The EPIC Programme Support Activity

The Electric Propulsion Innovation & Competitiveness (EPIC) project aims, between others, to provide a clear integrated roadmap of activities and a master plan for its coordination and implementation through the Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) on “In-space Electrical Propulsion and Station-Keeping”.

The produced SRC roadmap, when implemented through the operational grants of the SRC and coordinated by the EPIC PSA, intends to substantially increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the related EP technologies and achieve the main goal of the SRC, defined to contribute to guarantee the leadership of European capabilities in electric propulsion at world level within the 2020-2030 timeframe, always in coherence with the existing and planned developments at national, commercial and ESA level.

EPIC is also tasked to provide advice and support to the European Commission on the calls for the SRC operational grants, including call texts, technical annexes and further work programme-related documentation, and to assess the evolution and results of those operational grants with respect to the overall SRC roadmap.

In order to fulfill its tasks and as stated in COMPET-3-2014, SPACE-TEC-13-2019 and SPACE-TEC-28-2020, the PSA should deliver as a minimum, across its lifetime of 5 years, the following:

  • the collection and consolidation of requirements for future EP thrusters from European satellite primes,
  • the survey of available European (and non-European) EP technology and its TRL,
  • the identification and definition of all the activities required to address the challenge of this topic,
  • the draft text for the calls intended to fund the SRC operational grants
  • the fully detailed master plan to coordinate all the activities for the whole duration of the SRC,
  • the plan for the analysis and evaluation of the results during the execution of the activities within the SRC,
  • a plan for the specific exploitation and potential use of the SRC expected outputs,
  • and a risk assessment and contingency analysis for the SRC.


Work Package Structure

In order to do so, EPIC has structured its work in the following way (WPS):

As part of Work Package (WP) 2, EPIC is tasked to do a survey of the current worldwide Electric Propulsion (and related) Technologies and their TRL (T2.1), as well as a collection of requirements from all stakeholders (including European primes), assessing potential future missions (T2.2). Both tasks build on the 2014 Electric Propulsion Technologies Harmonisation process, although the consultation should be enlarged to all EU actors by performing additional activities (e.g. survey, workshop).

This process allows focussing efforts on the SRC roadmap’ specific goals. Based on this work, a critical gap analysis of technologies and needs (T2.3) is done, to create the basis for selection of candidate SRC developments, oriented to satisfy both short to medium term (Incremental Advances Line) and medium to long term (Disruptive Line) needs.

The prioritization exercise (T3.1 and T3.2) is the driver and challenge, leading to the selection of priority activities for an SRC roadmap and a master plan (T3.4) for its implementation, aiming to contribute to the European leadership on EP technologies.

As part of WP4, EPIC is tasked to provide a solid advice to the Commission on the call texts for operational grants (T4.1) and continuous support to the Commission and REA to maximize the SRC success (T4.3, T4.6). EPIC analyses the SRC progress (T4.2), evaluate its risks and put a mitigation plan in place (T4.4), and gives support to the Commission on IPR and Legal Matters (T4.5), including the drafting of the SRC Collaboration Agreement.

The EPIC project has a Work Package dedicated to Dissemination of its progress and results, Education and Outreach (WP5), and intends to contribute to the SRC results’ dissemination not only with an exploitation plan but also by actively contributing to the coordination of the dissemination activities of all operational grants.

You can find more detailed information on the EPIC Programme Support Activity here: