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ESA Business Incubation Centres

ESA BIC Harwell

The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Harwell is located at the world leading Harwell Oxford in Oxfordshire - a focal point and cluster for the UK’s rapidly growing high-tech space community.

Harwell Oxford is home to more than 4,500 researchers, engineers and innovators from over 150 high-tech organisations including the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Medical Research Council, and many start-up companies and multinational organisations across a wide range of scientific and technological sectors.

Scientist in lab at Harwell Oxford

ESA BIC Harwell provides a unique opportunity to access world class scientific facilities and research including that of the Diamond Light Source and STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) – home to its internationally renowned space science department RAL Space, the world’s most powerful pulsed neutron source ISIS and the Central Laser Facility.

Harwell Oxford is also the location of the UK ESA Centre and the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) which will bring together the best of the British space sector, industry and academia in collaboration with international partners.

Managing ESA BIC Harwell

The ESA BIC Harwell will be managed by STFC Innovations Limited, the technology transfer office of one of Europe’s largest multi-discipline scientific organisations - the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

STFC Innovations Ltd has a strong track record of successfully supporting entrepreneurs and start-up companies. It has created 15 spin-out companies from STFC’s intellectual property – many of which were grown from technologies that were originally developed for space including:

  • Thruvision Systems - which works in security and defence imaging using terahertz
  • Microvisk - which is developing micro electro mechanical sensors for the international medical market
  • Orbital Optics – now called MDA Orbital Optics after being bought by leading Canadian space products company MDA - which specialises in low cost optical earth imaging cameras for use in space
  • The Electrospinning Company – which is selling electro-spinning equipment (machines and spinning heads) made to a consistent manufacturing standard
  • Teratech - which make and sell high-frequency Schottky diodes

STFC Innovations manages the commercial exploitation and licensing of STFC’s intellectual property from STFC developed technology and research and provides access to a range of funding opportunities. It also already operates the ESA Technology Transfer Network in the UK and this formation of ESA BIC Harwell will enable the technology transfer and incubation functions to be fully brought together under one organisation for the first time.

ESA BIC Harwell Members


ESA BIC Harwell is now looking for entrepreneurs and start-up companies to join the Centre.

How to apply

ESA BIC Harwell has an open call for proposals, which means that applications can be submitted at any time.

The formal application procedure is explained in the Open Call application and template which can be downloaded from the Documentation section on the right navigation bar, and used for the application.

The complete proposal, together with all supporting documents, should be submitted electronically and by mail to:

ESA BIC Harwell
c/o Paul Vernon
Head of New Business Opportunities
STFC Innovations Limited
R71 2.27
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Harwell Oxford
OX11 0QX

Tel: +44 (0)1925 603 822

Last update: 12 May 2013

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