Spark Funding

SPARK FUNDING

Next open call deadline: 5th September 2024

If you want to be informed, please contact us SparkFunding@tc.cz

ESA Spark Funding in the Czech Republic

The goal of the financing initiative Spark Funding is to support and accelerate technology transfer from space to non-space sector, along with product development process acceleration.

  • Spark Funding serves as initial funding in order to foster initial adaptation towards space technology commercialization and market launch. 
  • The challenge is to transfer space technologies such as sensors, materials, electronics (all technology areas are possible) to another industry.
  • Spark Funding supports mainly SMEs and start-ups, as well as research institutions and universities. 
  • The financing may cover costs of the prototyping phase or market launch.
  • Successful applicants will receive 75 000 EUR with no further co-financing required, and they must complete the transfer in 12 months.
  • Multiple Open Calls are launched all around the year.

Find all the important information in the “Invitation to apply” document and others below:

The application starts by submitting “Application Template” (see below) to SparkFunding@tc.cz. Should you have any questions, use this email to contact us.

It is highly recommended to consult your project with us prior applying.

See below further information and documentation:

(updated 20th May 2024)

Invitation to apply

Application Template and GDPR compliance

Draft Contract

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Who is eligible to apply for ESA Spark Funding?

To apply, you must be a legal entity (a public law company / a private law company / an association etc.) registered under the laws of the Czech Republic (to hold a business IČO number). You must be headquartered in the Czech Republic and fully compliant with Czech tax and social security obligations.

Can a consortium of entities apply?

The proposal requires a clearly stated sole entity that will represent the product developer (the entity which applies space technology). Should such entity then work in a consortium or partner with other entities (e.g. a research center, a university), it shall be stated in the proposal as partners, while maintainig that applicant = product developer as a sole project leader and a point of contact.

Are there specific rules in term of the applicant’s suppliers and partners for ESA Spark Funding project?

The applicant can obtain any suppliers and/or partners for the project as long as it is relevant to the project objective. The proposal document allows to introduce them.

Can ESA Spark Funding be simlultaneously combined with ESA BIC support?

No. Alumnies of ESA BIC are eligible to apply, if their incubation period had passed prior the ESA Spark Funding application.

Who is Product Developer and who is Space Technology Provider?

The project being a technology transfer (space technology to non-space sector), there are two major parties involved: a Product Developer that fosters the new / improved product or service, and a Space Technology Provider, who possesses the technology of a space-application-origin.

What is understood as “space technology and/or space assets/service”?

Space technology eligible for ESA Spark Funding project is understood as any technology that was developed or used for space applications. “Space technology” refers, for example, to sensors, materials, or electronics developed for space purposes. “Space assets/services” include, for example, Satellite Communications, Satellite Positioning Navigation and Timing (PNT), Satellite Earth Observation, Satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS), or Space Weather technologies.

What is meant by “non-space markets”?

Non-space markets include, but are not limited to, fields such as agriculture, energy, environment, health, safety or transport. Any market that has a direct terrestrial use.

What should be addressed in the Socio Economic Impact?

Part of proposal evaluation is a positive Socio Economic impact that will be created should the project be supported. The applicant is expected to present impact that the product/service will bring to their business, customers, environment etc. Such analysis could also address the SDGs that are impacted by the product/service. The level of detail will depend on the project’s ability to align with Goals, Targets and Indicators. The ideal application would include all of these elements:

  • goals addressed,
  • targets addressed,
  • indicators to measure the impact (referring as much as possible to the official ones), and
  • expected impact (e.g. the product will contribute to creating X jobs in the next 5 years).

The official list of Goals, Targets and Indicators can be found here

How long is the ESA Spark Funding project expected to last?

Projects must have a duration of minimum 6 and maximum 12 months.

What must be submitted in order to successfully apply for the ESA Spark Funding CZ?

The full application documentation can be found here (above the FAQ). Please carefully read through all the documents. Here below you may find a summary of the documents to be submitted:

  • Application Template (including Executive Summary, Business Case and Technical Proposal, Activity Proposal, Management Proposal),
  • Business Model Canvas,
  • letter(s) of support, if any, and
  • any other relevant information about the activity or the Applicant, as necessary.
How does the evaluation process look like? What is the Tender Evaluation Board?

The evaluation procedure is carried out in two stages: 

First Stage: The Tender Opening Board (TOB) takes place after the submission deadline is closed and it assesses if all formal requirements have been met. This is a crucial step to staying in the application process. 

Second stage: The Tender Evaluation Board (TEB) meeting takes place after the TOB to evaluate the submitted documents. During the TEB, the applicant pitches their project  (15 minutes) and faces Q&A by the Commitee (15-30 minutes). The TEB evaluates each of the applicants against the evaluation criteria and takes a decision whether or not the company will be offered funding under the call. The TEB is managed by TC Prague and ESA together with the Ministry of Transportation of the Czech Republic, with participation of technology experts. The TEB meeting takes place a few weeks after the submission deadline. The company will get to know the results of the TEB meeting shortly after it takes place. 

Who are the members of the TOB and TEB?

The TOB is set up of representatives from TC Prague, The Ministry of Transportation of the CZ and the ESA Technology Broker Manager.

The TEB is set up of representatives from ESA, TC Prague, The Ministry of Transportation of the CZ and ESA BIC representatives.

If a project is selected, how long does it take to sign the funding contract?

Upon acceptance, the company will be invited to sign the ESA Spark Funding CZ Contract made available in draft with the Open Call documents. In a “Negotiation Meeting” we can clarify any information needed before the project starts, as well as to revisit suggestions and / or additional requirements made by the Commitee at TEB. After the minimum information required for the contract preparation is provided (e.g. statements of compliance with tax, bank information) the signature is expected to be a matter of days.

What is the funding payment plan?

The first installment (50 % of the total amount) will be paid upon signature of the ESA Spark Funding CZ Contract by both parties. The second installment (remaining 50 % of the total amount) will be paid upon a successful Final Review, acceptance by ESA Technology Broker CZ of all deliverables due under the Contract and fulfilment of all contractual obligations by the Applicant under the Contract. There is no possibility to change those conditions.

What can the funding be used for? Which costs are eligible? Does it cover the VAT?

The funding can be used for costs that are necessary to the execution of the project. These costs must be incurred by the beneficiary during the contract term and recorded in its accounts. They should be incurred during the contract term. Costs must be without VAT, interest owned, or duties.

Can the funding be spent outside of CZ?

ESA Spark Funding shall be spent in the Czech Republic unless the product/service is not available or in the event of an international collaboration (e.g. Product Developer is located in the Czech Republic but the Space Technology Provider is located elsewhere). In any case, the amount of ESA Spark Funding CZ spent outside of the Czech Republic shall not exceed 50 %.

Is the financial incentive De Minimis relevant?

No, the ESA Spark Funding financial incentive is not De Minimis relevant.

How many open calls are held annually?

Typically, there are around three ESA Spark Funding open calls annually. We announce the current deadline date on this website, but feel free to contact us about the current or upcoming dates at any time.

I do not know if my business case is suitable for ESA Spark Funding CZ?

No worries, give us a call or write an e-mail and we will find out together.

Contact

Technology Centre Prague

Ve Struhach 1076/27
160 00 Prague 6
Czech Republic