Work of the European and UK Space Agencies

15 February 2013

The European Space Agency is an international organisation with 20 Member States, 17 of which are in the EU. The European Commission has recently raised a number of issues it sees as “structural obstacles in the current EU/ESA relations” in a Communication to the European Council and Parliament (COM 2012 671)

The UK space sector contributed approximately £9.1 billion to the UK economy in 2010/11. UK space policy is set within the framework of the UK Civil Space Strategy 2012-16. The UK Space Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It leads the UK’s civil space programme.

The Science and Technology Committee has agreed to conduct an inquiry into the work of the European and UK Space Agencies and seeks written submissions on the following matters:

  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the funding, organisation, and work of the European Space Agency?
  2. In light of the European Commission’s recent Communication on relations between ESA and the EU (COM 2012 671), what relationship between ESA, the EU and the UK would provide the most effective governance regime? Why?
  3. How effective is the EU’s support for research and innovation in the space sector? What effect have changes to the Multi-Annual Financial Framework had on ESA and support for the space sector from the Horizon 2020 programme?
  4. How effective has the UK Space Agency been and what improvements could be made? Is the UK effectively exploiting opportunities for growth in the space sector or could more be done?
  5. Does the UK get good value for money from its membership of ESA? How does its return on investment compare to other countries?
  6. How resilient is the UK’s space-based infrastructure? Are threats from space debris or solar activity being appropriately mitigated? What role do, or should, ESA and the UK Space Agency play in addressing these issues? 

Submitting written evidence
As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submissions of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via the Science and Technology Committee website.

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by midday on Friday 12 April 2013.

Each submission should:

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length 
  • be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible
  • have numbered paragraphs 
  • include a declaration of interests.

If you need to send a paper copy please send it to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA
Please note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. 
  • The information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of : a) obtaining written evidence for the inquiry b) to clarify any queries around the information contained in your evidence c) to contact you to provide updates as to the progress of your evidence. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. We may ask you to give us some feedback on the web portal and the process of submitting evidence so that we can look to make further improvements. If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information or do not wish for your details to be used for this purpose, please advise the Committee at providing your full name, address and organisation (if applicable).
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

More information on submitting evidence to Select Committees

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