A consultation document for Ireland’s Space Strategy for Enterprise was published yesterday by Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan.
The consultation document seeks input from stakeholders on issues to be considered in the development of Ireland’s Space Strategy for Enterprise. The strategy will set out how Ireland will maximise on its investment in space within the evolving global space market, which is expanding to present numerous opportunities for private industry and researchers. The consultation will be open for input until the 27th August 2018.
In recognising the expanding global space sector, Enterprise 2025, Ireland’s National Enterprise Policy, identified the space sector as a new area of opportunity for Ireland. Furthermore, the National Development Plan called out a New Space Technologies Programme as a Strategic Investment Priority, 2018–2027.
In order to seize the opportunities presented by the growing global space sector, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland are currently developing a strategy with the key objective, to develop a strong and sustainable space industry in Ireland and to optimise and grow the economic return from Ireland’s investment in space.
Ireland primarily invests in space through its membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union space programmes, Copernicus, Galileo and also, Horizon 2020.
In recent years, the global space sector has been undergoing a major change, as the global space market has expanded from largely Government-driven projects to increased participation by private industry, often referred to as ‘NewSpace’. This trend is being driven by several factors, such as the increasing demand for communication services, location information and space-derived data.
‘New Space’ has opened up opportunities for private enterprises, research centres and entrepreneurs working in many sectors not traditionally associated with space, such as data analytics, software, data systems and advanced materials as well as the more obvious sectors, including electronics, opto-electronics, telecommunications geo-science and astrophysics.
With support from ESA, and also Enterprise Ireland, which supports Irish companies to successfully bid for ESA contracts, Irish industry are progressively establishing themselves in this sector and are increasingly winning contracts to develop technologies, products and services for the commercial space market.
Speaking about the consultation and strategy, Minister Halligan said, "On foot of the expanding space sector, the time is now ripe for Ireland to develop a Space Strategy for Enterprise. The strategy will set out how Ireland can maximise the benefit of its investment in space for industry, researchers, citizens and the wider economy. The consultation process will inform the final strategy and help determine what actions the Government can take to develop a strong and sustainable sector in Ireland."
He added, "Companies involved in the space sector in Ireland increasingly come from a broad range of disciplines and include companies without a conventional space background. A growing number of Irish companies, including SMEs and start-up companies, are winning contracts with the European Space Agency. I would strongly encourage all companies to read the consultation paper and consider its relevance to them."