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Announcement of Opportunity: Space Cluster Infrastructure Funding Call
24 May 2023
The UK Space Agency is excited to announce the launch of a new fund, dedicated to Space R&D Infrastructure.
The Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) will award more than £50 million in matched funding, to companies and academic institutions, as part of a competition to increase the capability, capacity, and connectivity of the UK’s space R&D infrastructure.
Aimed at supporting the development of the types of pioneering space products that helped the UK to establish its reputation as a space-faring nation, the fund is open to organisations of all sizes and locations, with a weighting towards those outside of the Greater South-East.
The infrastructure SCIF is catalysing with this fund, will enable UK space organisations to accelerate pioneering products and applications that will become critical for the success of future space missions while making a lasting and valuable contribution to the wider UK economy.
The information and documents that follow this announcement provide relevant background information on the fund, including the strategic context; policy challenges; key objectives; expected benefits; match funding details; submission process; mandatory requirements; exclusions, and draft copies of relevant documents that must be agreed as part of any award. It is essential that you read and understand this.
The competition will run for a period of 6 weeks and the last date for applications is midday on 5 July 2023. Proposals will be evaluated by a team of independent experts, over a period of 3 weeks. From this work, a shortlist will be prepared and included in the Full Business Case, which is subject to final approval by DSI&T. Grants cannot be agreed, and therefore funding cannot be released, prior to this.
A list of FAQs has been posted on the UK Space Agency website. If you have any questions please contact the SCIF team at email@example.com.
2. Strategic Context
2.1 The National Space Strategy
The National Space Strategy (NSS) sets out a bold and compelling ambition to put the UK “firmly in the front rank of the global space industry”. Maximising investment into the UK space sector is critical to realising this ambition and the UK Space Agency has set this as its ‘North Star’ metric.
Uncovering the opportunities from this rapidly developing sector, along with government’s intention to ‘build one of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world’ are at the core of what SCIF has set out to achieve. In particular, SCIF is aligned with the following goals:
2.2 NSS Goal 1 - To Grow and Level Up our Space Economy
Establishing industrial R&D facilities outside of London and South-east will build the reputation of local Space clusters as hubs for the development of cutting-edge technology and products for space. UK Space Agency’s investment will unlock further local public funding, attract private investment, and directly support creation and retention of highly skilled jobs across the UK.
2.3 NSS Goal 3 - to Lead Pioneering Scientific Discovery;
SCIF funded projects will support the development of British-supplied technology that could facilitate some of the most ambitious Space missions or industrial advances of the 21st century and continue to boost the UK’s leadership in the space science and exploration sector.
2.4 DSI&T Priorities
In addition to the NSS Goals, SCIF is aligned with the following DSI&T priorities:
Backing Long-term Growth
SCIF core objectives (see section 4) will ensure that it aligns with the above strategic priorities. With SCIF objectives 1 and 2 delivering against NSS Goal 3 and DSI&T’s Unleashing Innovation priority. Objective 3 will deliver NSS Goal 1 and help to back long term growth.
3. Policy Challenges
The following 4 policy challenges have been identified which, if not addressed, place delivery of the NSS and the Departmental priorities at risk:
Making domestic infrastructure available to space organisations so that they can develop, test and qualify, innovative space technology and products, in advance of being launched into commercial markets or space missions
Improving the attractiveness of space infrastructure investment to private sector investors
Connecting our space R&D infrastructure; making it accessible to other organisations, for the benefit of the wider sector
Balancing public investment into the sector on a more geographically equitable basis.
SCIF will aim to address these challenges by providing private sector investors with the confidence that space R&D infrastructure is a safe market to invest in. SCIF will therefore catalyse investment at a greater pace and scale, whilst offering a mechanism for primes and suppliers to work together, developing products for this rapidly expanding market.
4. Key Objectives
Objective 1 - Building. Establish a pilot programme to fund strategic investments in UK space R&D infrastructure. This investment must be aligned to the National Space Strategy ambitions and enable space organisations to mature their products in anticipation of being available for space missions or launched into commercial markets. Investments must be completed by the end of the current SR period (March 2025), with benefits estimated over the life of the infrastructure asset.
Objective 2 - Connecting. Create a census of UK Space Infrastructure and work with space sector partners to improve the co-ordination and availability of infrastructure assets throughout the UK, with the aim of exploiting the UK space offering as a whole, rather than the sum of its parts. Raising awareness, connecting opportunities and linking up clusters locally and nationally, SCIF will increase the number of collaborations and partnerships between local businesses, universities, clusters, and infrastructure facilities.
Objective 3 - Levelling Up. Sustainably grow and spread Space investment and the creation of new jobs across the UK, and accelerate the growth of newly connected space clusters, SCIF will aim to distribute at least 55% of all investment outside of the Greater South-East.
5.1 Direct Benefits
The UK Space Agency anticipates the following direct benefits, i.e. those falling within the lifetime of the Grant Funding Agreement (GFA) and this SR, to include:
stimulated private investment, initially in the form of match funding and latterly through confidence in the sector
increased capacity and capability, freeing up bottlenecks or expediting the development of new products and reducing the time to market
increased revenue as a result expediting, creating or having access to new infrastructure
the generation of new knowledge, skills and processes into the sector
5.2 Indirect Benefits
In addition to the recurring direct benefits, the UK Space Agency anticipates the following indirect benefits, i.e. those falling beyond the lifetime of the GFA and this SR, to begin to be accrued by other organisations in the space sector, and further afield. These include:
product and process innovation with UK space companies creating enhanced technologies
catalysing investment in the form of increased sales revenue or further investment
increased skills and productivity within the UK space sector.
raised productivity and productive potential in non-space sectors.
technology diffusion and adoption (spill-overs) - UK firms outside of the space sector become more productive through the commercialisation or adoption of space infrastructure.
a stronger presence in the global space market, increased reputation and the ability to attract more highly skilled people
These lists are not exhaustive and the UK Space Agency welcomes your thoughts on additional benefits - supported by clearly defined, and evidenced, assumptions.
6. Assessment criteria and timelines
6.1 Organisation Stability and Standing
Prior to assessment, organisations will be subject to due diligence which will include:
assessment of the financial health of an organisation and any associated entities
confirmation of ownership and other Companies House records
published commentary, included media statements by the organisation and any associated entities.
