2016 SRC Call

Space 2016 H2020 Call on SRC Electric Propulsion

The European Commission has published the final version of the 2016 -17 Space Work Programme. It includes two topics related to Electric Propulsion: COMPET-3-2016-a and COMPET-3-2016-b

You can download the Work Programmehere: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/space

Please take note of the guidance documents for the Electric Propulsion topics: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/doc/call/h2020/compet-3-2016-a/1682607-src_guidelines_in_space_electric_propulsion_(compet-3-2016)_en.pdf

All partners of the Operational Grants and the partners of the PSA EPIC will later sign a Collaboration Agreement in order to ensure that results of the individual projects can be used to achieve the overall SRC objectives. A template for such a Collaboration Agreement can be found here: Collaboration Agreement EPIC_Template and also its Annex1 – Declaration of Accession (in Word version) for its signature and delivery to ESA as PSA coordinator.

Type of Action:

The Type of actions of the COMPET-3-2016 are:

  • COMPET-3-2016-a Incremental technologies Innovation Actions (IA)
  • COMPET-3-2016-b Disruptive technologies Research and Innovation Actions (RIA)


Tentative Opening date(s), deadline(s), indicative budget(s):

The indicative schedule of the 2016 H2020 space call is the following:

  • Opening: 10 Nov 2015
  • Deadline: 03 Mar 2016

The indicative budgets assigned are the following:

  • indicative budget COMPET-3-2016-a (IA): 18 EUR million
  • indicative budget COMPET-3-2016-b (RIA): 5 EUR million


Eligibility and admissibility conditions:

These are the admissibility conditions for the COMPET-3-2016:

  • No beneficiaries of grant agreement EPIC (640199) except DLR research institutes, Eurospace and SME4Space VZW will participate in consortia of proposals submitted under this call for proposals.
  • Considering the nature and objectives of the actions, and in view of favouring wider competition and participation, the European Space Agency will not participate in consortia of proposals submitted under this call for proposals.


Collaboration Agreement – between “Complementary Grants”

COMPET-3-2016 call is part of the SRC on Electric Propulsion, and therefore it includes a requirement to conclude a Collaboration Agreement as part of the overall strategy of the SRC.

Consortium agreement: Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.


Incremental technologies

The incremental technologies as they are defined in the EPIC Roadmap and in the COMPET-3-2016 call, are those considered mature enough at the moment to allow for incremental steps to enable capabilities such as dual mode, higher/lower power, Electric Orbit Raising (EOR), required by a number of applications such as telecommunications, LEO / MEO missions, space science and exploration, space transportation which the current systems (some of them qualified and some with flight heritage) are not able to provide.

Proposals of incremental technologies shall, therefore, enable incremental advances in the already known technologies for Electric Propulsion systems based on:

  • Hall Effect Thrusters (HET)
  • Gridded Ion Engines (GIE)
  • High Efficiency Multistage Plasma Thrusters (HEMPT)

A maximum of one proposal of incremental technologies per aforementioned technology (1, 2, 3) will be selected, with the target of supporting all three technologies.

Proposed requested contribution for incremental technologies from the EU are between these ranges:

  • HET: EUR 7.5 and 11 million
  • GIE: EUR 5.5 and 7.5 million
  • HEMPT: EUR 4.5 and 5.5 million


Disruptive technologies

The disruptive technologies as they are defined in the EPIC Roadmap and in the COMPET-3-2016 call, are emerging technologies that disrupts the status quo of the space sector by replacing the dominant technology and provides a radical improvement in performance that is perceived as valuable by a customer or part of the market, or it opens up new opportunities not possible with the incumbent technology.

If a disruptive technology can be identified early enough, accelerating the development of that technology would help sustain advances in performance.

Emerging technologies that are potentially ‘disruptive’ often underperform compared to the dominant technology in early development phases – the underlying physics may not be fully understood for example and more R&D is required to properly ascertain performance attributes.

Proposals of disruptive technologies are expected on the areas of disruptive technologies for Electric Propulsion and for EP thrusters, that are currently at low TRL (≤ 4) and not part of the incremental line (COMPET-3-2016-a).

The following EP thrusters are an indication ( not in order, non-exhaustively) of the type of EP thrusters and concepts suitable for disruptive technologies on Electric Propulsion::

  • Helicon Plasma Thrusters (HPT),
  • Electron Cyclotron Resonance plasma thrusters (ECR),
  • Magneto Plasma Dynamic thrusters (MPD),
  • Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPT),
  • micro-propulsion electric thrusters, etc.

In addition, transversal relevant technologies for disruptive electric propulsion systems, are part of the disruptive technologies on Electric Propulsion, such as, indicatively:

  • direct drive,
  • radical new PPU architectures,
  • dedicated spacecraft power system architectures and/or materials

Proposals for disruptive technologies shall NOT address incremental thruster technologies (e.g. micro-GIE, etc.). These proposals could be included in the incremental technologies ones.

A maximum of 1 disruptive technologies proposal addressing transversal relevant technologies for disruptive Electric propulsion systems (not thrusters) will be selected; and therefore a maximum of 4 disruptive technologies proposals devoted to specific disruptive EP thrusters will be selected.

The proposed requested contribution from the EU for each disruptive technologies is between EUR 1 and 1.5 million per proposal.


Electric Propulsion System “(EPS)”

For the projects to be developed within the H2020 SRC, the Electric Propulsion System (EPS) does not include: the thrust orientation mechanisms, the tanks, the spacecraft power generation and distribution subsystem.

The Electric Propulsion System “(EPS)” as used in the H2020 SRC documentation is composed of the thruster, cathode (where applicable), PPU and fluidic management system only (Especially important for Incremental line proposals).

Common aspects to all thruster-based systems are:

  • Alternative/non-conventional propellants
  • High power testing facilities and diagnostics
  • EPS testing methods – standardisation of EP testing

These common lines are not meant to be separate projects. All projects should take these common topics into account and propose solutions.



The Guidelines provides additional information in order to clarify what is expected from the proposals to be submitted in response to COMPET-3-2016 (COMPET-3-2016-a and COMPET-3-2016-b respectively).

COMPET-3-2016-a / Incremental Technologies Technical Annexes:

  • TABLE 0 is applicable to and common to all the proposals focused on Incremental Technologies (HET/GIE/HEMPT), independently of the targeted application.
  • TABLES 1.1, 2.1, 3.1 applicable to Telecommunication / Navigation activities for the three types of thrusters (HET, GIE, HEMPT) respectively.
  • TABLES 1.2, 2.2, 3.2 applicable to LEO activities for the three types of thrusters (HET, GIE, HEMPT) respectively.
  • TABLES 1.3, 2.3, 3.3 applicable to Space Transportation/Exploration/Interplanetary for the three types of thrusters (HET, GIE, HEMPT) respectively.
  • TABLES 2.4, 3.4 applicable to Science activities for GIE, HEMPT-based type of thrusters, respectively.

COMPET-3-2016-b/ Disruptive Technologies Technical Annexes:

  • TABLE 4: applicable to and obligatory for all proposals on the Disruptive line