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Published 15 June 2022

© Crown copyright 2022
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/announcement-of-opportunity-uk-microgravity-experiments/uk-microgravity-experiments-call-guidance
The UK Space Agency announces an opportunity of a two-stage competition for ideas for experiments for development and flight on the International Space Station. We expect to support 1-3 experiments for development and flight, with a total budget of up to £3 million available.
We are requesting proposals for ideas for experiments that could be developed and flown to the International Space Station by 2025/26. Any experiments selected for development by the UK Space Agency at the end of the application process will be nominated to the European Space Agency for flight as a UK national contribution to the Exploration programme. Experiments will have to be designed, developed, built and qualified by the experiment team. The European Space Agency will provide assistance with integration to the ISS programme and the payload would be operated by a USOC (User Support and Operations Centre), nominated by ESA, supported by the experiment team.
This call will be a two-stage process, the UK Space Agency is initially asking for outline proposals for ideas, and this will be followed by invitation to submit full detailed proposals for those successful at stage 1.
The UK Space Agency will hold a virtual workshop on 12 July 2022 to support potential applicants to the call.
This call, funded by the UK Space Agency’s Exploration Programme, will support UK based researchers to design experiments that will further research fields, utilising microgravity and the space environments, to enable the growing UK community to secure the maximum scientific benefit and wider returns from the UK’s investments in ESA’s exploration programme, and to develop the UK’s industrial capabilities in these areas.
This announcement of opportunity calls for ideas for new experiments that could be flown to the International Space Station in 2025/26. Experiments should be able to complete development and be ready for delivery to the European Space Agency by mid-2025.
We welcome ideas from all research areas, and in particular projects that further supports the National Space Strategy , or research priorities identified by the UKRI research councils, (including BBSRC , MRC , EPSRC , STFC , NERC ). The proposed work could be a continuation of an existing programme of research, preparatory activities on the ISS for potential longer-duration experiments on future or other microgravity platforms, or a wholly new concept.
The call will be run in a two-stage process. Initially, applicants will submit outline proposals describing the experiment that could take place on the International Space Station. Following a review and down-selection, a subset of the original applicants will then be invited to submit a full, detailed project proposal. The UK Space Agency will then select a number of experiments from these full proposals for development and nomination to ESA for flight.
This Call is open to UK Higher Education Institutions, other research organisations (including not for profit organisations), SMEs and industry. Academia-industry collaborations are encouraged and there is no restriction on which type of organisation can lead.
Applications should contact the UK Space Agency at spaceexploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk if they are unsure if an activity is likely to be within the scope of the call or have any other questions.
Awarded Projects must start by no later than 1st March 2023 and must have fully completed by 31st March 2025
Applications will be assessed under the review process outlined in Section 7 of this document.
The following schedule sets out the indicated timing of processes for this call. Please note that each deadline may be subject to change:
• Phase 1 Workshop (Online): 12th July 2022 Registration here
• Outline proposals submittal deadline: 13:00 29th July 2022
• Successful outline proposal applicants notified: 16th September 2022.
• Full proposals submittal deadline: 28th October 2022.
• Award Recipients Informed: 16th December 2022.
• Maximum Project Duration: 1st March 2023 – 31st March 2025
Projects can run for the entire duration or a shorter period depending on their time demands. The UK Space Agency will retain the discretion to allow project extensions beyond the 2025 period should circumstances warrant such a need, subject to future funding allocations.
All successful proposals will address the following mandatory requirements:
R1. The project must be led by a UK organisation who will receive a grant from the UK Space Agency
Note This can be any type of UK organisation including University-led academic research proposals and Industry-led commercial research proposals
The main project requirements are:
R2. The experiment should be capable of being launched by Q3 2025 onwards.
R3. Projects should commence by March 2023 and deliver payload for flight by March 2025.
R4. The experiment must have strong justification for requiring use of the ISS.
R5. Scientific exploitation of the data is expected to be found by the research teams from other sources, such as UKRI.
R6. The proposed work should be either:
a. a continuation of an existing programme of research,
b. preparatory research for as potential longer-duration experiments on future or other microgravity platforms
c. a wholly new concept that furthers the research field.
R7. Proposals must be compatible with the operation constraints and capabilities of the International Space Station, see section 5.3 below.
R8. Experiment proposals must take into consideration the practicalities and limitations of performing research on the ISS platform.
R9. The project team will be expected to work with the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency to complete all necessary reviews, including Flight Safety, Flight Acceptance and Flight Readiness reviews, as well as all necessary design reviews and other formal processes. Top level details of these are provided in Annex C, and full details will be provided in guided for full proposals, which will be made available to all applicants invited to progress to stage 2.
R10. The project team will be required to be part of the following (but not limited to) as part of project management for the experiment:
a. The grant recipient will attend a kick off meeting to initiate each project.
b. The grant recipient will provide progress reports to the coordinator along with regular review meeting.
c. The grant recipient will provide regular updates on benefits and lessons learned throughout the project.
d. The grant recipient will provide milestone/deliverables within the proposal using the example template provided.
e. The grant recipient will provide reporting on the progress of the project to evidence the milestone/deliverable has been met.
f. The grant recipient will also schedule a final review meeting with the coordinator at the appropriate time.
g. The grant recipient will provide a final project report including but not limited to an executive summary, delivery, actual outcomes, lessons learned, benefits, comms and outreach, next steps.
Projects are expected to run, as a maximum, from 1st March 2023 to 31st March 2025. Projects can run for the entire duration or a shorter period depending on their time demands. The UK Space Agency will retain the discretion to allow project extensions beyond the 2025 period should circumstances warrant such a need, subject to future funding allocations.