Scoring of the proposals will be weighted according to the percentages contained in the chart below. A summary of each weighting has also been provided for context.
6.3 Strategic Value to the UK Space Economy (40%)
How well the proposal enables the development of mature, cutting-edge technology – relevant to today’s industry needs
6.4 Connectivity (20%)
How well the proposal connects the wider space ecosystem and / or is able to demonstrate supports the accelerated growth of a connected network of local space clusters
6.5 Catalysing Investment (20%)
The future contract revenue and capital investment generated from the UK Space Agency’s investment.
6.6 Management & Planning (20%) – Min. Score 7/10
The Agency’s confidence in the delivery and operating plans included within your proposals; in particular that these will be delivered on time and to budget, with a high level of certainty in the assumptions used to underpin the values of benefits and risks.
A copy of the marking criteria can be found at Appendix B
6.7 Levelling Up
In line with the government’s ambition to deliver the Levelling Up agenda, the first 55% of funding will be awarded to qualifying proposals outside of the Greater South-East. The Greater South-East includes: Greater London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex. The remaining 45% of funding will awarded to the highest ranked fundable projects, inside of the United Kingdom.
The Agency reserves the right to alter this figure if the quality of proposals does not meet the objectives stated above.
You should submit your proposal to the SCIF Team using the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. You will receive confirmation of receipt of your submission within 48 hours of sending it. If you do not receive confirmation, please contact the team using the contact details at the front of this announcement.
A process map and schema has been provided at Appendix C
The closing date for applications is midday on 5 July 2023.
A table detailing the evaluation activities and current plan dates is shown below. Please be aware that this is subject to change.
|Call Closed||5 July 23|
|Compliance Sift Complete||7 July 23|
|Evaluation Complete||20 July 23|
|Moderation Complete||27 July 23|
|SRO Endorsement||04 August 23|
|IPA Gateway 3 Approval||12 August 23|
|UK Space Agency Exec Board Approval||30 August 23|
|DSI&T Approval||28 September 23|
8. Mandatory Requirements
It is a condition of the award that the following documents must be completed and / or accepted, prior to submitting your proposal. Submission of your proposal will be taken as acceptance, unless stated otherwise.
As part of the application for funding, applicants must review and accept the terms of the UK Space Agency’s published grant agreement. Only minor amendments will be considered. This will enable projects to start soon after evaluation and proposal selection has been completed.
A Draft Grant Offer Letter has also been included within the call documents, to demonstrate the terms that successful applicants will be required to sign up to. This should be reviewed by Applicants. Inclusion of the Draft Offer letter does not constitute any offer of work or payment by the UK Space Agency at this stage and is provided for information purposes only.
The Agency will only accept applications made on the template provided and the following conditions apply:
i. No adjustments to the formatting, size, or other parameters are permitted
ii. All sections of the Application Form are mandatory;
iii. The UK Space Agency will only consider material up to the designated page limit
iv. All application forms must be completed in Arial font, size 11, and submitted electronically in pdf format.
8.3 Financial Model
See attached template.
The UK Space Agency reserves the right to:
adjust the criteria, including the timetable, at any point.
reject proposals that are not compliant, or provided in accordance with this announcement
recover any award from any recipient found to have misrepresented statements made in relation to its proposal or the proposal process;
withdraw this competition at any time;
reject any proposal that would qualify as a Subsidy of Particular Interest (SoPI) in accordance with the Subsidy Control Act 2022
Projects that have received previous public funding on this or a related project in excess of £10 million in total not eligible for this call. Likewise, any entity that have had previous funding within a sensitive sector, in accordance with the Subsidy Control Act 2022 of £5 million for this project are ineligible under this call. This call does not cater for the delivery of a Subsidy of Particular Interest under the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Any award that would be categorised as such, due to cumulative project spend, or within a sensitive sector will not be considered. Further guidance can be found within the Subsidy Control statutory guidance summarised in Appendix A, or available in full here.
10. Monitoring and Reporting
The GFA includes a number of requirements to keep the Agency or its representative, regularly informed of progress associated with the execution of this award. As a minimum, and no less frequently than monthly, this should include:
Milestone Report detailing:
the Actual Milestones claimed, including the acceptance criteria, against Baseline, Change Controlled or Forecast Milestone Plans, for the Period.
a forecast schedule for future Milestones, including the reasons for any changes to the Baseline, or previously reported dates, and the probability of achieving this date, expressed as a percentage.
Financial Report detailing:
statements of actual Allowable Costs incurred to deliver the Milestone, and proof of final payments and any credits made, and the name of the organisation making the payment.
aforecast schedule of Future Allowable Costs for remaining Milestones, including the reasons for any changes to the Baseline, or previously reported costs, and the risks with delivering over / under these costs, expressed in GBP.
Benefits Report detailing:
description of the benefits achieved, supported by quantitative and verifiable information, appropriate for the figures claimed.
a forecast schedule of Future Benefits, including the reasons for any changes to the Baseline, or previously reported benefits, and the risks with delivering over / under these estimates, expressed as a percentage.
Risk Report detailing
details of risks that have materialised in the Period, along with any quantitative and qualitative impact
a register containing a description of the risks associated with delivering the remaining milestones along with the probability and impacts of the risks materialising. These should be expressed as a percentage and in GBP, respectively. Where mitigations are identified, a post-mitigation probability and impact assessment should also be provided.
Under the terms of the GFA, organisations will provide the UK Space Agency’s auditor with access to its accounts, supporting material including personnel, for up to 1 day a year, at the Agency’s discretion.
There following requirements must be met by all grant recipients:
Grant Recipients must have a UK bank account and all grant payments will be made in UK sterling (as per grant funding agreement)
All Grant Recipients must have in place and provide evidence of appropriate anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies
All Grant Recipients must provide evidence of a process for declaring and managing conflicts of interest
All Grant Recipients must be able to provide evidence that they are GDPR compliant
Grant Recipients must pass due diligence checks on company viability (financial standing assessment, governance, conflicts of interest, technical expertise)
Contracts, or equivalent agreements between organisations must be in place within 60 days of the approved GFA, with draft copies provided in the proposal
12. Guidelines for Projects
Payments made from this agreement are on a cost recovery basis only. Grants are solely intended to cover the cost of delivering the agreed Milestones. Any underspend cannot be claimed for other any other Milestone unless the UK Space Agency has agreed to this in advance and a Grant Funding Change has been executed.
