About Flanders Space
Flanders Space unites all space actors in Flanders and focuses on four areas: attracting young talent, supporting competitiveness and entrepreneurship, providing R&D funding and science communication. With its operation Flanders Space wants to offer all opportunities to the Flemish socio-economic actors and to graduating young people to get started with space data and infrastructure. The ambitious program, totaling € 11 million, puts space firmly on the map in Flanders for the first time.
Directing researchers to space
With this section we want to offer young talent an opportunity to start and develop a sustainable career in the Flemish space industry and at the same time lift space research in Flanders to a higher level. This can be done through the mandates for which earmarked funds are provided.
Frank De Winne as ambassador for space in Flanders is willing to link his name to the space research mandates. We distinguish 2 types of mandates that match in a technology track:
- A “Frank De Winne aspirant” mandate, which allows young researchers to obtain a PhD and develop into strategically thinking and innovation-oriented researchers. The mandate includes basic strategic research, focused on medium-term applications in the space industry;
- A “Frank De Winne post doc” mandate to support innovation in the space industry. This allows for strategic basic research, the results of which will lead to added value for the company or a ‘spin-off’ to be established.
Competitiveness & entrepreneurship
Stimulating innovation in space
By ensuring a favorable business climate and establishing programs around training and the creation of “spin-offs,” added value is created and expertise, anchoring and employment in the region is maintained and promoted.
4 separate parts are distinguished:
- Space Labs – by providing hands-on collaborative projects to get started with space data;
- Start-ups – through ESA BIC (Business Incubation Centres), as well as the European initiative CASSINI;
- Additional opportunities for start-ups – by employing the Innovative Start-up Support program;
- Program Innovative Public Procurement (PIO) – by deploying the PIO program for projects where government agencies act as “early adopter” on space applications.
Strengthen Flemish companies to be successful(er) in space programs
Flanders Space and VRI will maintain regular contacts with other organizations that have space in their portfolio: BELSPO (federal government), European Commission, in cooperation with NCP Flanders (Horizon Europe, Defense Fund, European Space program, …), ESA, NATO, EDA, and others.
Consultation with ESA itself will also take place in function of the needs of the Flemish program. In order to give the Flemish companies a head start right from the start when they submit their ESA proposals, a matching needs to be done between the Flemish strengths, the Flemish impulse programme and the ESA strategy. Flanders Space will take care of this ‘technology mapping’ with ESA. The same will be done with the European Commission (DG DEFIS and DG RTD), NATO, and EDA in order to ascertain in what way Flemish companies can optimally involve themselves in European programs. Flanders Space will help ensure that Flemish companies are ready to be and remain successful in European programmes.
Finally, Flanders Space will also actively get in touch with foreign space agencies. Luxembourg is very active in this field. First contacts were made with the Luxembourg government within the framework of the mission of the Prime Minister and Minister Crevits. These are being further developed with a view to concrete cooperation. We also continue to keep our eyes open for cooperation with other actors at home and abroad that are active in this area.
Science communication & space
Science communication on space and related scientific disciplines and technologies can stimulate the interest of broad sections of the population, increase support for the space economy, promote enrolment in STEM disciplines in general and space-related courses in particular, and stimulate entrepreneurship.
The science communication component is therefore an integral part of the conceptual Impulse programme. No funds are provided for this section in the Impulse programme itself. The funds for science communication will come from other channels but it underlines the importance attached to space so that the sector will be involved in various initiatives.
Science communication on space can be done through a multitude of channels, and by responding to new trends. To this end, the relevant players in the Flemish science communication policy will be involved in the organisation of happenings and festivals, exhibitions, educational activities, the use of social media channels, and traditional media.
Maximum content alignment with Flanders Space will be sought in order to realize the objectives of the Space Economy Impulse Program. For instance, Flanders Space will get in touch with the public observatories and other relevant actors working on (communication on) space and spaceflight towards the general public in order to streamline the various public observatories.
- Space actors: companies, knowledge institutes and academic institutions active in space in Flanders
- Companies from other sectors who want to investigate to what extent space data and infrastructure can provide added value to their activities
- Service providers wanting to use satellite data and data from related sources to develop or improve products and services
- Knowledge institutions that want to work with space data
- Government that wants to use space to solve societal challenges
- STEM graduates who want to start a career in the space sector
- Start-up companies that are using space infrastructure or space data to bring new developments to market
What can you expect?
Through Flanders Space, all Flemish actors (companies, knowledge institutions, government and citizens) are given the opportunity to work with space data and infrastructure and develop applications and services relevant for Flanders.
In addition to funding for feasibility studies, the development of prototypes, innovative technology and concepts, Flanders Space will focus on stimulating Flemish entrepreneurship in space, among other things by providing support to Flemish space start-ups.
Also, by offering Frank De Winne (post)doctoral fellowships and internships, the program wants to offer STEM graduates an attractive opportunity to start a sustainable career in the Flemish space industry.
Finally, targeted communication actions will highlight the achievements in this domain and demonstrate how space data and space infrastructure contribute to solving societal challenges.
In short, if you are an entrepreneur, researcher, student or government institution passionate about space and would like to do something with it in your daily (work) environment, then check out what Flanders Space can do for you!