The UK Space Agency reserves the right to reject proposals: that are outside of the call remit; that do not contain all required information; or that do not provide sufficient information for assessment. All proposals must be led by organisations based in the UK.
Project proposals should detail which ISS facilities and resources their experiment would make use of. All European Space Agency facilities on the International Space Station and available resources may be considered for use. Commercial facilities may be considered if costs are reasonable.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss initial ideas with the UK Space Agency prior to submission if uncertain of feasibilities.
The European Space Agency operate and enable access to a number of facilities on the International Space Station. The UK, through its membership of ESA, has the right to propose nationally funded experiments that could use the ISS facilities, subject to feasibility and operational availability,
Experiment proposals should take into consideration the practicalities and limitations of performing research on the ISS platform. Crew time, upload and download mass, volume, power and other resources are all limited. All payloads must pass ESA safety certifications and other ESA boards as applicable, including ESA Medical Board, ESA Security Control Board, ESA Software Control Board, etc.
For life and biomedical experiments that utilise a human subject, experiments may propose the use of multiple subjects if appropriate to the research objectives.
Further details of ESA facilities available on the ISS can be found here
There are now several companies who provide fully supported access to in-orbit and sub-orbital facilities that utilise microgravity and the space environment, and access can be procured on an as needed basis. All commercial providers can be considered as routes for access for the research ideas proposed in applications.
Potential commercial providers for UK researchers on the ISS include:
Bartolomeo (https://www.airbus.com/en/products-services/space/in-space-infrastructure/bartolomeo)
BioReactor Express (http://www.bioreactorexpress.com/)
ICE Cubes (https://www.icecubesservice.com/)
Nanoracks (https://nanoracks.com/)
SpacePharma (https://www.space4p.com/)
Space Tango (https://spacetango.com/)
Yuri Space (https://yurigravity.com/)
The UK Space Agency can facilitate introductions to any of these companies if requested. Note that this list may not be comprehensive.
Details of how to apply for Stage 1 (Initial Applications) are in section 6.1 below. Outline details for Stage 2 (those invited following down selection to submit full proposals) are provided in section 6.2, though note that full details will be provided when invitations are issued.
Please read the following guidelines carefully to ensure that your application includes all the information required and in the required format.
o Apply using the provided application form in Appendix 1, associated guidance in Annex A and a separate science case document.
o Submissions should be emailed to spaceexploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk before 16.00 29th July. The subject heading for submitted proposals must clearly state – AO: Microgravity Experiments. – [title of proposal & lead organisation].
o Whilst the funding call is open, we will answer any questions project teams may have by emailing spaceexploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk.
o A webinar will be held on 12th July 10.00-13.00. Register your attendance here. If you have industrial services to offer and wish to present these at the event please email spaceexploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk by 30th June 2022.
o After the deadline for application submission, valid applications will be sent for assessment using the defined evaluation criteria (see section 7).
o The UK Space Agency reserves the right to declare a project proposal as out of scope or incomplete.
Applications for project funding shall take the form of a proposal in single-spaced typescript (minimum font size 12-point Arial) minimum 1.5 cm margins all round, including diagrams and tables) and must contain all the following section:
Ideas submitted should be submitted as two documents (see Annex A and B For more guidance):
• An outline project proposal, maximum 12 pages, which will be reviewed by the UK Space Agency and ESA. (See Annex A for more guidance)
o A summary of the key science question(s) to be addressed
o The potential outcomes and their impact
o An explanation of the requirement for using the ISS for the research. – could the experiment be delivered on other platforms (e.g. parabolic flight; sounding rocket; orbital capsule)
o Outline details of who will develop the hardware: in house via sub-contract to an external source. UK Space Agency can assist with advice on UK companies who develop payload hardware.
o Outline project plan and work package tasks, including a brief outline of the project timeline and a work breakdown structure.
o An outline description of the proposed experimental set up and execution including details of any existing facilities on the ISS to be used.
o Details of the alignment to current UK research priorities (e.g. National Space Strategy, UKRI Research Council roadmaps.)
Note that cost estimates are not required in the initial ideas submitted, though they are not excluded either.
• A separate, full scientific case that will be subjected to scientific peer review, maximum 15 pages. (See Annex B for more guidance).
The scientific merit of the proposed experiment will be reviewed and scored on this science case, but this will not impact the initial selection of proposals to progress to the full application stage. The science merit will only be considered in the final selection after full proposals have been received.
The scientific case for support should be a self-contained description of the proposed project with its content relevant background and should not depend on additional information.
Lists of references and illustrations should be included in the page limit and should not be submitted as additional documents or as an annex. You must not include URLs to web resources in order to extend your case for support.
Peer reviewers will have relevant expertise in the proposed field of research m but may not be experienced in the restrictions of space-based research experiments. Science cases should not assume knowledge of the ISS research environment or understanding of restrictions, and these should be well explained.
Note: The full proposal is not required now; this information is provided here for reference.
Full details of the required application content for the full proposals will be provided after the first phase is complete, but it is expected to include at least the following:
• Expanded details of all details in the initial proposal
• A full, reasoned, detailed estimate of cost to completion and timelines
• Justification of resources
• A full management case which includes a project plan, milestones and deliverables, full identified project team and payload equipment builders with agreed responsibilities, risks and issues, contingencies.
All full proposals will be expected to identify the project team and describe how the experiment payload would be designed, developed, built and qualified should it be selected for flight. If lead organisations lack the ability to develop, build and qualify the payload themselves, the proposal should include details about agreed partnerships for these stages.
Should any experiment teams lack the capability and expertise to developed and build the payload, they should contact the UK Space Agency via the details below, for advice and assistance finding industrial partners.
All ideas will be reviewed by a panel from the UK Space Agency and other parties. The panel will select ideas to invite to submit full proposals based on the following criteria:
• Project deliverability (40%): project plan and work package tasks have been thought through including a brief outline of the project timeline and a work breakdown structure
Score Meaning
0 The project plan and work package tasks have not been thought through and an outline project timeline or work breakdown structure have not been provided.
1 The overall project plan is weak with very limited evidence that an outline project timeline or work breakdown structure has been thought through. The panel has no confidence that the plan will allow the experiment to be delivered on time.
2 The project lies somewhere between the standards defined for scores 1 and 3.
3 The overall project plan is reasonable. Roles have been identified though the responsibility of these roles may still need to be put in place. Overall, the panel has reasonable confidence that the plan will allow the experiment to be delivered on time and in budget.
4 The project lies somewhere between the standards defined for scores 3 and 5.
5 The overall outline project plan is well considered and resourced. There are clearly defined roles, work packages and project timeline that have clearly considered the route to successful delivery.
• Implementation feasibility (40%): the logistics and practicality of carrying out the experiment within the constraints of the ISS resources.
Score Meaning
0 This experiment cannot be implemented on the ISS, even with moderate design evolution or modifications to the proposed design
1 This experiment could be implemented on the ISS (using ESA or IP facilities), but will require moderate design evolution or modifications to do so
2 The experiment can be implemented on the ISS after some limited design evolution or modification and will require negotiation of IP resources
3 The experiment can be implemented on the ISS using ESA only facilities after some limited design evolution or modification.
4 The experiment can be implemented on the ISS in its proposed form, but will require negotiation of IP resources
5 The experiment can be implemented on the ISS using only ESA facilities in its proposed form without issue.
• UK Science priority (20%): how well the project fits with the UK Space Agency and UKRI strategies and research priorities.
Score Meaning
0 This experiment has no relevance to the UK Space Agency or UKRI’s science goals/roadmaps.
1 This experiment duplicates an existing/previous ISS experiment
2 This experiment has some limited fit with some of the UK Space Agency’s or UKRI’s science goals/roadmaps.
3 This experiment fits well with some of the UK Space Agency or UKRI’s science goals/roadmaps.
4 This experiment fits well with the UK Space Agency and UKRI’s high priority science goals/roadmaps.
5 The experiment fits very well with the UK Space Agency and UKRI’s high priority science goals/roadmaps.
Details of the full assessment criteria for full proposals will be provided to those invited to submit.
The procedure for handling and assessing the bids and notifications will be as follows:
• Final proposals must be submitted to the exploration team, using the exploration email spaceexploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk. Applications submitted to any other UK Space Agency email address will not be considered.
• All proposals, budgets and notifications will be held in confidence by the UK Space Agency, except to be shared with evaluation panellists.
• Information relating to the proposals may also be shared with other UK government departments, agencies and arm’s length bodies.
• Summary information on all successful proposals who receive grant funding will be made public, including the summary of the proposal and the identities of organisations involved.
• For those bids not recommended by the panel for the next phase, documentation will be retained by the UK Space Agency for reference. The proposals will not be visible to any others, and the names of any unsuccessful bidders will not be published.
• Following completion of the down-selection of projects, UK Space Agency may contact applicants as part of its review of the call.
• All other documentation relating to bids selected for next phase or funding will remain confidential within the UK government.
Information submitted as part of a proposal, or subsequent commercially sensitive information submitted as part of the grant agreement, will not be disclosed by us save for in so far as we consider necessary, in our absolute discretion, to comply with our legal obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 or any other legal act, requirement or obligation. Where permitted by law we will attempt to notify you of any such disclosure.
For further information and for any questions about any aspect of this call please contact:
Georgia Lavender
UK Space Agency,
North Star Avenue,
A1 Introduction
These Guidance Notes complement the Announcement of Opportunity and are designed to assist your completion of your proposal Please note:
The application template has been provided by the UK Space Agency. No adjustments to the formatting, size, or other parameters are permitted.
All sections of the application form are mandatory.
All applications forms must be completed in Arial font, size 11, and submitted electronically as an A4 single document, in line with the template.
A2 The application process
Please note the following information regarding this Announcement of Opportunity:
All applications will be treated in confidence in accordance with the confidentiality section of the call document.
The application process for this competition requires completion of the Application Form (appendix 1) and a separate full science case.
Documents must be submitted by the respective deadlines, via email to spaceexploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk – applications submitted to any other UK Space Agency email address will not be considered.
Applications must not exceed 10MB and all documents must be attached electronically and submitted on the templates provided. For avoidance of doubt, we expect each email to contain 2 attachments – a completed application form, and a completed science case, together with a marked-up GFA if applicable. Additional information provided beyond that requested will not be evaluated.
We strongly advise that the Application Guidance notes below are read prior to submission.
Upon receipt of an application, you will be issued with a receipt note within 48 hours of the application deadline. If you do not receive this, please contact the Exploration team on: spaceexploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk.
If you wish to submit several applications, each of these must be emailed separately.
Only use acronyms where a term is mentioned frequently throughout the proposal. If you do choose to use an acronym, do not assume that the reader knows what it means, and be sure to define it, bearing in mind that individual sections of the application may be read separately during the selection process;
A3 Guidelines for completing the Application Form
Section 1: Main details
This section should be completed as per the template provided, with the following details:
Section 2: Summary
Please provide a summary of your proposal that can be used in publications, for example on the UK Space Agency website or in a press release if the project is funded.
Section 3: Company and organisation
3a: Please confirm the organisations name, activity of the organisation, a description of the expertise relevant to the project, address, country where the organisation is registered, year of establishment, employee headcount.
