The Ministerial Council of the European Space Agency (ESA), meeting last fall (2022), agreed to extend the Navigation Innovation and Support Program (NAVISP), the agency’s funding mechanism for new navigation solutions that go beyond the use of GNSS signals and data. That means 2023 will see the launch of new NAVISP activities.
The program is divided into three elements. Element 1 targets the development of new and innovative PNT concepts, techniques, technologies and systems along the entire value chain. This will include proof-of-concept and feasibility studies, and production of prototypes to be demonstrated under realistic conditions.
Work funded by NAVISP will not duplicate work being organized by the European Union towards the evolution of European GNSS programs, Galileo and EGNOS. GNSS elements are not to be considered in isolation but in combination with other PNT technologies, leveraging the potential space-based solutions. Proposals will be fully funded, selected on the basis of competitive tenders, calls to be published on the ESA website.
Under Element 1, NAVISP will also organize workshops, involving relevant stakeholders in participating states, along with representatives of the European Commission and the EU Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA).
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Element 2 is aimed at maintaining and improving the capability and competitiveness of the European industry in the global market for satellite navigation and, more broadly, PNT technologies and services. Support will go towards facilitating cross-fertilization between space-based and terrestrial positioning technologies, responding to emerging market opportunities and focusing on products ready for the commercial or institutional markets.
Supported initiatives will have been identified as having clear potential for application in the real world, and may encompass completely new products of a disruptive nature, or the upgrading or improvement of an existing product, or continuation of an activity funded under another framework. Element 2 will be implemented through a continuous, open call for proposals, addressed to SMEs, start-ups and one-man companies, up to the largest industrial corporations.
NAVISP Element 3 is focused on participating states’ priorities, supporting their national activities towards the development and promotion of PNT products, applications and services. Support will be aimed towards fostering cooperation and the establishment of new national partnerships. ESA may provide assistance for the management and implementation of national programs, and provide access to its tools and facilities for test and demonstration campaigns, including ESA laboratories, test beds and technical facilities. Under Element 3, participants will be fully funded and selected on the basis of a continuous, open call for unsolicited proposals. ESA is inviting anyone who may be interested in the above-mentioned funding opportunities to look for more information on its website. To date, more than 200 NAVISP projects have been funded.