The European Space Agency wants to increase its interaction with European universities, research institutes and industry.
With its new Networking/Partnering Initiative, the European Space Agency is offering to support "research carried out by institutes and universities in advanced technologies with space applications". The idea is to bridge the technological gap between what goes up into space and the stuff we use nearer to ground level.
Contrary to the usual notion that ideas spin out of space programmes, this time ESA wants to encourage "potential ‘spin-in’ for use in space".
The press release accompanying the announcement clarifies the issue:
In recent years, the gap between technologies used for space applications and the technologies used in industrial or domestic applications has widened. For instance, the advanced technology embedded in some of today’s portable phones, digital cameras and home computers far exceeds some of the technology used in satellites.
ESA hopes that "This new initiative will support technology development in selected universities and research institutes, giving preference to new ideas or concepts originating in the non-space industrial or research sectors."