Section 4: Outline of Experiment
o A summary of the key science question(s) to be addressed
o The potential outcomes and their impact
o An explanation of the requirement for using the ISS for the research. – could the experiment be delivered on other platforms (e.g. parabolic flight; sounding rocket; orbital capsule)
o A brief description of the proposed experimental set up and execution including details of any existing facilities on the ISS to be used.
o Details of the alignment to current UK research priorities (e.g. Research Council roadmaps; UK Space Agency Space Environments strategy.)
Section 5: Outline of Project Plan
This section should evidence that the deliverability of the project has been thought through:
o Evidence that the project plan and work package tasks have been thought through including a brief outline of the project timeline and a work breakdown structure.
o Outline details of who will develop the hardware: in house via sub-contract to an external source. UK Space Agency can assist with advice on UK companies who develop payload hardware.
Note that cost estimates are not required in the initial ideas submitted, though they are not excluded either.
Section 6: Declaration
Please complete all of the check boxes and sign the declaration (electronically). Proposals will only be accepted if all the check boxes have been completed.
The scientific case for support should include the following.
Section 1: Background
This section should:
• introduce the topic of research and explain its academic and wider context
• demonstrate knowledge and understanding of past and current work in the subject area both in the UK and abroad.
Section 2: Programme and methodology
This section should:
• identify the overall aims of the project and the individual measurable objectives against which you would wish the outcome of the work to be assessed. This should refer to the objectives set out in the proposal form
• detail the methodology to be used in pursuit of the research and justify this choice, including the use of the space environment
• explain why the proposed project is of sufficient timeliness and novelty to warrant consideration for funding
• describe the programme of work, indicating the research to be undertaken and the milestones that can be used to measure its progress. The detail should be sufficient to indicate the programme of work for each member of the research team
• explain how the project will be managed.
Section 3: References
References should appear in a list at the end of the case for support and be linked to relevant text by, for example, sequential numbering and superscript reference numbers embedded in the body of the document.
Within the list of references, URL links to relevant publications or online resources are allowed as long as they do not extend the case for support.
Please see below a list of tasks that you will be responsible for the completion of during the project:
The majority of this Annex D primarily applies to the second stage of this competition, for which a full detailed project proposal will be required. It is included within this document for reference.
###D1 Organisation Eligibility
There are a series of requirements for eligibility to receive grant funding:
· 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).
· All project members must have in place and provide evidence of appropriate anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies.
· All project members must provide evidence of a process for declaring and managing conflicts of interest.
· All project members must be able to provide evidence that they are GDPR compliant
· Projects cannot work in areas that are in active conflict and any travel to overseas must comply with FCDO recommendations.
· Projects must pass due diligence checks on company viability (financial standing assessment, governance, conflicts of interest, technical expertise).
· Formal teaming, or equivalent agreements between project partners must be in place within 60 days of grant signature.
· Projects must comply with the rules stated in this guidance document.
Cost Recovery
The funds from Grant funding are on a cost recovery basis only. Grants are solely intended to cover the cost of delivering the agreed activity or goal. Any surplus funds not spent will be lost to the project unless there are alternative arrangements agreed.
Grantees cannot receive any funding from other grants/contracts to undertake the same activities.
Grant funding cannot be rolled over between financial years without explicit consent from UK Space Agency.
All partners must use a separate, project-specific, bank account or project accounting code for project funds to enable a clear audit trail.
UKSA will only pay on actuals therefore we expect invoices may differ from forecasts. Should actual costs incurred be greater than the value of the milestone value, these costs will be borne by the Grant Recipient, unless the additional expenditure has been agreed with the UK Space Agency ahead of the costs being incurred and a Grant Change Notice (GCN) executed.
Staff Costs
Staff costs must be calculated on a cost recovery basis only and broken down by pay costs and overheads separately.
Pay costs
Pay costs are calculated based on your PAYE records. They should include gross salary, employer National Insurance (NI) contributions and employer pension contributions. Pay costs must not include:
· Any profit margins
· Commercial charge-out rates
· Allowances for bonuses and benefits in kind
· Business development
· Travel and Subsistence
These pay rates will be subject to checks during the negotiation stage by internal or external teams to ensure that day rates reflect actual costs. High payroll costs will be challenged and evidence (such as pay slips, etc.) must be provided to justify that the rate is on a cost recovery basis only.
When making grant claims against labour costs, actual costs claimed must be supported with timesheets of those individuals who have worked on the project.
In the budget breakdown, you are asked to provide a pay cost per day. Using actual gross monthly payroll costs, please assume 260 working days in the year, less annual leave and public holiday entitlements.
We understand that organisations calculate overheads in different ways.
This section offers three options for overhead costs:
No overheads. You can select this option if you are not incurring or claiming grant for your overheads
The 20% of labour costs option allows you to claim 20% of your labour costs as overhead. This includes both direct and indirect overhead. Selecting this option allows us to review a successful grant application much faster as no further documentation is needed from you.
The calculate overheads option asks you to complete calculations for claiming direct and indirect overheads. Any value claimed under this method will need to be reviewed by our project finance team if your application is successful. This is so we can assess the appropriateness of the overhead value you are claiming.
Full overhead recovery or full absorption costing is not eligible.
Please note that once the overhead is calculated and approved it cannot be exceeded at any time throughout the project life.
For option 3 you must complete the overhead calculation spreadsheet and return with your grant submission.
The spreadsheet has two sections to fill:
· Indirect (administration) overheads
· Direct overheads
Once each section is completed the ‘Total overheads’ will calculate your total amount, for review by UKSA.
Indirect (administration) overhead
Selecting the indirect (administration) overheads link will take you to a template you’ll need to complete to calculate these costs.
