The objective of the call is to provide a framework to rapidly respond to new innovative ideas. It is intended to support innovative developments which respond to opportunities linked to the exploitation of ESA, Third Party and other European (including national and private sector) Earth Observation data, and related capabilities and infrastructures.

The scope of the call covers elements of Earth Observation Science for Society (Block 4) component of the FutureEO-1 Segment 2 Programme.

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


This element aims at maximising the impact of European EO data with focus on ESA Earth Explorers and Sentinel missions, in combination with other EO assets (meteorological missions, national missions, new-space, data from partner space agencies). Proposals shall aim at 1) advancing EO science by developing and validating novel methods, new algorithms and innovative EO products addressing major observational gaps and/or 2) enhancing the fundamental scientific understanding of the Earth system by addressing key knowledge gaps in any domain of Earth system science by exploiting EO data. Activities shall ensure complementarity with existing ESA funded activities, especially with those undertaken by the ESA ‘Science Clusters’ (https://eo4society.esa.int/communities/scientists/). When relevant selected activities will be invited to be an active part of the ESA Science Clusters. Proposals shall follow open science principles and, when relevant, capitalise on novel technologies and tools to advance and accelerate science. Projects shall also commit to make the project results available (e.g., through the ESA Open Data Science Catalogue, https://opensciencedata.esa.int). A novel algorithm, new open processing tool (e.g., SNAP plug-in), a novel experimental datasets and high-impact scientific publications resulting from the work are desired outputs for Science Element proposals.


The proposed projects shall contribute to the development of innovative and reliable Earth Observation applications and solutions to support and enable international and European policies on the environment and sustainable development (e.g., Multilateral Environmental Agreements, SDGs, EU Green Deal and related directives, Green Transition, specific regulations, etc.). The involvement of key stakeholders and end-users in the projects is recommended, whether early-adopters or experienced champion users. Stakeholders’ examples are: national statistical offices, environment protection agencies, funding entities, civil society organizations, operators in specific verticals, policy regulators, etc. The stakeholders can be involved in the project implementation in one or more steps as appropriate, depending on their role (e.g., requirements consolidation, co-design, development, non-EO data provision, methodology validation, procedures integration, demonstration of added value). The projects may entail local to global areas of interest, and be single or multi-mission approach, depending on their specific objectives (e.g., addressing specific applications matters, pioneering a new methodology, consolidate extent of applicability), and they shall leverage on cutting-edge digital technology. The Applications projects may also include actions related to the African continent and the Africa 2063 agenda.

Industrial competitiveness

Proposals shall address the prototyping of innovative applications to be exploited by private companies covering for example the following action lines:  developing new capabilities within the European EO industry, generating new market opportunities for EO applications, expanding market access for new and established European companies and stimulating new commercial offerings by integrating EO with complementary technologies. It is recommended to demonstrate established connections with end-user(s).

Digital Innovation

Proposals shall address the creation of innovative, cloud-based capabilities that are made available to the community as ready-to-use and interoperable platform services and should become part of the ESA Network of Resources initiative. Proposed activities should build on public European cloud infrastructures, employ cloud-native technologies and open-source geospatial software stacks. Activities may integrate cross-cutting technologies such as e.g. in-situ, IoT, citizen science and advanced visualisation/frontend technologies to strengthen their innovative potential. Solutions that foster an interactive user experience e.g., for code development, analytics, machine learning/AI or capacity building are also encouraged. Relevant are also FAIR data principles and open science best practices. Activities leveraging the existing digital innovation ecosystem platforms to roll out third party applications related to the Green Deal are also explicitly encouraged. All proposed activities shall support the preservation of science/application results to the community, contribute to a European interoperability Federation and to the evolution of open-source platform building blocks.

Sentinel Users Preparation

Proposals shall contribute to consolidate the scientific basis for key algorithms and develop applications and services for the Sentinel Expansion and Next Generation missions. In doing so proposals may include 1) the establishment of representative key datasets in ready-to-use data cubes comprised of appropriate existing EO data including acquisitions of commercial (NewSpace and ESA TPMs) and national missions, airborne data, dedicated in-situ campaigns, and providing simulated capabilities and additional completing observation. These data cubes should be open to the EO community, and 2) supporting stakeholder readiness to rapidly uptake information products to be derived from Sentinel Expansion and Sentinel Next Generation missions within their operational activities.


Proposals shall address opportunities for rapid innovation by exploring the use of disruptive and transformative technologies for EO. In particular, the main focus will be on the rapid evolution – and convergence – of AI, new hybrid computing paradigms (edge computing/AI in space, quantum and neuromorphic computing) and internet (e.g. IoT, intelligent observing systems, web3, extended reality). For this activity line, the involvement of end users is recommended.

Each proposal shall be situated under one (1) of the following two categories:

  • Regular innovative activities, with a maximum budget of 200 kEur and a maximum duration of 18 months.
  • Fast innovative activities, with a maximum budget of 100 kEur and a maximum duration of 6 months.

Please note that proposals may be submitted at any time while they will be evaluated on a regular basis at specific submission dates.

Upcoming dates are:

Batch Submission deadline
Batch 131 October 2023, 13:00 hours (Amsterdam time zone)
Batch 230 January 2024, 13:00 hours (Amsterdam time zone)
Batch 330 May 2024, 13:00 hours (Amsterdam time zone)
Batch 430 September 2024, 13:00 hours (Amsterdam time zone)
Batch 530 January 2025, 13:00 hours (Amsterdam time zone)
Batch 630 May 2025, 13:00 hours (Amsterdam time zone)
Batch 730 September 2025, 13:00 hours (Amsterdam time zone)
Learn more about this Invitation To Tender on the esa-star Publication page.

Find out more about the Open Call activities in the dedicated page (e.g. project summaries, news, stories, events and training material).