ESA title


    Food production and agriculture underpin human society and the sector faces a remorseless need to increase productivity.


    Due to population growth, shrinking of arable land and climate change, the sector is expected to face significant changes. The costs associated with agriculture as a result of increased environmental demands and other regulations are gaining pace and policy makers are supporting the agriculture sector and its transformation on a national and European level. Efficient and sustainable farming solutions can drive this transformation by increasing productivity while at the same time reducing costs, waste and environmental impact.

    The integration of space-based and terrestrial systems has proved very effective in this respect. There is an increasing opportunity for customised solutions and innovative services that combine yield optimisation with a lessening of environmental impact, notably through precision farming and enhanced irrigation management that reduces the use of pesticides and water.

    Precision farming involves the measuring and monitoring of inputs including fertilisers, pesticides, water resources, labour and machine hours. The market was worth an estimated USD 4 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at around 15% CAGR from 2019 to 2025. The Internet of Things (IoT) and automation are already playing a key role and adoption of such technologies is expected to increase. Space assets such as satellite communications can provide a secure means of data transmission and can be complemented with Earth observation to monitor soil moisture or predict weather/environmental events that could affect the yield. Satellite navigation plays an important role for real-time tracking and tracing of farm assets which can help calculate optimal routes for (autonomous) tractors maximising efficiency and the utilisation of the machinery. The tracking of farm assets is not just limited to machinery but can also be applied to tracking of livestock for virtual fencing, and  tracking of animal fertility or animal protection purposes.

    The space environment, and in particular the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation among other harsh conditions, provide also a unique laboratory for the study of plant growth, cultivation, seed storage and plant biology in generally. Studying crops under these conditions can help industry to improve methodologies for cultivation of plants under harsh conditions and in closed environments, providing valuable solutions for novel agricultural approaches for food production.

    On a macro level perspective, services that can evaluate agricultural statistics and regulatory requirements can help policy makers ensure food security at regional, national or international level. Policy obligations such as the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the EU’s Green Deal, and the Area Monitoring System of the Common Agriculture Policy can be assessed and monitored with the help of Earth observation data. It can also complement national agricultural statistics by supporting the optimisation of supply chains and forecasting future food supply through crop yield analysis and estimations (e.g. health, nutrients and maturity).

    The increase in extreme climate events such as floods, drought and frosts are severely affecting agricultural production and food security. Farmers, national governing bodies and, insurance companies are affected by this and therefore can benefit from airborne and satellite imagery to help further understand the effects of climate change on agricultural production and investigate climate neutral practices.


    Under NAVISP Element 2, the Agency issues this permanently open Call for Proposals for the development of innovative competitive products in the Satellite Navigation and wider Position, Navigation and Timing domain. The objective is to boost Member States’ industrial competitiveness in the fast- evolving navigation sector. Proposals are welcome from space and non-space companies, from large and small enterprises and start-ups. Products can address satellite space segment, ground infrastructure and user segment including applications and services. Industry and research institutions of interested participating States are therefore invited to submit Outline Proposals for the development of pre-operational products matching their strategies and plans. Upon positive assessment of their Outline Proposal, they will be invited to submit the Full Proposal which will be evaluated once a Support Letter from the relevant national Delegation is received. The Tendering process details and the guidelines for preparing the Outline and Full Proposals are described in the AO.

    This is a call of the  Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NAVISP) Programme Element 2. 

    For more information and access to the open call for proposal documents see esa-star webpage.

    The objective of the call is to provide a framework to rapidly respond to new innovative ideas.

    The scope of the call covers elements of Block 4 of Future EO-1 Segment 1.

    The particular focus for innovative activities under each element is as follows:

    1. Grand Science Challenges
    2. EO for a Resilient Society
    3. Artificial Intelligence for EO
    4. Regional Initiatives
    5. EO for Civil Security

    Any individual contract will be limited to a Firm Fixed Price of up to 150KEuro and to a maximum duration of 12 months.

    Bidders will be required to demonstrate the innovative content of their proposals and, where appropriate, the engagement of relevant stakeholders. For proposals related to Grand Science Challenges, bidders will be also required to demonstrate scientific excellence of the proposed activity.

    Learn more about this Invitation To Tender on esa-star.

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