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Call for Ideas

To identify and demonstrate disruptive space innovations

based on ideas and concepts

Call for Ideas 2022

The Call for Ideas EAGLE NEBULA is now open.


EPFL Space Innovation Unit (SIU) is initiating a new Call for Ideas to foster low Technology Readiness Level (typically TRL 1-2) research and development studies related to space activities. The present call is reserved to Space Innovation Unit members.

The aim of this Call is to identify and demonstrate disruptive space innovations based on ideas or concepts and to initiate collaborations between SIU members. Thanks to a short-term implementation and light administrative requirements, the selected studies shall focus on technical and/or scientific work.


The two main objectives of this Call for Ideas are to foster and promote SIU members’ technological and scientific competences that have a clear potential for space products and applications as well as to initiate collaborations between SIU members. More particularly, this Call for Ideas aims:

  • to foster the development of novel ideas and disruptive concepts related to the space sector;
  • to encourage collaborations between SIU members, including new coming entities and start-ups, encouraging them to pursue in the space domain and evaluate the potential of their proposed idea;
  • to better position SIU members with regard to future European and global activities and
  • to support the development of novel technologies and services for future space science and technology applications.


For this Call for Ideas, all topics can be addressed as long as they target potential future space products and/or services.

The proposed topics can be genuinely novel space ideas or spin-ins from non-space application domains. As a general rule, a transfer from non-space to the space domain decreases the Technology Readiness Level TRL of existing technologies by 1-2 levels.


The present “Call for Ideas” is open to Space Innovation Unit members only. For each proposal it is required to have a consortium of minimum two different SIU member entities that collaborate. The requested funding for each participant in the consortium shall be higher or equal to 20% of the total requested funding.

Submission of the proposals

Only proposals received by Friday 14 October 2022 at 2 pm (14:00) will be accepted for evaluation. Proposals, written in English, shall be submitted in electronic format (PDF) to the following address:

Space Innovation Unit
Gilles Feusier
PPH 337, Station 13
CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel: +41 21 693 69 76

Questions and requests

All questions related to this Call for Ideas shall be submitted by email to Gilles Feusier, at the latest 5 working days prior to the submission deadline. All applicable information will be published in this section below.

Q : Is Space Innovation equivalent to Space Innovation Unit?

A : Yes, Space Innovation is officially a unit of EPFL.

Q : Where can I find a list of Space Innovation’s members?

A : The list of our members can be found on our website Members page. On that page you will also find a link to download our Members’s profiles, listing all our members, their competencies as well as points of contact. You can also go to the Members Profiles page for a web version with selecting tools.

Q : Will the results of the activity be made public?

A : See call, page 7 section “Intellectual property rights and confidentiality” – “With the exception of the title of the study and the lead entities, no information about the funded projects will be publicly available, unless prior written consent is obtained from the proposers.

Q : Shall each partner of a project submit its own application?

A : Only one application shall be submitted by a consortium for an activity proposal. The entities participating to the consortium shall be listed in the cover letter and a very brief description may be include in the proposal. Key personal involved in the project shall also give an indication about the participating entities. The goal is to reduce as much as possible the administrative layer for this call, hence full ESA type proposals are not expected.

Q : Which themes are addressed by the call?

A : No specific themes are addressed by the call. If needed, proposers can refer to Space Innovation’s Strategic Plan 2022-2025 (version 3 revision 1, dated 05.11.2021), which has been distributed to all members’ point of contacts (note: it is available upon request).

Q : What is the expected TRL level for the study?

A : TRL 1-2 (cf. introduction of the Eagle Nebula call for idea document). The TRL definition is given in

Q : Shall a cover letter be included?

A : Yes, a signed cover letter shall be included, containing as a minimum the coordinates of the proposers (exact entity names, addresses). Including other information in the cover letter, like the funding request, would also be highly appreciated.

Q : When is the start of the activity?

A : The expected start of the study is January-March 2023 as described in the Eagle Nebula call for idea document.

Q : What is the Eagle Nebula?

A : Eagle Nebula is a region of active current star formation as seen on the picture at the top of this page (cf.

Q : What is the status of the evaluation?

A : You are certainly all very impatient to obtain the results of the Eagle Nebula call for ideas. As we have received many very interesting proposals and are still in the evaluation process, the announcement has been postponed to the beginning of 2023.