ESA title

IAP Call for User Ideas on Critical Infrastructure announced

Critical InfrastructureThe 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 Critical Infrastructure as defined below. The aim is to generate ideas leading to services that will improve business performance and operations, help enforce new regulatory standards, or enable improved resilience.
The ideas will be used to help define and consolidate requirements for user-driven services supported through the IAP programme.

Critical Infrastructures

Critical Infrastructures can be defined as those handling essential goods (e.g. water, energy, food, confidential information) and/or services (e.g. health, financial transactions or resilience services). Infrastructures are  critical when they represent key enablers in a large variety of economic sectors. Loss or damage of critical infrastructure would have a severe and widespread impact, e.g. disruption of supplies or services, injury or loss of human lives, risks to or destruction of the environment, breach of national security or economic interests.

Criticality is also determined by the level of endangerment the infrastructure is subject to, and by its vulnerability to such hazards. Infrastructures are particularly exposed to hazards when physically spread out, e.g. linear infrastructures such as pipelines. Hazards can be diffuse (e.g. low intensity hazards affecting infrastructure over a long period of time) or acute (e.g. sudden attacks, accidents, natural hazards). They can also be predictable (e.g. corrosion) or unpredictable (e.g. tsunami or terrorist attack).

Hazards to critical infrastructure need not only be physical. For instance, cyber attacks may damage internet-linked control systems that are related to critical infrastructures such as the electrical grid, water treatment facilities, refineries, pipelines and dams.

Critical infrastructures are most often man-made, such as power plants or airports. Yet they can also be natural. For example, wetlands are a  natural infrastructure that store water and thereby mitigate floods.

Critical infrastructures typically enable the production, processing, transportation, storage or protection of essential goods, as well as the provision of basic services such as:

  • Water (e.g. water pipes, treatment plants, water towers, dykes, dams, canals).
  • Food (e.g. roads, warehouses, ports).
  • Energy (e.g. pipelines, refineries, energy grids, power plants).
  • Confidential or critically sensitive information (e.g. telecommunication infrastructure).
  • Health and well-being (e.g. hospitals, waste treatment plants).

  • Environmental protection (e.g. pollution prevention, CO2 storage).

Call for User Ideas

Themes that it is intended to cover in this Call for User Ideas include (but are not restricted to):

  • Mitigation: Deployment of protective systems to prevent damage or disruption by resilience to hazards. For mitigation of cyber attacks this should include encryption techniques and other methods.
  • Preparedness: Monitoring conditions and taking preventive actions, e.g. identification, monitoring & quantification of hazards, vulnerability and risks; infrastructure health monitoring; preventive maintenance.
  • Response: Activation of emergency spare capacity to satisfy peak demand, or to back-up failed infrastructure, e.g. space telecommunications as a back-up communications infrastructure.
  • Recovery: Supporting strategies minimising the propagation of negative effects caused after disruption such as evacuation of people and emergency repairs, and help in the assessment of damage caused to or by disrupted infrastructure.
  • Any other promising topic.

How to participate?

The Call for User Ideas on Critical Infrastructure is driven purely by the users’ perspective and their needs. The ideas submitted will be used to help define and consolidate themes and priorities of future IAP projects. This may include both Feasibility Studies (through Open Competitions or Direct Negotiation), or directly through Demonstration Projects. 

Full details of the Call and on how to submit your ideas can be found here.

Your ideas and suggestions should reach us by 22nd June 2012.

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.

04 May 2012
Last updated at 04 November 2021 - 06:20