Grant Recipients cannot receive any funding from other grants/contracts to undertake work on the same project.
Grant funding cannot be rolled over between financial years unless the UK Space Agency has agreed to this in advance and a Grant Funding Change has been executed.
13. Finance Policy
For audit purposes, all organisations must use a separate, project-specific, bank account or project accounting code for income and expenditure associated with their proposal.
The UK Space Agency will only pay invoices supported by proof of actual costs.
The Grant Recipient honours to pay its share of all Milestone costs in a timely manner, and at all times in accordance with the terms and conditions of its suppliers. This includes all Actual or Forecast Costs that exceed the total cost contained in the proposal, or otherwise agreed with the UK Space Agency in advance of any costs being incurred and a Grant Change Notice (GCN) executed.
Staff costs must be calculated on actual cost recovery basis. This should be presented by breaking down the actual pay costs (see below), with any overheads individually identified and presented in full with a description of what these costs cover.
Pay costs are calculated based on your PAYE records. They should include gross salary, employer National Insurance (NI) contributions and employer pension contributions. Pay costs must not include:
any profit margins
commercial charge-out rates
allowances for bonuses and benefits in kind
travel and subsistence
These pay rates will be subject to checks during the negotiation stage by internal or external teams to ensure that day rates reflect actual costs. High payroll costs will be challenged and evidence (such as pay slips, etc.) must be provided to justify that the rate is on a cost recovery basis only.
When making grant claims against labour costs, actual costs claimed must be supported with timesheets of individuals who have worked on the project.
In the Financial Template, you are asked to provide a pay cost per day. Using actual gross monthly payroll costs, please assume 225 working days in the year
We understand that organisations calculate overheads in different ways.
This section offers 3 options for overhead costs:
No overheads. You can select this option if you are not incurring or claiming grant for your overheads
The 20% of labour costs option allows you to claim 20% of your labour costs as overhead. This includes both direct and indirect overhead. Selecting this option allows us to review a successful grant application much faster as no further documentation is needed from you.
The calculate overheads option asks you to complete calculations for claiming direct and indirect overheads. Any value claimed under this method will need to be reviewed by our project finance team if your application is successful. This is so we can assess the appropriateness of the overhead value you are claiming.
Full overhead recovery or full absorption costing is not eligible.
Please note that once the overhead is calculated and approved it cannot be exceeded at any time throughout the project life.
For option 3 you must complete the overhead calculation spreadsheet and return with your grant submission.
The spreadsheet has 2 sections to fill:
Indirect (administration) overheads
Once each section is completed the ‘Total overheads’ will calculate your total amount, for review by the UK Space Agency.
13.2 Indirect (administration) overhead
Selecting the indirect (administration) overheads link will take you to a template you’ll need to complete to calculate these costs.
We class indirect overheads as those costs associated with back office functions (such as finance, HR, administration staff) whose primary function is to support the running of a business enterprise. Typically these costs are not directly related to a particular product or service production.
Indirect overhead costs are eligible for inclusion if they are incurred directly as a result of undertaking the project. They must be additional, which means over and above your business as usual costs. Requests for higher then 20% overheads that cannot clearly demonstrate the additional resource specifically due to the grant being undertaken will be rejected.
Where you have already identified specific ‘indirect’ individuals working directly on the project, these should have been captured in the labour costs (section) together with their attributable overhead. We have provided cost categories in the template. The table below provides our definition for each category.
|Board and senior management||The proportion of salary costs (including employer’s NI) of the board and senior management of the company. This should be where they are engaged in strategic or administrative tasks. Do not include those working directly on the project or who are customer facing or operational.|
|Administrative staff||The salary costs (including employer’s NI) of main administrative staff, such as receptionists and central administration. Do not include administrative staff employed to support sales, marketing, account management and profit generating departments.|
|Human resources staff||The salary costs (including employer’s NI) of human resource staff.|
|Employed estates staff||The salary costs (including employer’s NI) of employed cleaning, maintenance, security and other estates staff.|
|Finance department staff||The salary costs (including employer’s NI) of main finance department staff, such as payroll, accounts payable and receivable. Do not include staff employed to support sales, marketing or account management activities.|
|Administrative support temporary/agency staff costs||This should include fees paid for the provision of temporary staff in administration or support services as listed above. Do not include any staff that are operational, such as marketing, sales, engineering, quality assurance, research and development and supply chain.|
|General office IT services||Include general IT services used across the whole organisation. Do not include IT costs where they relate purely to non-eligible staff or manufacturing, production or fee earning activities.|
|General postage||Include postage and courier expenses for general administration needs. Do not include product delivery or any postage costs incurred through promotion, sales, marketing customer relationship or accounts management.|
|Office supplies, printing and stationery costs||General office stationery and supplies such as paper, business cards, corporate stationery, office equipment for support/admin staff listed above. Do not include specific costs associated with sales, marketing, product delivery, product literature or reports.|
|Security and safety costs||Include costs associated with site and staff safety and security including signage and health and safety costs.|
|Building maintenance: administration office facilities only||Include general repair and maintenance costs of administration facilities. Do not include repair and maintenance of manufacturing/production facilities and exceptional items such as new works or extensions which are not eligible for inclusion in this section.|
|Building rental: administration office facilities only||Where office space is leased include the rental costs. Do not include rental costs relating to manufacturing/production facilities and the cost of any deposits or penalties.|
|Contracted site services: administration office facilities only||Costs of contracted services relating to administration facilities such as cleaning of offices. Do not include contracted service costs related to manufacturing/production facilities.|
|Site property taxes: administration offices facilities only||Property taxes and charges relating to office space. Do not include manufacturing/production facility property taxes and charges.|
|Utilities: administration office facilities only||Electricity, gas, water, waste disposal, telecoms costs relating to administration office facilities.|
The following is a step by step guide to help you fill in the relevant details to make your costs claim for indirect overhead.
