The tremendous amounts of data produced by the European Earth observation programme Copernicus and its Sentinel satellites hugely benefit science and public authorities and open the door to countless products and applications in a wide array of business sectors. The European Space Agency (ESA) and Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) have thus initiated the Copernicus Masters competition to aid visionary entrepreneurs in bringing their innovations to market.
“Start-ups and SMEs in particular stand to benefit from the virtually limitless scope of the data Copernicus provides,” affirms Prof Dr Volker Liebig, Director of Earth Observation Programmes and Head of ESRIN, European Space Agency (ESA). “The ideas submitted to previous editions of the Copernicus Masters have already demonstrated this to impressive effect, as has the constantly growing number of companies that are developing products and services based on Earth observation data in ESA’s business incubation programme.”
These companies operate in a diverse range of fields, where they address subjects like resource efficiency in agriculture, the construction industry, and renewable energy. The Copernicus Masters, meanwhile, is also looking for new services and products in forward-thinking segments such as big data, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, data visualisation, and mobile applications, to name just a few.
In this year’s edition, prizes will be awarded in topic-specific challenges sponsored by a number of world-class partners, including: ESA, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), T-Systems International GmbH, Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd., Greece’s National Cadastre and Mapping Agency (NCMA), CloudEO AG, and European Space Imaging GmbH. In addition, the new University Challenge specifically addresses students and research assistants around the world.
“We and our partners are offering the participants space for innovation in areas that are already shaping the future – the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, smart cities, and renewable energy, for example,” states AZO managing director Thorsten Rudolph. “We want to support them in realising their creative solutions to these global challenges.”
“Taking part in the Copernicus Masters gave us the chance to make some key contacts and gather valuable feedback,” reports John Smedegaard, a co-founder of Ceptu, which won the CloudEO Farming Challenge in 2014. “The whole process was a huge help in advancing our idea and developing it into a commercial product through our new start-up.”
Experts from the realms of research and industry will be tasked with selecting the winner of each challenge. The overall winner – the 2015 Copernicus Master – will receive (along with their challenge prize) EUR 20,000 in cash and a satellite data package worth a further EUR 60,000, which is being provided with the financial support of the European Commission.
All of the winners will be announced this autumn and recognised as part of a festive awards ceremony.
For all of the details on this year’s prizes, partners, and terms of participation, please visit www.copernicus-masters.com.
Additional information on the Copernicus programme is available at: http://www.esa.int/copernicus & www.copernicus.eu
Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen – an experienced organiser
AZO has been carrying out the Copernicus Masters competition on behalf of ESA since 2011. By leveraging its extensive experience as a specialist in building and maintaining global innovation networks and organising related competitions, the company supports product innovations and the creation of new businesses, particularly in the field of commercial aerospace applications. www.anwendungszentrum.de