• POMP II call is closed

    The second MELiSSA Call for Doctorate and Postdoctoral Proposals (POMP II) is closed.


  • About the MELiSSA Foundation

    The MELiSSA foundation is a non-profit organisation created by the MELiSSA consortium for the purpose to manage a fund dedicated to finance a pool of MELiSSA PhD students and postdocs. The board of the the Foundation consists of Prof. Dr. Max Mergeay (Director) and Rob Suters LLM (Managing Director). The committee in charge of evaluating PhD applications consists of representatives of the MELiSSA community, ESA and independent scientists.

    The MELiSSA Foundation PS is a private foundation (private stichting) based in Brussels incorporated under Belgian law registered under nr. 0547759097

    For contact details please visit contact.


    The MELiSSA consortium consists of 14 partners including ESA, several universities and CRO's and private companies and is internationally recognized as the most advanced effort to develop biological closed loop life support systems. Our partners are from Belgium, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, The Netherlands and Canada.





  • MELiSSA logo

    The MELiSSA Space Research Program

    The acronym MELiSSA means 'Micro Ecological Life Support System Alternative'. It refers to a space research program aiming to develop an artificial ecosystem for regenerative life support systems for long-term space missions to lunar bases or flights to Mars. The MELiSSA Project is managed by the ESA ESTEC and is part of the 'Physical Sciences Instrumentation and Life Support section (TEC-MMG)'. The project started 25 years ago and is based on a collaborative development program between 14 partners and a large number of supporting sub-contractors and international partners. 

    The MELiSSA initiative is internationally recognized as the most advanced effort to develop artificial life support systems. For more information please visit the ESA website.

Workshop Rome 2018

  • Agrospace workshop Rome 2018

    Joint AgroSpace - MELiSSA Workshop


    The 2016 edition of AgroSpace and MELiSSA Workshop demonstrated that common fundamentals are shared by the respective communities: air, water, waste recycling, food production and preparation, regenerative life support, closed loop systems,…
    As a logical follow-up, organizers decided to team up to organize the

  • 1st Joint AgroSpace-MELiSSA Workshop.

    The Workshop will highlight the research and development activity performed in the various matters related to regenerative systems and foster the collaboration and matching between researchers, companies, public administrations and experts.

    For this first edition of the Workshop, 11 main topics have been selected:

    1.     Organic wastes processing and refinery
    2.     Urine treatment
    3.     Water recycling (grey water and condensate)
    4.     Edible biomass production
    5.     Food quality, processing and human nutrition
    6.     Physical, chemical and microbial contaminants
    7.     Modelling and system design
    8.     Flight experiments and space technology demonstrators
    9.     Ground demonstration and analogue testing
    10.     Terrestrial applications
    11.     Societal impacts and education

    The workshop will be held in the Headquarter of the Italian Research Council (CNR) located at:
    Piazzale Aldo Moro 7,  00185 - Roma, Italy

    Registration information:
    Registration is mandatory for all (included invited persons) and will be confirmed upon payment. Do not forget to fill in your promotional code if you received one. Payment receipt will be sent to you together with your registration confirmation.

    Organising Committee:
    Christophe Lasseur (ESA), Brigitte  Lamaze (ESA), Rob Suters (MELiSSA Foundation), Marco  Adami (AresCosmo), Alessandro Petrini (AresCosmo), Sara Piccirillo (ASI)

    Scientific Committee:
    Francesc Gòdia (University Autònoma de Barcelona), Stefania De Pascale (University of Napoli), Emmanuel  Frossard (ETH Zurich), Alberto Bemporad (IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy), Siegfried Vlaeminck (University of Antwerp), Christophe Lasseur (ESA), Gene Giacomelli (CEAC, University of Arizona), Daniel Schubert (DLR), Alberto Battistelli (CNR-IBAF)

  • Workshop News!

