Improving R&D proposals to ESA
ESA welcomed 28 Small and Medium-sized companies from 19 ESA Member States and Cooperating States to a hands-on course on better proposal writing at ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands on 4–6 July 2017.
The course was organised by the SME Office and comprised presentations by the Technical Services and the Procurement Department, followed by a practical proposal writing exercise.
Split into four competing teams, the participants received a training Invitation to Tender (ITT) on an invented subject. Over the following day and a half, each group was asked to develop their own complete proposal. In a very realistic simulation of an ESA Tender Evaluation Board (TEB) all proposals were finally evaluated in detail and marked by ESA experts. All participants were given copies of the four proposals in order for them to follow all phases of the evaluation.
Attendees found the public TEB session the highlight of the course. It gave a precious insight into how ESA looks at proposals. Attendees also appreciated the practical interpretation of the principles and hints given at the start of the course.
SMEs taking part in the course came from Estonia, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Canada, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and Denmark.
To complement the training, there were two additional presentations.
David Monteiro, ESA Product Assurance and Safety Engineer, presented "Product Assurance Basics". It introduced product assurance and how it can affect a project. David also presented the Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) used by ESA and Industry and gave an overview of the product assurance branch of the ECSS standards.
ESA Ombudsman Jack Bosma talked to the group about his role and responsibilities and important lessons learned for SMEs.