13.3 Column A
Starting with your latest set of audited accounts please input your details against the relevant cost category in column A. If you are a new company or this information is unavailable, please use internal management accounts or forecast data.
Note that for the administration support staff costs section, the costs included here must be based upon PAYE (gross salary, NI, company pension contribution, life insurance). They should exclude discretionary package costs such as bonuses, awards, PRP and dividends. In addition please exclude any members working directly on the project who are customer facing or those engaged in operational/production areas.
13.4 Column B
In this column you should detail the proportion of the costs outlined in column A that represent core administration activity. You should follow the definitions and eligibility criteria outlined in the cost categories table above. You can use a percentage.
13.5 Column C
In column C please state what percentage of these costs you would assess as being additional and directly attributable administration activity to the project you are undertaking. By additional we mean over and above business as usual and specific to the Grant.
13.6 Column D
Based upon the details you’ve given in the previous columns, column D will automatically calculate the costs you’ve stated as being attributable to this project.
13.7 Column E
In column E you will need to provide some description of the cost constituents.
Once you have filled in this data you will see a percentage calculation (column F). This calculates what you consider as being eligible indirect overhead costs for your project (D) as a proportion of the annual audited figures (A). To save you time we use this calculated percentage and apply it to the remainder cost categories you have completed.
Any administration costs that are ineligible in this section but which directly relate to the project (for example based on invoices), should be claimed as direct costs within other sections of the finance form.
Completion of the indirect overheads template will calculate an annual total which will be proportioned for the length of time you are working on the project. You will see a per annum, per month and a per project cost. The per project costs will form your total indirect overheads as a monetary value.
Once you have filled out your indirect overheads information choose the ‘return to the overheads section’ to take you back to the main overheads section. Here you will see a summary of your indirect overhead.
13.8 Direct overhead
Selecting the direct overheads link will take you to a template you’ll need to complete to calculate these costs.
We understand that in undertaking a project you may incur associated costs with those staff working directly on the project. We refer to these as direct overheads. Typical costs in this area could include direct staff provision of laptops (non-capital only), desks, office (such as occupancy, facilities and utilities) and IT infrastructure and systems. This section is provided in free format for you to list out such costs.
Direct overhead costs must be directly attributable to the project you are undertaking and should not represent a full recovery methodology inclusive of redundant, spare capacity time or cost.
You should detail the costs and include a description of each item together with the methodology or basis of apportionment used. This should include the calculations that support the claimable costs. This will help us to validate these costs if your project is successful. If your costs have been subject to an independent audit verification we may ask you to provide this report to support our financial eligibility reviews.
Please note that costs associated with laboratories or workshops should be included within the other costs section of the application form.
Once you have completed the direct overhead you should select ‘return to the overheads section’. You will return to the main overhead section where you will see a summary of your overhead claim for both direct and indirect overheads.
14. VAT Rules
Grant funding is outside the scope of VAT so you cannot charge output VAT on top of your submitted costs. If you incur non-recoverable input VAT costs, you cannot pass this on to UK Space Agency.
14.1 Ineligible expenditure
The following costs are ineligible:
influence Parliament, Government or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action;
Using grant funding to petition for additional funding;
Input VAT reclaimable by the Grant Recipient from HMRC;
Payments for activities of a political or exclusively religious nature;
Goods or services that the Grant Recipient has a statutory duty to provide;
Payments reimbursed or to be reimbursed by other public or private sector grants
Contributions in kind (i.e. a contribution in goods or services, as opposed to money);
Depreciation, amortisation or impairment of fixed assets owned by the Grant Recipient;
Interest payments (including service charge payments for finance leases);
Gifts to individuals;
Entertaining (entertaining for this purpose means anything that would be a taxable benefit to the person being entertained, according to current UK tax regulations);
Statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties; or liabilities incurred before the issue of this funding agreement unless agreed in writing by UK Space Agency;
Employee paid benefits and bonuses;
15. Travel and Subsistence
The following outlines the guidelines for travel and subsistence costs. Value for money must always be considered. If for any reason the set limits cannot be adhered to (e.g. to accommodate a reasonable adjustment), you must seek prior written approval from UK Space Agency. No claims for alcohol will be accepted.
The UK Space Agency reserves the right to not settle claims which have breached these guidelines. All expenditure must be supported by actual, itemised receipts.
Accommodation: £140 per night
All travel claimed must be using Economy rates.
Tolls, Ferry Costs, Parking and congestion charge: Receipted costs for ferries, and tolls bridges and roads unavoidably incurred during your business journey may be claimed. Reasonable parking charges may be claimed. Receipted congestion charges unavoidably incurred on your business journey may be claimed.
16. Grant Recipient Code of Conduct
All organisations in receipt of grant funding must abide by the UK government Code of Conduct for Grant Recipients: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/754555/2018-11-06_Code_of_Conduct_for_Grant_Recipients.pdf
17. Annual Audit of Project Costs
All projects over £250,000 will be subject to an external annual audit to ensure that costs claimed from the grant funding have been expensed on agreed project related expenditure and comply to UK Space Agency grant funding policies (e.g. match funding). The auditor will be appointed by UK Space Agency. All subcontractors and partners must provide access to project relevant expenditure. Therefore, Grant Recipients must maintain, and be able to provide upon request, any supporting evidenced as deemed necessary, such as:
timesheets (prime and, where applicable, partners)
staff costs (contractors)
all receipts (including T&S)
all partner and subcontractor invoices
breakdown of overhead costs
breakdown of capital usage (e.g. licence, data costs etc)
The UK Space Agency reserves the right to conduct ad-hoc audits throughout the life of the project.
18. Due Diligence
UK Space Agency will carry out due diligence on grant applications as required using internal and, where necessary, external subject matter experts. The scope and degree of due diligence will be determined by the value, nature and complexity of the grant scheme. All applications will be subject to basic checks such as credit reports and Companies House checks.
Additional pre-award due diligence include:
technical assessment of the proposed project: including technical viability and sustainability;
financial assessment: organisation financial standing/health, assessment of project costs, aid intensity values and match funding contributions;
economic impact / VFM assessment
commercial: viability and / or commercial sustainability of the proposed solution, market position, demand and / or interest in technology, terms of the grant funding agreement; and / or
programmatic: alignment to aims and objectives of the programme, programme plan which demonstrates the project can be delivered within the funding period and the critical path, risks and issues, details on project partners and / or subcontractors.
