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Ireland's Space Sector Strategy - Opportunities for Industry Players in Ireland

11 Feb | By Smart MBS

Copy of How To Attract Talented Irish Employees To Your Company To add to the diversity of Ireland's economy, the Government is expanding opportunities for Irish ventures to engage in European space projects.

The commercial space industry is expected to grow to approximately €2.3 trillion by 2030. Ireland's versatile and adaptive space-active industry is ideally placed to gain a significant share of this growing market, and is already rapidly expanding into it, the Government says.

European Space Agency projects

Recently, John Halligan, Ireland's Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, secured opportunities for Irish businesses to play a key part in new, lucrative European Space Agency (ESA) projects.

He was attending the ESA's Ministerial Council meeting, "Space19+", in Seville, Spain, on November 27-28, 2019, which was held to determine future ESA policies and strategies and to take decisions on states' investment in future space programmes.

Ireland has committed to invest over €100m to 2024 in ESA space programmes, which will put innovative Irish companies and researchers in a position to further seize opportunities presented by the growing global space economy.

The new space programmes that Ireland committed investment to at Space19+ include PRODEX, Exploration, Earth Observation, Navigation, Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, Technology, and Space Transportation.

The number of Irish companies engaged with ESA contracts has grown from 45 in 2014 to 70 in 2019. Under a newly established government space sector strategy, the Government is seeking to increase the number of companies benefiting from ESA engagement by 100.

These projects are highly lucrative for Irish companies; according to a 2015 Technopolis evaluation for Ireland, Irish enterprises engaged in ESA projects saw their related sales revenue grow by an annual rate of about 20 percent over the period 2012 to 2020.

Speaking at the ESA meeting, Halligan said:

"This Ministerial Council meeting is very timely for Ireland. Earlier this year I published Ireland's first National Space Strategy for Enterprise, which sets out the framework for investment and growth between now and 2025.”


He added:

"Ireland's investment will focus on programmes that enable Irish companies to become actively engaged in technology transfer, which will support long-term quality employment by providing leading-edge solutions for both the space and complementary markets, thus supporting several of the aims of Future Jobs Ireland, including embracing innovation and technological change, enhancing skills and transitioning to a low-carbon economy."

Ireland's National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025

Ireland already has established a foothold in the space industry, as well as a reputation for excellence. This has been facilitated by Ireland's membership of the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Union (EU) space programmes, and, more recently, the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

The Irish Government set out its vision for the expansion of the sector in its National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025, which was released in mid 2019. The strategy is focused on harnessing new opportunities, supporting the development of a highly skilled and adaptable workforce, encouraging awareness of space among the public and private sector, developing and maintaining a strategic business environment, and building international linkages and awareness of Ireland's space capabilities.

The Government hopes that by investing in the space sector, Irish innovations in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, robotics, and smart manufacturing that have been developed for space-related projects will have broader applications back on earth also, further supporting Irish businesses to deliver solutions that are world-leading.

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