Events & Initiatives


ESA's Global Space Economic Forum (GSEF) is the foremost creative platform to interactively discuss space-led innovation opportunities driven by the space economy

ESA Global Space Economic Forum

ESA Global Space Economic Forum

The forum aims to engage leaders and executives of major space and non-space European stakeholders from institutional and commercial sectors in areas such as transport, ICT, mining, construction, energy, biomedical and security, to explore potential synergies and take joint action to tackle shared challenges.

Following the first Global Space Economic Workshop held in on 2017, several major European institutions and industries hosted similar workshops in 2018 and 2019 to discuss joint challenges related to cybersecurity, autonomous driving, habitat in space, additive manufacturing, future materials, smart city and work on industrial partnerships to tackle them.

Each year, the industrial outcomes of the Workshops organised around Europe are presented at the Global Space Economic Forum. The GSEF provides an opportunity to discuss how space activities foster industrial competitiveness, economic growth and innovation. Thanks to this platform space and other industrial sectors can meet and create powerful benefits through cross-fertilisation.

Future Global Space Economic Workshop events will be organised within ESA Member States. Representatives of industry and institutions are invited to contact the organising team for further information at


The Global Space Economic Workshop (GSEW) is a framework to bring together leaders from European industry to promote partnerships and collaborations

ESA Global Space Economic Workshop

ESA Global Space Economic Workshop

The Global Space Economic Workshop events, GSEW, are part of a broader process aiming to develop a new framework to bring together leaders and high-level representatives of space and non-space European stakeholders, institutions, academia and commercial sectors. The final objective is to engage the participants in industrial collaborations.

The aim of this platform is to foster the creation of spin-in opportunities, supporting the dialogue and coordination with Member States, industry and ESA Programmes. After the first GSEW event in Paris, a new community of innovators was formed. This community builds on an open platform of creative cross-fertilisation among diverse industrial sectors to strengthen innovation across Europe. As a result, several major European institutions and industries hosted GSEW events in 2018 and 2019 in order to promote and start discussions on industrial cooperation.

This workshop welcomed representatives from a diverse range of economic sectors which included: the automotive, pharmaceutical, energy, oil and gas, information technology, biotech, and of course the aerospace industry. In order to discover the previous events visit the news section of this website.

ESA offers now the opportunity to organise other Global Space Economic Workshop events through Europe for fostering innovation and enlarging the community of innovators. Contact the space economy team to get more information at

You can find all the information about the last and upcoming events in the news section.

Grand Challenge

The Grand Challenge is a competition that proposes inspiring goals far from market reach to tackle specific challenges with unconventional and disruptive approaches

ESA Grand Challenge

ESA Global Space Economic Forum
The Grand Challenge is a competition that proposes inspiring goals far from market reach. It is derived from ESA's Space 4.0 strategy.

Strategy is driven by a set of Agency objectives that fulfil goals for the next Ministerial Council meeting and beyond. As part of this, it is stated that ESA will "promote and facilitate, the creation of a sustainable ecosystem of innovation-led start-ups and new ventures developing a new breed in European entrepreneurs by highly-leveraged, incentivised competitions". ESA Grand Challenge is the tool to create a new European ecosystem of entrepreneurs and start-up companies competing to develop solutions to the challenges proposed by Industry, be they technical, scientific or societal.

The Grand Challenge attracts wide communities of thinkers and problem solvers, catalysed by ESA and space, to address your specific challenges with unconventional and disruptive approaches . This may also trigger development and exploitation of unforeseen spin-off businesses.

Your ideas to shape the future: ESA wants you!

Are you a leading Industry experiencing a shift into new paradigms? ESA Grand Challenge offers you the unique opportunity to propose the challenge that interests your business. ESA promotes your challenge with the space community of problem solvers. You obtain disruptive solutions and have a chance to influence the space exploration agenda for future decades.

Partner benefits:

  • Open the challenge to potential new unconventional solutions developed beyond the Partner's traditional R&D approach
  • Obtain exclusive procurement rights on innovative technologies
  • Increase the effectiveness of research funds, thanks to a multiplier effect by leveraging on the funds raised by competing teams, reducing the risk
  • Alleviate the administrative or bureaucratic burden of R&D
  • Offer high visibility and increased outreach by associating your brand with space and ESA through its media partners (primary media channels).

Co-design a challenge

You, as collaborative partner, will be key in developing and co-designing an exceptional challenge, and you will be involved all phases of the Grand Challenge.

With the technical support of ESA space engineers, you are called upon to define a problem to be solved (a technical, scientific or societal challenge), the reward for solving it, and the rules of the contest.

The Statement will be:

  • Clearly defined, with no room for interpretation on the intended objective
  • Neutral, no suggestions about specific technology developments
  • Feasible, with clear expected results, easily measurable.

Areas and Themes

ESA is currently gathering ideas for suitable Grand Challenge areas and themes.

Potential domains for competitions currently under investigations include - but are not limited to - the following:

  • Energy and resources extraction
  • Aging and physically challenged citizens
  • Cyber security
  • Mobility (autonomous vehicles, drones)
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals.

You can find further information about ESA Grand Challenge in the news section.

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