We class indirect overheads as those costs associated with back office functions (such as finance, HR, administration staff) whose primary function is to support the running of a business enterprise. Typically these costs are not directly related to a particular product or service production.
Indirect overhead costs are eligible for inclusion if they are incurred directly as a result of undertaking the project. They must be additional, which means over and above your business as usual costs. Requests for higher then 20% overheads that cannot clearly demonstrate the additional resource specifically due to the grant being undertaken will be rejected.
Where you have already identified specific ‘indirect’ individuals working directly on the project, these should have been captured in the labour costs (section) together with their attributable overhead.
We have provided cost categories in the template. The table below provides our definition for each category.
The following is a step by step guide to help you fill in the relevant details to make your costs claim for indirect overhead.
Column A
Starting with your latest set of audited accounts please input your details against the relevant cost category in column A. If you are a new company or this information is unavailable, please use internal management accounts or forecast data.
Note that for the administration support staff costs section, the costs included here must be based upon PAYE (gross salary, NI, company pension contribution, life insurance). They should exclude discretionary package costs such as bonuses, awards, PRP and dividends. In addition please exclude any members working directly on the project who are customer facing or those engaged in operational/production areas.
Column B
In this column you should detail the proportion of the costs outlined in column A that represent core administration activity. You should follow the definitions and eligibility criteria outlined in the cost categories table above. You can use a percentage.
Column C
In column C please state what percentage of these costs you would assess as being additional and directly attributable administration activity to the project you are undertaking. By additional we mean over and above business as usual and specific to the Grant.
Column D
Based upon the details you’ve given in the previous columns, column D will automatically calculate the costs you’ve stated as being attributable to this project.
Column E
In column E you will need to provide some description of the cost constituents.
Once you have filled in this data you will see a percentage calculation (column F). This calculates what you consider as being eligible indirect overhead costs for your project (D) as a proportion of the annual audited figures (A). To save you time we use this calculated percentage and apply it to the remainder cost categories you have completed.
Any administration costs that are ineligible in this section but which directly relate to the project (for example based on invoices), should be claimed as direct costs within other sections of the finance form.
Completion of the indirect overheads template will calculate an annual total which will be proportioned for the length of time you are working on the project. You will see a per annum, per month and a per project cost. The per project costs will form your total indirect overheads as a monetary value.
Once you have filled out your indirect overheads information choose the ‘return to the overheads section’ to take you back to the main overheads section. Here you will see a summary of your indirect overhead.
Direct overhead
Selecting the direct overheads link will take you to a template you’ll need to complete to calculate these costs.
We understand that in undertaking a project you may incur associated costs with those staff working directly on the project. We refer to these as direct overheads. Typical costs in this area could include direct staff provision of laptops (non-capital only), desks, office (such as occupancy, facilities and utilities) and IT infrastructure and systems. This section is provided in free format for you to list out such costs.
Direct overhead costs must be directly attributable to the project you are undertaking and should not represent a full recovery methodology inclusive of redundant, spare capacity time or cost.
You should detail the costs and include a description of each item together with the methodology or basis of apportionment used. This should include the calculations that support the claimable costs. This will help us to validate these costs if your project is successful. If your costs have been subject to an independent audit verification we may ask you to provide this report to support our financial eligibility reviews.
Please note that costs associated with laboratories or workshops should be included within the other costs section of the application form.
Once you have completed the direct overhead you should select ‘return to the overheads section’. You will return to the main overhead section where you will see a summary of your overhead claim for both direct and indirect overheads.
Grant funding is outside the scope of VAT so you cannot charge output VAT on top of your submitted costs. If you incur non-recoverable input VAT costs, you cannot pass this on to UK Space Agency.
The following costs are ineligible: 
· Payment that supports for lobbying or activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, Government or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action; 
· Using grant funding to petition for additional funding; 
· Input VAT reclaimable by the Grant Recipient from HMRC; 
· Payments for activities of a political or exclusively religious nature; 
· Goods or services that the Grant Recipient has a statutory duty to provide; 
· Payments reimbursed or to be reimbursed by other public or private sector grants 
· Contributions in kind (i.e. a contribution in goods or services, as opposed to money); 
· Depreciation, amortisation or impairment of fixed assets owned by the Grant Recipient; 
· The acquisition or improvement of fixed assets by the Grant Recipient (unless the grant is explicitly for capital use – this will be stipulated in the Grant Offer Letter); 
· Interest payments (including service charge payments for finance leases); 
· Gifts to individuals; 
· Entertaining (entertaining for this purpose means anything that would be a taxable benefit to the person being entertained, according to current UK tax regulations); 
· Statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties; or liabilities incurred before the issue of this funding agreement unless agreed in writing by UK Space Agency;
· Employee paid benefits and bonuses;
· Alcohol.
The following outlines the guidelines for travel and subsistence costs. Value for money must always be considered. If for any reason the set limits cannot be adhered to (e.g. to accommodate a reasonable adjustment), you must seek prior written approval from UK Space Agency. No claims for alcohol will be accepted.
UK Space Agency reserves the right to not settle claims which have breached these guidelines. All expenditure must be supported by actual, itemised receipts.
· Accommodation: £140 per night
· Breakfast: £5
· Lunch: £5
· Dinner: £15
· All travel claimed must be using Economy rates.
· Tolls, Ferry Costs, Parking and congestion charge: Receipted costs for ferries, and tolls bridges and roads unavoidably incurred during your business journey may be claimed. Reasonable parking charges may be claimed. Receipted congestion charges unavoidably incurred on your business journey may be claimed.
The grant funding agreement template is included as a separate document. Applicants must sign up to the terms as set out in the grant funding agreement.
