Announcement of Partnership Opportunity

InCubed is a partnership between industry, national delegation(s) and ESA. InCubed’s Announcement of Partnership Opportunity is always open. Entities can apply at any time for different level of co-funding depending on the type of the activity.

All Ideas will be strictly confidential, only the InCubed team will have access to them. The overview of the process is presented for information and completeness below.

This figure shows the tendering process; the different coloured circles (GREEN for Industry, BLUE for ESA, RED for National delegation(s)) shows the actor(s) for each step of the process.


First step: Pitch your idea

  • Fill in the Idea Pitch form; ESA will check if you qualify for InCubed co-funding. National delegation(s) are involved and decide if they support the idea.   
  • You may be offered the possibility of pitching your idea in a 10-minute session. These typically happen on a monthly basis to see if your idea is a good fit for InCubed.

Second Step: Fill in the InCubed Proposal Part 1

Following a successful idea pitch and with agreement from the supporting national delegation(s):

  • ESA will invite you to fill in Proposal Part 1 [Outline] through this tool.
  • Submit the InCubed Proposal Part 1 for assessment.

Third Step: ESA assessment and possible invitation to submit Proposal Part 2

  • ESA will provide comments on your proposal following Part 1 assessment criteria.
  • If the assessment is positive then you will be invited to submit Proposal Part 2 [Full].The submission of the Proposal Part 2 [Full] shall not exceed 8 weeks after such communications from ESA. 

There are two development cycles available within InCubed and entry depends on the maturity of the development being proposed:

  • The De-risking Cycle: This cycle results in a credible technical concept with identified commercial customers that show tangible interest and a robust product development roadmap. Typically, developments in this cycle are more mature and require support to reach a credible commercial product/service.
  • The Product Development Cycle: This cycle results in a credible product or service that can be shown to be commercially viable without any further public funding. Typically, developments in this cycle are more mature.

It is possible to move from one cycle to another as the development matures or if the development is mature enough it can enter the product development cycle directly.

You may apply for either one or both cycles. Each cycle may have different levels of co-funding, depending on the supporting member state or target readiness level (e.g. Technology Readiness Level or TRL and Application Service Readiness Level or ASRL). You can potentially apply for both cycles. They can overlap as long as this is clearly shown. National delegations may, however, only decide to support one cycle at a time.

The aim is to reach a minimum viable product. InCubed can also support further roll out if it is foreseen. Additional funding/financing outside of the InCubed programme may also be sought to scale the concept internationally or roll out additional elements e.g. constellations, networks, architectures.


What are the funding options and conditions?

ESA can support up to 80% of the total costs as detailed in the table below:

The required objectives per development cycles and segments shall be respected.

The Announcement of Partnership Opportunity is published on EMITS, under Open Invitations to Tender reference AO10452

Please note: The closing date is established solely for technical reasons connected with EMITS and can be disregarded. The documents on EMITS take precedence in case of any discrepancies. The consultation of the official documentation on EMITS related to the Calls for Proposals and Invitiations to Tender is only possible for duly registered users.

The InCubed Process

Pitch your idea arw How to apply infographic