Technical Support FAQ

Context & objective

The exceptional technical capabilities available within the ESA BIC network can be instrumental to give start-up products technical superiority, and in turn a competitive edge.  

Start-up companies being incubated in an ESA BIC incubator (whether on the basis of technology spin-in or technology spin-off) do qualify for technical support, within the limit of 80 hours. 

The technical support is meant to facilitate the design and / or the verification of the prototype of a product, service or application. 


WHAT type of technical support can be requested?

Technical support can be provided in the form of technical consultancy, and/or access to facilities (e.g. for testing or prototyping purposes). 

Note that software licensing is not a form of technical support. However, special deals are available to ESA BIC incubatees. 


HOW much technical support can be supplied?

Each start-up company can request up to 80h of technical support by technical experts. NB: Only labour does consume "support time". Access to facilities per se does not.  

Beyond this time envelope, or in case a start-up company did not find relevant support from a technical organisation within the ESA BIC network, it can contract an organization of its choice. The cost of such technical support can then be covered by the incentive budget, as long as the support is aimed at designing or testing their product.


WHO provides technical support?

Each ESA BIC organizes the technological support ad hoc. In principle an ESA BIC establishes an agreement together with one or several local technological partner organizations (NB: for ESA BIC Noordwijk, the local technical partner is ESA/ESTEC). Such a local technical partner organization can be contracted to provide technical support, upon request from a start-up companies.

In addition to the local support, incubated companies can request technical support from ESA (even when ESA is not the local technical partner). Such support is then granted based on ESA best effort. Such ESA support can prove particularly relevant in the following cases:

  • The start-up company exploits an invention made by an ESA expert.
  • The start-up company needs to receive support in a technology field which is covered by ESA but not by the local partner(s).
  • The start-up company needs to make use of specific hardware (e.g. test facilities) available in ESA but not in the local partner's organisation. 


HOW to get started with technical support?

To receive technical support, a start-up company shall follow the following stepwise process:

  1. Check out in the Space Brain available facilities & expertise within the ESA BIC network. 
  2. Inform BIC manager & possibly discuss eligibility and or suitability of intended request.
  3. Initiation of request:
  • If the request is intended to the local technical organizations, the BIC manager will coordinate the request with the local partner. 
  • If the request is intended to ESA, the entrepreneur is requested to fill out the online form for “BIC Technical Support Management Form”.


Do you have further questions or feedback to provide? 

  • About local technical support: Contact your local BIC manager.
  • About ESA technical support: Send an email to or call +31 71 565 4020.