No material changes to the terms will be considered. Minor changes may be considered if an applicant can demonstrate that agreeing to the provision within the Grant Funding Agreement would result in the applicant breaching its statutory or regulatory obligations. Grant applicants wishing to propose changes should not make changes directly to templates but engage with the call lead and advice will be provided.
A Draft Grant Offer Letter has also been included within the call documents, to demonstrate the terms that successful applicants will be required to sign up to. This should be reviewed by Applicants. Inclusion of the Draft Offer letter does not constitute any offer of work or payment by UKSA at this stage and is provided for information purposes only.
Grant Offer Letters do not apply to Low Value GFAs (under £100k).
All organisations in receipt of grant funding must abide by the UK government Code of Conduct for Grant Recipients: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/754555/2018-11-06_Code_of_Conduct_for_Grant_Recipients.pdf
The following only applies to a grant award of £250k and over.
All projects will be subject to an external annual audit to ensure that costs claimed from the grant funding have been expensed on agreed project related expenditure and comply to UK Space Agency grant funding policies (e.g. match funding). The auditor will be appointed by UK Space Agency. All subcontractors and partners must provide access to project relevant expenditure. Therefore, Grant Recipients must maintain, and be able to provide upon request, any supporting evidenced as deemed necessary, such as:
· Timesheets (prime and, where applicable, partners)
· Staff costs (contractors)
· All receipts (including T&S)
· All partner and subcontractor invoices
· Breakdown of overhead costs
· Breakdown of capital usage (e.g. licence, data costs etc)
The UK Space Agency reserves the right to conduct ad-hoc audits throughout the life of the project.
The UK Space Agency will carry out due diligence on grant applications as required using internal and, where necessary, external subject matter experts. The scope and degree of due diligence will be determined by the value, nature and complexity of the grant scheme. All applications will be subject to basic checks such as credit reports and Companies House checks.
Additional pre-award due diligence may include, but is not limited to:
· Technical assessment of the proposed project: including technical viability and sustainability;
· Financial assessment: organisation financial standing/health, assessment of project costs, aid intensity values and match funding contributions;
· Economic impact / VFM assessment
· Commercial: viability and / or commercial sustainability of the proposed solution, market position, demand and / or interest in technology, terms of the grant funding agreement; and / or
· Programmatic: alignment to aims and objectives of the programme, programme plan which demonstrates the project can be delivered within the funding period and the critical path, risks and issues, details on project partners and / or subcontractors.
Post-award due diligence may include, but if not limited to:
· Technical assessment of milestone deliverables against acceptance criteria to allow milestone payments to be released;
· Financial: assessment of expenditure for each milestone payment and reporting on planned costs, follow up review of financial standing/health if it is a multi-year project
· Commercial: change management including any variations to time, cost, scope, or GFA terms; review of milestone deliverables as required;
· Programmatic: project progress and impacts of any delays, risk assessment and mitigation activity; and
· End of project review: Has the technical and economic value been realised? Lessons learned and continuous improvement.
· UK Space Agency commissioned and funded financial audit of Grant Recipient, and if applicable project partner, costs.
Grant Applicants who opt to work with project partners, companies involved in delivery of the project under a flow down agreement rather than a subcontractor, will assume all responsibility for partner due diligence.
Applicants will need to demonstrate they have carried out a sufficient level of due diligence with regard to their proposed project partners and subcontractors. Applicants will need to demonstrate they have carried out minimum checks at full proposal stage, which may require further scrutiny if the proposal is to be funded.
To meet this requirement, applicants can provide evidence of due diligence carried out supported by the resulting information or submit a partner reasonable assurance statement. The evidence should be consistent with the checks that we would conduct on our Grant Recipients, for examples, financial standing, technical ability and scrutiny of the breakdown of costs. Any costs associated with project partner due diligence is considered a bidding cost and is to be borne by the applicant.
Applicants must provide evidence that they, and project partners have in place of appropriate anti-bribery and anti-corruption internal policies, and a process for declaring and managing conflicts of interest. 
Project Monitoring and Reporting 
Following an award and completion of grant agreement formalities projects will be expected to start as soon as possible, and no later than 1st November 2021.  The UK Space Agency will assign a project coordinator to each Space Exploration project to provide oversight of the projects with the following methodology: 
· The project coordinator will initiate each project normally by teleconference via a kick-off meeting which should be accompanied by a short presentation on the project by the project team.
· The grant recipient will provide short progress reports to the coordinator, and the schedule for these will be agreed at the project kick-off meeting and are normally at 4 or 6 weeks. 
· The grant recipient will schedule a mid-term progress meeting with the coordinator. 
· The grant recipient will provide milestone/deliverables within the proposal using the example template provided in Template B. 
· The grant recipient will provide reporting on the progress of the project to evidence the milestone/deliverable has been met.  On acceptance of the evidenced milestone/deliverable the grant recipient will be invited to provide an invoice detailing the spend against each budgetary category for that milestone/deliverable.
· At the end of the project an IPR free final report and an executive summary are to be provided to the UK Space Agency. The executive summary must not contain any confidential information, as this may be uploaded onto the UK Space Agency website. All other reports should be marked commercial in confidence where applicable.
· The grant recipient will also schedule a final review meeting with the coordinator at the appropriate time.
There may be a project final presentation day in which each of the project teams will be invited to present a summary of their work and achievements. 
Flow Down Agreement 
Should an award be made, any project partners will be required to establish a Flow Down Agreement between its members and must be in place within 15 days of the grant signature. The Flow Down Agreement should include provisions regarding how the results of the work, including IPR and spinouts, will be exploited by the project partners.  

Ownership of Intellectual Property 
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.  
