Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 98

Supplementary submission from the British National Space Centre (BNSC)


  1.  The Committee requested clarification of how the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative is funded. There are two sources of funding: from the European Space Agency (ESA) through subscriptions from member states; and from the European Union (EU) through the 7th Framework Programme (FP7).

  2.  The ESA GMES Space Component programme aims to provide the satellite infrastructure to support the GMES services ("Sentinel" satellites, ground segment, and access to data from other satellite missions). The original ESA estimate was that this would cost €2.3 billion from 2006-13, to put in place the operational space infrastructure.[27] They were planning to fund this through 50% ESA member state subscription (including the UK) and 50% from the EU.

  3.  EU funding for GMES is from the FP7 Space programme (there is also potentially de minimis funding for space from elsewhere in FP7, for example the Environment thematic priority). This programme has a planned budget of €1.43 billion, over seven years (2007-13), of which approximately €1.2 billion is to be used for GMES. The UK contributes to this through our net contribution to the overall budget of the EU (€157.2 million at 13.1%). Of the FP7 budget allocated to GMES, ESA has been identified as a direct recipient of €780 million. This is to be the EU's contribution to fund the ESA Space Component programme, with €130 million of this for data access and €650 million for developing the space infrastructure. On the basis of ESA's estimated costs for the ESA Space Component programme this leaves a shortfall of approximately €370 million from the anticipated EU contribution. A breakdown of ESA and Commission funding which includes the phasing of fund availability and nominal UK contributions to the budget is provided in annex A.

  4.  The Commission's contribution to the ESA Space Component programme will need to be handled and spent by ESA in accordance with EU and FP7 rules. There are significant differences between ESA and EU rules, including the handling of intellectual property rights, procurement rules, the participating countries, and the issue of geo-return—a fundament of ESA programmes but not allowable under EU programmes. A joint ESA-Commission Financial Engineering group is looking into how the transfer and ESA spending of these funds will have to be handled but has yet to conclude its work on this.

  5.  The remaining FP7 Space Programme budget allocated to GMES will be spent through more typical framework programme mechanisms, to help establish pre-operational GMES environmental and civil security monitoring and information services.

  6.  At present there are no operational funding lines within the Commission for the operation of GMES satellite infrastructure or services.

March 2007

27   GMES from concept to reality [COM(2005)565]. Back

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