Two new multidisciplinary research and innovation projects in the space sector

Bern, 01.09.2023 - On 31 August the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research announced the selection of two research and innovation projects as part of national activities in the space sector. Selected through a call launched by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) in 2022, these MARVIS (Multidisciplinary Advanced Research Ventures in Space) projects stand out for their multidisciplinary nature and their potential for developing specialist skills in the field of space, as well as their potential to generate results that can be incorporated into the activities of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The MARVIS project selection procedure includes in-depth scientific and technological assessment by the SNSF. ESA experts were also involved in the assessment. In addition to this technical evaluation, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation conducted a review of the projects' relevance to space, research and innovation policy in Switzerland. The EAER selected two projects to receive funding for their implementation.

The SUBICE project by the University of Bern in collaboration with the HES-SO and Thales-Alenia Space Schweiz AG aims to develop a new method to determine how water ice and refractory materials are physically connected within the sub-surfaces of planetary targets at centimetre scales. Switzerland's contribution for the period 2023-2025 stood at CHF 1.3 million.

The openSPACE project from the Paul Scherrer Institute in collaboration with ETH Zurich and Almatech SA intends to create a European nuclear simulation platform for space applications and concept evaluations. Switzerland's contribution for the period 2023-2026 stood at CHF 1 million.

In addition to their scientific and technological quality, these two consortia projects are also characterised by their potential to generate results that can be incorporated into ESA activities. Moreover, they support the strategic objectives to develop specialist skills for the space sector within higher education research centres. They strengthen Switzerland's position in the space sector, promote national and international collaboration and contribute to the implementation of Swiss space policy.

Support for these initiatives demonstrates Switzerland's ongoing commitment to space research and innovation, strengthening its position as a key partner in the international space community.

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Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research