    Confirmed main talks:

    • May 16,2018:
    • Dr Franco Ongaro, ESA Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality
    • Dr Christophe Lasseur, ESA, MELiSSA Programme Manager
    • May 17, 2018:
    • Dr Sogo Nakanoya, JAXA, Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, Manager for Pressurized Systems and Payloads
    • May 18, 2018:
    • Dr Mark Kliss, NASA Ames Research Center, Space Biosciences Division, Chief of Bioengineering Branch

    Confirmed key speakers:

    Organic wastes processing and refinery:
    Dr Joël Doré, INRA France , research director in the Joint Research Unit for Food and Gut Microbiology for Human Health and scientific director of the MetaGenoPolis

    Urine treatment:
    Dr Kai Udert, EAWAG Switzerland, senior scientist in the Process Engineering Department
    Physical, chemical and microbial contaminants: Dr Christine Rozand, bioMérieux Inc, Research and Development Senior Doctor Novel Analytical Development

    Modelling and system design:
    Prof. John Doyle, US Caltech, Division of Engineering and Applied Science, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems Electrical Engineering and  BioEngineering

    Flight experiments and space technology demonstrators:
    Cesare Lobascio, Thales Alenia Space Italy, Space Infrastructure Systems Innovation Lead and Expert Life Support and Habitability

    Ground demonstration and analogue testing:
    Prof. Francesc  Gòdia, University Autonoma de Barcelona, Head of the MELiSSA Pilot Plant

    Societal impacts and Education:
    Prof. Valerie Olson, UC Irvine, Department of Anthropology

    To be confirmed very soon:
    Water recycling (grey water and condensate)
    Edible biomass production
    Food quality, processing and human nutrition
    Terrestrial applications

  • Draft Programme

    16 May 2018

    17 May 2018

    18 May 2018

    9H Start


    Official opening and introduction: TBD


    Words from Dr Franco Ongaro, ESA Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality


    Main Talk: Christophe Lasseur (ESA)



    9H Start


    Main Talk: Thomas Pesquet (EAC)




    9H Start


    Main Talk :  TBD





    LUNCH (1h)

    LUNCH (1h)

    LUNCH (1h)






