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The ESA Offers Funding for Canadian Space-Related Innovations

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has opportunities to get funding for “early-stage” space-related” development programs and research. 

The ESA (European Space Agency) is the organization offering the funding for eligible Canadian universities, research centres, and companies. This funding is available because Canada takes part in ESA’s Basic Activities’ Discovery Program element. 

The Discovery Program element is not only designed to encourage companies and institutions new to space to try space related activities and ideas, but also to remove barriers for all to enter space-related research.

Planet Earth. Spacecraft launch into space. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

ESA has a quick and easy way to spread and share research ideas to others, the OSIP (Open Space Innovation Platform) Innovation Pipeline.

Every month, ESA publishes a list of selected ideas. The list indicates a range of activities the Discovery element can cover. Five ideas are selected, and the chosen activities then have many options. Some research is co-funded, while other ideas are put into activities for technology development, or small system studies.

Applicants can submit ideas related to ESA subjects and campaigns. Ideas considered to be “innovative” or “unconventional”, though still space-related, can be submitted here: Open Discovery Ideas Channel

There are two steps to starting a research activity.

  • Formulate Idea: use the interface to present your idea, which you can make visible to only ESA or to all. 
  • Idea Proposal: once you pass evaluation, you submit a proposal using the ESA template provided on the OSIP platform. 


  • Ideas must be relevant or related to Space, space-technology, applications, or concepts.
  • New idea
  • Meaningful and innovative idea title
  • Say everything about your special idea in 2000 characters

Any feedback or comments regarding your experience with the process, or platform, is welcomed by the Canadian Delegation to the element’s ESA board.

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