Funding Opportunity / 

Leverage Space Technology for Wildlife Protection with the European Space Agency Kick-start Grant

The European Space Agency is calling for Kick-Start ideas to leverage space technology for wildlife protection. Three main topics of interest have been identified: 1) Wildlife monitoring, tracking and inventory, 2) Habitat monitoring and assessment, and 3) Fighting against poaching and illegal wildlife products trading. Exploitation of space-based data and technology is key for the proposed Kick-start Activity theme. Kick-start Activities resulting from thematic calls are funded at 75% by the Agency for a maximum amount of €60K per contract. Applications opens on July 31st and close on October 11th. 

Kick-start activities: new funding opportunity for innovative applications

The Call for Kick-start Activities is ESA’s new funding scheme which is launched in 2017. Activities will be funded at 75%, with ESA providing up to €60,000 per contract. The thematic Calls for Kick-start Activities are open to any industry in IAP participating Member States. They are designed to be particularly interesting for SMEs and start-ups looking for opportunities to develop their ideas for new business applications.  

Kick-start Activities are designated to enable companies to undertake compact Feasibility Studies that explore new service and application concepts which make use of space capabilities. Successful Kick-start Activities can be further developed into commercially-viable businesses with follow-up support from IAP in the form of a demonstration project.

We have streamlined the application process so that the paperwork has been suitably minimised. An Outline Proposal will not be required; solely a single document, maximum 20 pages in length. We are committed to a rapid evaluation process, with approved activities starting within six weeks from evaluation.

The Invitations to Tender for Kick-start Activities are divided into Thematic Calls.

In the second semester 2017, six Thematic Calls for Kick-start Activities will be launched:

  • FinTech (opens 10 July, closes 19 September)
  • Wildlife Protection (opens 31 July, closes 11 October)
  • People Mobility (opens 20 September, closes 31 October)
  • Arctic/Sub-Arctic Regions (opens 12 October, closes 23 November)
  • Space for Municipalities (opens 1 November, closes 13 December)
  • Com. Climate Service (opens 24 November, closes 16 January)

Wildlife Protection Kick Start Call

Under the current trajectory, the future of many living organisms is uncertain. They are increasingly affected by pressures from unsustainable agriculture, fisheries, mining and other human activities that contribute to habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, climate change and pollution. The rapid loss of wildlife species today is estimated to be up to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.

Innovative technologies such as big data analytics, image-recognition algorithms, RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System), crowd-sourcing, etc., are more and more considered by many actors in the wildlife conservatory community as essential tools to improve the efficiency of wildlife protection programs. They can offer for instance accurate, comprehensive and timely information related to habitat change, animal tracking, poaching, etc.

What we look for: 

Kick-start Activities aim at elaborating the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services exploiting one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology).

This Call for Kick-start Activities is dedicated to the theme "Wildlife Protection". It looks for innovative applications and services based on the integration of space and non-space technology, offering enhanced and affordable support to conservatory plans, while ensuring economic sustainability to the involved private actors. Three main topics of relevance have been identified:

  • Wildlife monitoring, tracking  and inventory
  • Habitat monitoring and assessment
  • Fighting against poaching and illegal wildlife products trading

Exploitation of space-based data and technology is key for the proposed Kick-start Activity theme:

  • High-resolution satellite Earth Observation images can be used to periodically monitor the environmental changes affecting wildlife habitat as well as identify and monitor (some) wildlife movement patterns and species numbers.
  • Satellite Navigation is essential to track & trace animals, control and command remotely piloted aircraft systems, geo-localise in-situ measurements from various sensors, etc.
  • Satellite Communications may be used for in-the-field communications in remote areas. In addition the ARGOS satellite system combined with ARGOS transmitters allows precise and continuous tracking of animals.

Webinar registration:

The webinars for this topic are scheduled for 13 July 2017, 11:00 - 12:00 CEST and 25 July 12:00 - 13:00 CEST. They will provide clarifications to interested stakeholders and potential bidders. The planned duration is 60 minutes, including 30 minutes for Q&A.

Please register at the link below, so we can send you a confirmation and reminder email with webinar access link before the event.


Funding Scheme

Kick-start Activities resulting from thematic calls are funded at 75% by the Agency for a maximum amount of €60K per contract.

Funded participation to the Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) Kick-start Activities is open to any public organisation, commercial client worldwide or space company (be it as federation of users, public body or non-governmental organisation) residing in any of the ESA Member States that are participating to the IAP Programme (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

Individual ESA Member States have already made funding available for specific Thematic Calls on Kick-start Activities. For more details, please refer to the section Authorisation of Funding above.

In case you intend to submit a proposal for a Thematic Call and your company/organisation resides in another country, you are encouraged to contact the National Delegation.