News, Announcements & Press Releases

29. November 2010 03:36

Bridging between Earth and space: technology breakthroughs for scientific progress

New Forward Look starts in Brussels, 29-30 November

TECHBREAK is a new foresight initiative lead by the European Science Foundation to ensure the technology is there to underpin future scientific breakthroughs in space science. It goes beyond space-related technologies to identify the areas that could benefit the space sector, particularly in fast evolving fields such as photonics, nanotechnology, nuclear propulsion and robotics.  
Innovative technologies open up new fields of research and give scientists new tools. Yet currently space organisations may not be aware of developments in terrestrial sectors, who in turn may not know the space sector’s needs.
Dr. Alberto Tobias from the European Space Agency (ESA) commented: "Space shares the technology and industrial base with other sectors and open innovation is the rule. In some domains technology advances faster in terrestrial sectors and if space enters the game, it can become a lead user. Bringing the two domains together offers many benefits: better products and lower costs for space; and an increased innovation for terrestrial industries, driven by space research.”
TECHBREAK (TECHnology BREAKthroughs for scientific progress) answers a request from the ESA, which Europe looks to for innovation in space. Over the last few decades, space research has tended to be cautious about using not yet fully proven technology. Feasibility and level of maturity are key criteria for selection of ESA missions which sometimes leads science teams to rely on gradual technological innovation in their mission proposals. In a rapidly developing field, ESA can be faced with dealing with obsolete technology, sacrificing competitiveness and leadership.
TECHBREAK combines a forward view of space sciences with the forward view of technology coming from non-space areas.  It will be using a classification of non-space disciplines under the broad headings of ‘Key Enabling Technologies’ which were identified in 2009 by the European Commission as being likely to be the driving forces behind future European developments. During the launching conference participants will present the different problems, their work, goals and limitations, and brainstorm and answer related targeted discussions. Participants to the conference will then attempt to match key enabling technologies from both space and non-space and identify gaps and to define if needed further specialised workshops to support this activity.
Note for Editors
For more information or to arrange interviews please contact
Chloe Kembery, ESF press office
Tel +33 (0) 388-762-158 Cell +33 (0) 643-172-382 twitter: @esf_news

The European Science Foundation (ESF) is an independent, non-governmental organisation that promotes collaboration in scientific research, funding of research and science policy across Europe. It represents 79 national research-funding and -performing agencies, academies and learned societies from 30 countries.

Media contact:

Ms. Chloe KemberyE-Mail