Space & SDGs 2030

The objective of the discussion is to frame the discussion on the contribution of space applications to the attainment of the SDGs. In particular, there needs to be a stronger articulation of the role and contribution of EU support mechanisms to helping the UN attain the SDGs. By and large, space is not strongly referenced in the UN’s SDGs currently. This provides an opportunity to inform and educate the SDGs leadership on how space fits in the overall scheme of delivering on the SDGs and Agenda 2030. Therefore, the discussion will focus on broad technological principles.

We must recognise the commitment by the European Union, the United Nations and many other stakeholders on the transformative nature of digital technologies and the commitment to grow the digital economy globally. Clearly this is going to have different applications and different manifestations in different parts of the world. We will consider the theme of resilience in all its forms and how space can aid capacity building to achieve this. Moreover, we have to place a very strong emphasis on the enabling environment to create the partnerships and collaborations that will allow future space innovations to prosper. While this of course will require resources, it will also require the enabling policy and regulatory measures that can support truly global innovation by meaningful shared collaborations.


12h00 Declan Kirrane, Chair, ScienceDigital@UNGA75
12h10 Niall Smith, Head of Research / Head of Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland
12h30 Thorsten Rudolph; AZO Space, Germany

12h45 Juan Miguel González-Aranda, Chief Technology Officer, LifeWatch ERIC, Spain

13h00 Francisco Colomer, Director, Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE), Netherlands

13h15 Milind Pimprikar, CANEUS International, Canada

13h30 Oscar Horacio Aguilar Colindres, Permanent Observer for the Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC)

13h45 Discussion

14h00 Conclusion

Space & SDGs 2030

The event is finished.


Oct 09 2020


12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


  • Declan Kirrane
    Declan Kirrane
    Director ISC Intelligence in Science and Coordinator EU Africa Radio Astronomy Platform

    Declan Kirrane is Managing Director of ISC Intelligence in Science, a specialized science, technology and R&D public affairs firm based in Brussels, Belgium. ISC develops and implements Strategic Research Agendas for science and technology-based organisations in the EU and US.
    His practice areas cover IP, R&D consortia development, management and dissemination and is responsible for themes of ICT, health, security, defence, space and related policies, legislation, programmes and funding mechanisms. Declan Kirrane has a background in analysing the relationship between public and private R&D funding and the impact on R&D performance: he has worked extensively on science and technology policy evaluation methodologies and technology options for policy- and decision-makers. The EU’s Digital Agenda, emerging European space, security and defence policies are part of his remit.

  • Francisco Colomer Sanmartín
    Francisco Colomer Sanmartín
    Director of JIVE, the Joint Institute for VLBI

    Francisco (Paco) Colomer Sanmartín (Valencia, 1966) is director of JIVE, the Joint Institute for VLBI, a European Research Infrastructure hosted by ASTRON/NWO in Dwingeloo (the Netherlands). Colomer earned his PhD in astrophysics by Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) on the study of masers in extended atmospheres of evolved stars, and is MBA on “Management of Research Infrastructures” by University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy). He is permanent staff of the National Astronomical Observatory in Spain. During his career, he has participated in more than 100 scientific papers, numerous conferences and workshops, international projects (also financed by the European Commission programs), and outreach activities.

    JIVE is the central organization of the European VLBI Network, a collaboration of more than 20 radio telescopes distributed around the world, that operate together to achieve the highest detailed observations of cosmic objects that exist. The data of this global network is collected and processed at JIVE, where also users of the research infrastructure are supported. JIVE partners are six countries: the Netherlands (host), Spain, France, Sweden, Latvia and United Kingdom; JIVE also gets support from institutes in Italy, Germany, South Africa and China.

    Colomer defends basic scientific research as a cultural asset in our society, to which results and processes must be properly communicated, so policies and decisions are based on facts and knowledge. The international perspective allows to be also an “ambassador” of Spain around the world.

  • Juan Miguel González-Aranda
    Juan Miguel González-Aranda
    LifeWatch ERIC CTO & ERIC FORUM Executive Board Member

    PhD. Engineer on Telecommunications, and Industrial Organization-Enterprise Management European Master. LifeWatch ERIC CTO & Spain Director. ERIC FORUM Executive Board Member (ENVRI cluster), former Chair. July 2012-June 2018: HoU Nanomaterials & e-Science Spain Science & Innovation Ministry public officer. Ministry Delegate for: GBIF” (; European Commission: eIRG (; ESFRI ( & Open Science (Group European Data Experts GEDEResearch Data Alliance RDA; EOSC ( & EuroHPC (“Sherpa”, establishment; support Environmental ESFRI ( & related initiatives. European Structural and Investment Funds-RIS3 expert for ICT & ENV Research Infrastructures according to EU regions RIS3 & FP policies. EIT Climate Change KIC startup activities. November 2004-June 2012: Spanish Council for Scientific Research-CSIC: Technical Director at Doñana Natural Area Singular S&T Research Infrastructure; Contract Agent-Research Technologist EuroMediterranean & LAC projects. January 1998-October 2004: Researcher at University of Seville (biomechanics, digital image processing). Independent Consultant-ICT freelance Public & Private sector.

