European Space Agency: Blue Capital

The call aims to promote the use of satellite and digital technologies to bring about solutions and funding streams to support the blue natural capital sector.

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Kick-Start activities are 75% funded by the European Space Agency up to a maximum of €60K per contract.



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This opportunity offers funding for teams who would like to develop a service related to ‘Blue Natural Capital’. Funding will be provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) for 6-month studies called ‘Kick-Starts’, which can lead to larger scale Demonstration Projects. Kick-Starts are 75% funded by ESA up to a maximum of €60K per contract. Proposed services must use satellite data or space-based technologies.

The scope of the proposed Kick-start theme call is to support companies to investigate the technical feasibility and the economic viability of services which will address challenges related to blue natural capital monitoring, preservation, and sustainable growth. The call aims to promote the use of satellite technologies, in combination with digital technologies such as IoT, AI/ML, and blockchain to bring about innovative solutions for sustainable services and funding streams to support the blue natural capital sector.

Topics of relevance (further details can be found at the link below):

Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Monitoring

  • Monitoring services to track oceanic parameters such as sea surface temperature, ocean currents, wave heights, chlorophyll concentration and water quality, helping develop understanding of the dynamic marine environment and identifying potential areas of interest or concern.
  • Services for monitoring and managing fisheries by providing information on fishery resources and their distribution, to detect the location of fish aggregations, track migratory patterns, and assess fishing activity, helping to implement sustainable fishing practices and prevent overfishing.
  • Marine protected areas (MPA) monitoring to provide regular updates on changes in habitat conditions, potential encroachments, and illegal activities, ensuring effective management and enforcement.
  • Services for conducting environmental impact assessments, helping decision-makers understand potential ecological, social, and economic consequences before granting permits or authorisations. Integrating satellite data with other geospatial information, such as marine biodiversity databases, socioeconomic data, and cultural heritage information, and visualising these on geographic information systems (GIS) can provide decision-makers with comprehensive and interactive tools for effective marine spatial planning.
  • Services to estimate the carbon sequestration potential of blue carbon ecosystems by analysing vegetation cover, biomass, and productivity, help assess the success of restoration projects, detect and monitor threats to these ecosystems, such as deforestation, coastal development, pollution and climate-related events and standardise UNFCCC reporting.

Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries

  • Services to monitor fish health by detecting abnormal body temperatures, which might indicate disease outbreaks in aquaculture facilities.
  • Services for continuous remote monitoring of water quality parameters such as turbidity, chlorophyll concentration, and dissolved oxygen levels, thus helping aquaculture operators maintain optimal conditions for fish and shellfish growth and detect any signs of environmental stress or pollution.
  • Services to track the movement and behaviour of wild fish stocks, contributing to sustainable fishery management.
  • Services to assess coastal areas and inland water bodies to identify suitable sites for aquaculture operations. Factors such as water quality, temperature, salinity, and proximity to pollution sources can be analysed to ensure the most appropriate and environmentally friendly locations for aquaculture farms.
  • Services to help optimise aquaculture feed usage by monitoring algae blooms and other natural food sources in the water. This data enables farmers to adjust feed inputs, reducing waste and minimising the environmental impact.
  • Surveillance services to help monitor and detect illegal fishing activities near aquaculture sites, protecting important fish spawning sites and nursery areas, and marine protected areas, ensuring compliance with regulations and protection of both the farmed species and wild marine biodiversity.
  • Mapping and monitoring of seafloor health and blue carbon potential, reporting of compliance to Climate Smart Aquaculture (CSA) policies.
  • Services to support evidence-based decision-making in aquaculture planning and policy development. Governments and regulatory bodies can use this information to set guidelines and incentives that promote sustainable practices, and help investors assess and prioritise nature-positive investments and TNFD disclosures.

Blue Finance

  • Services to aid investors in assessing the environmental and climate-related risks (flooding, deforestation, pollution, etc) associated with blue finance projects and make informed decisions about sustainable investment opportunities
  • Monitoring of mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows as carbon sinks, supporting the computation of carbon credits and offsets
  • Insurance services available to coastal activities and infrastructures require information on the physical risks (e.g. flooding, deforestation) around a particular asset, benefitting from satellite imagery and positioning
  • Services to monitor the progress and impact of blue finance projects over time. This real-time monitoring and verification of project outcomes help evidence compliance, build investor confidence and demonstrate the effectiveness and potential of ‘bankable’ blue economy solutions.
  • Environmental monitoring services in support of the issuance of blue bonds can highly benefit from satellite imagery and positioning, providing real-time information on aspects such as water pollution levels, biodiversity loss, and land changes.
  • Services to provide transparency and validation for sustainability rating of seafood.

Applications are open to companies that intend to develop space-enabled applications and services relating to marine environment and blue natural capital, residing in any of 22 ESA member states, including the UK.

If you would like help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK Business Connect’s Space team.


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