Path to Post-COVID Recovery

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  • ActivityFeasibility Study
  • Opening date02 July 2020
  • Closing date10 September 2020

THE CHALLENGE

While the coronavirus continues to spread relentlessly to all parts of the world, businesses are analysing ways to prepare their responses to the post-COVID situation and increase their resilience. Not all sectors have been equally affected. Service sectors, including transport, travel, and tourism, have been hit the hardest  as they have lost significant demand. 

Given the complexity of the pandemic, the recovery phase will require high levels of orchestration and coordination. However, the actions that the companies will take during this recovery period need also to set the foundation for a more sustained growth and performance. 

It is increasingly clear that a new “normal” may emerge. In this new reality, it will be necessary for most of the industries to reassess their entire business plan, introduce new ways to use advanced technology tools, assess the impact of the growing online commerce and prepare contingent actions in order to return their business to an effective production at pace and at scale. 

Opportunities to push the digitalization and automation adoption will be accelerated by rapid learning about what it takes to drive productivity when staff are unavailable. 

The European Space Agency’s Invitation to Tender “Path to post-COVID Recovery” offers support and funding to companies to assess the technical feasibility and economic viability of sustainable services which can contribute to the post-COVID recovery in vertical sectors such as transport, energy, healthcare, education, tourism and agriculture, using satellite data and technologies.  

TOPICS OF RELEVANCE

The feasibility study shall address opportunities for space technology and applications in support of at least one of the following sectors:

  • Transport
  • Healthcare
  • Sanitation
  • Energy
  • Tourism
  • Agrifood
  • Education & Training
  • Real Estate
  • Safety and Security

Transport
Public and private transport has been severely impacted by travel bans, avoidance of public gatherings, closure of countries borders resulting in sharp reductions in transport demand and travel at regional and national levels.

Relevant applications include: 

  • Seamless and efficient transportation solutions to increase mobility access with sustainable environmental solutions.
  • Autonomous vehicles (AVs) into public transport service and for goods delivery 
  • Increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning in public transport

Education and Health 
The outbreak has shifted the approach and pronounced changes in the healthcare sector will arise, such as remote diagnostics, AI diagnosis assistance and telehealth. Relevant applications include: 

  • Telemedicine services 
  • Healthcare for minorities based on mapping exercises and site assessments  
  • Health monitoring systems

Sanitation
A visible shift in the way we interact with our surrounding environment including people is underway, post COVID-19. With the possibility of detection of infectious diseases through human waste (Toilet Resources) in real time, the society at large may be able to take preventative actions and avert the spread of outbreaks. This may lead to development of comprehensive sanitation and health systems aided by advances in digitisation, data transmission and analytics AI diagnostic assistance, and remote health monitoring. Relevant applications include:

  • Development of automated disease detection (COVID-19) devices / sensor technologies 
  • Transmission of data and data analytics to monitor the spread of diseases
  • Machine learning / Artificial Intelligence used for disease data analysis along with surrounding environmental parameters linked with the geolocation of sanitation facilities.

Energy 
Restrictions of the transport have contributed to a decrease in the demand for oil, resulting in a production decline, in favour of renewable energies as solar and wind generators that have lower marginal costs.

Relevant applications include: 

  • Mobile solar power distribution
  • Provision of clean energy to households’ communities, enabling smart grid management, remote monitoring and data analytics
  • Lastmile on-demand clean energy delivery service

Tourism
New approaches will have to be adopted to help the tourism sector as a whole to recover. This will require particular attention in all tourism sectors including responsible and smart tourism.

Relevant applications include:

  • Digital tourism management
  • Sustainable tourism strategies applications
  • Investing in Tourism Infrastructure

Agrifood 
The recovery is anticipated to bring the expansion of the agrifood market to innovative solutions, products, technologies to reinvigorate the sector.

