Our project consortium of university and research institute members focuses on the developing space innovation ecosystem in the Aurora Interreg region for boosting space business. By supporting and guiding this ecosystem’s form and function, it will respond to more efficiently advance commercial and sustainability processes needed to address societal issues in the region today and in the future. Together with relevant actors and stakeholders from across the Interreg Aurora region (Aurora and Sápmi), the project will facilitate current and future development and functionality of a cross-border innovation ecosystem for enhanced collaboration and new business generation.

Earlier projects within the Botnia-Atlantica and Nord Interreg regions identified the clear need for supporting space education and career mobility both at the higher-education level for SME/start-up development but also at the societal level so a broader understanding and general public support can be accomplished. Education-wise the project works with high school up through university levels. Sharing of important space fabrication/testing, research infrastructures and environmental test sites will be coordinated to benefit the space innovation ecosystem and economic growth as well as implementation of a variety of mobility and exchange activities between universities, research institutes, large industries and SMEs.

By mapping/modelling the region’s space innovation ecosystem and then supporting components within it, the project will produce stronger and focused communications and networking paths to build a more cohesive space economy ecosystem across the Aurora region. We will actively manage the innovation ecosystem to organize it and broadly share its existence globally benefiting the area’s space business growth. The project will highlight crossborder structural impediments and/or existing commonalities to the space innovation ecosystem. This new transparency in the cross-border space ecosystem will clarify where space-activity green-lights and red-lights exist and provide a source for recommendations.

The project will improve the commercial space ecosystem in the region and implement a space-supportive academia-industry education, mobility and exchange component to spur innovation and research network actions. The Interreg Aurora area’s networked space sector together will present a new largess to international actors with the aspiration to be the “Silicon Valley” of space in the Nordics. We will have a better defined, better functioning space economy ecosystem for the businesses across the FIN/SWE/NOR northern extent with activities improving the competitiveness of SMEs in the region’s space upstream and downstream sectors.

Contributors LTU, NTNU, Uwasa, UMU, SLU, OY, FMI, Nord, Aalto

Goals of this work package include bringing components of FIN/SWE/NOR higher level education and research in space together and to link it to space technology/science and business development in the Aurora region as well as to local research infrastructures and observational networks. The work package will support the Aurora region education processes, their support to industry and clarify/propagate the necessary foundation of understanding to advance local interest in space business (entrepreneurs/SME’s)/study (students). This is the knowledge ecosystem.
  • T1.1: Design and implementation of mobility and exchange for space in the region

    Repository of internship opportunities, researcher and staff exchange

    Annual student visits Andøya Space, Esrange; Kiruna and Sodankylä Space Campuses
    Functioning researcher exchange procedure

  • T1.2: Workshops on improving and coordinating space related education and research

    Design of a website on space education and research in the North
    Workshop/summer school on space research and technology in the context of space industries and businesses in the Interreg Aurora region

    Education and research landscape mapped
    Workshop reports on northern space research infrastructures (such as EISCAT) and business opportunities

  • T1.3: Researchers and students as space ambassadors for FIN-SWE-NOR high schools

    Material repository for high school presentations

    Workshop on including arts, societal, business and regional aspects in space outreach

Contributors Nord, Hanken, UMU, NTNU, VAMK, LTU, UiT, FMI

The aim of this work package is to create better and more functional operating conditions in the Aurora region by creating a sustainable new space ecosystem. The ecosystem enables different space actors to network with each other through cross-border cooperation. Our goal is to ensure complementary development of infrastructures and their services, effective exchange of the best practices and maintaining cross-border space economy activities to boost new business creation.

Activities will help the Nordic space economy to develop towards “Silicon Valley” like activities with Finland, Sweden and Norway. Aspects of “Silicon Valley” type of activities already present in partner organisations include a) centers for high technology and innovations, b) development of ground breaking technologies, and c) leading international hubs and startup ecosystems for high-tech innovations. Observatories are, and have been for over a century, the home of the forefront sensor and instrument platform development and universities and research institutes are the home of the ground-braking science and technology innovations. Combining already existing capabilities from Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian observatories, research institutes and universities is a start for the “Silicon Valley” type activity development. Main missing parts, which will be enabled by this project include extending and expanding existing large-scale infrastructures and innovation activities, and clarifying the administrative roles and rules, as well as enabling new start-ups and attracting investments.

  • T2.1: Map and understand the space market and economy ecosystems relevant to the Aurora region

    Industry-specific map-based list of companies interested in the space economy ecosystem in the Aurora region (in both print forms and interactive web versions)

    A comprehensive survey of companies operating in the space economy ecosystem in the Aurora area, their industries, supply chains, products and services will be prepared.

  • T2.2: Facilitation of joint space co-creation projects

    Facilitation of joint space co-creation projects
    New project development arena for virtual match-making to connect companies, researchers and funding opportunities

    Information and group networking sessions are organised for companies operating in the Aurora area, where companies are told about the space economy, its possibilities and future prospects, and they are helped to understand their opportunities as part of the developing space economy ecosystem

  • T2.3: Support for business incubation processes

    Production and marketing of presentation material for space industry companies in the Aurora region aimed at financiers
    Hackathon events (3 NASA Space Apps)
    Industry specific business development workshops
    “Aurora Space” expert list and available services in institutes. Free consultancy.

    Seminars, development workshops, hackathons in the Aurora region to develop and establish a sustainable new space ecosystem.

  • T2.4: Aurora Ecosystem service portal

    Portal of space related upstream and downstream services in the Aurora region

    Online access to Aurora Space portfolio

Contributors LTU, NTNU, Uwasa, UMU, SLU, OY, FMI, Nord, Aalto

The project will have a clear management structure, with the focus being on individual responsibility (Work Package Leaders), teamwork and rapid communications (biweekly Teams/Zoom meetings). Maintaining quality and managing risk will be key priorities. Efficient communication and dissemination internally and outwards are crucial in this work package.

The project lead, Prof. Heidi Kuusniemi will lead this WP and she has over 10 years of experience in project management in the EU Interreg Bothnia Atlantica, EU BONUS program, EU direct tenders, ESA research projects, EU COST actions and H2020 programmes in addition to several national research projects. She has been responsible for the Nordic Institute of Navigation and has established various multi-year conference series. In her current role at Uwasa’s Digital Economy Research Platform, she has established detailed processes for project management. This WP ensures the project fulfils its commitments in terms of deliverables and enables the regional growth intended.

  • T3.1: Consortium management and coordination

    Consortium administration and coordination
    Reporting e.g. ongoing status reports, minutes from steering group, advisory group
    Meetings and their dissemination
    Final consortium report

    Consortium meetings
    Advisory group meetings
    Completed training on gender equality and diversity (including UN Women in Space)

  • T3.2: Internal communication

    Internal communication channels
    Consortium meeting procedures

    Kick-off event
    Face-to-face meetings with full consortium
    Closing event

  • T3.3: External communication and dissemination

    Website, newsletters, social media
    Dissemination in various events
    Knowledge portals
    International outreach campaign

    Website launch

  • T3.4: Ecosystem management and continuation

    Healthy, growing, vibrant and developing new space economy ecosystem in the Aurora region

    Based on the Aurora program, a sustainable new cross-border space economy ecosystem between Finland, Norway and Sweden was created, which supports the European Union’s goals in the sustainable utilisation of space and economic growth.