The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organisation with 19 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA recognizes that innovation is the engine that drives the world economy: billions of euros are spent each year by industry, government agencies, universities and research centers on developing all kinds of technologies. If these are not commercialized, they will never reach their full potential and society could well miss out on the possible benefits. Also spinning off space technologies allows for further development, which may not be possible as part of budget-constrained space programmes.
Technology transfer is the process of using technology, expertise, know-how or facilities for a purpose for which they were not originally intended, i.e. technology developed for one sector can be used in a totally different area.
To facilitate technology transfer from space technologies to terrestrial applications, the European Space Agency established in 1990 the so called Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO). By encouraging the transfer of space technologies to commercial applications on earth, the ESA TTPO helps to strengthen the European industry and competitiveness.
The ESA TTPO coordinates the ESA BICs throughout Europe. This business incubation network powers entrepreneurship at the European level to the considerable benefit of the regional ESA BICs and the associated start-up companies.