  • Niall Smith
    Niall Smith
    Head of Research and Head of Blackrock Castle Observatory at Cork Institute of Technology

    Niall Smith studied astrophysics at University College Dublin and graduated with his PhD in 1990. He lectured in the Department of Applied Physics & Instrumentation in Cork Institute of Technology for 18 years before becoming the Institute’s first Head of Research in 2005, now providing strategic oversight of a budget of €16m per annum across disciplines from science and engineering to arts and music. Niall is the Founder-Director of the internationally award-winning Blackrock Castle Observatory which has just celebrated its 13th anniversary and over 1.2 million visitors. In 2017, Niall was the host Director for the International Space University Space Studies Programme which is the largest conference programme ever to come to Cork, lasting a total of 9 weeks and involving over 320 global space experts. Niall’s research focuses on space topics including ultra high precision photometry and the uses of small satellites in low earth orbit for a wide range of functions from high resolution imaging to space cybersecurity to rural broadband. He recently received funding from Science Foundation Ireland to use precision photometry for the identification of microdroplets from masks, as a response to Covid-19. He was the Higher Education representative on the National Steering Group for the Irish Government’s Space Strategy for Enterprise (2019-2023) and considers Space 4.0 to be a significant opportunity for business and educational communities across the globe.

  • Thorsten Rudolph
    Thorsten Rudolph
    Managing Director of Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO), Gilching, Germany

    Managing Director of Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO), Gilching, Germany.
    Education: Diplom-Ingenieur mechanical engineering at Technical University Munich, Germany (1993).
    Thorsten began his professional career at UMTEC GmbH (Bremen, Germany) in 1993 as a mechanical engineer for inspection and maintenance of industrial facilities in the process engineering.
    From 1995 to 2001 he was head of technology marketing at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen/ Germany. During that time he build up the first technology transfer program in Germany for the transfer of advanced space technology to non-space applications. He was responsible for sales & marketing of space technologies, acquisition & management of development projects, conclusion and management of contracts, assurance & control of financial funding and the coaching of entrepreneurs.
    In 2001 he assumed responsibility within DLR as project director “Application Center for Satellite Navigation”. During this time he developed and operated the first business innovation and incubation center in Europe for the future Galileo Satellite Navigation System.
    Thorsten Rudolph founded the Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) in 2004 and has been its managing director ever since. He built up the most successful innovation network for satellite navigation and earth observation in co-operation with international partner regions in Europe and all over the globe, leading space agencies (ESA, DLR, GSA) and industry partners (Airbus, OHB, CGI, T-Systems etc.) and his team supported more than 500 business start-ups in Europe. On behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) his team built up and operate the ESA Business Incubation Center (ESA BIC) in Bavaria and Northern Germany. Since 2009, 165 startup companies have been supported in this 2-year program in co-operation with ministries, banks, industrial and institutional partners. On behalf of the European Commission his company set up the “Galileo Accelerator Program” and the “Copernicus Startup Program” in 2016, which retains hackathon events, innovation competitions, acceleration and incubation programs for Earth observation businesses.
    Recently, AZO conducted a research project for German Space Administration (DLR RFM) on the European U-Space strategy for drones and flight taxis. He is responsible for the coordination of the project and the consortium (DLR GfR, Fraunhofer IIS, Quantum-Systems). As part of this he worked with relevant stakeholders on regulation, certification and standardization topics. He in contact with research institutes, equipment manufacturer, startup companies and community for satellite communication and satellite navigation.
    Thorsten Rudolph has profound business management an international project experiences and he worked for institutional, ministerial, industrial partners all over Europe and Asia as well for the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency. He helped his customers to build up innovation and startup ecosystems. Some of his comprehensive project references are:
    – Management of the Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO)
    – Management of acceleration and incubation programs (ESA BIC, Galileo and Copernicus Accelerator)
    – Establishing and management of space innovation networks (Galileo, Copernicus, Space Exploration)
    – Coaching of entrepreneurs and acquisition of industrial partners and venture capital (ESA BIC)
    – Evaluation of business plans and space-based applications and services (ESA BIC, Copernicus hackathons, innovations competitions, Galileo and Copernicus acceleration programs)
    – Market and system studies and management of public funded projects on national (German Space Administration, Bavarian Ministry) and European level (FP7, Horizon 2020, RHEA)
    Thorsten is proficient in German and English languages and he is an appreciated speaker at international conference and he moderated the annual award ceremony during the European space week over 10 years.