Submission and Contact Information 
Only the lead company or organisation must submit an application. Applications for project funding must be submitted to the UK Space Agency as follows: 
· Electronically in both pdf and Word as specified in Section 6.
· Any information that bidders do not wish to be sent to the assessors (e.g., eligibility information) should be contained in a separate file, and clearly marked as such. 
All application documentation must be sent by email to the UK Space Agency, Space Exploration Team at SpaceExploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk.   
Q&A can be found in Annex G and any further queries about this Call can be submitted to the above email address.
The UK Space Agency (UKSA) supports organisations to invest in research, development and innovation. The support we provide is consistent with the UK’s international obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control (see further information at Annex E).
Before awarding subsidies, the UK Space Agency must ensure that the subsidy scheme meets the terms of the principles as determined in the UK-EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA):
The principles are that:
· subsidies should pursue a specific public policy objective to remedy an identified market failure or to address an equity rationale such as social difficulties or distributional concerns (“the objective”)
· subsidies should be proportionate and limited to what is necessary to achieve the objective
· subsidies should be designed to bring about a change of economic behaviour of the beneficiary that is conducive to achieving the objective and that would not be achieved in the absence of subsidies being provided
· subsidies should not normally compensate for the costs the beneficiary would have funded in the absence of any subsidy
· subsidies should be an appropriate policy instrument to achieve a public policy objective and that objective cannot be achieved through other less distortive means
· the subsidy must be designed to minimise the effects on competition and investment within the UK
· subsidies’ positive contributions to achieving the objective should outweigh any negative effects, in particular the negative effects on trade or investment between the Parties
To ensure this competition provides funding in line with the UK’s obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control the intervention rates detailed in Annex E shall apply unless:
a) the bidder seeks to claim exemption from having to make a financial contribution to the project under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance (previously known as de-minimis under State Aid) rules.
b) the bidder is a research or public sector organisation or charity: When referring to research organisations, UKSA uses the following definition: ‘research and knowledge dissemination organisation’ or ‘research organisation’ means an entity (such as universities or research institutes, technology transfer agencies, innovation intermediaries, research-oriented physical or virtual collaborative entities), irrespective of its legal status (organised under public or private law) or way of financing, whose primary goal is to independently conduct fundamental research, industrial research or experimental development or to widely disseminate the results of such activities by way of teaching, publication or knowledge transfer. Where such entity also pursues economic activities, the financing, the costs and the revenues of those economic activities must be accounted for separately. Undertakings that can exert a decisive influence upon such an entity, for example in the quality of shareholders or members, may not enjoy a preferential access to the results generated by it.”
Within the UK Space Agency, this means:
· universities – higher education institutions
· non-profit research and technology organisations (RTOs), including catapults
· public sector organisations (PSOs)
· public sector research establishments (PSREs)
· research council institutes
· research organisations (ROs)
· charities.
This list is not comprehensive and is subject to change and exceptions.
Research organisations undertaking non-economic activity will be funded as follows:
· universities: 80% of full economic costs
· all other research organisations: 100% of eligible costs.
Research organisations should be non-profit distributing to qualify. They should explain how they will disseminate the output of their project research as outlined in the application.
Research organisations which are engaged in economic activity as part of the project will be treated as business enterprises for the purposes of funding
Public sector organisation or charity
Public sector organisations and charities can work with businesses to achieve innovation through knowledge, skills and resources. These organisations must not take part in any economic activity or gain economic benefit from a project. They can apply for 100% of funding for their eligible costs under the following conditions:
· they are undertaking research (this may be experimental, theoretical or critical investigation work to gain knowledge, skills or understanding vital to the project)
· they meet requirements for dissemination of their project results and they state in the application how they will do this
· they include their eligible costs for research purposes in the total research organisation involvement
· they make sure they are not applying for funding towards costs which are already being paid by the public purse such as labour and overheads.
Third sector
Third sector organisations are primarily voluntary and community, such as associations, self-help groups, mutuals and cooperatives. Third sector organisations can be non-funding partners in a project.
Bidders must identify the work proposed, and this must be consistent with the work programme described in the technical case. Note that the company size defines the maximum ‘Intervention’ rate (and hence the minimum required PV level) that is permitted (see Annex E). Bidders will be expected to justify the category of work selected.
Subsidy Control (and State aid where relevant)
UKSA supports UK based businesses to invest in research, development and innovation. The support we provide is consistent with the UK’s international obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. These include:
· WTO rules
· the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), (see EU-UK TCA summary and BEIS (Dept. for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) guidance)
· in certain very limited circumstances (e.g. under the Northern Ireland Protocol) EU State aid regulations may also be applied
What is a subsidy?
For the purposes of UK international commitments, a subsidy is a measure which:
Is given by a public authority. This can be at any level; central, devolved, regional or local government or a public body.
Makes a contribution (this could be a financial or an in-kind contribution) to an enterprise, conferring an economic advantage that is not available on market terms. Examples of a contribution are grants, loans at below market rate, or a loan guarantee at below market rate or allowing a company to use publicly owned office space rent free. An enterprise is anyone who puts goods or services on a market. An enterprise could be a government department or a charity if they are acting commercially.
Affects international trade. This can be trade with any World Trade Organisation member or, more specifically, between the UK and a country with whom it has a Free Trade Agreement. For example, if the subsidy is going towards a good which is traded between the UK and the EU this could affect trade between the EU and the UK. It is not necessary to consider whether the subsidy could harm trade, just whether there could be some sort of effect. Subsidies to very local companies or a small tourist attraction are unlikely to affect international trade.
The UK Subsidy Control regime (or where relevant EU State aid regulations) are designed to prevent unfair advantages and distortion of trade: Complying with the UK’s international obligations on subsidy control
More information on the principles of awarding subsidies can be found in the BEIS guidance.
