Frequently Asked Questions for ESA BIC Hungary’s Technology Transfer Demonstrator and Business Incubation Calls
QUESTION 1.: What does ESA consider as technology transfer?
ANSWER 1.: The most efficient innovations actually stem from using existing technologies for purposes unrelated to their original applications. This principle is referred as technology transfer. Technology transfer is the process of taking technologies, innovative methods, knowledge or facilities that were developed for a specific market, adapting them and using them to improve existing processes or products in completely different market sectors.” (ESA BR-280 p3, p4 https://esamultimedia.esa.int/multimedia/publications/BR-280/pageflip.html)
QUESTION 2.: My proposal was rejected as not appropriately demonstrating the space connection or space heritage, what does this mean?
ANSWER 2.: Our calls allow both space and non-space organizations or consortium thereof or individuals to submit proposals to develop technology transfer demonstrators regarding the transfer of a space technology into a non-space application or to launch businesses exploiting such results. (3rd Open Call, p2. https://mydrive.kfki.hu/f/bb97c76104f542c086f1/?dl=1)
It is very important to highlight that ESA BIC Hungary is currently only accepting proposals which demonstrate the utilization of a space technology during business incubation or transfer or such technology to another application sector. A proposal based on an inspiration from space technology or space missions, but otherwise utilizing another available technology cannot be considered as such. The space connection shall be clearly demonstrated. This can be fulfilled either by owning a space technology or by presenting proof that a space technology will be available for the applicant in the project, for example by a declaration of honor or a letter of interest from the technology donor.
QUESTION 3.: How relevant is the business plan in the BIC proposal?
ANSWER 3.: Even if an idea is ground-breaking and has a strong space connection, it shall not be eligible without a credible business plan of the planned startup. However, it does need to be perfect, as one of the key activities during the incubation is support in business matters. Even though, applicants are required to demonstrate their ability to identify at least one market area and a credible thinking on business matters, especially on budget, risk management and work plan.
QUESTION 4.: Does the grant pay VAT?
ANSWER 4.: No, it does not provide financial cover for any VAT expenses emerging during the project. This is valid for both TTD and BIC grants.
QUESTION 5.: Does the grant pay staff costs?
ANSWER 5.: The technology transfer demonstrator grant can be used to cover staff costs (employee salaries and related expenses such as tax and social insurance), while the business incubation grant does not cover any staff cost. So yes for the TTD and no for the BIC.
QUESTION 6.: Can I apply as an individual?
ANSWER 6.: An individual can be eligible for funding if both of those conditions are fulfilled:
1. the establishment of the future company is already started before the proposal was submitted and,
2. the proposal includes a clear vision on the company structure, especially on stakeholders.
QUESTION 7.: Can I use Hungarian during the application?
ANSWER 7.: The applicant must demonstrate a sound knowledge in English. The proposal shall be written in English and the presentation shall be held in English. All project documents, including contracts, reporting forms and so on are in English. However, during the proposal preparation phase the ESA BIC Hungary officers will also be available to answer questions in Hungarian and the BIC support includes a Business and Academic English course for those successful applicants who roll in for it.
QUESTION 8.: In the BIC condition list what does – no more than 5 years old – mean for a company?
ANSWER 8.: The official confirmation on the registration of the company in the company register shall be issued within 5 years. If such information is not clear due to any jurisdictional issues, the registration at the relevant chamber of commerce is considered.
QUESTION 9.: In both draft contracts it says that ESA must be allowed to use the results of the projects, how does this affect the IP?
ANSWER 9.: Space research is a common interest of all mankind. ESA projects does not only cover existing space technologies, they also cover development of such (spin-in), moreover any already transferred space technology may lead to an innovation which may be re-used for space missions. In such cases, ESA must contact the IP owner first (e.g. your company if you did the project) and ask for a quotation. If you refuse or do not answer within 6 months, ESA is allowed, for the purpose of the space mission to share your IP with someone else without giving right of sub-licensing or use beyond the given space mission. But the first shot will be always yours.