Post-award due diligence may include, but if not limited to:
technical assessment of milestone deliverables against acceptance criteria to allow milestone payments to be released;
financial: assessment of expenditure for each milestone payment and reporting on planned costs, follow up review of financial standing/health if it is a multi-year project
commercial: change management including any variations to time, cost, scope, or GFA terms; review of milestone deliverables as required;
programmatic: project progress and impacts of any delays, risk assessment and mitigation activity; and
end of project review: Has the technical and economic value been realised? Lessons learned and continuous improvement.
UK Space Agency commissioned and funded financial audit of Grant Recipient, and if applicable project partner, costs.
Grant Applicants who opt to work with project partners, companies involved in delivery of the project under a flow down agreement rather than a subcontractor, will assume all responsibility for partner due diligence.
Applicants will need to demonstrate they have carried out a sufficient level of due diligence with regard to their proposed project partners and subcontractors. Applicants will need to demonstrate they have carried out minimum checks at proposal stage, which may require further scrutiny if the proposal is to be funded.
To meet this requirement, applicants can provide evidence of due diligence carried out supported by the resulting information or submit a partner reasonable assurance statement. The evidence should be consistent with the checks that we would conduct on our Grant Recipients, for examples, financial standing, technical ability and scrutiny of the breakdown of costs. Any costs associated with project partner due diligence is considered a bidding cost and is to be borne by the applicant.
Applicants must provide evidence that they, and project partners have in place of appropriate anti-bribery and anti-corruption internal policies, and a process for declaring and managing conflicts of interest.
19. North Star Metric
19.1 What is the North Star Metric?
The North Star Metric is a quantitative metric which measure the level of revenue and investment in the UK Space Sector which can be attributed to UK Space Agency supported. Data is gathered as an agreed requirement of UK Space Agency grants and contracts from the recipients of those grants and contracts/
19.2 Why is this data being collected?
The UK Space Agency works to ensure that our investment in space brings about real benefit to the UK and its people.
Consistent monitoring and evaluation of our programmes is vital so we understand how well we are delivering the UK Space Agency’s objectives. This in turn helps us to ensure we are delivering the National Space Strategy, and informs how we prioritise our resource, select the projects we invest in, and make the case for future public spending on space.
We therefore require, as a condition of funding, that all recipients report the benefits they receive as a result.
The data allows the agency to show the benefits of the UK Space Sector and UK Space Agency spending, these benefits justify UK Space Agency spending.
19.3 What data will be collected?
Reporting will primarily involve four key elements:
Total Internal Investment
Total Private Investment
Additional detail on funding sources as appropriate
This information will be collected via a simple table below. Please note that data will not be shared with other companies and that it will be held securely in an anonymised form so that you cannot be directly identified.
19.4 How will the data be collected?
When beginning the grant or contract recipients will be asked to provide name and contact details of the person in your organisation who will be responsible for providing this information.
The data is to be reported at regular grant or contract management meetings on no less than every 6 months from the start of the activity covered by this agreement.
At the end of the grant or contract period the grant manager will decide a reasonable date with the grant or contract recipient at which time further data collection will be reasonable. Data will be required for at least 5 years after the completion of the activity covered by this agreement.
Where the length of benefit realisation would be longer than 5 years, the UK Space Agency may require an extended reporting period. This is to ensure that we are capturing the full benefits of an activity that has a long time period before those benefits are realised. Where this is the case the UK Space Agency will agree with grant recipients beforehand at the time at which a further request for information is sensible.
19.5 How will data privacy be maintained?
The information provided will only be used by the UK Space Agency and not shared with any other parties. Aggregate information may be presented more widely but this will be fully anonymised and not be attributable to any individual organisation.
In addition, this information is being used to assess the Agency’s impact on the space sector and is not intended to be used as a way to evaluate how the grant is being managed.
19.6 Attribution to UK Space Agency support
Data should only be reported where it could be reasonably stated that the revenue and/or investment in question would not have occurred without UK Space Agency’s funding. Where the revenue and/or investment may have only been partially realised in the absence of UK Space Agency’s funding, best efforts should be made to estimate the proportion of contract revenue and/or investment which can have been said to have occurred as a result.
20.1 Appendix A - The Subsidy Control Act 2022
20.2 Subsidy Control Guidance for Grant Applicants
1) The UK Space Agency supports organisations to invest in research, development and innovation. The support we provide is consistent with the UK’s international obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control (see further information at Annex A).
2) Before awarding subsidies, the UK Space Agency must ensure that the subsidy scheme meets the terms of the principles as determined in the Subsidy Control Act 2022:
The principles are that:
subsidies should pursue a specific public policy objective to remedy an identified market failure or to address an equity rationale such as local or regional disadvantage, social difficulties, or distributional concerns (“the objective”)
subsidies should be proportionate to their specific policy objective and limited to what is necessary to achieve the objective
subsidies should be designed to bring about a change of economic behaviour of the beneficiary that is conducive to achieving the objective and that would not be achieved in the absence of subsidies being provided
subsidies should not normally compensate for the costs the beneficiary would have funded in the absence of any subsidy
subsidies should be an appropriate policy instrument to achieve a public policy objective and that objective cannot be achieved through other less distortive means
subsidies’ positive contributions to achieving the objective should outweigh any negative effects, in particular the negative effects on trade or investment between the Parties
subsidies should be designed to achieve their specific policy objective while minimising any negative effects on competition or investment within the United Kingdom.
To ensure this competition provides funding in line with the UK’s obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control:
The intervention rates detailed in Annex 2 shall apply unless:
a) the bidder seeks to claim exemption from having to make a contribution under the Minimal Financial Assistance Allowance (previously known as de-minimis under State Aid & Small Amounts of Financial Assistance under Trade & Co-operation Agreement) rules.
b) the bidder is a research or public sector organisation or charity:
When referring to research organisations, UK Space Agency uses the definition from the Framework for state aid for research and development and innovation which states:
“‘research and knowledge dissemination organisation’ or ‘research organisation’ means an entity (such as universities or research institutes, technology transfer agencies, innovation intermediaries, research-oriented physical or virtual collaborative entities), irrespective of its legal status (organised under public or private law) or way of financing, whose primary goal is to independently conduct fundamental research, industrial research or experimental development or to widely disseminate the results of such activities by way of teaching, publication or knowledge transfer. Where such entity also pursues economic activities, the financing, the costs, and the revenues of those economic activities must be accounted for separately. Undertakings that can exert a decisive influence upon such an entity, for example in the quality of shareholders or members, may not enjoy a preferential access to the results generated by it.”