Relevant applications include: 

  • Automated operations to mitigate the risks stemming from dependence on seasonal workers and reduce human contact
  • Digital solutions as record-keeping for the farmers operations 
  • Innovation in supply chains and markets to help the farmers in getting the required material and placing their products to market

Education 
The outbreak has shifted the approach to education and training to patterns that are much more sustainable, recognizing the opportunities of the online environment. Relevant applications include: 

  • Remote learning solutions to offer access to quality education and information 
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for applications 
  • Telemedicine services 

Real Estate 
The real estate industry, in all its sectors such as housing and commercial properties, needs also to recover. For example, the increase in online shopping has impacted how retailers operate and the management of warehousing space. Relevant services include: 

  • Land planning and identification
  • Digital applications for industrial plants 
  • Warehouse management with increased use of automation, robots and data analytics prediction algorithms

Safety and Security
It is extremely important to develop solutions that, using space data (in particular Earth Observation) and other relevant data sources (e.g. GNSS, Open Source), are able to monitor and analyse scenarios in which the security of citizens may be affected by pandemics as Covid-19 (during spread, post-pandemic recovery and possible future virus outbreak). Solutions shall apply advanced processing technologies (e.g. AI, ML, IoT) to generate information relevant to assess potential risks for ordinary citizens as well as relevant for preventive or reactive decision-making.   

Relevant applications include: 

  • Addressing the agglomeration of people in public spaces with anonymized and aggregated tracking to provide decision-makers fighting against Covid-19 with information on crowding places, density of queues, parking places, and others. 
  • Assessing the impact on individuals of variations in international transport of goods (e.g. food, medicines), industrial activities and/or distribution chains, e.g. to be able to deal with the possible lack of certain resources or to evaluate the potential evolution of a threat.
  • Monitoring relevant changes in the usage of critical infrastructures and/or in daily patterns of life to support informed decision-making.

VALUE OF SPACE 

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO)
- SatEO data, combined with advances in AI and machine learning, could be used to provide insight into people movement patterns and trends.

- SatEO can be used to support the strategic planning of the infrastructure, considering demand for transport services and to provide a model of the impact on the environment and population.

- SatEO data can be used for the provision of weather forecast, for planning and optimisation of activities.  

Satellite Navigation (SatNav)
- SatNav can be used to provide an accurate location to track & trace people and vehicles and to guide to locations of interest.

- SatNav can help guide and navigate autonomous vehicles, such as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and to generate a precise timestamp. 

- SatNav will be particularly useful for helping people to implement social distancing in queues and other public spaces.

Satellite Communications (SatCom)
- SatCom provides broadband internet, voice-over IP, video and reliable communications to remote locations. 

- SatCom can be used as a primary communication means or as back-up to terrestrial networks, enhancing robustness and resilience. 

- The convergence between satcom and terrestrial communications, in the future 5G mobile network, will be a key enabler for satisfying the requirements of high speed and secure communications.

WHAT WE OFFER

ESA Space Solutions can provide funding for assessing the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services that exploit one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology). The call is open to companies that intend to develop space-enabled applications and services relating to the post-COVID recovery in different vertical sectors. The activities will be 100% funded up to €150K per activity.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

We look for teams that have identified an attractive market opportunity with real potential to engage customers. Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. We want to hear about your ideas that involve utilisation of either space technology or space data. 

For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The applicable funding level of the individual prime - or subcontractors is subject to authorisation by the involved National Delegation(s). Therefore, bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Authorisation from all the respective national delegations before submitting the Proposal.

ESA TENDER INFORMATION 

Responding to an open competitive Invitation to Tender (ITT) requires the submission of a Proposal. The Proposal will be evaluated according to ESA regulations and procedures.

The consequential evaluation of proposals results in a recommendation for a winning bid. In the case that several proposals of good quality targeting different and/or complementary aspects are submitted, the Agency reserves the right to place parallel contracts for each of the open competitive ITTs in coordination with the relevant national delegations.

For the fully detailed Proposal Guide on competitive ITTs click: Open Competition.

HOW TO APPLY

1. The Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star, prior to downloading the official tender documents from EMITS and submitting the Proposal. The registration process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.

2. Download the official tender documentation (Invitation to Tender) and create a ‘Bidder Restricted Area’ via EMITS from 02 July 2020.

3. Write the proposal and obtain a Letter of Support from the National Delegation.

4. Submit the proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by the deadline. 

Webinars

Webinars are scheduled for the following dates:

  • 03/06/2020, 15:00 CEST (14:00 BST)
  • 10/06/2020, 11:00 CEST (10:00 BST)