Subsidy Control Categories and Intervention Thresholds
Unless otherwise stated, the following table summarises the maximum intervention thresholds allowable level of support under UKSA grant calls for Financial Year 2022/2023.
*Collaborations between businesses and research organisations where the research organisation bears at least 10% of the costs and have the right to publish their own research. Procurement/supplier relationships do not qualify.
The following table summarises the UK definition of what constitutes an SME:
To qualify for any category, the company must meet at least two of the above conditions (staff headcount, Turnover or Balance sheet total) within both the current financial year and the year previous.
Anything above the limits for a medium sized company is designated as a large company. For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.
Other sources of public funding are not eligible as a Private Venture (PV) / match funding contribution.
Academic partners will be funded in all cases at 80% of Full Economic Cost (FEC).
Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and EU de minimis awards
The UK-EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has provision relating to Small Amounts of Financial Assistance (SAFA).
For organisations applying for SAFA, the total subsidy which can be given to each organisation is up to a maximum of 325,000 which at current exchange rates converts to £340,000, over a rolling 3 fiscal year period. This threshold is subject to change due to exchange rates and grant recipients should consult the subsidy control guidance for regular updates.
When calculating eligibility for the application of the SAFA provision bidders must include cumulation of EU State aid de minimis grants under the EC’s de minimis regulation for the same 3 fiscal year period. The maximum total under the EC regulation is €200,000. You must complete and provide the UK Space Agency with a declaration as part of your response.
The declaration asks you to tell us about any awards, including those made under de minimis and SDR, (from any source of public funding) over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.
If you have received an award under de minimis for the same period, this will be added to your total allowance under SDR. This means that the total award must not exceed approximately £340,000 (325,000 SDR) for any one organisation. You must declare this allowance to any other funding body who requests it.
This guidance is not a substitute for taking independent legal advice on your eligibility status, before applying for funding. Every applicant is responsible for securing their own independent legal advice to ensure they are lawfully eligible.
Please note the UK Space Agency is unable to award organisations that are considered to be ailing and insolvent companies. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.
If you see an error in this guidance
Email: Commercial@ukspaceagency.gov.uk
Yes, you may re-submit your proposal which will then go through the independent evaluation process when being considered for funding. We recommend that any previous feedback is taken into consideration.
Yes, the PV funding must have been agreed and secured at the time of applying for the grant so that the project can commence as soon as the grant agreement has been completed.
The Agency does not promote any particular collaboration although collaboration in essence is encouraged in projects.
We cannot offer examples of successful proposal applications, but relevant information can be found in the Announcement of Opportunity guidance. We also offer successful news stories at our web page https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-funding-through-the-national-space-technology-programme
The UK must lead the consortium. A non-UK based organisation cannot receive national funding as the primary focus of UK Space Agency is on the growth of the UK sector; therefore, any monies awarded cannot go outside the UK to a partner body. If the proposed non-UK capability is essential the work can be subcontracted out, however the proposal must demonstrate clearly that this resource is not available in the UK.
In such instances the subcontractor cannot be a partner to the project. However, if a non-UK entity wants to be a partner in the project that is acceptable. This can be facilitated by the non-UK entity organisation providing PV or capability as contribution-in-kind.
We have provided a copy of our standard grant funding agreement. This is the document that will be used as the formal mechanism for any successful bidders to receive grant funding. Applicants are required to accept the main terms of this grant funding agreement when submitting your application.
Applicants requesting changes to the agreement are required to submit a marked-up copy of the published grant funding agreement setting out the proposed variations, along with a justification for any amendment to the standard grant funding agreement terms. Please be aware that the UK Space Agency will only consider variations which are requested where the Applicant would be in breach of legal requirements or statutory regulations by complying with the clause, or series of clauses.
The finance template includes notes on what information is required.
Costs should be applied for any staff that will be part of the project team/work regardless of employment status within the organisation. However, any costs for project work done by sub-contractors must be declared as a separate cost to the project. Sub-contractors cannot be partners to the project and justification in the proposal would need to be clearly stated as to the requirement for use of sub-contractors.
Referees do not have to be UK specific but must be from recognised international organisations and/or from other known space institutions.
No. All proposals must include organisational background information for all those involved, therefore including those put forward in collaboration.
Yes. If you are collaborating with another organisation or company, then they are your project partner and will be included in your proposal as subject to PV contribution.
If you wish to sub-contract some work, then that company cannot be considered as a project partner as payment to them will be made from the award and they will therefore be included in the costs of the project.
If you sub-contract work this may not affect the IP publication rights of your company, but this is for the lead organisation to confirm.
The maximum grant is the award value the UK Space Agency will give to a successful proposal. However, to industrial organisations (e.g., SME/LE) and FEC to not-for-profit organisations/academia. Therefore, your equivalent PV contribution must match that criterion.
Confirmation is required that the Grant Recipient has expended the sums in respect of the period in which milestone payments have been claimed. For this purpose, a report must be completed and sent to the Grant Funder by 1st May 2022.
A summary of the assessment process is below:
· All proposals received by the close date and time on the Announcement of Opportunity will be considered.
· Initial sift of proposals will remove any proposals which do not meet the required criteria.
· Eligible proposals will be assessed by independent reviewers to be scored against certain criteria (section 7).
· A moderation panel will follow to ensure consistency in marking.
· Proposal ranking will be determined, and top proposals will be chosen to proceed
· Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified. Any clarifications will be sought from organisations.
· Due Diligence begins with successful applications to ensure UK Space Agency rules are accepted.
Note: If the clarification stage results in any irreconcilable differences, the project will not be placed on grant. 
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