How to apply for ESA PECS

A step by step guide for applying to European Space Agency (ESA) Plan for European Cooperating States (PECS) call

0. Have the PECS call open in your country

PECS is designed to support countries that want to develop the space sector and join European Space Agency. At the moment 5 countries are in the ESA PECS scheme: Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Cyprus (ESA website). These countries regularly open calls where local Academia, Companies and Non-Profits can propose their space connected projects. The best ones are selected for funding. When there is an open PECS call in your country, these are the steps to follow in order to increase your chances of obtaining support.

1. Have a good space idea

Your proposed project, product, service has to be connected with space. It can be made to be used in space but also use space technologies here on earth. Your idea should be worth supporting from ESA. That means there are not many other companies doing the same thing and there is a demand for such a solution.

2. Find information about the PECS call

Go to EMITS webpage and in the Open invitations to tender tab find a listing that has in name PECS and your country.
At the moment there is an open call in Cyprus with code AO10264 and name Announcement of opportunity: Fourth call for outline proposals under the Plan for European Cooperating States (PECS) in Cyprus
If you click on the listing you will get more information.
Very important is the deadline.

3. Register to EMITS

If the call looks interesting to you, you need to register in EMITS in order to get to the documentation with more detail about the call. You don’t need to make the whole registration in order to get to the information.

4. Decide to go for it

Decide if you want to pursuit this opportunity. The most important decision is to what kind of activity to apply for. Feasibility study or similar activity is a good starting point, when you have an idea and want to explore it.

5. Try to find a possible customer

Try to find a possible future user, customer of your idea and get into talks with him. Try to get in a writing, that he is interested in your idea or even better, that he would pay for your product in the future. This will greatly help in the proposal. It also takes time and also gives you valuable feedback so start with it soon.

6. Fill all necessary information into EMITS

Fill all the other information for the registration in EMITS. It takes time to collect all the information needed. And it takes time to get approved.
If you are small or medium enterprise, be sure to mark it. It allows you to get more valuable financial conditions. 

7. Quickly create first draft of documents

Then get into filling in the template documents.
First thing to do is to format the template documents correctly. The template documents are written using only one style. Set heading where they are supposed to be. Format bullet points as bullet point. It will save you lot of formatting corrections at the end, when the time is most precious.

The get into drafting. Very useful advice for this point - Do the first draft fast! 

Start with template proposal
Write something into each part

Fill in PSS forms
These are complicated financial forms. Nevertheless start with them, but do the first version only.

Put first information into cover letter
Start filling in what you know and collecting what you don’t know.

Read the contract conditions
You shouldn’t spend a lot of time here, but still it is a contract so go through it.

8. Improve your documents

After first draft work on improving your documents.
Work on a step by step approach, as a person always do one change at a time. Do it completely in the whole document and only then go for next change.
Look out for allowed number of pages.
Look for typical mistakes from ESA briefing day. Example from Slovak briefing (Pages 52 - 55).

9. Prepare for submission

Read through the documentation - look if you fulfilled all needs. Check the checklist.
Aim to submit the document one day before deadline. 

10. Submit the documents and enjoy

Submit the document into EMITS system. The results should come in 2 to 3 months.
Enjoy the good feeling :) 

If you have questions or need help with the application, feel free to get in touch