ESA’s Φ-lab mission is to accelerate the future of Earth Observation (EO) by means of transformational innovations, i.e. innovations able to completely transform or create entire industries via new technologies, with the aim to strengthen the world-leading competitiveness of the European EO industrial and research sectors.
The Φ-lab is a catalyst for Earth Observation innovative and transformative ideas, and a bridge within Earth Observation’s ecosystem of innovative players which connects the actors of Industry, Investors, and Academia to foster entrepreneurial initiatives.
The Φ-lab has been established to exploit and stimulate the favourable conditions of the European Earth Observation market, by boosting its innovative ethos to enable a vibrant and worldwide competitive commercial sector.
Read more on the Φ-lab brochure.The Φ-lab, why?
We operate and manage the full range of the innovation pipeline: we create or discover new transformational ideas, select and nurture the good ones, develop the “solution” by testing and maturing them, and invest in the best ones via the InCubed programme to reach the market adoption.
This is a unique model that joins the deep technical content we can generate (internally or externally to ESA) with the business view to make successful investments.
Explore the innovation universe and connect the EO sensor revolution with the digital revolution
Stimulate competitiveness growth fostering entrepreneurial initiatives by Investment actions from ESA Member States and the investors market
The Φ-lab is organised into two offices, the Explore Office mainly focused in generating innovation from inside and outside ESA and managing the initial part of the innovation pipeline, while the Invest Office takes the generated and discovered innovations to the market via the Invest Actions and the InCubed co-funding programme.
The Φ-lab is based in ESA-ESRIN in Frascati (Italy), and counts about 25 members amongst ESA staff, research fellows, Academia and Industry Visiting Researchers, and Visiting Professors.
The Φ-lab concept is very recent: Spring 2017. Its constitution has been enriched with ideas from a journey made by some of ESA executives into USA Silicon Valley where they saw examples of organisations nurturing innovation in inspirational environments.
In this short period until today, the ESA Φ-lab has become the reference in the Earth Observation sector for transformational innovation and business investment. The Φ-lab has already collected many successes that we report here.