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The space you need to get your business off the ground #esabicharwell

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What’s inside…


Let your business take off


Space to grow: your needs, our solution


Facilities and capabilities: the very best for your business


Built and launched: our success stories


How to apply and how to find us

Front cover: ADM-Aeolus. Credit: ESA - P. Carril, 2010 Right: MSG-3 launch. Credit: ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE-Photo Optique Vidéo du CSG, JM Guillon


Let your business take off For any start-up, spin-out or entrepreneur, coming up with a great idea is just the first step. Turning it quickly and effectively into a winning commercial offering can be an even bigger challenge. The European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre Harwell (ESA BIC Harwell) helps you to meet this challenge, enabling you to leverage the funding, support, skills and facilities you need to transform space technology and systems into a successful, vibrant, non-space related business. Set up by ESA in 2011 as part of its thriving Europe-wide BIC network, and managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the ESA BIC Harwell draws on both organisations’ outstanding track record in high-tech business incubation – providing a unique environment geared exclusively to accelerating innovation and unlocking your commercial potential. Based at the world-renowned Harwell Oxford science and innovation campus, the ESA BIC Harwell is a place alive with drive, ambition and imagination, the perfect location to get your business off the ground.


Space to grow: your needs, our solution Whatever your business vision, whatever sector you’re targeting and whatever the innovation you’re passionate about developing, we can help rocket your start-up into a thriving, growing business. Unique, intensive, comprehensive – the incubation package we offer is carefully designed to enable your start-up to fully exploit the scientific excellence and extraordinary opportunities available at the Harwell Oxford campus. Locating at the ESA BIC Harwell provides: • Cash incentive scheme for product and service design, prototyping, market studies and intellectual property (IP) protection • Access to range of funding sources (regional, national, angel and venture capital) including ESA’s Open Sky Technologies Fund • Easy access to technical expertise, technology and IP from ESA, STFC and other organisations within the fast-growing Harwell Space Cluster; plus access to an unrivalled suite of experimental and technical facilities, including: – Up to 80 hours’ free access to the STFC Innovations Technology Access Centre’s laboratory space, clean rooms, workshops, ‘hot-labs’ and a range of high-specification scientific equipment – Up to 40 hours’ free access to other STFC test facilities, workshops and resources including hands-on business development support and advice • Exclusive access and preferential rates on office accommodation and shared facilities within our innovative incubation community • Access to numerous opportunities to network, collaborate and develop new business ideas at Harwell Oxford – the campus is home to over 5,000 researchers, engineers and innovators across 150 organisations including research, SMEs and blue-chips.



Facilities and capabilities: the very best for your business Locate at the ESA BIC Harwell and you’ll find an incredible array of facilities and capabilities on your doorstep. Validating your research and development, carrying out rapid prototyping, or taking advantage of technical or business support – we have access to a world-leading suite of technologies and expertise that can drive your company forward quickly and effectively.

Technical facilities and expertise* Areas where facilities, skills and expertise can be accessed include: • Electrical engineering - Control systems - Data systems - Electromagnetics and space environment - Power and energy conversion - Payload systems • Mechanical engineering - Thermal and structures - Mechantronics and optics - Propulsion and aerothermodynamics • Product assurance and safety - Components - Materials and processes - Quality, dependability and safety - Requirements and standards • Systems and software - Software systems - Systems and engineering support

Business skills


Through our business support package we can offer and/or signpost you to advice in areas such as: • Research and development • Market research and strategy • Business planning • Team building and human resources • Legal and finance • Investor readiness

Innovation community By joining the ESA BIC Harwell you will become part of the vibrant and growing Harwell Oxford business community, with access to valuable business networks and regular peer support events. *Support to incubatees is offered by mutual agreement of programme work and intellectual property terms, and is subject to the availability of staff and facilities.