Within UK Space Agency, this means:
universities – higher education institutions
non-profit research and technology organisations (RTOs), including “catapults”.
public sector organisations (PSOs)
public sector research establishments (PSREs)
research council institutes
research organisations (ROs)
This list is not comprehensive and is subject to change and exceptions.
For this call Research organisations undertaking non-economic activity will be funded as follows:
- Academia & RTOs: 60% of full economic costs
Research organisations should be non-profit distributing to qualify. They should explain how they will disseminate the output of their project research as outlined in the application.
Research organisations which are engaged in economic activity as part of the project will be treated as business enterprises for the purposes of funding
20.3 Public sector organisation or charity
Public sector organisations and charities can work with businesses to achieve innovation through knowledge, skills and resources. These organisations must not take part in any economic activity or gain economic benefit from a project. They can apply for 100% of funding for their eligible costs under the following conditions:
They are undertaking research (this may be experimental, theoretical or critical investigation work to gain knowledge, skills or understanding vital to the project)
They meet requirements for dissemination of their project results and they state in the application how they will do this
They include their eligible costs for research purposes in the total research organisation involvement
They make sure they are not applying for funding towards costs which are already being paid by the public purse such as labour and overheads.
20.4 Third sector
Third sector organisations are primarily voluntary and community, such as associations, self-help groups, mutuals and cooperatives. Third sector organisations can be non-funding partners in a project.
Bidders must identify the work proposed, and this must be consistent with the work programme described in the technical case. Note that the company size defines the maximum ‘Intervention’ rate (and hence the minimum required PV level) that is permitted (see Annex A). Bidders will be expected to justify the category of work selected.
Bidders must ensure that they supply the correct information that allows UK Space Agency to award grants within the scheme. It is the responsibility of the grant funder to ensure compliance with the relevant Subsidy Controls rules and the bidder to assist the funder in doing this by acting within the terms and conditions of the scheme. Further guidance about subsidy control is available on the gov.uk website:
###ANNEX A to Appendix A – Subsidy Control
20.5 Subsidy Control (and State aid where relevant)
The UK Space Agency supports UK based businesses to invest in research, development, and innovation. The support we provide is consistent with the UK’s international obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. These include:
the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), (see EU-UK TCA summary and guidance)
in certain circumstances (e.g. under the Northern Ireland Protocol) EU State aid regulations may also be applied
other bilateral UK FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) where relevant
Subsidy Control Act 2022.
20.6 What is a subsidy?
For the purposes of UK international commitments, a subsidy is a measure which:
Is given by a public authority. This can be at any level; central, devolved, regional or local government or a public body.
Makes a contribution (this could be a financial or an in-kind contribution) to an enterprise, conferring an economic advantage that is not available on market terms. Examples of a contribution are grants, loans at below market rate, or a loan guarantee at below market rate or allowing a company to use publicly owned office space rent free. An enterprise is anyone who puts goods or services on a market. An enterprise could be a government department or a charity if they are acting commercially.
Affects international trade. This can be trade with any World Trade Organisation member or, more specifically, between the UK and a country with whom it has a Free Trade Agreement. For example, if the subsidy is going towards a good which is traded between the UK and the EU this could affect trade between the EU and the UK. It is not necessary to consider whether the subsidy could harm trade, just whether there could be some sort of effect. Subsidies to very local companies or a small tourist attraction are unlikely to be a problem as this is unlikely to affect international trade.
The BEIS Subsidy Control regime (or where relevant EU State aid regulations) are designed to prevent unfair advantages and distortion of trade: Complying with the UK’s international obligations on subsidy control
More information on the principles of awarding subsidies can be found in the BEIS guidance.
20.7 Subsidy Control Categories and Intervention Thresholds
The following table summarises the maximum intervention thresholds allowable level of support under this UK Space Agency grant calls.
|Subsidy category||Level of support available|
The following table summarises the UK definition of what constitutes an SME:
|Company category||Staff headcount||Turnover||or||Balance sheet total|
|Medium sized||< 250||≤ £36m||≤ £18m|
|Small||< 50||≤ £10.2m||≤ £5.1m|
|Micro||< 10||≤ £632,000||≤ £316,000|
To qualify for any category, the company must meet at least two of the above conditions (staff headcount, Turnover or Balance sheet total) within both the current financial year and the year previous.
Anything above the limits for a medium sized company is designated as a large company. For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.
Other sources of public funding are not eligible as a Private Venture (PV) / match funding contribution.
20.8 Minimum Financial Assistance and EU de minimis awards
The Subsidy Control Act 2022 has provision relating to Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA)
For organisations applying under MFA, the total subsidy which can be given to each organisation is up to a maximum of £315,000 over a rolling 3 fiscal year period. This threshold is subject to change and grant recipients should consult the subsidy control guidance for regular updates.
When calculating eligibility for the application of the MFA provision bidders must include cumulation of EU State aid de minimis grants under the EC’s de minimis regulation and Small Amounts of Financial Assistance (SAFA) under the EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) for the same 3 fiscal year period. The maximum total under the EC regulation is €200,000, the maximum total under SAFA is £340,000 or 325,000 Special Drawing Rights. This is for all project types and for most purposes, including operating aid. You must complete and provide UK Space Agency with a declaration as part of your response.
The declaration asks you to tell us about any awards, including those made under de minimis and SDR, (from any source of public funding) over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.
If you have received an award under de minimis or SDR for the same period, this will be added to your total allowance under MFA. This means that the total award must not exceed £315,000) for any one organisation. You must declare this allowance to any other funding body who requests it.
This guidance is not a substitute for taking independent legal advice on your eligibility status, before applying for funding. Every applicant is responsible for securing their own independent legal advice to ensure they are lawfully eligible.
