The government has welcomed the news that two Irish companies, Davra and Treemetrics, have been awarded co-funding under the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation programme, with a total value of more than €3m.

The companies secured co-funding through Ireland’s investment in the InCubed programme, which supports industry to develop new commercial Earth Observation based products by providing rapid co-funding.

Exploit value of Earth observation imagery and datasets

InCubed focuses on developing innovative and commercially viable products and services that exploit the value of Earth observation imagery and datasets.

The news was announced as 10 Enterprise Ireland supported companies visited ESRIN, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Centre for Earth Observation. Head of ESRIN, Simonetta Cheli welcomed Enterprise Ireland’s Joe Healy and the delegation.

The visit focused on maximising business opportunities for Irish companies and driving greater awareness of the Earth Observation programme, and the opportunities it presents. Engagement with these programmes is in line with the vision of National Space Strategy for Enterprise to develop an economically sustainable and expanding space-active industry in Ireland.

Minister Damien English said: “Ireland has a strong tradition of entrepreneurship in many sectors and, as our industry representatives in Italy show today, New Space is no exception. We continue to be impressed by the work that Φ-lab and its InCubed programme are doing in nurturing private-sector Research & Development in Earth observation.

"It is enabling Irish companies to realise their potential by accelerating the commercialisation of their products and services which is a key deliverable highlighted in Ireland’s National Space Strategy for Enterprise.”

“I encourage relevant companies in Ireland to identify potential opportunities for collaboration with public sector partners, and moreover, to work together to show that satellite derived data can provide timely information, important for supporting the delivery of many public service monitoring and control activities.” 

'Now actively involved in space-related activities'

Niall Bolger, Enterprise Ireland programme manager for Earth Observation Programmes, said: “A growing number of Irish companies and research teams are now actively involved in space-related activities, many of which provide leading-edge solutions that are critical to ESA’s mission.

"This trade mission focuses on the opportunities that ESA’s Earth Observation programme presents. Enterprise Ireland’s client companies have huge potential to support this, providing expertise in advanced data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and advanced sensor technologies. There is a growing opportunity for Irish innovators and researchers to play a significant role in this vibrant and exciting sector.” 

Davra has secured a contract through ESA to demonstrate the feasibility of combining data captured through their IoT solution with Earth Observation data sets captured by Sentinels 1 and 2 to be used as a basis for monitoring mine tailings. Within the global mining Industry, there is no single management platform that provides on-site operational control of critical systems and processes.

By integrating key satellite, industrial IoT, LIDAR and weather data, the opportunity exists to develop a global application enablement platform to address this commercial opportunity.

Utilising satellite imaging, data analytics and its advanced forest measurement technology

Treemetrics was awarded a two-year ESA contract, that will see them utilising satellite imaging, data analytics and its advanced forest measurement technology to provide more accurate forest carbon credit estimates.

The global demand for forest carbon credits is growing larger every year, having nearly quadrupled in 2021, driven by an increasing desire from companies and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. Many organisations across the globe are voluntarily committing to this and investors are demanding the utilisation of high quality carbon projects.

Ireland’s investment and participation in ESA’s Earth Observation programmes affords Irish industry and public bodies with the opportunity to seize commercial opportunities in market areas such as smart agriculture and planning; develop capabilities in strategic skill sets such as big data analytics; and to contribute to the development of solutions to global challenges, such as climate change mitigation and food security.