ESA title

Big Data in Health Kick-start

  • Activity Kick-start Activity
  • Opening date 02-10-2018
  • Closing date 13-11-2018


‘Big Data in Health’ revolves around the idea of developing new modes of healthcare delivery and associated commercial services. Europeans are living longer and healthier lives, and as a result, the demand for healthcare services is increasing. At the moment, EU’s healthcare expenditure accounts for about 10% of EU GDP and is projected to reach 12% by 2060.

At the same time the growth of health services and workforce supply is minimal on the EU level and even negative in some countries. Additionally, increasing workforce concentration in urban areas puts a huge load on services operating in rural regions.

These pessimistic outlooks, however, form a great environment for service innovation, attracting new players with novel business models. Global disclosed private investment in healthcare reached $36.4 billion in 2016 and is bound to increase considering the growing demand and expenditure on healthcare, which is projected to reach $8.7 trillion globally by 2020.

Big Data analytics are increasingly being used in these industries as they have an enormous potential to increase the quality, speed and accessibility of healthcare and reduce costs at the same time.


Webinars took place on 17th September and 1st October, 2018. Slides can be found under 'Downloads'.


Space can add value to the healthcare industry and increase its capabilities. A selection of value adding examples is listed below:

Human Spaceflight

  • Telemedicine capabilities including technologies, health sensors, procedures and best practices developed in the framework of Human Spaceflight programmes
  • Medical/biological research in microgravity conditions
  • Industrial bioprocessing in microgravity

Satellite Navigation

  • Tracking person’s locations and movement
  • Combined with individual health/patient data, tracking individual’s activity levels
  • Providing recommendations for location specific actions
  • Enabling emergency services to pinpoint persons’ locations if the need arises

Earth Observation

  • Measuring environmental parameters affecting health situation of persons, e.g. air quality and weather forecast. For example, the recently launched Sentinel-5P satellite provides excellent capabilities to spot and track air pollution parameters.
  • Combined with individual health/patient data, issuing alerts and providing risk mitigation suggestions

Satellite Communication

  • connectivity, especially in sparsely inhabited and undeveloped areas (e.g. in rural areas, in maritime environments, remote industrial sites)
  • redundancy channels for life-critical operations, e.g. backup to terrestrial networks
  • reliable and secure communications channels

Space Operations

  • Data processing software developed for space operations to automatically process large amounts of data and to automatically detect deviations and anomalies, e.g.
  • ESA’s automatic anomaly detection and investigation tools like ‘DrMUST’ and ‘Novelty Detection’ can potentially be used in health monitoring/alerting applications for automated analysis and parameter detection of large amounts of patient data
  • Algorithms and tools like ‘Fractal Resampling’ and ‘Packet Compression’ can help separate information from data and compress large amounts of data for efficient data transmission and storage


‘Big Data in Health’ revolves around the idea of developing new modes of healthcare delivery and associated commercial services. Health data collection and processing are the main technologies driving the innovation and enabling new business models. Topics of relevance for this opportunity include:

  • Prevention of diseases, accidents and disabilities
  • Remote diagnostics and health-on-demand
  • Automated hospital management
  • Continuous and real time illness monitoring and management
  • Bespoke medicine and treatment
  • Health micro-insurance

Other topics leading to the development of commercially sustainable services may be proposed. 


We offer funding and support to companies for business case assessment and development of new Space enabled healthcare services.

  • Zero-equity funding up to €60K per activity
  • Personal ESA consultant
  • Technical & commercial guidance
  • Access to our network of partners
  • Credibility of the ESA brand


Kick-start Activities elaborate the business opportunity and the technical feasibility of new applications and services exploiting one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology). This call for Kick-start Activities is dedicated to the theme "Big Data in Health", which means that the call is open to companies which intend to develop new applications to support "Big Data in Health" and associated activities.


Currently Germany, Norway and the UK have pre-approved funding for this Kick-start activity. Applications from other Member States will require a letter of approval from their national delegation.


  1. Register by completing the online questionnaire on ESA-STAR Registration (minimum 'light registration').
  2. Download Invitation to Tender incl. Clarification No. 29 documents on EMITS ‘AO 8872 and create 'Bidder Restricted Area' from 02 Oct 2018. 
  3. Complete your proposal and obtain a Letter of Authorisation from National Delegation, if required (see above).
  4. Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by 13 November 2018 13:00 CET.