Call for new technology ideas
ESA's Innovation Triangle Initiative (ITI) has launched a new call for innovative ideas targeting both industry and academia.
Following last year's success – ITI was officially launched in 2004 – the current 2005 call for ideas offers an opportunity for inventors, industry and research institutes to propose new technological solutions for future ESA space missions.
The basic philosophy behind ITI is to support the fast introduction of disruptive innovations in the European space industry by combining, in one team, the creativity of the inventor, the experience of industry and the needs of the end-user, thereby creating the best condition and synergy for rapid verification of the potential and feasibility of new ideas for novel products, technologies and services for space systems.
Already after one year of operation, ITI has proved to be a valuable and efficient mechanism to rapidly launch research and development (R&D) activities for space applications.
In just 12 months the initiative has surpassed all expectations by kicking off 27 projects, fully validating the basic objective of quickly verifying the proposed new ideas and technologies.
Three types of activities
Under the ITI three types of activities can be run:
- Type A: Proof of concept to validate an innovative idea for use by the space industry. The idea can be based on a completely new concept or on one that has not yet been applied to space.
- Type B: Demonstration of feasibility and use of a new idea. This corresponds to the development of a component and/or a breadboard up to validation testing in a laboratory or similar environment.
- Type C: Internal critical process review of a proposed customer's products, processes or services to identify potential candidates for innovation, hence increasing the customer’s competitiveness. The target must be for space use.
Any company, university or research organization belonging to an ESA Member State can submit proposals for these types of activities in a technical domain relevant to space applications.
The innovation triangle concept
The ITI requires a strong working relationship between the three basic actors of the innovation process, the 'inventor', the 'developer' and the 'customer'. Therefore it is a requirement that the proposed teams include different partners covering the three aspects.
Typically, the customer is an industry active in the space market; the developer an entity with the know-how and experience to develop a technology into a useful space product or service; and the inventor is the original source of the innovation and not necessarily involved in space activities.
Marco Freire, ESA's ITI Programme Manager, says, "the ongoing ITI R&D projects clearly confirm the advantage of teaming experts from the research and applications environment to get a quick validation of new ideas or a fast prototype to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed leading-edge technologies for our future missions. This faster R&D turnaround period could ultimately lead to a shorter time to market."
"ITI has proven to be a sound complement to existing ESA technology programmes in promoting the introduction of novel ideas in the European space sector," adds Marco Guglielmi, head of Technology Strategy Section in ESA's Technology Programme Department and one of founders of the Innovation Triangle Initiative.
"ITI creates closer collaboration between inventors, developers and customers, generating a constructive synergy for technology innovations. The long-term objective is to help to establish a highly creative and dynamic industrial environment in Europe, thus contributing to a more competitive European space industry."
Schedule for proposal submission
The ITI Evaluation Board meets every two months to examine proposals, which must be submitted in advance of the following deadlines:
- 15 June 2005 (closed)
- 7 September 2005
- 26 October 2005
For more information see the Invitation to Tender 'ESA Innovation Triangle Initiative AO4866' published on EMITS. For general information on the Innovation Triangle Initiative please visit the website http://iti.esa.int.