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Upcoming opportunities dedicated to Space

space opportunities
Margherita Volpe

Margherita Volpe

Security, Space & Defence Knowledge Area Leader

On November 21st, 2023, several new opportunities for proposals related to space applications will be officially opened under the Horizon Europe Cluster 4 Digital Industry and Space work programme. In particular, Destination 5 of Cluster 4: Open strategic autonomy in developing, deploying and using global space-based infrastructures, services, applications and data gathers together the most relevant research and innovation opportunities of the year for space-related applications.

Yet, this is not the sole option offered by the Horizon Europe Cl4 work programme!

4 new space topics: scope and peculiarities

With Destination 5, four topics have been opened for reception of project proposals, with the ambition to contribute to evolve Copernicus services (two topics) and foster innovative space capabilities, including SSA, GOVSATCOM, Quantum (one topic) and supporting EU space sector (one topic).

All four topics are RIA – Research and Innovation Action, open to participation to any type of organization with a 100% coverage of eligible costs. The total allocated amount is approximately 46 Mln/EUR and the ultimate deadline to submit proposal for this topic is on March 21st.  As all topics have peculiarities, it is of primary importance to understand specific eligibility criteria, as well as their focus and underpinning purpose.

Copernicus opportunities

Copernicus is the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme, and two topics are dedicated to the evolution of Copernicus core services (Climate Change, Marine Environment Monitoring, Land Monitoring, Atmosphere Monitoring, Emergency Management and Security) with the purpose to to contribute to improve the capability to respond to new and emerging policy needs through satellite-based services. The topics of 2024 are dedicated to:

This topic intends to finance 2 projects with a budget of up to 2 Mln/EUR each, aimed alternatively at further developing a) current Copernicus services for land planning decisions, or b) coastal/shore hydrological satellite observation products; the peculiarity of this topic is that the Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding;

This topic intends to finance 2 project, with a budget of approximately 4 Mln/EUR, with focus on improving Copernicus contribution to resilience and support of civil security, including reaction and recovery from major crisis caused for examples by climate change or conflicts;  considering the strategic and sensitive nature of the topic scope, participation is restricted to organizations established in and controlled by Member States, Norway and Iceland only.

Noteworthy, both topics mentioned above will be implemented through lump sum approach and will thus have a facilitated reporting approach as in the case of ERC 2024 calls described in this previous article.


On the other side, two topics are dedicated to GOVSATCOM (EU Agency for the Space Programme) components improvement, with the underpinning intent to provide reliable and cost-effective satellite communications services, fostering the development of European satcom security technologies and increasing European independence from foreign critical technologies. The topic of 2024 is:

This topic intends to finance one project only for a total value of 14 Mln/EUR aimed at  realizing a phase B study to preliminarily define quantym space gravimetry pathfinder mission; the peculiarities of this topic include an extended technical application form (90 pages instead of the classical 45 pages expected in other Horizon Europe applications) and the restriction of applicants to organizations established in and controlled by Member States, Norway and Iceland.

Finally, in relation of the intent of developing strategic actions in support of EU space sector and contributing to the competitiveness and independence of the EU space sector, the following topic is open:

This topic intends to finance several small projects of a 2-3 Mln/EUR value each aimed at maturing research and innovation products into critical space technologies and overcoming dependency issues for use in the EU space programme components, according to the expectations of the European Commission-ESA-EDA Joint Task Force (JTF); specific technological areas to be addressed are listed in the topic, ranging from power laser sources, photonic components and integrated circuits.

As in the case of SPACE-01-64, the peculiarities of this topic include an extended technical application form (75 pages) and the restriction of applicants to organizations established in and controlled by Member States, Norway and Iceland; noteworthy, project funded under this topic will follow the lump sum approach.

If you are interested to check the project funded in relation to the Cluster 4 – Destination 5 calls of 2023, to discover top players and applicants in this domain, or find your next project partner do not hesitate to use our free trial access tool Kaila.

Beyond Horizon classics: ESA and EUSPA space opportunities

In addition to the above mentioned calls, several other opportunities are expected to be opened under the egis and direct management of two main EU Space agencies: the Europeam Space Agency – ESA for an expected value of 82,30M€ in 2024 and the European Union Agency for Space Programme – EUSPA for an expected value of 13,8M€ in 2024.

From ESA support, the topics will focus on Secure Connectivity/GOVSATCOM development and validation (approximately 20.6 Mln/EUR allocated in 2024), In Orbit Demonstration/Validation service (13 Mln/EUR allocated in 2024) and Space Weather and Near-Earth Objects (approximately 6 Mln/EUR allocated in 2024).

From EUSPA, the perspective topics intend to finance European New Space entrepreneurship through Cassini Space Entrepreneurship Initiative 2021-2027 via Cassini Business Accelerator, Hackathons & Mentoring (4.8 Mln/EUR allocated in 2024). In addition, the third EUSPA Horizon Europe Call has been opened on October 26th, launching five of the seven topics expected as per CL4 2023-2024 Work Programme, with a total allocation of 34.5 Mln/EUR and deadline for the February 24th 2024. The topics are:

(IA – max. project budget 3,5 Mln/EUR – two projects to be funded), aimed at fostering the development and validation of integrated space technologies to improve quality of life and contribution to EU mission on climate-neutral and smart cities;

(IA – max. project budget 8 Mln/EUR – four projects to be funded), aimed at by fostering EGNSS adoption in regulated markets such as rail, maritime inland waterways, fisheries and aquaculture, road and automotive, aviation;

(RIA – max. project budget 7 Mln/EUR – five projects to be funded), aimed at enhance or develop new applications based on Copernicus data and services, addressing and focusing on one target area (emergency, security, marine, land, climate change, atmosphere) only per each project;

(RIA – max. project budget 6 Mln/EUR – seven projects to be funded), aimed at demonstrating the benefits of EU space-based solutions and services;

HORIZON-EUSPA-2023-SPACE-01-61 – EU GOVSATCOM for a safer and more secure EU

(Innovation Action – max. project budget 10mEUR – three projects to be funded), aimed at identifying, addressing and demonstrating successful results in relation to technological challenges linked to the provision of GOVSATCOM services.

Interested in discovering more?

If you are working in space-related domains or are willing to explore opportunities for application of space technologies to your sector of business, at Zabala Innovation we can help you to identify relevant European space opportunities, define specific use cases tailored to sectoral needs and challenges, and guide you in understanding how to access such opportunities.

Reach out to us to discover more!



Expert person

Margherita Volpe
Margherita Volpe

Brussels Office

Security, Space & Defence Knowledge Area Leader