The evolution of ARTES 3-4 and 5

Within the ARTES programme, elements 5.1, 5.2 and 3-4 play a vital role and are often referred to as the “core competitiveness” programme of ESA. They provide broad support for general development of technologies, products, applications, and services that serve as building blocks to maintain and improve the competitiveness of the ESA Member States' satcoms industries.

Following discussions held regularly since December 2013 with Member States on how the programme might be streamlined and most importantly strengthened to better serve industry, the ESA Directorate of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications (TIA) is pleased to announce the following changes to ARTES 5.1, 5.2 and 3-4, which have been now approved by the Member States.

To start with, the current numbering scheme for these elements have been replaced with more descriptive titles:

  • ARTES 5.1 becomes ARTES Advanced Technology, or ARTES AT
  • ARTES 3-4 and 5.2 are merged to become ARTES Competitiveness & Growth, or ARTES C&G

In addition, the ARTES Newcomers’ Initiative, included in ARTES 3-4, and targeting SMEs who have not worked with ESA before, is renamed ARTES Entry and remains within ARTES Competiveness & Growth.

ARTES Competitiveness & Growth Element (C&G)

The core of the proposed changes within the new ARTES Competitiveness & Growth Element is the introduction of the concept of four Development Phases. These are:

  1. The Definition Phase, which replaces the original ARTES element 3-4 study activity. It is intended to support industry in the initial definition and top level design of the product, along with any systems engineering that may be required to define it and to identify the optimal solution for the target market.
  2. The Technology Phase, formerly ARTES Sub-element 5.2, supports industry in mitigating key technical risks. As in the past, this phase excludes any qualification activities.
  3. The Product Phase, formerly ARTES Element 3-4, supports the development/qualification of the product/application to make it ready for commercialisation.
  4. The Demonstration Phase. Building on the success of the “Atlas” programme, which was established in 2013 to support market entry for space products, this has now been extended to include the pilot phase for applications and the validation phase for ground segment products.

The maximum funding limits for each phase are aligned with the risk associated with those phases and therefore replicates the original ARTES 3-4 and 5.2 funding limits. Thus, all phases are funded up to a maximum of 50%, except the Technology Phase (former ARTES 5.2), which is funded up to a maximum of 75%.

The Member States have also agreed to revised funding levels when universities and research institutes are involved in a project; this will allow industry to work more closely with these partners in developing new products. This partnership should foster innovation and industrial/academic interaction.

An overview of the funding levels and the expected results for each development phase is provided below: 

Development Phase

(Main activities)

Maximum Funding Level

Maximum Funding Level for Entry Initiative
(up to 250k Euro)

Maximum funding level for universities or research institutes with no commercial interest in the product


Definition Phase

(Technical Studies)



50% (up to 30% contract cost)

Performance requirements defined, or system analysis completed

Technology Phase

(technical risk mitigation excluding any qualification or industrialisation)



100% (up to 30% contract cost)

Breadboard, Prototype or Engineering Model

Product Phase

(development, qualification, verification and industrialisation)



50% (up to 30% contract cost)

Space:  (E)QM or similar

Ground: verified product in a non-operational environment

Applications: application validated in a satcom system



For space, ground product and application/services




Flight Phase “Atlas”:
Flight hardware (e.g. PFM)

Operational Validation Phase: Ground Product validated in an operational environment

Pilot Phase: Application/Service validated with relevant users and customers 

Please note that the funding level for an activity is subject to the discretion of ESA and the national Delegation concerned, up to the maximum level identified in the table above. 


Formerly the ARTES Newcomers’ Initiative, ARTES Entry is designed specifically to support SMEs having not worked with ESA within the past 10 years. The Member States have recognized the importance of supporting SMEs and agreed to raise the co-funding level from 50% to 75% as defined in the table above.

ARTES Advanced Technology (AT)

For this element, the Member States agreed with ESA that Industry should be given more flexibility to propose innovative solutions to the technical challenges ESA has identified, and therefore the need for a detailed task description (within the Statement of Work) has been removed and replaced by a requirement to specify the objectives, deliverables and technical performance requirements of the activity. This should give industry more flexibility in the implementation of the activity while still achieving the stated goals within the given budget.


From now on a single industry driven programme with four development phases encompasses the complete trajectory from the idea to the final product/application. This will avoid having to repeat the entire contract placement process that was previously required when an activity moved from ARTES 5.2 to 3-4. 

Moving from one phase to the next will be significantly streamlined. A contract can be simply extended in line with the needs of the targeted product, application or service development.

The new arrangement will also offer National Delegations more flexibility when allocating budgets, as well as facilitating reporting back to Member States on the progress and success of product development.

In addition, the Member States have agreed that the business plan for proposals should be commensurate with the development status. Hence an activity with a low starting TRL proposed in the technology development phase (former ARTES 5.2) does not need to include the type of detailed business plan that is required for later development phases.

“In the fast changing industrial landscape, it is vital for us to continuously fine-tune the ESA- and industry-driven ARTES AT and C&G programme elements and the way they support the European and Canadian satcoms industry. The effort we have undertaken together with our Member States has now resulted in a more streamlined and effective set of tools. This allows ESA to respond more effectively to industry needs.” says Dietmar Schmitt, Head of Technologies and Products Division at ESA.

Now that these important changes have been approved by the Member States, ESA is preparing the necessary Call for Proposal documents to be published in 2016 on EMITS and found here under Funding. In the meantime, industry is invited to submit proposals to the already existing Call for Proposals for ARTES 3-4 AO5891 and for ARTES 5.2 AO6000.

The special Call for Proposals dedicated to Megaconstellations, Megaconstellation AO 8468, will remain open until 30 December 2016.

Update: The new ARTES Competitiveness & Growth (C&G) Call for Proposals has now been published (8 September 2016).

Published 11 December 2015
Last updated at 23 August 2017 - 09:28