Cornelis (Niels) Eldering

Cornelis (Niels) Eldering
Country The Netherlands
Languages Dutch (Native), German (Native), English (Fluent)
Profession Head of the Space Solutions Section at ESA
Organisation European Space Agency (ESA)


Cornelis Eldering (Niels) is Head of Section within the Commercialisation Department at the European Space Agency. Together with his team, he is responsible for ESA's Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), the ESA Technology Transfer broker network and the ESA Industry Alliance.

ESA currently has 25 Business Incubation Centers and 8 Technology Brokers across its member states. The primary aim of the ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) is to provide support to entrepreneurs who wish to exploit space-based solutions. Similarly, ESA 's Technology Brokers support established industrial players in both space and non-space markets The approach has been adopted for similar technology transfer and incubation activities by STFC, CERN, Fraunhofer, Czech Invest and Ariane Group.

Niels holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), where he in 2003 completed his research on setting up a strategy for the first ESA Business Incubation Centre. Since then, he was instrumental in evolving and expanding the ESA BICs and Broker network to its current size. Up until his appointment as section head, Niels has chaired over 200 evaluation boards for ESA BIC start-up company selection and evaluated over 3.000 business cases, including ideas filed for the European Satellite Navigation Competition, ACTinSpace and the EC Cassini Hackathons. Passionately engaged in the challenging process from exploration to exploitation of space technology, he regularly provides keynote presentations on conferences as well as guest lectures such as to the CEMS Master in International Management. In 2015 he received the RSM Distinguished Alumni Award for Senior Leader due to his efforts in creating benefits for society by engaging business and education with space technology. Besides his career at ESA, Niels is currently also undertaking a Part-Time PhD at the RSM department for Technology and Operations Management and recently published a chapter in an international handbook of research on Business and Technology Incubation and Acceleration.

Niels is living in the Netherlands with his family and working at ESTEC, the European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk.

"One way of looking at entrepreneurship is to be very inclusive about it when building your team; to be able to organise people around you that complement each other and yourself" - Cornelis Eldering, Digital Demo Day, Duesseldorf 2021

European Space Agency's Technology Transfer Programmes Office
The Global Alliance in Management Education
Rotterdam School of Management - Erasmus University Rotterdam