European Space Agency (ESA)
Ireland has been a member of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 1975. Membership of ESA is a key element of the National Space Strategy for Enterprise, enabling Irish companies and research institutes to bid on ESA tenders to develop technologies, services and business applications.
Below you will find further details of the National Space Strategy for Enterprise and a list of ESA programmes in which Ireland participates, with information on how to apply for ESA supports.
For information on Irish companies active in space-related activities, see the Ireland's Space Industry Directory at www.space-ireland.com.
ESA Activities in Ireland
The report presents an overview of space-related developments in Ireland supported by the European Space Agency in 2021.
Download ESA Activities in Ireland 2021
The report presents an overview of space-related developments in Ireland supported by the European Space Agency in 2020.
Download ESA Activities in Ireland 2020
National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025
Ireland’s National Space Strategy for Enterprise, published in 2019, outlines the Government’s vision for Ireland to develop ‘An economically sustainable and expanding space-active industry, delivering quality jobs for the economy of tomorrow’.
The strategy comprises 5 pillars:
National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019 - 2025
Ireland’s space strategy is implemented primarily through the programmes of the European Space Agency (ESA)
European Space Agency Programmes
Enterprise Ireland co-ordinates Ireland’s industrial and research participation in the programmes of the European Space Agency. ESA promotes co-operation among European States in space research, technology and applications.
Enterprise Ireland’s role in relation to ESA is to assist Irish companies to successfully bid for ESA contracts. We provide a source of expertise for Irish companies in developing and executing space strategies, as well as being a point of reference for the international space industry when they want to identify relevant sources of space-related expertise within Ireland.
Ireland's membership of ESA permits Irish companies and research teams to bid for ESA contract development work in a range of space programmes including:
- ESA mandatory programmes including the ESA General Budget and the Science Programme;
- ESA optional programmes in which Ireland participates, including:
- Satellite Communications (ARTES)
- Space Transportation (Ariane 6, Vega C, FLPP)
- Earth Observation (EOEP, InCubed)
- General Support Technology Programme (GSTP)
- Satellite Navigation (NAVISP)
- Scientific Payloads and Experiments (PRODEX)
- European Exploration Envelope Programme (E3P)
Irish industrial capabilities in space technology is highly diverse, including structures, materials, microelectronics, photonics, telecommunications, RF and life sciences There is also a growing number of Irish companies active in the “downstream” sector in developing products for the related ground segment systems as well as end user equipment, services and applications which utilise space based systems.
Opportunities exist for Irish companies in developing and adapting technologies for the commercial space market, technology spin-out from space to non-space and in developing innovative applications and services that utilise space systems.
Am I eligible?
All companies in Ireland are eligible to respond to ESA tender opportunities pertaining to the ESA programmes in which Ireland participates. This information will be included in the tender documentation, or by contacting Enterprise Ireland.
Tender opportunities are published on the ESA Tendering website and are updated on a daily basis.
In addition ESA operates a number of announcements of opportunity for industry to submit proposals for market-oriented development activities, also available on the ESA Tendering website.
What funding is available?
This depends on the scope of the procurement underway, but is limited by Ireland’s financial contribution to the specific ESA programme. In line with the National Space Strategy for Enterprise, there is an increasing focus on industry co-funded market oriented development activities.
How do I apply?
Potential ESA tenderers need to register on the ESA-STAR website, ESA’s registration and management facility for external users.
Specific procurements/announcement of opportunities will be published on ESA's electronic tendering website EMITS.
For certain procurements, prior authorisation of the national ESA Delegation is required, which can be obtained by contacting Enterprise Ireland.
REGISTER ON ESA-STAR >>>
For information on Irish companies active in space technology developments, please consult Ireland's Space Industry Directory.
Space Industry Directory >>>
Intellectual Property Strategy Offer
If you are in receipt of European Space Agency funding, you can also avail of the Enterprise Ireland Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy Offer, a complementary support to the wider range of RD&I supports from Enterprise Ireland. The aim of the scheme is to help you to identify, manage and utilise the IP you generate through your company’s R&D for the benefit of your business. If you would like to know more, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to explore opportunities in the space sector, contact one of our ESA team in Enterprise Ireland.
- Industrial policy matters
- Technology Programme (GSTP)
- Telecoms Programme (ARTES)
- Earth Observation
- ESA Satellite Navigation Programmes (Galileo, GNSS)
- Copernicus Programme