European Space Agency: Cultural Change for Green Transition

Funding for teams to develop services related to applications that trigger cultural change, by raising climate change awareness and providing mitigating actions.

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Kick-Starts are funded at 75% by ESA for a maximum of €75K per contract.



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This ‘Cultural Change for Green Transition’ opportunity provides funding to teams who would like to develop a service related to applications that trigger cultural change by raising awareness on climate change and providing mitigating actions. Funding will be provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) for 6-month studies called ‘Kick-Starts’, which can lead onto larger scale Demonstration Projects. Kick-Starts are funded at 75% by ESA for a maximum of €75K per contract. Proposed services must use satellite data or space-based technologies.

Space-based solutions offer a unique opportunity to educate and raise awareness about the climate emergency, to share tools and knowledge, and to forecast weather catastrophes.

Three suggested topics have been given by ESA, listed below and with further details on their website.

  • ESA Space Solutions can provide funding to perform Kick-Start activities to any company (economic operator) residing in the following Member States: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania,  Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

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

  • Increasing outreach to raise awareness levels among the general population is an essential means of supporting our society as it copes with climate change, and of motivating people to make the changes that are needed. It has been shown that education significantly increases coping capacity with regards to particular climatic changes, and that this improves the resilience of people to climate risks in general.

    Some potential applications could be:

    • Services to enhance citizens’ science, supporting public engagement and collaboration in transformation and innovation, by designing experiments, providing new data, using experimental devices and sensors, and interpreting data by creating results that are interesting for many applications. The services will facilitate the participation of the wider community, allowing the demonstration of concrete examples of the effects of climate changes.
    • Services to exploit art and other visual techniques to enhance visibility of the effects of climate change and support related mitigating actions. Such services, based on tools that are different from traditional scientific reports, could include for instance art exhibitions or interactive installations and would be intended to reach out to a large audience. Also, for this application, satellite-based images are useful for creating compelling visualisations and interactive maps to showcase environmental changes and for promoting an understanding of global environmental issues.
    • As part of this family of services, the development of a Digital Twin (DT) of a specific Area of Interest can be considered. Services to support the “what-if?” scenario to visualise the implication of social behaviour in terms of the effects in climate change in a dynamic and interactive set-up are innovative tools to engage with the community. SatEO could be used to provide real world environmental data and maps. Satnav is needed to provide geo-location information from in-situ sensors
  • Smart cities can bring benefits to citizens and businesses by reducing their carbon footprint and transforming traditional processes and services. Moving the green agenda forward requires adequate, timely and transparent sharing of information, as well as creating support for and avoiding resistance to policies that have strong and differentiated impacts across socio-economic groups, territories and generations. Recently, critics of smart cities development aiming at green transition have called for a more just and equitable approach, focusing on public participation and co-creation, building local government capacity and achieving tangible outcomes for everyone, regardless of their citizenship, race or socio-economic status.

    Some potential applications could be:

    • E-information/training for public authorities and citizens: Enhancing digital skills for both public authorities and citizens through training, specifically incorporating data derived from space technologies to understand the challenges involved in introducing green and digital transformation at individual household level, as well as helping to address the massive issues of climate change, traffic, recycling, and other environmental concerns, while simultaneously improving liveability and economic performance. This could be achieved through an online digital platform or digital twin enhanced with mixed reality by combining 3-D simulation with satEO and satnav data. An example is the joint project by UN-Habitat and Ericsson, in which, by blending visualisations of the ‘future city’ with the ‘current city’, people can get up close and personal with 3D simulations of future plans.
    • E-consultation/decision-making: There are many ways for citizens to participate and contribute to green transition plans/policies of the local authorities for their cities. This could involve consultation and voting for policies or plans which are shared by the local government through mobile apps. Citizens can also actively share information such as the location of frequent illegal waste disposal (fly tipping), provide feedback and evaluate their government’s green policy using mobile apps or measure air quality through wearables supporting the decision-making process of the local authorities. This also provides opportunities for citizens to collect and provide data (citizens as sensors ). On the other hand, digital data and communication tools together with technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain allow for collective insights to be gathered. This involves sensors to monitor crowds, maintaining public safety and managing waste. Citizens need to be made aware and communicated with about these sensors, which could be done through online platforms, mobile apps or digital twins integrating satEO, satnav and satcom data.

    Potential users include city authorities and staff, citizens, planners, cultural associations and NGOs that focus on sustainable cities.

  • There are significant gaps globally in how climate change education and sustainability are taught in classrooms. Getting every learner climate-ready requires a holistic approach that involves adapting curricula, training teachers, rethinking schools and empowering communities. Recent UNESCO findings reveal that around half of the 100 countries reviewed had no mention of climate change in their national curriculum and, while 95% of surveyed primary and secondary teachers felt that teaching climate change is important, less than 30% expressed a readiness to teach it.

    Some potential applications could be:

    • Innovative digital resources/applications to help integrate climate education in schools along with the traditional lessons and course materials. This could be science experiments and studies as extra-curricular activities and projects led by students to improve their understanding of the impact of human activities on environment and its subsequent influence on weather patterns and natural disasters, or digital tools to empower students to translate this knowledge to actions to help their local communities reduce carbon footprint. Meteorological data from satellites and Earth observation imagery can be useful in such initiatives. GNSS data will be helpful to provide localised information for such services
    • Services to formulate new educational materials and training courses with emphasis on, for example,climate change and sustainability and its effect on finance and living conditions, to help young people and adults acquire the knowledge and skills needed for a greener and more sustainable economy and society. Simulation-based activities are an efficient instructional tool and innovative services that can help incorporate such activities in traditional education can foster creative thinking and student engagement that can in turn bring about new solutions for sustainable use of resources. Earth observation imagery, GNSS and meteorological data can be useful in conjunction with digital technologies such as AI/ML, AR/VR and big data analytics to design such services.
    • Services to provide training to teachers on climate education issues and green transition, thus upskilling and empowering them. This could be via, the use of interactive educational materials for example, tools educating teachers to gather and process data to create such interactive educational materials. As in the previous applications, satEO, GNSS and digital technologies such as AI/ML, AR/VR can be useful to implement such innovative services. Also, satellite communications can be helpful for capability building of educators and learners based in remote locations with little or no connectivity.
  • Satellite navigation, communications and Earth observation all have important roles to play in improving cultural change:

    Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO)

    SatEO can provide the global environmental and climate data which are needed to create a digital replica/digital twin of a specific phenomenon, and which can be used to enhance awareness and support education in matters related to the green transition. SatEO maps can underpin services to engage citizens for example in adopting satEO data to formulate new educational materials and courses on the topics of climate change and sustainability, satellite imagery and meteorological data can be beneficial. They can also help services assisting in the integration of climate education in schools. SatEO data can be combined to create 3-D simulation on platforms with mixed-reality for public participation in urban and public space design.

    Satellite Communications (Satcom)

    Satcom provides connectivity for data transmission when terrestrial solution is not available. Satcom can also be helpful for capability building of educators and learners based in remote locations with little or no connectivity and in the case of e-participation of citizens.

    Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)

    GNSS can provide localised information for services that help integrating climate education in schools, but also services to create innovative educational & awareness content targeting effect of climate change, climate adaptation and sustainability.

  • ESA will hold a webinar on 28 June at 11:00 CEST (10am UK time): click here to register for a place.

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


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