Brussels, 01 Jul 2003
The European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission and Europe's space industry have come together to create a master plan for space technology research and development (R&D).
The plan outlines 20 technology areas to be harmonised and attempts to consolidate space related R&D in Europe.
'Europe has a yearly budget of approximately 400 million euro for space technology research and development,' said Hans Kappler, ESA's director of industrial matters and technology programmes. 'It is very obvious this investment has to be harmonised in order to avoid unnecessary duplications of activities and fill strategic gaps.'
The November 2001 ESA ministerial conference called on ESA to take on a coordination and harmonisation role with the aim of establishing a European technology strategy and policy. Part of this process is the mapping of Europe's capabilities and the identification of needs.
The master plan outlines current technology activities in Europe (and includes a database of 1600 such activities), strategies and funding approaches, and relationships with European partners.
Moves towards harmonisation have been welcomed by Luc Tytgat, Head of Unit for space in the European Commission: 'We want to improve and increase the strength of Europe, and it is absolutely necessary to implement a tool which helps to coordinate this, so this harmonisation effort is definitely something we welcome. [...] This type of instrument [the master plan] is absolutely a significant, strategic and visible contribution to our requirements to coordinate and harmonise technology activities in Europe.'
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