    18h END






    18h END



    Workshop wrap-up and conclusions




    Social Dinner



  • Session topics

    1. Organic wastes processing and refinery
      Review and characterization of processes and technologies enabling to transform organic wastes (i.e. biological, physical, chemical transformations) into relevant resources for photosynthetic processes, crew metabolic needs (i.e. oxygen, water) and mission consumables (e.g. nitrogen).
      Keywords: waste collector, waste preparation, waste degradation, waste separation, carbon dioxide purification, reverse microbial fuel cells, microbial degradation, wet oxidation, fibre degradation, space environment effects (modified gravity, radiation, vacuum, etc..)
    2. Urine treatment
      Review and characterization of processes and technologies enabling to transform Urine (i.e. biological physical, chemical transformations) into relevant resources for photosynthetic processes, crew metabolic needs (i.e. oxygen, water) and mission consumables (e.g. nitrogen).
      Keywords: collector, stabilisation, nitrification, denitrification, electrodialysis, filtration, electrolysis, anammox, space environment effects (modified gravity, radiation, vacuum, etc..)
    3. Water recycling (grey water and condensate)
      Review and characterization of processes and technologies enabling to transform grey water and condensate (i.e. biological, physical, chemical transformations) into relevant resources for photosynthetic processes, crew metabolic needs (i.e. oxygen, water)
      Keywords: Grey water collector, condensers, storage and buffering, biocide, antimicrobial surfaces, electrodialysis, membrane filtration, electrolysis, water quality monitoring,  space environment effects (modified gravity, radiation, vacuum, etc..)
    4. Edible biomass production
      Review and characterization of processes and technologies enabling to produce edible biomass (i.e. higher plants, microorganisms) from relevant resources (i.e. CO2, VFAs, N-sources)
      Keywords: bioreactors, lighting systems, biomass characterization, biomass quality, green-house, hydroponics, aeroponics, plant physiology, stress and pathogen detection/control, space environment effects (modified gravity, radiation, vacuum, etc..)
    5. Food quality, processing and human nutrition
      Review and characterization of raw material quality, processes and technologies enabling to transform edible biomass (i.e. higher plants, microorganisms) into food products and recipes within the nutritional requirements.
      Keywords: food processing, food safety and quality, food storage, diet, recipes, food management systems, nutrigenomics, prebiotics, probiotics
    6. Physical, chemical and microbial contaminants
      Review and characterization of risks and hazards for the crew, bioprocesses, and materials, related to physical, chemical and microbial contaminants in closed systems.
      Keywords: Pathogens, phages, virus, SMACs, modelling, risks assessment, risk management, human toxicology, emerging pollutants, radiation effects (space environment)
    7. Modelling  and system design
      Characterization, model elaboration, simulations, testing and control of regenerative processes at sub-system and system levels, leading up to closed life support system.
      Keywords: system engineering, stoichiometry, mass-balances, ALISSE criteria, control design, simulations tools, CFD modelling, concurrent engineering, knowledge management
    8. Flight experiments and space technology demonstrators
      Flight experiment (at payloads and system level) and associated flight hardware development for data collection, process demonstrations, control validation, ECLS H/W development and overall operations.
      Keywords: ARTEMISS, URINIS, MELONDEAU, WAPS, ACLS, MODULES, PFPU, space greenhouse, cold plasma, water recovery unit, ANITA2, hardware development
    9. Ground demonstration and analogue testing
      Development and tests of life support processes and systems using ground facilities and terrestrial analogues.
      Keywords: technology validation, operation testing, crew psychology, field testing remote monitoring and control, MELiSSA Pilot Plant, Concordia, EDEN, LUNA, BIOS, FIPES
    10. Terrestrial applications
      Spin-in and spin-off of life support developments.
      Keywords: Commercial applications, spin-off companies, closed habitats, water recycling, smart cities, circular economy, industrial ecology, extreme environments, resource recovery and reuse
    11. Societal impacts and education
      Closed Life Support systems as providing models and tools to understand ecologies and ecosystems, and rethink contemporary aspects of human relationships to living beings and systems.
      Keywords: Citizen science, solar system exploration, ecology, ecosystems, anthropology, recycling, models, artificial vs. natural ecosystems, controlled environments, public perception, acceptability, history of science and technics, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) activities

  • Join

    Join the Workshop!
    Present a paper or poster: call for abstracts!

    Register without waiting!


  • Information about fees

    Fees include:

    • Unlimited access to the workshop
    • 1 hard copy of the Workshop proceedings
    • Access to coffee breaks, lunches and 17/05 social dinner
      before 30/3/2018 30/3/2018 - 30/4/2018
    Students 160 Euros 200 Euros
    Others 250 Euros 400 Euros
    Accompanying person social dinner (17/5/2018) 50 Euros 50 Euros



    Important notes

    Registrations will close on 30/04/2018 Closure of Business.
    No registration will be possible on-site.

  • Important notice

    Registrations will close on 30/04/2018 Closure of Business.
    No registration will be possible on-site.

  • Contact

    For any enquiry, please send an email to

Accompanying person(s)

Mollie paymentsPayments by Mollie

Abstract submission Workshop Rome 2018

  • Call for abstracts

    Technical papers and posters addressing the topics of the workshop are welcome.

    The abstract must be in English language with a maximum length of 500 (without blanks) words and must contain:

    1. Title of the work;
    2. A brief summary of the content that will be addressed in the paper with an indication of the selected topics;
    3. An indication of main hypothesis on which the work is based, of the followed methodology and of the used sources;
    4. A presentation of the main results of the paper and of their added value with respect to the substantive knowledge of the addressed matter and / or of literature on it.
    5. First name, last name, phone numbers, e-mail address and company of the author/s.
    6. Preferred presentation option: oral presentation or poster

  • Selection Process

    Abstracts submission deadline is January, 24th  2018. Only abstracts authorized for publication will be accepted.

