COMPET-06-2014 - Bottom-up space technologies at low TRL
Specific challenge: In the mid- and long-term the competitiveness of the space sector and its ability to serve the Union's internal and external policies including the Common Security and Defence Policy depends on the continuous incorporation of novel, or even disruptive technologies. The European RTD investment in the field of very low-TRL technologies is to be enhanced. A number of challenges in space technologies have parallels to terrestrial challenges, for example in the fields of aeronautics, energy, environment, ICTs, natural resource exploration, sensors, robotics, advanced materials and production methods, security and health.
Scope: New ideas must be incorporated into the current state of the art. As many advances could come from non-space sectors, such sectors must be actively researched for potential ideas. This should mobilise both traditional space actors and non-space actors, to look for space technologies of the future. The aim of this topic is to attract new actors to space activities and demonstrate technologies that are potentially disruptive, and not only incremental. Such highly innovative technologies should lead to radical improvements in performance, and will enable emerging missions. Drastic improvements in miniaturisation, efficiency, versatility and functionality are expected.
Proposals based on low TRL (1-3) ideas and technologies which could have a final application in future space systems are solicited. The target is to demonstrate these up to TRL 4-5. In this first call, proposals on the fundamental areas of knowledge are foreseen, in which, among others, some of the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) play a major role. In particular, proposals are sought with relevance for the fields of: "high-resolution optical and radar observation related technologies (including hyperspectral systems)”, "radiation-hardened instrument components", "in-situ sensors/instruments of physical parameters", "technologies for flexible/new generation SatCom payloads" and "advanced inter-satellite and/or downlink communications and tracking techniques (RF or Optical)".
The Commission considers that proposals implemented in less than 24 months and requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Only up to two proposals will be financed on each of the five lines foreseen: "high-resolution optical and radar observation related technologies (including hyperspectral systems)”, "radiation-hardened instrument components", "in-situ sensors/instruments of physical parameters", "technologies for flexible/new generation SatCom payloads" and "advanced inter-satellite and/or downlink communications and tracking techniques RF or Optical".
Expected impact: Spinning-in of new enabling technologies to space systems up to TRL 4-5 and clear indication of the ways in which these technologies can significantly improve performance and/or reduce costs if further developed.
Proposals preferably will mobilise the incorporation of research groups and SMEs without previous experience in space RTD, into the space landscape.
Ideally proposals should result in developments affecting a range of sectors.
Type of action: Research and innovation action.
 Technology Readiness Levels are defined in part G of the General Annexes. In the specific area of space, further details can be found in the European Space Agency website "Strategic Readiness Level - The ESA Science Technology Development Route". European Space Agency, Advanced Studies and Technology Preparation Division, http://sci.esa.int/sre-ft/50124-technology-readiness-level/05</p>