Please note the UK Space Agency is unable to award organisations that are considered to be ailing and insolvent companies. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.
21. Appendix B – Marking Criteria
|Strategic Value of proposal to UK Space Eco-system (40%)|
|This section examines: How the proposal enables the development of mature, cutting-edge technology – relevant to today’s industry needs.|
|Proposers must demonstrate: Details and supporting evidence of how the investment will positively impact the UK Space Ecosystem, in particular:|
|How the proposal enables exploitation of global markets and delivers a step change in the UK’s share of the commercial space market; or how the proposal meets a strategic need, i.e. provides a domestic capability that was previously only available overseasFocussing on benefit to the UK Space Ecosystem and how the gains made by the UK in the global market will promote proposals from industry that are complementary, rather than in direct competition with UK industry actors. As part of your answer you should consider the following: · How does your proposal enable exploitation of global markets and deliver a step change in the UK’s share of the commercial space market: · How does the proposal meet a strategic need, i.e. provides a domestic capability that was previously only available overseas: · Why is UK Space Agency funding required and any added value of public funding|
|Rationale: At a macro level, the space economy is about market share, held at country level. As part of trying to encourage a growth mindset, UK Space Agency is attempting to steer industry away from direct competition with each other and to instead work towards bigger prizes that are more achievable as a result of collaboration. Focussing on benefit to the UK Space Ecosystem and the gains made by the UK in the global market will promote proposals from industry that are complementary rather than in direct competition with UK industry players.|
|Highest scoring (8,9,10) : Proposals will provide a comprehensive demonstration of how the investment will impact the UK space market with a mature capability in defined markets. The proposals will demonstrate a high likelihood of success, with any weaknesses recognised alongside opportunities to address and correct. Proposals will detail and schedule realistic market projections, deliverables with strong consideration given to addressing technical or scientific risks of the project. Proposals will include detailed plans and evidence to demonstrate a clear strategy for adopting the solution|
|Moderate scoring (5,6,7) : Proposals will provide a good demonstration of how the proposal will impact the UK space market performance, with a slightly less mature capability in a slightly less defined market. Proposals will clearly demonstrate how the proposal will impact the UK space market. The proposals will demonstrate a good chance of success, with any weaknesses recognised alongside opportunities to address and correct. Proposals give some thought on the risk return potential of their proposal. Realistic project deliverables over the period covered by the grant with some thought given to technical risks, mitigation, or impact.|
|Low scoring (1,2,3,4) : Proposals will provide little or no evidence demonstration of how the proposal will impact the UK space market performance, with a capability that is not yet established. The proposals are not able to demonstrate anything more than a fair chance of success, with weaknesses not identified. Proposals give little or no thought on the risk return potential of their proposal. Basic project deliverables over the period covered by the grant with little thought given to technical risks, mitigation, or impact.|
|This section examines: How connected the proposal will be to the wider space ecosystem and how the proposal supports the accelerated growth of a connected network of local space clusters|
|Proposers must demonstrate: Details and provides supporting evidence of how the proposal connects the space stakeholder community from a technology perspective in particular:|
|-terms and plans including any outreach activity that will be made to enable access to this proposal by other industry stakeholders|
|- work undertaken to explore compatibility considerations included in the proposal including geographic, technology and user needs.As part of your proposal you should consider the following: · Describe the terms and plans including any outreach activity that will be made to enable access to the infrastructure funded by this proposal, by other industry stakeholders, include details such as percentage of time reserved for external users, costs, when this time will be available (from launch or later?), and how work will be scheduled/prioritised. · If you are applying as a consortium, consortium members are included as ‘other stakeholders’. Explain how the consortium will operate after the grant has concluded. · Work undertaken to explore compatibility considerations included in the proposal including geographic needs, strategic technology fit and user needs: · Any tools and techniques you will deploy. · how this project supports sector or cross-sector connectivity|
|Highest scoring (8,9,10) will provide extensive, detailed evidence of stakeholder need and offer examples of how this proposal addresses all stakeholder needs geographically (location / proximity), technically (compatibility) , and functionally (capability). Showcasing an extensive stakeholder engagement strategy, with a significant number of external contacts already engaged. The proposal is able to demonstrate how and when it will provide access and under what types of arrangements and to whom. A total cost of ownership model has been included where any types of cost recovery is suggested.|
|Moderate scoring (5,6,7) proposals will provide a broad if not deep evidence of stakeholder need and offer examples of how this proposal addresses most stakeholder needs geographically (location / proximity), technically (compatibility) , and functionally (capability). Showcasing a robust stakeholder engagement strategy, with a number of external contacts already engaged. The proposal is able to demonstrate they types of situation and periods it will provide access and to whom. A total cost of ownership model has been included where any types of cost recovery is suggested.|
|Low scoring (1,2,3,4) : proposals will provide limited evidence of stakeholder need without examples of how this proposal addresses those needs geographically (location / proximity), technically (compatibility) , or functionally (capability). There is no engagement strategy, with a number of external contacts still to be engaged. The proposal is unable to demonstrate the types of situation and periods it will provide access or to whom. A total cost of ownership model has been included but is found to be lacking|
|Catalysing investment (20%)|
|This section examines: The future contract revenue and capital investment generated from UK Space Agency’s investment.|
|Proposers must demonstrate: How UK Space Agency’s funding leverages other investments, prospects for follow-on fundraising and commercial revenue.It may be helpful to include the following details:Explain how the proposal will continue to be funded, once the grant funding has ceased, including ongoing operating costs including warranty, maintenance and other support agreements.Explain also what the commercial opportunity is for your organisation(s). Capacity building and training is critical to ensure on-going maintenance and evolution of the product – so describe how will this be achieved.|
|Rationale: The UK Space Agency North Star Metric is used extensively throughout the Agency and measures the total value of investment and income the Agency helps the sector to raise.|
|Highest scoring (8,9,10) proposals will provide extensive, detailed evidence of the benefits that the funding would enable them to provide to the UK economy, including UK-based employment and contract opportunities. It will include a coherent and coordinated strategy to catalyse investment through new investment or contract revenue and include a quantitative assessment as to the potential scale of additional revenue and investment unlocked as a result of further developing the project. The costs of any activities proposed for grant funding will be very well justified and strongly linked to outcomes and benefits. Risk, maturity and uncertainty will be well developed and made clear through the application with regards to the projects benefits and investment realisation plan.|
