First Incubed campaign targeting the Portuguese industry and the Atlantic is now open

The first Portuguese Incubed campaign will finance feasibility studies for a constellation of satellites for the protection and sustainable socio-economic development of the Atlantic. The amount available should not exceed €200.000 per project, to be co-financed according to ESA programme rules.

The first round of applications for the InCubed programme (Investing in Industrial Innovation) is open to support the development of innovative and commercially viable products and services using Earth Observation (EO) satellites. Portuguese Space industry can thus begin to obtain a return on the EUR 4 million subscribed by Portugal to the Incubed programme, by submitting proposals for applications and services related to the Atlantic region

The ideas should consider the promotion of Space abilities in Portugal, contributing to the creation of the constellation of small satellites envisioned in the National Strategy Portugal Space 2030

“Portugal aims to be a prominent country in the Atlantic with a focus on Space, Climate and Ocean interactions. This requires working to support the development by the private sector of a constellation of small EO satellites, but also to develop associated applications and services, which will later ensure the sustainability of the constellation,” says Hugo André Costa board member of the Portuguese Space Agency, Portugal Space. “With this tender, Portugal Space aims to finance the development of national Space capabilities dedicated to the supply of products and services related to the Atlantic region, leading to the creation of the constellation, which may happen in collaboration with the other Member States”.

This first InCubed campaign takes place as the national participation under the European Space Agency’s Blue Worlds initiative. It strives to develop Atlantic-related applications or services, in partnership with the other Member States, capable of achieving a sustainable position in the market without additional public funding. The budget for proposals submitted should not exceed EUR 200 000, on a co-financing basis under the rules of the ESA programme.

“The Blue Worlds initiative is based on the idea that the 22 ESA member states control the world’s largest exclusive economic zone, which apart from its ecological and environmental value represents around 5.4 million jobs and an annual gross added value of around EUR 500 billion, establishing what we know as the Blue Economy”, explains Carolina Sá, Industrial Relations and Earth observation Projects Officer. 

Underlining the interdependence between Space and Ocean, the Marine Science specialist recalls that Portugal has subscribed to EUR 15 million in ESA’s Earth Observation programmes. Out of this, EUR 4 million will be applied through the InCubed programme, representing contracts that Portuguese industry could win.

The proposals, which must comply with the guidelines provided by Portugal Space, available for consultation on the ESA website, may fit into a broad scope of products and services ranging from the construction of satellites to the creation of data platforms being able to aim both at Space or the Earth segment. “We want the Portuguese industry to present us with end-to-end feasibility studies, covering the entire value chain, from upstream to downstream. These feasibility studies are of particular importance because they will be the starting point for the definition of future campaigns, in the sense that they help us to detail the needs of the constellation“, specifies Carolina Sá.

Applications must be submitted by national entities, individually or in a consortium, that can be national or international, in which case the consortium leader must be a Portuguese organisation. The proposed products or services must be compulsorily manufactured, or at least assembled, in Portugal. “The proposals must foresee and identify compulsorily that most of the activities will take place in Portugal because the main objective of this initiative is to develop the abilities of the national industry linked to Space. Consortia can be encouraged because they can induce the transfer of technology and knowledge, but must always be led by national companies,” says the Industrial Relations and Earth observation Projects Officer from Portugal Space.

As stated in the +Space in Portugal and Europe with ESA, which guided the Portuguese presence in the last Ministerial Council of ESA, the proposals should be aligned with the themes identified in the Blue Worlds initiative, namely Coastal Impact, Bays and Estuaries including Ecosystems, Coastal Processes and Sustainable Food Production, Maritime Infrastructure and Navigation, among others. 

In a first stage, proposals that comply with the essential criteria of the call – namely that they seek a level of funding within the available financial envelope and that are in line with the guidelines for co-financing, will be selected. Applications must have a commercial focus, should also include a detailed analysis of user/customer needs in the Atlantic region, and the proposed activities should identify possible contributions or synergies with existing or planned activities at national, European or international level. 

Proposals must be submitted by 23:59 (CET) on 10 September 2020. Applications chosen in the first phase will be invited to present their project to Portugal Space and ESA representatives.  


Portugal Space
11 of August, 2020