Having registered on esa-star – ESA’s System for Tendering And Registration as potential bidder, login to esa-star with your received account information and download the official tender documentation from:
The tendering process follows a three step approach:
An incremental approach is set up to guide Tenderers through the submission process. It is constructed in a manner that any subsequent step (outline proposal, full proposal) builds upon the answers of the previous step (activity pitch questionnaire, outline proposal).
The duration of the end-to-end process is different from project to project and it depends on the time taken by the applicant team to prepare the OP and FP, as well as any necessary iterations. The following diagram aims to give an overview of the different steps and the expected response time from ESA.
1st Step: Activity Pitch Questionnaire (APQ)
Before engaging in more detailed elaboration of a potential outline or full proposal, the Activity Pitch Questionnaire allows the Tenderer in a reduced, standardised pitch form to present his initial idea to ESA, and it allows ESA to quickly take an informed decision on the next steps pointing the Tenderer to the most appropriate activity stream and providing support on the further implementation steps.
Since authorisation from the National Delegation(s) of the countries in which industrial partners (i.e. Prime and Subcontractors) reside will be required at the level of the Full Proposal, it is strongly suggested that potential bidders liaise with the National Delegation(s) as soon as possible in the process.
Please, note that the Activity Pitch Questionnaire may be also provided by the Agency to the National Delegations for coordination purposes. Submitting an APQ is deemed given consent to share this information with the National Delegation.
2nd Step: Outline Proposal
Following the acceptance by ESA of the Activity Pitch Questionnaire and the indications provided by ESA concerning which eventual route to choose from (i.e. Feasibility Study or Demonstration Project), the second step requires the submission of an Outline Proposal, which will be evaluated by ESA, and feedback will be provided to the Tenderer in due time. External experts may be involved in the evaluation in order to coordinate activities with those carried out within the European Union, Participating States or any other relevant European actors, of which the Agency has been made aware.
There is no formal deadline to submit an Outline Proposal while the call is open. However, note that at this stage ESA prepares a special document for their Joint Communications Board (JCB) (Member States’ Steering Board), which meets every mid-February, mid-May, mid-September and mid-November. This document summarises the proposed study in about four pages, shows how it complies with the eligibility criteria for an IAP activity and requests the Board’s approval.
Once the clarification / discussion points originating from the Outline Proposal evaluation have been sufficiently addressed and the associated project dossier prepared by ESA Technical Officer passed the above mentioned board, the proponent will be invited to submit the Full Proposal.
The Outline Proposal Template can be downloaded from https://business.esa.int/ documents and shall be submitted to the assigned Technical Officer.
3rd Step: Full Proposal
The Tenderer will be informed by ESA and may decide to prepare a Full Proposal according to ESA feedback and in accordance with chapter II of Appendix 1 (Special Conditions of Tender).
Only Full proposals accompanied with a “Letter(s) of Authorisation of Funding” (AOF) covering the full proposal will be admitted for evaluation. The Full proposals shall be delivered via “esa-star”.
The Full Proposal will be evaluated by a Tender Evaluation Board (TEB). In case of a positive proposal evaluation the TEB recommends the contract implementation pending potential clarifications points identified by the TEB. ESA will communicate the results of the TEB including an invitation for the negotiation meeting in case of a positive TEB outcome.
Upon successful negotiation, the project kick-off will be agreed and the contract will be sent for signature.
 An Outline Proposal approved by ESA must precede the submission of a Full Proposal.
Funded participation is open to any company and/or organisation, be it as group of users, public body or non-governmental organisation, residing in any of the ESA Member States that are participating to the programme as specified in the Letter of Invitation in esa-star.
The applicable funding level of the individual prime- or subcontractors is subject to authorisation by the involved National Delegation(s). Therefore bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Authorisation from all their national delegations before submitting a Full Proposal.
The Agency is supporting Demonstration Projects with funding up to 50% of the total eligible costs.
However, SMEs (i.e. enterprises fulfilling the criteria defined in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 (2003/361/EC) or as updated) involved in Demonstrations Projects, may be funded by ESA up to 80%, subject to agreement of their respective delegation(s).
The remainder has to be financed by the tenderer and/or other partners through private and/or public sector.