|Moderate scoring (5,6,7) proposals will provide some evidence of the benefits that the government funding would enable them to provide to the UK economy and some justifications for grant funding are adequately linked to outcomes and benefits. The proposal will include direction and aims to catalyse investment although without a robust strategy.|
|Low scoring (1,2,3,4) : provide little, poor or no evidence of the benefits that the government funding would enable them to provide to the UK economy OR the costs of any activities proposed for grant funding are poorly justified and not linked to outcomes and benefits. There will be little to no evidence of a strategy to catalyse investment.|
|Sound Management & Planning (20% + Min. score of 5)|
|This section examines: The Agency’s confidence in the delivery and operation of the proposal, on time and to budget. the realisation of benefits, management of risk|
|Proposals must demonstrate: The strength of the proposal including background, experience and track record of the team, the credibility of the proposed project delivery plan, and the value for money aspects of the project. Proposals should demonstrate · An effective structure in place for managing the administration and monitoring delivery against the grant funding: · A robust plan underpinned by a recognised methodology and alignment with the National Infrastructure Commissioning guidelines, including mitigation plans for critical path items: · The ability to deliver within the grant funding limit, and plans that will be deployed in the event the forecast outturn exceeds the grant funding limit. · Background, knowledge and experience of all key participants: Describe the background, knowledge and experience of all organisations and key project staff involved in the project. It is expected that all applicants will have a mix of skills and experience relevant to the delivery of your project. Do not include CVs in your application. All proposals should also include enough information to assure UK Space Agency that the project will be correctly and appropriately managed. The following items must be included: · Milestones are used by UK Space Agency to monitor performance of the project and understand how effectively your objectives are being met. KPIs associated with these should be SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time bound).|
- Work packages and deliverables should be clearly defined.
- Milestone table - Milestones must be linked to grant payments and payment will only be released once the milestone has been achieved and approved by UK Space Agency. Milestones should be clearly linked to work packages.
- Budget Breakdown – see Financial Model. *Defined risks and evidence of risk management. |
Rationale The technical credibility of a proposal is secondary to the team’s ability to deliver it. Therefore a minimum score of 50% is required for functional and technical expertise (i.e. Chief Engineers Office) proposal to successfully pass through the other evaluation criteria
|Sound Management & Planning (20% + Min. score of 7)|
|Highest scoring (8,9,10) Proposals include details of consistently delivering projects of a similar scale and complexity, at pace. A robust approach to risk and programme management that is aligned with industry best practice. The team will be made up of SQEP, named and under contract to enable the grant funding to be administered correctly. The proposal clearly describes how the team drive both the delivery of the proposal and a commitment to securing the benefits outlined in the proposal. Risks will be clearly identified with detailed mitigations, providing a clear picture of the practicality and viability of the proposal. Proposals will demonstrate a robust supply chain strategy with value for money demonstrated in the sourcing and development of the proposal.Moderate scoring (5,6,7) Proposals include details of having delivered at least one similar project in terms of scale and complexity. Proposals will demonstrate an approach to risk and programme management that is partially aligned with industry best practice. The team will be made up of SQEP, roles to enable the grant funding to be administered correctly. Some evidence of risks will be provided, alongside general mitigations, Proposals recognise supply chain risk are able to demonstrate a broad understanding of how the supply chain will be managed to meet delivery milestones as planned. Proposals will consider value for money as well as project documentationLow scoring (1,2,3,4) : provide limited evidence or fail to demonstrate consideration of suitable risks and mitigations. No or little consideration of value for money and poor explanation of supply chain management.|
22. Appendix C – Submissions Process
This diagram is being adapted for accessibility.
22.1 North Star Metric
Examples of information that will be evaluated
Equity investment from a venture capital fund which can be attributed to the development of a new technology funded by the grant or programme
Awarding of a grant from non-government organisations to further develop an idea which was initially funded by the grant or contract
Foreign direct investment that can be attributed to a company experiencing growth as a direct result of receiving the UK Space Agency grant or contract
A parent company diverting funds toward the company to aid in the delivery of the programme originated by the grant or contract
The purchase of large capital equipment to further research initially aided by the grant or contract
Investment of R&D funds within the company to exploit and idea initially proposed as part of the grant or contract programme
Direct sales of any good or services which have been developed by grant or contract funding
Income of spinout companies which have been established using a technology developed by the grant or contract funding
Total Income of sub-sectors of the space market which have been newly developed as a result of the grant or contract funding
Partial attribution of the revenue received from a future government contract which would not have been won without the development of a technology developed as part of the grant or contract programme
Additional Impact on Investment that cannot be quantified
A qualitive description of the investment benefit generated from grants which have a negligible direct impact on investment, but these grants are critical to compliment company technology strategies
A description of how the human capital improvements brought about by the grant or contract would lead to a more highly skilled workforce attracting investment in the UK Space industry from foreign investors.
An assessment of how a technology developed by the grant has led to wider developments in the technological ecosystem which have generated their own investments and revenue.
22.2 Examples of information that should not be reported
Grant funding received from the UK Space Agency – The Agency does not measure it’s grants success by the awarding of further grant in the future
Full attribution of equity investment that can only be partially attributed to the grant or contract – If a grant or contract contributed to but is not the direct cause of receiving the investment then best efforts should be made to state the exact contribution of the grant or contract.
Match funding invested as a requirement of the grant – This information should be reported but in the separate field provided
Funds redirect to divisions within organisations which in truth would have gone ahead without the grant or contract funding – If the grant or contract is part of a wider programme or division which receives additional funding this should only be counted if there is strong evidence these funds would not have been reallocated without the grant or contract being received
Grant or prize funding received from government or non-government organisations – This is considered private investment
The Value of the grant or contract itself – This should be reported in the separate field provided
Additional Impact on Investment that cannot be quantified
- Qualitive assessment of benefits that can reasonably be quantified – This field is a compliment to the other information provided and not a replacement
If you have any specific questions on this requirement, please contact the UK Space Agency programme manager or named UK Space Agency contact.