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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-enabling-space-exploration/announcement-of-opportunity-enabling-space-exploration
Proposals are sought for projects to develop the capability of the UK in space exploration and position the UK to participate in, and benefit from, future space exploration missions.
“Space exploration” refers to human and robotic exploration of destinations in the Solar System where humans may one day live and work (i.e. Low Earth Orbit; the Moon and cis-Lunar space; Mars).
Proposals are welcomed for projects which will:
· raise the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of key technologies for exploration missions;
· establish new industrial research collaborations;
· enable space qualification and testing;
· develop spin-in or -out technologies for space exploration
Industrial co-funding may be required for the selected projects in accordance with the Subsidy Control procedures.
The Agency welcomes proposals in three thematic area[/s]:
Development of In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU);
Studying nuclear power systems for space
Instrumentation for future missions
The UK Space Agency expects to support 3-5 projects up to £200,000 each.
Acceptable activities include:
In all cases it is essential that the project proposal shows how the grant will make a difference to UK space exploration capability, in addition to their value to the bidder. This should include reference to other work addressing the same challenge or using similar technologies
Out of scope activities include funding of CASE students, training courses and outreach. Applicants 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.
Awarded Projects must start by no later than December 2022 and must have fully completed by 31st December 2024.
Applications will be assessed under the review process outlined in Section V 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:
· Application Submittal: 29 July 2022.
· Review Period: 1st August – September End.
· Award Recipients Informed: Early October.
· Maximum Project Duration: Mid-November 2022 – 31 December 2024.
· End of Project Reviews: As per each project completion date.
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.
Applications for project funding will be assessed by a Selection Panel which will consist of independent UK Space Agency approved reviewers drawn from academia, industry, Government or the Research Council Review Colleges. The panel will assess the proposals according to the criteria listed below, taking into account the commitment of the organisations involved, in particular the lead organisation, to the success of the project and the financial viability of the organisations involved.
Assessment criteria section:
This includes:
· Applicability of the technology to space exploration – for example, the extent to which the technology may improve the efficiency of, or increase the benefits from, future exploration missions;
· The fit of the proposal to the purpose and objectives of the call.
This includes:
· Identifying new solutions to known challenges;
· Novelty and originality of the proposed technology – for example, will the proposal lead to a wholly new technology or methodologies; does it offer a new and innovative way of delivering existing requirements?
· This includes both wholly new innovations and the transfer and adaptation of existing technologies (e.g. from terrestrial industry or other space domains) to space exploration.
This includes:
· What socio-economic benefits the proposed project is likely to deliver;
· Benefits within the space industry and benefits more broadly;
· Whether the proposed work offers value for money; the sum requested is reasonable for the work proposed and proportionate to the likely benefits.
This includes:
· The feasibility of the proposed project;
· How defined and proportionate the project management is;
· The degree to which the project has a clear purpose and expected outputs;
· Capability and track record of the team.
Please read the following guidelines carefully to ensure that your application includes all of the information required and in the required format.
Applications for project funding shall take the form of a proposal in single-spaced typescript (minimum font size 12-point Times New Roman, minimum 1.5 cm margins all round, including diagrams and tables) and must contain all of the following sections:
• Where a Template is specified, this must be used unaltered and submitted
• Should any Section be omitted, or a Template altered, the proposal will be rejected.
• Should any part of the application overrun the specified page limit, we will only consider material up to the designated page limit that is in the correct format.
To aid the placing of the grant agreement with successful bidders, the applications for funding must include a cover letter containing:
• A clear indication of the type of grant applied.
• The Subsidy Control Category (see Annex A), or that the grant will be applied for under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance.
• A committing offer to UK Space Agency.
• The value of the grant funding requested.
• A statement of acceptance of the standard UK Space Agency Terms and Conditions (T&Cs).
• The T&Cs are contained in the draft Grant Funding Agreement available as part of the Space Exploration Call documentation. (Note – requests for minor changes to the grant document will only be considered by the Agency if highlighted in the cover letter at the submission stage, there is no guarantee of these being accepted. Material changes to the grant terms will not be considered (see Section VII).
• (Relevant for Industry bidders only): The name of at least one customer contact in the UK who may be approached, with whom you have recently undertaken similar work. The bids will be assessed by the Review Panel (Section V), but the UK Space Agency reserves the right to seek a customer reference, to be considered by the Panel.
The Application Form provided summarises key information concerning the project proposal submission. The format of this document must not be altered including any changes to, or the removal of, the UK Space Agency logo.
Ø Information must be provided in Template A.
The project summary must be brief and contain no confidential or sensitive Intellectual Property (IP) material. A single diagram or picture may be included on an additional page in support of the project summary.
