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On the Shoulders of Giants

The phrase “on the shoulders of giants” is often attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, although its origins can be traced back to earlier sources. The phrase captures the idea that knowledge and progress build upon the work and insights of those who came before us. It signifies the acknowledgment of the contributions of predecessors and the idea that new discoveries are made possible by standing on the foundation they have laid.

Credit: Khan Academy (Big History Project: READ: Standing on the Shoulders of Invisible Giants)

The full quote from Newton’s letter to Robert Hooke in 1676 reads: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” In this context, Newton was acknowledging that his own advancements in science were possible because he was building upon the discoveries and ideas of previous thinkers.

Overall, the phrase conveys a sense of humility, gratitude, and recognition that our achievements are connected to the knowledge and efforts of those who have come before us.

Our giants are our startups!

Our giants are our startups, which have incubated in the ESA Business Incubation Centre Portugal! More than 55 startups have graduated from ESA BIC Portugal since 2014.

The founding members of some of these startups are past participants of the Coimbra Space Summer School. Their business idea was developed using exactly some of the technologies available to the CSSS participants.

Logos of the ESA BIC Portugal Startups.

Some of these startups have taken ESA technology and turned it into personal health products (ViBo Health), others have tried to help us find a parking spot (Parqist). Some work to democratise satellite data use (Our Watch Leads), others cover specific users like managers of forests (Bold Robotics) or golf courses (Greenfika). Some went on to receive investments of millions of euros (e.g. Stratio, Neuraspace, Spotlite), others failed with their original idea but moved on to create other startups. But all of them benefitted from their ESA BIC incubation and can proudly wear the badge and say they are alumni of the programme.

Click here to see what our startups have created. The large majority have developed downstream applications. We will cover this in another post, to give you more insights into the tools you have at your disposal to develop your own business.

In this year’s Coimbra Space Summer School, we challenge the participants to build new business solutions on the shoulders of Giants!

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