Collaboration on EU Projects

Supporting the coordination with the EU for technology matters including the implementation of the European Space Policy.

ESA’s technology development activities are embedded into a wider European R&D landscape reflecting the maturation of the space sector, the resulting increasing private sector investments in some space technology areas and the substantial investments in space technologies at national level and via the EU.

In this context, coordination is an absolute must to make best use of resources and the complementarity of the frameworks, instruments and competences of both the EU and ESA, with a view to increasing effectiveness to support the European Space sector R&D efforts. 


A complete and efficient coordination can only be achieved by continuing to build on existing coordination processes. Concrete steps taken to strengthen cooperation on Technology R&D with the EC include:

  • The establishment of the EC-ESA-EDA Joint Task Force on Critical Space Technologies for European Nondependence in 2008: 
  • The participation of the EC in the ESA Technology Advisory Working Group (TA-WG) since its establishment in 2013, 
  • The participation of ESA as observer in the EC sub-group on technology of the Space Policy Expert Group (SPEG-T) since 2016 
  • EC involvement in the Technology Harmonisation since 2008. 

Other achievements in ESA and EC cooperation in the technology R&D domain include a number of formalised activities under Horizon 2020-Space, the EPIC and PERASPERA Programme Support Activities, respectively for the Strategic Research Clusters on electric propulsion and on space robotics, as well as the Contribution Agreement for space technologies, focussed on IOD/IOV. 

In terms of involvement in projects, the current "Moratorium on all ESA participation in Proposals in response to all EU calls" (DG/135) prohibits ESA participation in proposals in response to all EC Calls. Therefore, ESA and its staff can neither propose a project as coordinator nor be a participant in a consortium; providing a letter of intent or advising a consortium is not allowed either and any exceptions to the moratorium require specific DG approval. 

Exception to the above concerns the possibility of ESA participation – only as ‘host organisation’ - in proposals responding to EU Marie Curie calls. Any specific case of potential involvement of TEC in EU activities needs to be handled on a case by case basis. 

Please contact TEC-H for questions or if you intend to submit a request to be reviewed individually. 


With the aim of improving visibility, the TEC Portal offers to everybody in ESA the possibility to share information about existing or potential opportunities on research and technology in EU Framework Programmes like Calls or Projects (space and non-space) which are of specific interest for ESA. 

This ‘EU Activities Open Survey’ is always open and available anytime on ESA Sharepoint.