StarTiger: Invitation to Tender

7 May 2008
ITT issued on EMITS: AO5776 - closing date 30 June 2008

StarTiger is a pioneering ESA initiative within its Basic Technology Research Program (TRP) that aims to stimulate technology innovation and facilitating breakthrough research. The first StarTiger project was conducted in 2002 with very successful results. ESA has issue an Announcement of Opportunity for two more StarTiger projects, with the objective to have projects' kick-off in 2008.

StarTiger is a new approach for conducting research and development (R&D). The goal is to reach significant advancement of the present state-of-art of the technologies selected for development, in a very short time – no longer than 6 months. It may be particularly attractive for technology spin-in where joint work of space and non-space experts is required to ascertain the feasibility of a non-space technology to cover space needs.

Star Tiger team with VIP
StarTiger 1 team

The concept is to bring together a small group of highly motivated researchers, grant them full access to laboratory and production facilities, remove all administrative distractions, and let them work for an intense period of four to six months. The goal is to achieve a quantum increase in a promising and important technology within a short period of time.

The first StarTiger project proved the concept. In just four month the 11-member StarTiger team managed to develop a prototype of high frequency camera in the 100’s of GHz range, and captured the world's first terahertz picture of a human hand. Such a camera could have applications in space and has already found application in non-space domains.

Startiger concept leads to quantum increase in R&D
Startiger concept leads to quantum increase in technology development

The goal of two new StarTiger projects to be started this October is to perform R&D in two technology fields and within six months reaching a quantum increase in the selected technologies. The technologies must first of all have promising perspectives for future space programmes. Addition spin-off potential to terrestrial applications is an advantage.

The projects must result in producing demonstrators presenting the advances in the technologies. Such demonstrators will form the spin of the programmes and will add as a roadmap to guide researchers. Fast and dynamic assessment criteria must be defined and applied.

In order to achieve the successful results the projects will follow the StarTiger basic principles:

  • Selecting a multi-disciplinary group of highly motivated researchers and experts in all necessary aspects of the selected technology domain.
  • Granting the group priority access to state of the art equipment, facilities and computing power, e.g. for testing and production.
  • Providing the group with necessary technical support to avoid unnecessary interruptions.
  • Co-locating the group in a centre that has all the necessary facilities for conducting the research. ESTEC is at this time a preferred host facility, bearing in mind the above objectives, but the interest and value of proposed activities is the driver for selection.
  • Providing the environment that assures that the group can work focused on the project for an intense period, no longer than 6 months, free from administrative burden and everyday day concerns.

The StarTiger approach encourages the investigation of novel ideas deviating from this route, as the primary aim is to achieve technology breakthroughs with the maximum likelihood of success in the shortest period of time.

The Announcement of Opportunity will be issued on EMITS.

For further information, tender conditions and outline proposal submission, please refer to EMITS, ESA’s on-line tender system.

The EMITS reference is "AO5776 STARTIGER INITIATIVE" and is published in the section "Open Invitations to Tender".

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