Built and launched: our success stories The ESA BIC Harwell has already hosted dozens of thriving incubatees. Here are just a handful of examples of some of the bright new start-ups that have benefited from our business incubation support package:

Radius Diagnostics Business background: Exploiting micro‑emitter array technology to develop a portable X-ray source with 3D imaging capabilities – making it cheaper and easier to produce portable X-ray systems. Benefits of incubation: • S ignificantly reduced company set-up costs and enabled the firm to apply space technology more quickly and cheaply than otherwise possible • H  elped to attract the interest of large medical companies and secure over £1 million in grants and awards

Oxford nanoSystems Business background: Using satellite micro-thrusters to help develop a nanocoating technology that improves heat transfer in heating and cooling systems – increasing system efficiency, cutting running costs and reducing environmental impact. Benefits of incubation:


• Access to on-site scanning and transmission electron microscopes, surface topography scanners and other cutting-edge scientific equipment • Underpinned the securing of £300,000 in investment, while exposure via the ESA corporate website generated new contacts and unexpected opportunities

Instantview Business background: Using GPS technology to develop a smartphone application that collates and processes information from motor vehicle accident scenes – helping to combat insurance fraud and cut the costs of administering insurance claims. Benefits of incubation: • Being part of the ESA BIC Harwell community acted as a catalyst to developing strategic partnerships with organisations based at the Harwell Oxford campus. Instantview is collaborating with fellow incubatee Sci-Tech (POB) on a new project which utilises their shared skills and knowledge

Interasight Business background: Harnessing ESA sensing technologies to develop an innovative scanner that detects contaminants in food – helping food manufacturers to improve quality control as well as protecting consumers’ health. Benefits of incubation: • Quick and easy access to sophisticated testing facilities located at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell Oxford • Being part of the Harwell space cluster enabled them to successfully apply for the Technology Strategy Board’s Launchpad funding competition. This enabled them to access additional business support to increase their investor readiness and enhance opportunities to secure match-funding

The Electrospinning Company Business background: Utilising nozzles originally designed for satellite propulsion to produce electrospun fibres for biomedical research – with particular applications in regenerative medicine, stem cell therapeutics and drug discovery. Benefits of incubation: • Access to high-quality technical, financial and business support and a range of valuable innovation networks • Accessing STFC’s I-TAC laboratory facilities enabled them to take advantage of state-of-the-art equipment to take their product closer to market • Enabled them to secure EU funding for a collaborative international project to design a bio-artificial liver


How to apply… Each year we accept up to 10 start-ups into the ESA BIC Harwell, with our incubatees applying space technology in sectors such as healthcare, energy, sports analysis, big data, industrial inspection and digital technology.

Am I eligible? You can apply to the ESA BIC Harwell programme if: • Your idea involves the transfer of space technology and/or the utilisation of a space system in a non-space environment • Your company is a brand new start-up which has been registered in the UK for less than five years. • You’ve got an innovative, technology-driven idea ready for, or at an early stage of, commercial development

What does the application process involve? Applying to become an incubatee is a straightforward five-step process:

• Visit our website to find out more about the ESA BIC Harwell. If you require any further advice, please call our Business and Incubation Centre Support Manager on 01235 446 075 • We run an open call for applications so you can apply at any time. Please visit our website for the next selection campaign deadline • Download the ‘Open Call Company Submission Template’ from the website and complete it • Return hard copies of the completed document and an electronic copy to the addresses as set out in the ‘Open Call Letter’ on the website, along with a copy of your passport and any supporting documentation


• Once received, a Tender Opening Board (TOB) will review your application first to ensure that you meet the criteria of the ESA BIC before being formally considered • If you are accepted by the TOB, you will be invited to attend a Tender Evaluation Board (TEB) which will be held approximately two weeks after the submission deadline • At the TEB, you will be required to give a 25 minute presentation, followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers with the board • The TEB will then submit their recommendations to the ESA Award Board for the final decision • You will be advised of the decision up to three weeks after the TEB has submitted its recommendations • If you are successful, you will be invited to attend a contracts negotiation meeting with your ESA Contracts Officer and your ESA BIC Support Manager

We look forward to hearing from you!

And how to find us‌

To J9 M40

Milton Park To Didcot


Harwell village

A417 To Wantage

A34 A417

ESA BIC Harwell


Harwell Oxford science and innovation campus

ESA BIC Harwell Science & Technology Facilities Council

Access to A34 South only

To J13 M4

The ESA BIC Harwell is based at Harwell Oxford, just 15 miles south of Oxford and within easy reach of the motorway and national rail network.

The ESA BIC network currently comprises several centres based across Europe – a dynamic network that you could soon be part of.


ESA Business Incubation Centre Harwell STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Atlas Building Harwell Oxford Didcot OX11 0QX UK

+44 (0)1235 446 075




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ESA BIC Harwell brochure  

ESA BIC Harwell (European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre) provides access to the funding, business support and facilities needed to...