What is InCubed?

Investing in Industrial Innovation – InCubed – is a European Space Agency open call programme supporting innovative projects related to Earth Observation, with the focus of removing barriers to entry of the commercial marketplace.

The UK, jointly with Spain, is a lead contributor to the programme, with the nations having contributed €10 million each to the total budget of €35 million. More information on InCubed is available on ESA’s website.

What the UK will Support

Companies or consortia applying to ESA for InCubed funding require the support of their national delegation – which is the UK Space Agency for UK organisations. InCubed proposals from international consortia including a UK element are welcome, but not a requirement.

Note that whilst UKSA will need to understand the full scope of the project proposed, UKSA funding approval will cover UK elements only; other ESA member states may have their own processes for approving their respective contributions.

UKSA is keen to support projects with a significant degree of technological innovation through InCubed; projects focusing solely on delivery of new EO-related services should consider whether an ESA Business Applications project would be more appropriate – which is also supported by a substantial UK subscription.

UKSA is happy to discuss any potential project ideas with UK applicants and how they might align with the InCubed programme: interested parties are encouraged to contact Alasdair Gow, Industrial Sector Lead for Earth Observation, on UKSAEOT@ukspaceagency.gov.uk

Application Process & Timescale

UK organisations interested in submitting a proposal to InCubed must submit a completed application form by email to the UK Space Agency Earth Observation Team at UKSAEOT@ukspaceagency.gov.uk by 5PM Friday 17th August 2018, in order to be considered in this round of evaluations by the Agency; applications received after this time will not be considered in this round.

Following evaluation of the submitted proposals, organisations can expect to be contacted mid-September regarding whether they have been successful and they may proceed with submission of an outline proposal to ESA. In this round of evaluations UKSA expects to select one or two proposals, allocating a total investment of around €1.5 million to the co-funded project(s).

N.B. UKSA approval does not guarantee funding, as successful projects must also complete the ESA evaluation process.

Applications must take the form of a completed application form, a copy of which is available by clicking the button below, which must not exceed 20 pages in length (minimum font size Arial 10pt) – additional pages beyond this limit will not be considered.

In line with the overall programme goals UKSA will be evaluating the proposals according to the following criteria:

  • Is the project innovative?
  • Is the business case credible? In particular:
    • Credibility of the industrial team
    • Analysis of existing market and competition
    • Target customers and any existing engagement or evidence of customer interest
    • Technology / Service Readiness Level: will the InCubed project help the product/service overcome the final barrier to market?
    • Is the timeframe realistic, and in line with the programme objectives?
    • Does the project capitalise on the UK’s, and ESA’s strengths?
    • Will the project deliver value for money?

InCubed is intended to be the final tranche of funding required to commercialise a technology, or helping to create a new kind market where none existed previously. Unique elements of the InCubed programme include the opportunity for organisations to work with ESA in some capacity, taking advantage of their technical expertise or facilities, and the goal of a rapid turnaround time for funding provision; ESA are targeting a period of only a few months between initial proposal submission to ESA and the final contract signature.