ESA title

IAP Call for User Ideas on the Baltic


The newly created Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) programme of the European Space Agency (ESA) is inviting public and commercial end-user organisations to propose ideas and suggestions for new services in the Baltic, focusing particularly on maritime issues. The aim is to generate ideas leading to new services that will improve business performance and operations, help enforce new regulatory standards (for instance on environmental protection), or enable improved marine safety and security.

The ideas will be used to help define and consolidate requirements for user-driven services supported through the IAP. At this stage, we are primarily interested in user requirements rather than in technical solutions.

The IAP initiative on the Baltic is planned as the first of a number of such initiatives that we wish to undertake on a European regional basis. It is intended that the strategy for this initiative be closely aligned with that of other programmes on the Baltic such as BONUS, HELCOM and BOOS.

Call for User Ideas

The Call for User Ideas on the Baltic follows directly from a workshop on .Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Services for Environment, Safety and Security in the Baltic Sea. which was held in Helsinki on 12th April, 2010. The workshop was jointly organised by BONUS EEIG (representing 9 research funding agencies around the Baltic), TEKES (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) and ESA.

Themes arising from the workshop (and also from the adjoining Northern Maritime Challenge workshop organised by the Centre for Maritime Studies at the University of Turku on .Challenges in Baltic Sea Transports, Safety and the Environment.) that it is intended to cover in this Call for User Ideas include (but are not restricted to):

  • Environmental Monitoring (e.g. monitoring of oil spills and algae .matts., coastal protection).
  • Safety and Security (e.g. monitoring / optimisation of vessel traffic, border security, search and rescue).
  • Energy (e.g. operation of offshore wind farms and sail boats; laying of underwater pipelines).
  • Fisheries (e.g. management of trawlers and fish-stocks, marketing service).
  • Port handling (e.g. tracking of containers).

Planned Call for Proposals

As result of the received response to the Call for User Ideas, ESA intends to initiate a set of IAP activities in partnership with other relevant stakeholders. In particular, it is planned to publish an Open Call for Proposals on the Baltic in December 2010. The Open Call will address Feasibility Studies (see below), though more fully developed ideas could also be considered directly for Demonstration Projects. The most promising Feasibility Studies on the Baltic would be taken forward as IAP Demonstration Projects in the second half of 2012.

The Baltic Sea Region

The Baltic Sea region is ecologically unique, and cannot be monitored or controlled purely on a national basis. It is characterised by a very long water residence time (25 - 35 years), a large salinity range (from 23 . in the Danish Straits to approximately 2-3 . in the easternmost Gulf of Finland and northernmost Gulf of Bothnia), and has essentially no tide. Due to the exceptional salinity conditions, the Baltic Sea is characterised by low species diversity of freshwater and marine origin, and has a simplified food web.

The Baltic Sea is of considerable strategic and economic importance in energy supply from Russia to the EU, supporting the transportation of oil and gas. It is also highly congested, with over 2000 vessels trafficking the Baltic at any one time. Land uplift is still an ongoing process along coastal areas (particularly in northern parts of the Baltic), requiring frequent dredging of shipping lanes. Eutrophication is also a major problem, due largely to excessive run-off from fertilisers. The Baltic Sea is seasonally affected by ice cover which requires a fleet of ice-breakers to maintain the shipping routes in the winter.

The IAP Programme

The IAP programme aims at developing a range of new applications by using and integrating different space assets (Earth Observation, Navigation and Telecommunications), resulting in sustainable services for the benefit of society ensured by the user-driven nature of the IAP programme. New concepts, capabilities and a new culture are required in order to respond to a multitude of needs from users who are not familiar with space systems, and this Call for User Ideas is targeted especially at such users.

ESA is in the process of initiating discussions with stakeholders and end users, and bringing them together with the space industry and service providers, with the aim of assisting in the development of end-to-end technical solutions through two types of studies:

  • Feasibility Studies, which provide the preparatory framework to identify, analyse and define new user-driven sustainable services.  
  • Demonstration Projects, which aim at establishing the basis for sustainable integrated applications. Demonstration Projects are carried out on the basis of partnership with ESA, and have the ultimate goal of validating the technical and economic viability of the proposed solution.

Feasibility Studies in Open Competition can be supported by ESA up to a level of 100%, and Demonstration Projects up to 50%. Some examples of ongoing IAP projects, and more information on the IAP programme, can be found on the ARTES Applications portal at

How to submit your ideas

You are invited to submit your ideas and suggestions by completing and returning the attached form by email to  (putting .Baltic Call. in the subject heading).

The User Response Form can be downloaded below.

Please be assured that all inputs will be treated confidentially. Your ideas are highly valued, and will help shape the IAP programme of ESA in order to meet your needs.

For any questions related to this Call for User Ideas, please contact:

Dr Tony Sephton (TIA-AFA)


Keplerlaan 1, 2200AG Noordwijk




13 July 2010
Last updated at 28 July 2014 - 13:39