If you are from an ESA New Member State

Programme for New Member States (NMS)

The programme for NMS or Incentive Scheme is to:

  • Help the national administrations to the fast diffusion of the information about ESA business opportunities among the national economic operators.
  • Speed-up the identification and development of economic operators that may sustain a viable business case as a supplier for ESA projects.
  • Support the rapid introduction of the national economic operators in the European Space supply chain.

Contribute to bridge the geographical return gap occurring in the first years after a Country accession as a full-rights member of ESA.


The budget for the NMS incentive Scheme  is an agreed fraction (typically 45%) of the NMS contribution to the ESA Mandatory programme.  The duration of the incentive scheme is agreed during the country accession negotiation and it is typically 7 years from the moment the Country acquires full rights as ESA Member State. The incentive scheme procedures are operated by the Division for Industrial Policy Implementation and New Member States in ESA reporting to a joint task force between the NMS and ESA and chaired by the NMS head of Delegation and the ESA Director in charge of procurement

The budget of the incentive scheme is expended by placing contracts to economic operators in the NMS:

  • Approximately once per year ESA publishes an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) where the economic operators in the concerned NMS may submit outline proposals for activities.
  • The activities the economic operator suggest shall aim at fulfilling the objectives of the incentive scheme. Usually four types of activity are foreseen: Preparatory activities aiming at the economic operator acquiring skills needed to bid in ESA programmes; R&D activities aiming at the early definition phases of space products or services; Flight equipment activities aiming at advanced development phases and; Development of terrestrial products and services based on the use of satellite data.
  • The AO together with the applicable conditions is published in ESA EMITS and accessible to economic operators registered there. The AO includes a dead line for presentation of proposals.
  • The proposals are evaluated following standard ESA evaluation procedures
  • The proposals recommended by the evaluation teams are submitted for approval to the NMS task force. The task force approval means that ESA is authorized to start negotiations for the placement of a contract with the economic operator whose proposal has been approved and in case of successful negotiations place a contract.

The format of open AO where the economic operators define the activity they need to perform allows for speeding the participation of economic operators in the ESA system because there is no need to wait until a suitable opportunity appears in the normal ESA working processes.

The time from identification of an ESA need to contract in the incentive scheme is much shorter than in other ESA programmes, contributing to the fast incorporation of economic operators in the system.

The activities in the incentive scheme are awarded to proposals evaluated above a given threshold of technical credibility and usefulness but are not object of competitive tendering helping in this way the NMS economic operators to acquire the experience and skills needed to participate in the normal ESA competitive tender processes.

At the end of the incentive scheme period the national economic operators are supposed to have established the appropriate international networking and acquire the skills to participate in ESA programmes on a full competitive base.

The duration of the incentive scheme takes into consideration that the ESA programmes last several years and an economic operator may need to be involved from the beginning of the programme in order to find a suitable activity as a member of the supply chain in advanced phases of the programme.



Copyright 2000 - 2018 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.