Innovation Triangle Initiative (ITI)

Innovation Triangle Initiative logo

The aim of the Innovation Triangle Initiative (ITI) is to foster the introduction of breakthrough innovations and technologies in the space environment. Its specific goal is to explore technologies or services for space applications that are not currently being used or exploited in the context of space and have therefore the potential of being the seed for significant innovation.

Through ITI, those innovative technologies can be quickly validated, developed and put to use, thus contributing, in the longer term, to a more competitive European space industry.

ITI is based on the 'Innovation Triangle' concept stating that a rapid and successful introduction of disruptive innovations in industry requires the collaboration of three different entities: a customer, a developer and an inventor.

ITI supports new ideas or concepts, giving preference to innovations coming originally from non-space industrial or research sectors. The submitters of these ideas or concepts are supported by ITI with seed-money, technical support and networking contacts aiming at combining the creativity, know-how and experience of the research community, space customers and industry.

In this context, ITI can provide:

  • Seed-Money, 50k€, 150k€ or higher, depending on the type of activity.
  • Technical Support: Submitters can contact ESA experts to discuss proposal concepts and verify their relevance and applicability to space. Submitters with a limited experience in developing technologies for space are also encouraged to download and read the following Space Specifications Checklist document. Submitters not familiar with current needs of the European Space Industry can browse the European Space Technology Requirements (ESTER) database.
  • Networking: Building the 'Innovation Triangle' through the links provided, submitters have the opportunity of finding potential partners thus facilitating the validation, development and utilization of innovative ideas.

The initiative gives industry the opportunity to submit unsolicited and innovative research and development proposals throughout the year, and if approved, to rapidly receive the necessary funding.

Three types of contracts are envisaged in ITI, depending on the level of technological maturity, each one focused on one element of the "Innovation Triangle":

  • Proof of concept (for inventors): fast validation of new ideas and demonstration of its advantages.
  • Demonstration of feasibility and use (for developers): component and/or breadboard development up to validation in laboratory
  • Technology adoption (for customers): support for the technology to be adopted by a European Space company with the final objective of including the developed technology in their services, products or processes.

Companies, universities and research organisations belonging to ESA Member States are invited to submit innovative proposals for these type of activities concerning any technical domain relevant to space applications. Please refer also to the following four ITI documents - the Tender Cover Letter, the general Statement of Work, the specific ITI Tender Conditions and the Draft Contract.

The ITI process is based on a continuous call for ideas with a standing Evaluation Board, to ensure that funding for a proposal is authorised within a few weeks.

Confidentiality: All information submitted in the ITI proposals, will be treated as strictly confidential!

ITI is managed through a dedicated web application – http://iti.esa.int/

- which, among other functionalities, provides the templates for the online submission of proposals.For further information contact: InnovationHelpdesk @ esa.int.
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