The intention is that, should the project be funded, information from this summary may be used for publication on the UK Space Agency websites and/or used in press releases.
Ø Information must be provided in the relevant section of Template B.
The technical case for the project must include:
• The project objective and success criteria.
• A description of the work to be undertaken, highlighting the innovative aspects of the project and the technical solutions proposed.
• How the grant will make a difference to UK space exploration capability, including the value to the bidder.
• For very new and unfamiliar concepts, you should also include references to any relevant – preferably peer-reviewed publications.
The management case must include:
• An outline project plan, including a work breakdown structure, a project schedule/Gantt chart, and clearly defined deliverables for each work package.
• Clear identification of the Project Manager(s) including the control mechanisms put in place to manage the project and how resources will be allocated and managed.
• The deliverables must be clearly identified as to their scope and delivery schedule, and where linked to payment milestones.
• The project plan must also include a summary risk analysis table, identifying any anticipated risks in managing the delivery of your proposed project. The impact and likelihood must be represented as High, Medium or Low as per the key in the template. Mitigation measures against each of the risks identified must also be included. A risk table is included in Template B.
• The start and end TRL of the proposed work, and possible exploitation routes.
• Information on collaboration between partner organisations and Intellectual Property Rights.
• A list of the individuals involved, and the resources required, identifying which institutions and individuals will be performing which functions and the respective resources requested.
Please include a Milestone Payment Plan (including indicative Match Funding payments). A template can be found in the Finance Excel spreadsheet.
Ø Information must be provided in the relevant section of Template B.
This section should include a short description of the background to the company or organisation and also include a summary of their track record(s).
Ø Information must be submitted using Template B.
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.
The UK Space Agency 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 the UK Space Agency.
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.
Low Value Grants
As this call will consider proposals for low value grants and due to the nature of such grants, the UK Space Agency will not consider overheads higher than 20%, as per some of our other calls.
Overheads should be stated separately from the pay costs, charged at 20%. This 20% overhead should be recorded in the overhead column in the budget breakdown, this allows you to claim 20% of your pay costs as overhead. This includes both direct and indirect overhead. The overheads relating to contingent workforce / consultants should be included within their daily rate, and not included in either the calculation of the 20% overhead allowance.
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 the UK Space Agency 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 where a grant award of £250k and over has been awarded in an exceptional case.
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 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.
Following an award and completion of grant agreement formalities projects will be expected to start as soon as possible, and no later than 31st December 2022. 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.
The procedure for handling and assessing the applications for project funding will be as follows:
· Completed applications must be submitted to the UK Space Agency at SpaceExploration@ukspaceagency.gov.uk. All bids will be held in confidence.
· Once the call closing date has passed, electronic copies of all eligible documents will be distributed to the independent assessment panel members. UK Space Agency confidentiality rules will apply.
· For those bids not recommended by the panel for funding, 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.
· Information submitted for those projects selected for funding will be retained by UK Space Agency but remain confidential.
· Summary information about the projects selected for funding may be published on the UK Space Agency website.
The UK Space Agency will monitor the funded project through project reports and the submission of project deliverables. The Agency requests that any confidential information is clearly marked Commercial in Confidence.
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.
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.
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 VI with the exception of the finance table which will be submitted in the Excel format specified in Section VI.
· 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 3 and any further queries about this Call can be submitted to the above email address.
All applications must be submitted by 4pm on 29 July 2022
It is the lead organisation’s responsibility to ensure that all required information is complete and accurately submitted before the deadline.
The decision of the UK Space Agency is final.
Minimal feedback can be requested with no course for appeal.
Incomplete, late applications or altered templates WILL NOT be considered.

Submission requirements list  

· Cover Letter  ☐ 
· Template A Application form  ☐ 
· Template B Full Proposal   ☐ 
· Finance (Excel) Spread sheet  ☐ 
· Grant Applicant Checklist (Excel)  ☐ 
UK Space Agency Subsidy Control Guidance for Grant Applicants
The UK Space Agency 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 A).
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”)
· The Subsidy must be proportionate and limited to what is necessary to achieve the Policy 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.
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, the UK Space Agency uses the definition from the Framework for state aid for research and development and innovation which states:
‘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)
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 A). Bidders will be expected to justify the category of work selected.
Subsidy Control (and State aid where relevant)
The UK Space Agency 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 circumstances (e.g. under the Northern Ireland Protocol) EU State aid regulations may also be applied
· other bilateral UK FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) where relevant
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 be a problem as this is 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 UK Space Agency 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).
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 UKSA 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 UKSA 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.
Annex 3 cont.
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.
Annex 3 cont.
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 V).
· 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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