News & Events

Minister Halligan welcomes Director General of European Space Agency to Ireland for the closing ceremony of the International Space University’s Space Studies Programme 2017

After nine action packed weeks, which saw more than 50 public events, academic lectures, educational outreach activities, rocket launches and astronaut talks, SSP17 will officially end at a closing ceremony on Friday 25 August in Cork County Hall.  

Commending the programme, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said “It is a great achievement for Ireland to host such a prestigious international event as ISU’s Space Studies Programme and it is testament to the hard work of the SSP17 organisers that it has been so well received by all.”  

Ahead of the ceremony, Minister Halligan held a constructive meeting with the ESA DG Mr Johann Woerner, where they discussed the future of Ireland’s rapidly expanding space industry. During the day, they visited several space-related sites around Cork, including Tyndall National Institute which hosts the Microelectronics Technology Support Laboratory for ESTEC (European Space Research and Technology Centre) and the ESA Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) consortium led by Tyndall. 

Significantly, ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland today announced that Thalman Health, a digital health start-up, has become the second company to qualify for support and funding under the Irish ESA BIC.  

Welcoming the news Minister Halligan said “Today’s announcement is yet another example of the growing number of Irish companies benefitting from Ireland’s membership of ESA. With the support of my Department and Enterprise Ireland, and our continued investment in the European Space Agency, Ireland’s space sector is expected to continue to grow at an unprecedented rate.” The number of Irish companies benefitting from ESA support has grown 100% from 30 to 60 in the period 2010 to 2016 and is projected to increase to over 80 by 2020. Employment in the sector is also expected to double with the creation of over 1,000 high value technology jobs in Irish industry by 2020. 


For more information contact: 

Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation 

For more information please contact Press Office, D/Jobs Enterprise and Innovation  

Ph. 6312200 or

ESA Business Incubation Centre 

David Gibbons, Manager, ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland,  

087 360 0020 

Notes to the editor 

The European Space Agency 

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. ( Enterprise Ireland co-ordinates Ireland’s industrial and research participation in the programmes of the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.  

Ireland’s membership of the European Space Agency 

The purpose of Ireland’s membership of ESA is to participate in European space programmes with a focus on facilitating innovative Irish operations to develop leading edge space technologies and to commercially exploit their ESA participation in global space and non-space markets, leading to increased export sales and employment. Enterprise Ireland’s role in relation to ESA is to assist Irish operations to successfully bid for ESA contracts, providing expertise for Irish operations and researchers in developing and executing space strategies, as well as being a point of reference for the international space industry when they want to identify relevant sources of space-related expertise within Ireland. Irish industrial and research participation in ESA covers a range of sectors and technology areas including; software, precision mechanical engineering, telecommunications, electronics, optoelectronics and advanced materials and extending to end user equipment, services and applications. 

ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland 

The ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland, which incorporates ESA BIC, is the first of its kind in Europe. It is led by Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork in partnership with Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, and Irish Maritime and Energy Research Cluster. Funded by the European Space Agency and Enterprise Ireland, it aims to support the application of technologies developed for space to solve challenges on Earth and beyond. The centre is one of sixteen ESA BICs in Europe, which work to inspire entrepreneurs to turn space-connected business ideas into commercial companies.