Welcome to the InCubed programme

The InCubed programme

ESA’s InCubed programme helps industry develop new commercial Earth Observation (EO) based products with rapid co-funding to help reduce the risk on the company’s investment in product development and deployment into the market.

Investing in Industrial Innovation – InCubed – is a European Space Agency open call programme supporting innovative activities related to Earth Observation, with the focus of removing barriers to entry of the commercial marketplace.  This new ESA initiative has a permanently open call for European businesses to apply for a chance to gain financial, technical and practical support for industry activities (although some member states operate InCubed calls which are time limited). The goal is to support industry-led initiatives that will open new market opportunities, bringing innovative systems and products faster to market, and enabling European industry focused on EO to compete commercially in the global marketplace.

With a budget of more than €35 million up to 2020/1, InCubed is open to receive proposals from businesses across 13 participating states (Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). Multi-member states proposals are encouraged.

InCubed will, in most cases, co-fund up to 50% of a proposed venture. It can also provide access to ESA expertise and technical support; furthermore it could allow to unlock patient financing and further investment.

Through InCubed, companies developing innovative commercial solutions  related to Earth Observation can approach ESA at any time for support to make their venture technically viable and commercially competitive. Proposals can be e.g. satellites, constellations, instruments, ground segment developments,  or data analytics, for example.

“Earth observation is undergoing a paradigm shift,” said Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes.

“Commercial companies, big and small, are developing exciting assets, such as satellites, ground systems and data analytics solutions. ESA has set up a programme, called InCubed, to help European industry to establish a leading market position.

“Speed and flexibility in deciding and implementing a partnership proposal are key ingredients for success. InCubed will do that.”

How does it works?

  • InCubed is a permanently open call for proposals from industry (check with your membe
  • Co-funding covers up to 50% of development costs in most cases (with special considerations for SMEs – depending on member state)
  • 35 M€ available for 2017-2020/1

Who can apply?

  • Companies (SMEs, large companies) from 13 participating states; universities research institutions only if part of a consortium. Multi-member state proposals are encouraged
  • Innovative developments with a promising commercial perspective

InCubed programme is an optional programme of the European Space Agency, and as such every activity has to explicitly receive the support of the relevant National Delegation(s).  Interested economic operators are required to submit an Outline Proposal containing an initial iteration on the content and justification of the planned InCubed activity before submitting the Full Proposal.

The Outline Proposal template to be used can be found  here.


For more information on the InCubed Open Call click here.


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