Following years of calls for the Government to launch a clear vision for Ireland’s growing space sector, Minister for State, Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD, launched the country’s first National Space Strategy on 19 June.
Spanning between now and 2025, the Government said the plan will provide strategic support to Ireland’s space sector, both industry and research. It has six targets it describes as ‘ambitious’, with annual investment in the European Space Agency (ESA) totalling €32m by 2025. Between 2009 and 2019, Ireland’s ESA commitment grew from €14.8m to €18.3m per annum.
These goals include:
- Doubling space-related revenue and employment in Irish space companies
- Supporting 100 companies to tap into ESA networks
- Doubling the value of contracts won through the EU Horizon programmes
- Increasing industry, public and international awareness of space and Ireland’s space activities
- Developing and attracting talent for space industries and research
- Developing a sustainable Earth Observation services sector based on advanced data analytics
A new Space Enterprise Coordination Group will be established with the strategy, chaired by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to implement it, raise awareness among the public sector and guide the Government on legislation to boost the national space sector.
A new website will also be created to guide entrepreneurs and others looking to understand space activities across research and business in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch at DCU Alpha in Dublin, Halligan said: “Space-active Irish companies have become increasingly successful within ESA and EU programmes in recent years.
“As the space economy continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, there is a growing opportunity for Irish companies to participate. This strategy puts into place a framework for a greater Irish involvement, and enhanced success at a global level.”
The number of Irish companies now engaged in contract work with ESA has grown from 35 in 2008 to 67 in 2018. Also, the European Investment Bank this year calculated that the space sector has grown by an average of 6.7pc per annum between 2005 and 2017. This is almost twice the 3.5pc average yearly growth of the global economy
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