ESA training and technical assistance to SMEs
ESA’s SME Policy Office coordinates a formal training programme for industry which gives priority to SMEs. The programme generally covers a number of engineering and management processes related to space systems manufacturing.
ESA training programme
Subjects covered at the various training courses take account of requests from SMEs, as well as the availability of ESA experts capable of delivering state-of-the-art knowledge and know-how. Where appropriate, organisations external to ESA are also engaged as a complementary source of expertise.
The following courses have been given:
- Quality assurance
- Software engineering
- Space structures
- Writing a good proposal
- Materials and processes
- Payload safety
- Financing of innovative projects
- Configuration management
- Space components engineering
- Innovation: from R&D to business development
- ESA Costing Software (ECOS) version 5.2
The courses comprise lectures generally supported by multimedia presentations, and include case studies and practical exercises.
Class sizes are usually limited to no more than 30 participants, in order to allow for good interactivity and individual attention, and thereby maximise the opportunities for competent transfer of knowledge. Priority for course participation is given to SMEs, although no more than two people per company can be accepted for the whole training programme - which usually comprises courses on four different subjects.
Training materials for topical courses which have previously taken place are available for download, as well as training material for recurrent themes in technology, business, and space engineering management. (see the navigation bar top-right of this page).
Highly relevant sources of knowledge
ESA’s training courses are recognised by SMEs to be highly relevant and valuable sources of knowledge – as evidenced by the over-subscription to attend all courses organised to date.
The subject matter addressed by the various courses tends to be largely unique, with very few similar courses available to industry. In view of this, for the past few years a limited number of seats have been made available to non-SMEs.
The training courses themselves are usually held at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. However, in view of high demand, the training programmes have on occasions been ‘exported’ to a number of different countries, including the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Technical support to SMEs
On request, SMEs can obtain specific technical support from ESA experts, although please bear in mind that this is dependent on the level of ESA's workload and on the availability of ESA experts. Examples of support delivered to SMEs include:
- software verification
- software development processes and risk analysis
- thermal analysis
In addition to the training courses organised by ESA’s SME Policy Office, from time to time other departments in ESA also arrange bespoke training courses for industry which may be of interest to SMEs. Typically these courses cover topics related to specific areas – such as International Space Station (ISS) payload safety.