content 16-December-2018 21:23:49

Doing business with PRODEX

This page describes the steps to be taken for doing business with PRODEX.

Supplementary information can be found in the ESA-PRODEX Management procedure (pdf, 0.2 MB).

Research Institutes or Industry are strongly advised to first contact the PRODEX National Point of Contact at the National Space Authority, to understand the rules and procedures that are applicable in their country to obtain the Delegation endorsement for an Experiment implementation under PRODEX.

PRODEX business process

The business process is separated into two phases, with Phase 1 the pre-endorsement phase (before the Delegation confirms/endorses the funding for the activity) and Phase 2 the post-endorsement phase (after the Delegation has confirmed/endorsed the funding for the activity through PRODEX).

These phases are sequential.

Phase 1: Pre-endorsement phase – National level

The so-called pre-endorsement does not formally involve the PRODEX Office. However, the PRODEX Office can provide advice to the Delegations of the Participating States or scientific and industrial teams during this phase.

Phase 1, Step 1: During the pre-endorsement phase (definition phase), the scientific or industrial teams elaborate on their Experiment project and discuss with their Delegation its potential implementation through PRODEX funding. As illustrative examples, the project can be:

  • Some experiment studies or pre-development activities,
  • A full science instrument provision,
  • A contribution to a science instrument for an ESA mission,
  • A contribution to a nationally-led mission,  
  • A contribution to a mission led by international partners (e.g. participation in a NASA or Roscosmos mission)
  • Data processing activities
  • A microgravity experiment to be carried on the International Space Station,
  • etc.

The rules governing this preparatory phase are specific to each Participating State. Therefore, before making any significant work and before making any commitment it is strongly advised that the scientific or industrial teams contact first their National Point of Contact for PRODEXand discuss their plans for getting their Delegation approval for an implementation under PRODEX.

Phase 1, Step 2: Finalization of the project and request for PRODEX funding.

  • This process is nationally driven; each Delegation will communicate to their teams the national requirements in terms of proposals, documentation, presentations, selection process, etc.
  • The decision whether or not to fund an activity resides solely with the Participating State Delegation.
  • The Delegation sends a Letter of Endorsement to the PRODEX Office (prodex-management@esa.int), asking the PRODEX Office to implement the activity and defining the associated boundary conditions
  • The Letter of Endorsement shall be accompanied by the corresponding Activity Proposal to be implemented by the PRODEX Office. An Activity Proposal Template is available from the corresponding National Point of Contact for PRODEX.

Phase 2: Post–endorsement phase: PRODEX implementation of the endorsed activity

Two cases are considered:

Case 1: Activity intended for an ESA mission or future mission
Case 2: Activity intended for a non-ESA mission (e.g. a national contribution to a NASA mission)

Phase 2, Case 1: Activity intended for an ESA mission or future mission

The process is as follows:

  1. PRODEX receives the endorsement letter from the Participating State delegation, with the corresponding proposal (mandatory) approved by the delegation.
  2. PRODEX verifies that the Research Institute agreement is signed between the Research Institute and ESA. If there is no Research Institute agreement, or if there was no open contract between the said Research Institute and ESA for the last 12 months, an Institute Agreement is prepared and sent for signature to the Signing Authority.
  3. The PRODEX Head of Office or Technical Support Manager nominates a Technical Officer.
  4. The Technical Officer reviews the proposal.
  5. A presentation meeting is organised (when needed).
  6. PRODEX forwards the contract template (the PRODEX Experiment Arrangement, available from the PRODEX National Point of Contact) to the investigator at the Research Institute.
  7. The Institute completes the contract template with PRODEX support.
  8. When the programme of work and the financial plan are duly reviewed and agreed, PRODEX signs the contract and implements the contract.
    • Recall that the contract can only be signed by ESA if the PRODEX Office has received, from the National PRODEX Point of Contact, the official Letter of Endorsement and approved activity proposal, duly signed.
  9. The PRODEX Technical Officer monitors the progress of the contract and reports to delegations.
  10. If an industrial contract is required then it is implemented as per the ESA procurement rules. The Investigator will support the ESA Technical Officer in writing the requirements.

Phase 2, Case 2: Activity selected as part of a non-ESA mission

The process is as follows:

  1. PRODEX receives the Letter of Endorsement from the Participating State delegation, with the corresponding proposal (mandatory) approved by the delegation.
  2. PRODEX presents the selected activities to the relevant ESA programmatic body for endorsement (where applicable).
  3. PRODEX coordinates the preparation of the relevant documents and presents the case to the relevant boards of the Agency in order to get the relevant endosements; the support of the project's scientific team may be required.
  4. Then the same process is followed as for Business Case 1, starting from its step 2.


Last Update: 13 November 2018

For further information please contact: SciTech.editorial@esa.int