Earth Observation Data Capability Enhancement

This call is looking to fund enhancement of capabilities and capacity in UK Earth Observation data handling, to ensure UK entities can be competitive in future opportunities. We are specifically looking to fund the “midstream” part of the Earth Observation value chain, including but not limited to the following activities: data acquisition data processing data storage data interoperability data assurance data dissemination

  • Opening date:
  • Closing date: (Midday)

Get updates about this grant

Sign up for updates

Contents

Summary

This call is looking to fund enhancement of capabilities and capacity in UK Earth Observation data handling, to ensure UK entities can be competitive in future opportunities. We are specifically looking to fund the “midstream” part of the Earth Observation value chain, including but not limited to the following activities: 

  • data acquisition 

  • data processing 

  • data storage 

  • data interoperability 

  • data assurance 

  • data dissemination 

The UK Space Agency is open to a variety of research and development ideas that will improve these capabilities. This can include early-stage activity such as roadmaps or studies, or hardware or software to help companies advance their own midstream capabilities and competitiveness.  

We are particularly interested to fund bids that seek to develop existing commercially operational capability or capacity which can put UK entities in a stronger position to bid for ESA missions, including ESA Copernicus Frameworks. In the event this call is oversubscribed and more fundable proposals are received than the UK Space Agency has budget to support, priority will be given to bids that focus on this area.  

Activities related to the “upstream” or “downstream” parts of the value chain are not in scope of this funding call and therefore ineligible. This includes: 

  • designing and building spacecraft for data detection 

  • developing applications that utilise acquired data 

Important information for applicants

  • awarded projects will start from September 2024 and must have fully completed by 31 March 2025

  • this call will close at midday on 31July 2024. No extensions are permitted and late applications will not be accepted

  • grant funding per project is expected to range from £10,000 to £80,000, and we expect to make between 2 and 5 awards. In exceptional circumstances, the UK Space Agency reserve the right to adjust the value or duration of the grant funding available

  • this grant scheme complies with the Subsidy Control Act 2022 and awards are made under the Streamlined Route for Research, Development and Innovation. Companies applying for this funding will need to demonstrate they meet eligibility requirements for this scheme, including not having received previous project funding in excess of the cumulation caps within the scheme (£3 million for the same project, or substantially the same policy objectives). Further information on eligibility requirements is listed in section 4.1 below and in Annex 1 (Subsidy control).  

  • questions or clarifications can be directed to commercial@ukspaceagency.gov.uk  

  • the UK Space Agency reserves the right to reject proposals if they are outside the call remit, do not contain all of the required information or do not provide sufficient information for assessment

  • protection of any Intellectual Property (IP) rights on the project will remain the responsibility of the project participants. The UK Space Agency does not seek any ownership of project IP. Future ownership of any potential IPR should be dealt with as part of any Flow Down Agreement

  • all proposals must be led by organisations based in the United Kingdom

Eligibility

All successful proposals will address the following mandatory requirements:  

  • the project must be led by a UK organisation who will receive a grant from the UK Space Agency. This can be any type of UK organisation including university-led academic research proposals and Industry-led commercial research proposals

  • grant recipients must demonstrate the ability to effectively manage a project 

  • grant recipients must have a UK bank account and all grant payments will be made in UK sterling (as per grant funding agreement) 

  • as per the terms of the Grant Funding Agreement, the lead organisation will be required to put in place a collaboration or Flow Down Agreement that ensures all terms and conditions within the Grant Funding Agreement are passed onto project partners. This should be in place with 28 days of signature. This should include provisions regarding how the results of the work, including any IPR and spinouts, will be exploited by project partners

  • all project members must have in place and provide evidence when requested of appropriate anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies 

  • all project members must be able to provide evidence that they are GDPR compliant 

  • all project members must provide evidence of a process for declaring and managing conflicts of interest 

  • projects cannot work in areas that are in active conflict and any travel to overseas areas must comply with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice 

  • projects must pass due diligence checks on company viability and national security (including financial standing assessment, governance assessment, conflicts of interest assessment, national security assessment and technical expertise assessment). The UK Space Agency reserves the right to withdraw any offer in the event an applicant does not pass any of these requirements 

  • projects must comply with the rules stated in the guidance document

Objectives

The UK Space Agency are launching this funding call to improve UK Earth Observation data handling capabilities, which will assist UK entities in accessing future commercial opportunities in this field.

Dates

The following schedule sets out the indicative timing of processes for this call. Please note that each deadline may be subject to change in the event of operational constraints.  

Event

Date

Call opens

17 June 2024

Call closes (full proposal deadline)

Midday on 31 July 2024

Successful applicants notified

By 12 August 2024

Project kick-off

1 September 2024

Projects conclude

31 March 2025

How to apply

To apply, please complete the relevant application form and appendices found here and submit by the closing date to commercial@ukspaceagency.gov.uk.

Supporting information

More information is available on the gov.uk page here.