annex.

Many opportunities are offered as detailed below for two of the fourteen topics proposed. Regarding the Foster competitiveness of space systems heading, Horizon-CL4-2023-Space-01-12: Future Space Ecosystem and Enabling Technologies topic focus on enabling the industrialisation and new services in space by intelligent solutions and competitive concepts. Enabling technologies (e.g., electric propulsion, robotics, automation, AI, software factory, etc.) shall improve space systems and satellites’ flexibility and cost-efficiency, increase sustainability and accessibility, introduce mass-customisation and cooperative design as well as simplify and optimise operations. Seven proposals are expected to be funded ranging from 0.5M€ to 2,5M€ for a total budget of 15M€, offering a large variety of potential proposals.

Regarding the Targeted and strategic actions supporting the EU space sector heading, Horizon-CL4-2023-Space-01-71: Scientific exploitation of space data topic focus on early-stage proposal reaching TRL3-4 at the end. It should ensure exploitation of data provided by EU space missions. International cooperation is encouraged. Eight proposals are expected to be funded ranging from 1M€ to 1,5M€ for a total budget of 10,7M€.

Many addressed subjects are offered in new calls, including other opportunities via two specific indirectly managed actions by two main EU Space agencies: ESA (96,10M€ in 2023 and 82,30M€ in 2024) and EUSPA (53M€ in 2023 and 13,8M€ in 2024).

From ESA support, the topics focus on the following subjects: development of new and emerging technologies EGNSS evolution, Secure Connectivity/GOVSATCOM Space infrastructure, Secure Connectivity/GOVSATCOM Upstream technology, In Orbit Demonstration/Validation (IOD/IOV) service and Space Weather and Near-Earth Objects.

From EUSPA, the suggested activities are the following ones: improve EGNSS operation and service provision, support European New Space entrepreneurship through Cassini Space Entrepreneurship Initiative 2021-2027 via Cassini Business Accelerator, Hackathons & Mentoring, and myEUspace.

Seven additional topics (five IA and two RIA) are also proposed within the Horizon-EUSPA-2023-Space program managed by EUSPA. Topics would open in October 2023 and close in February 2024 (given indicatively) for a total of 46,5 M€ budget. They focus on development of new applications for Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus, as well as to PRS and GOVSATCOM applications.

So, if any space-related subject presented here is linked with your activity and roadmap strategy, Zabala Innovation, well-known expert in public funding, can help you to identify the most relevant European funding opportunities.

Expert person

Yann Poulain
Yann Poulain

Bordeaux Office


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