    The abstracts will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee.

    The abstract could be evaluated as in the following:

    1. Approved for oral presentation: the paper will be presented (by means of a Power Point within a slot of about 15/20 minutes) during the Workshop, the presentation (PDF) will be uploaded on the official website of the event.
    2. Approved for poster presentation: the posters (to be provided by the author) will be affixed and they will be visible during the whole duration of the Workshop. Poster dimension must be: 70cm Width x 100cm Height.
    3. Rejected.

    The outcome of the selection process will be communicated to the authors by e-mail at the latest on February, 21st 2018.

  • Final steps

    The final workshop program will be issued on March, 14th  2018.

    Authors whom abstracts have been approved must send their presentation (PDF) and/or poster (PDF) within April, 30th 2018 to the following e-mail address:

    The file name must include the name of the author.

    The cover page of the presentation must include: Title, Subtitle, Author/s, Company.

    The presentation/poster can contain graphs, tables and images.

  • Additional Information

    For more information, please contact:

The information you have provided will be treated confidential and according to applicable privacy legislation and will only be used for registration for the selected activity and for anonymous statistical purposes.


  • How to prepare a Ph.D. or postdoc proposal for the POMP program

    Each POMP Ph.D. or postdoc project has to be structured as a tight collaboration between four parties:

    - hosting University (laboratory / department)

    - Ph.D. student or postdoc

    - MELiSSA partner

    - MELiSSA Foundation.

    The application must be prepared by the University promoter. The topic should be chosen by the University promoter in collaboration with one of the MELiSSA partners. The complete application should be sent by email to the MELiSSA Foundation. Please note that there is a deadline for submissions. 

    The Host University must be located in Belgium, UK, Spain or Switzerland. The MELiSSA partners are situated in the following countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. More information on the MELiSSA partners can be found here. Contact details can be found in the download section.

    The duration of the Ph.D. will be ideally 4 years and includes the time required for the thesis. During this period the Ph.D.student is expected to spend 12 months at the premises of a MELiSSA partner situated in a different country than the country of the host University.

    Each successful Ph.D. / postdoc application contains:

    a) title of the Ph.D. / postdoc project;

    b) name of the host University, the host laboratory and of the university mentor;

    c) concise description of the research interests of the host laboratory (perhaps with a short list of publications representative of the main scientific interests of the host laboratory);

    d) the proposed MELiSSA partner with keywords and a short list (max. 5) of relevant publications

    e) description of the Ph.D. / postdoc subject not exceeding half-page and defining the objectives, the methodologies and the expected results. The main focus of the project (MELiSSA loop compartment, biological material, …) will be mapped on the MELiSSA loop that will be joined to the project description. This description will contain 3 key references from the MELiSSA literature list and will be followed by a calendar of the scientific activities and visits to the MELiSSA partner.

    f) the Curriculum Vitae of the candidate. The CV should detail the mentions obtained during the studies of the candidate and will contain a copy of the relevant diploma.

    g) a description of the candidate’s motivation for the space research (max. 500 characters)

    h) two reference letters

    i) a letter of acceptance of the candidate signed by the head of the Faculty/Department head (administrative responsible of the mentor)

    j) a letter of acceptance of the MELiSSA rules set forth in the standard cooperation agreement concerning confidentiality, intellectual property, technology transfer and publications signed by the head of the University department and the Ph.D. candidate. These rules are custumary and can be made available upon request.

    k) written acceptance of the relevant contracts which will be made available after the application. Please note that the POMP PhD agreement is not negotiable.

    l) Possible co-funding by the host laboratory may be mentioned and documented: participation to the costs of missions, laboratory and computational expenses, small equipment. This may be mentioned in the acceptance letter.



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