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MEP Kelly encourages Irish Scientists to lead the way in EU €16 billion Space Programme

Published: Thu, 06 December 2018

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MEP for Ireland South and Ireland’s Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), Sean Kelly, has today highlighted the opportunities for Ireland in the new EU Space Programme and has encouraged Irish scientists to get involved in the initiatives that will be funded under the EU’s new Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels this morning (Thursday) at a discussion event that he hosted on the Space Programme in collaboration with science and technology group ISC Intelligence, Mr. Kelly highlighted the importance of the legislation currently being debated in Parliament.

“Space technology is used for a wide range of important initiatives, from communications to monitoring natural disasters and saving lives at sea, and the Commission has recognised this importance by devoting €16 billion to the Space Programme under the new budget”, noted Mr. Kelly, leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament.

“As the Horizon Europe framework on EU science funding is formulated, along with the €650 billion InvestEU fund that I am currently negotiating on behalf of the EPP Group, there are clear opportunities for synergies between various policy areas, and to ensure that the EU is at cutting edge of advances in space technology.

“The new Space Programme will continue to support initiatives that have been successful up to now. €9.7 billion is foreseen for Galileo and EGNOS, the EU’s Global and regional satellite navigation systems, and €5.8 billion for Copernicus, the EU’s Earth Observation programme. With such resources available there is a real opportunity for Irish scientists to get involved, have important projects funded, and contribute to the development of the EU’s leadership in space.

“These initiatives will bring crucial innovation capacity in earth observation and satellite navigation systems, and this will have clear benefits to smaller nations such as Ireland. I was delighted to welcome expert speakers from University College Dublin, Cork Institute of Technology, and Cork’s Blackrock Castle Observatory to the European Parliament this morning to discuss the potential for Ireland in the Programme.

“I welcome that the Government is planning to publish a White Paper on the national space strategy very soon. This will be a great help in ensuring that we have the coordination required to continue our progress in space technology.

“I take the view that space has no boundaries: we therefore need to consider how this new programme can support international cooperation to solve global challenges, and indeed how Ireland can play its part”, he concluded.

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