Space and Biotechnology

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Space and Biotechnology

The European Space Agency’s “Space and Biotechnology” opportunity offers support and funding to companies looking to develop biotechnology services that can benefit from using space-based data or capabilities. This opportunity enables companies to carry out in-depth analyses on the technical feasibility and economic viability of applications across a range of themes, as set out below:

Key Focus Areas

  • Plant Science
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Combating desertification
  • Controlled-Environment Agriculture
  • Biopharma
  • Plant Engineering
  • Digital Health
  • Biofuel Production
  • Logistics and maintenance
  • Agro-terrorism
  • Bio-crime

The Value of Space for Biotechnology

Space assets integrated with terrestrial technologies can be instrumental in addressing the needs of the above economic sectors and user communities. Some potential uses of space assets are provided below.


  • Satellite Earth Observation (EO) data including meteorology, is valuable in monitoring environmental conditions in areas of interest and in predicting changes. Historical and current EO images can be used to show the long-term effects of biotechnology on e.g. plants, the soil and the air.
  • Satellite Communcation (SatCom) provides a means to connect to remote locations or facilities when there are no terrestrial telecommunications networks available.
  • Satellite Navigation (SatNav) can be used to geo-reference data from in-situ sensors and dedicated devices in order to support geospatial processing. SatNav also enables both tracking and timing services, which are fundamental in tracing the location of people and assets.
  • Space Flight Technologies includes the technology, health sensors, data, procedures and best practices which were developed, in the first instance, for space but that offer a great opportunities to develop commercial downstream applications. This is could be the case, for instances,  when biotechnology is  applied in space to recycle organic waste and then the same technology is replicated also on Earth.


We offer funding and support to companies, both for business case assessment and for the development of new space empowered services that are enabled by biotechnologies. This includes:

  • Zero-equity funding
  • 100% funding available up to €200K per activity
  • Technical & commercial guidance
  • Access to our network and partners
  • Use of the ESA brand for your service


We’re looking for teams that have identified an attractive market opportunity with real potential for engaging customers. Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. We want to hear about your commercially viable, technically feasible business ideas that involve either Space technology or Space data. For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: (AT, BE, CH, CZ, DE, DK, FI, FR, GR, IE, IT, LU, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, UK).



  1. Register by completing an online questionnaire via ESA-STAR Registration (minimum ‘light registration’)

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

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

  4. Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by 21 January 2019.

Downloads [registered users only]

Funding Scheme

Funded participation to ESA Business Applications is open to any company and/or organisation, be it as group of users, public body or non-governmental organisation, residing in any of those states that subscribe to the ARTES IAP programme.

To date, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have subscribed.

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 their national delegations before submitting a Full Proposal.


ESA Project Cost Funding Per Country
(up to)

Tenderer and/or third party contribution

Funding Limit/ Activity Duration

Feasibility Study 100% 0%  
Demonstration Project 50% 50%  
Kick-start Activity 75% 25% 60 kEuro/
6 months