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ESA / About Us / Business with ESA / Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

The SME Office organises and supports various training courses for SMEs.Subjects covered 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.In addition to the training courses organised by the SME Office, from time to time bespoke training for industry of interest to SMEs is set up by other ESA departments. All courses are also listed below.For a short description of the various courses on offer, take a look under the training calendar below. More detailed information on previous training is available here.Registration for courses organised in the frame of the SME Initiative programme usually opens 8 to 12 weeks prior to the start of a session. Click on the title of the course in the calendar for further information or to register.


28–29 January ECOS 5.3 - repeat training session ESA/ESTEC
31 March–1 April Product Assurance in ESA projects ESA/ESTEC
23 April EEE Components procurement ESA/ESTEC
7 May Rate Calculation course for SMEs ESA/ESTEC
9–11 June R&D proposal writing course for SMEs ESA/ESTEC

*Please note: all dates are indicative and subject to change.


R&D proposal writing training for SMEs (3 days)

The course “How to write a good proposal in response to an ESA Invitation to Tender for R&D activities” comprises a series of presentations by senior ESA staff from the Agency's Technical Services and from the Procurement Department, followed by a hands-on exercise where an ESA Invitation to Tender (ITT) is distributed to four teams. These teams are asked to write a "real" proposal in response to the training ITT. The proposals submitted during this training session are subsequently evaluated by ESA instructors and discussed publicly in a very realistic simulation of an ESA Tender Evaluation Board (TEB).

As the ITT does not require specialist scientific or technical knowledge, the course is suitable for participants with both technical and commercial/managerial backgrounds.

Product Assurance in ESA projects (2 days)

This two-day course aims at providing participants with an overview of the Product Assurance (PA) tasks to be performed throughout a project. It explains how Product Assurance is implemented in ESA projects and provides practical examples of how PA is involved in projects. While a generic overview of Product Assurance tasks is provided to all participants on day 1, day 2 explains Hardware and Software PA aspects in more detail. Participants choose either the Hardware PA or Software PA module, depending on their needs and interests.

The course is of particular interest to organisations intending to develop hardware or software (standalone or as part of a higher-level system) for ESA. Although no previous software experience is required, it is recommended to have some background in software engineering if Module 3 (Software PA) is attended.

EEE components procurement: different cost areas and their relevance (1 day)

The main goal of this one-day course is to provide attendees with a good understanding of the pitfalls associated with EEE components procurement and associated costs. The sessions highlight the kind of impact EEE procurement can have on the initially foreseen project budget and schedule.

The course is targeted at engineers and scientists working for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises who wish to have an insight into the different costs areas that need to be considered when working on a project. The course is aimed at both SMEs providing flight products for major satellite programmes as well as companies working at lower TRL levels in technology programmes.

Intellectual Property Rights and licensing agreements (1 day)

This one-day course will provide participants with an overview of IPR and licensing agreements. Participants will learn how to read and understand license agreements, avoid common mistakes and spot and avoid legal pitfalls. An overview of IPR at ESA will be provided. The course is targeted at participants from Small and Medium-sized companies with a non-legal background.

Rate calculation training course (1 day)

This one-day course will enable participants to establish basic hourly rates and overheads for their own company in a way that is acceptable to ESA. In addition, it highlights how rates are linked to and used in PSS forms which should be completed by companies participating in an ESA Invitation to Tender (ITT). Some hands-on exercises are part of the course during which participants are expected to calculate hourly rates and overheads, based on the financial and time-related information provided.

At the end of the training session the results are shown, enabling participants to see if they have correctly established the hourly rates and overheads.

The course is aimed at financial managers and project controllers working in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Two participants per company are expected to attend.

ECSS livestreams (online)

Livestreams of ECSS training courses will be offered throughout the year. While the Level 1 introductory training will describe the ECSS standardisation system and present the complete set of ECSS documents, explaining how best to apply them in space projects, the Level 2 sessions will go into the details of the various ECSS documents.

The ECSS livestream is organised by the SME Office in collaboration with the ESA Requirements, Standards and Engineering Knowledge Office.

Participants are advised to download the training materials pertaining to the individual modules before attending the sessions at: (log-in/registration to the page required).

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