17th ESPI Autumn Conference

24. - 25. October 2023
Urania Observatory, Uraniastraße 1, 1010 Vienna, AT

This year's discussions will focus on "European Space Governance in a Transforming World", acknowledging that the global scope and nature of space and non-space activities are currently undergoing profound changes.


ESPI - European Space Policy Institute


Content Description

The Autumn Conference is one of the annual highlights of ESPI's calendar, offering a platform for European and international stakeholders to convene and hold informed and in-depth space-related discussions that reach beyond headlines.

This two-day event will be comprised of three panel sessions and a high-level debate.

Day One

Day One will feature the conference keynote followed by the first two sessions of the Conference, which will each include a thematic speech followed by a moderated panel discussion.

Session 1 – "Embracing Multipolar Partnerships"

As dynamics of global partnerships evolve, Europe should assess how it wants to position itself and interact with this competitive and diverse environment. The magnitude of the climate crisis, economic uncertainty, coupled with other geopolitical challenges, highlight the need to re-think the European approach to space.

The aim of the panel is to discuss the avenues by which Europe can become a fully-fledged space power, while also fostering robust alliances across the globe, enhancing Europe's influence and competitiveness in this transformative era. The panel promises to weave a discourse around multipolarity in space partnerships, paving the way for increased European prominence through bold and timely ambitions of European decision makers and industry executives.

Session 2 – "Bursting the Public to Public Bubbles"

Current European space governance is defined by a combination of different actors, including ESA, the EU, and their respective Member States, without clear, consistent and robust cooperation and coordination mechanisms.

This is increasingly resulting in policy and regulatory fragmentation, asymmetry in priorities, and potential duplication of efforts. Acting in accordance with their mandate, institutional bodies dealing with space in Europe will ultimately need improved coordination to unlock the full potential of the European economy and society.

The aim of this panel is to provide introspection on how the plethora of institutional space actors in Europe can further increase synergies, better defining their respective priorities, roles and responsibilities.

Day Two

Day Two will feature the debate followed by the third session, which will include a thematic speech followed by a moderated panel discussion.

The Debate – "Comparing and Contrasting European and U.S. Space Ambitions"

The debate will examine differences in approach by European and American public actors in balancing the interests of both public and private entities. It will address the transformation of the industrial eco-system and the underlying public-private relations and procurement strategies.

Specifically, where NASA's strategy has cultivated an increased dependence on the commercial sector to achieve some of the agency's objectives, strategies adopted in Europe are geared towards striking the right balance between national interests, European cooperation, global competitiveness, and free-market competition.

Session 3 – "Leveraging a Multistakeholder Environment"

The unfolding space transformation is further characterised by transformed public-private relations that play a crucial role in fostering the development of industrial capabilities, overall sectorial innovation, and industrial competitiveness in global markets.

This panel aims to shed light on how to navigate an increasingly multifaceted environment, consisting of established and emerging industrial actors, R&D actors, policymakers, investors, and increasingly diverse user communities. Learning to navigate such an environment is especially important today, as it is challenging the conventional narratives of the European space domain.

In particular, the discussion will build on the need to re-think the public-private continuum, stimulating its innovative power, and going beyond a focus on industrial policy and direct industrial return towards towards frameworks that serve the broader set of European and national policy objectives.


Day 1: 24. October 2023 (13:00 - 18:30)

  • Opening Remarks
  • Conference Keynote
  • Coffee Brake
  • Session 1 - "Embracing Multipolar Partnerships"
    • Thematic Speach
    • Moderated Panel
  • Session 2 - "Bursting the Public to Public Bubbles"
    • Thematic Speach
    • Moderated Panel

Day 2: 25. October 2023 (10:00 - 14:00)

  • Opening Remarks
  • Thematic Debate - "Comparing and Contrasting European and U.S. Space Ambitions"
  • Coffee Brake
  • Session 3 - "Leveraging a Multistakeholder Environment"
    • Thematic Speach
    • Moderated Panel
  • Closing Remarks
  • Lunch

Participant Information

For any questions or to request more information, please send a note to events@espir.or.at or to Sara Dalledonne.

Conference registration


Contact Address

ESPI - European Space Policy Institute
Sara Dalledonne
E-mail: sara.dalledonne@espi.or.at
E-mail: events@espir.or.at