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OBSERVER: Join forces with the European Commission in fostering space-based innovation and entrepreneurship in your region! A new season of the Copernicus and Galileo Prizes

25 March 2021 / Source: copernicus.eu

OBSERVER: Join forces with the European Commission in fostering space-based innovation and entrepreneurship in your region! A new season of the Copernicus and Galileo PrizesCSO Tanya Walker
Thu, 25/03/2021 - 11:44

Europe has a dynamic and fast-growing private sector that uses data and signals from Space for the development of innovative applications. In the last decade, this development was mainly driven by start-ups and small companies, uniting young, and talented professionals, who integrate space-based solutions with new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), to name a few.  The European Commission has not only recognized this trend and its importance but has also actively provided funding and support to new ideas and young businesses across Europe by successfully implementing a series of space-based entrepreneurship actions. Hence, a wide range of supporting activities has enabled innovators and entrepreneurs to start benefiting from the vast amounts of Copernicus data related to climate, atmosphere, land, marine, security, and emergency management or use the accuracy of the Galileo signal, while developing new solutions for global challenges. 

A key element of the Commission’s approach is to foster new business ideas and attract countries, regions or institutions to get involved in the promotion of Copernicus and Galileo and “unchain” their innovation potential. The joint initiative by the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA) – the Copernicus and Galileo Prizes, launched in 2020, is the center component addressing this approach.

2020 recorded the successful launch of the Copernicus and Galileo Prizes within the Copernicus Masters and the Galileo Masters, the two innovation competitions, organised by AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen.  In the last over 15 years, both established competitions have proven successful in boosting the rise of the new space-downstream industry in Europe. The expected positive impact by using them as the launchpad for the Copernicus and Galileo Prizes proved successful, evident in the final statistics from last year:

•    897 participants from 52 countries submitted 350 new Earth observation and satellite navigation business;
•    The prize pool reached EUR 1.5 million in 2020;
•    About 170 international experts from industry and research were involved in the evaluation and 48 winners have been awarded;
•    131 international partners (research institutions, universities, technology parks, incubators, industrial partners and banks) from 34 countries were involved.
To take advantage of the rich  regional diversity in Europe and to stimulate  job growth potential and regional development opportunities, a strong backbone of both competitions was formed by 30 Prize partners in 2020. , Prizes. All these partners provided participants with valuable support in launching their businesses across Europe and going forward will continue to do so for the winning teams. 
Why the Copernicus and Galileo Prizes matter?
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has mobilized public funds in an amazingly short time, both for the recovery and to stimulate transition in many areas. In the same time, innovative ideas and ground-breaking solutions continue to emerge. The space data and technologies have been acknowledged as the backbone for the implementation of the Green Deal and the digitalization of the European economy. The Copernicus and Galileo Prizes unite these three aspects and focus on empowering local and regional resources and capacity to further motivate the people who have the knowledge and experience to continue their innovation journey. And often, the real innovation is hidden behind the simple things in life – we only have to find it, unlock its potential and support its further development. The 2020 Copernicus and Galileo Prize winners, who also brought home the Copernicus Masters and Galileo Masters Overall Winner trophies, are excellent examples of discovering young innovators and offering to back their development on their way to establish successful commercial businesses:
 
ReefSupport – Simplifying Marine Businesses

Copernicus Prize The Netherlands Winner 2020
Copernicus Masters Overall Winner 2020
Left to right: Crystle Wee, Yohan Runhaar, Marcel Kempers, Marijn van der Laan, Eilidh Radcliff from Reef Support Copyright: Reef Support
Reef Support is an automatic warning system to detect coral bleaching, algal blooms, sediment plumes, and debris caused by humans. Their solution addresses both the environmental and the economic aspects at hand with state-of-the art technology. Its user-friendly online monitoring and maintenance tool uses AI and satellite imagery to track coastal reef health and provides guidelines for crowd and pollution control, debris management, and coral restoration. Different types of data can be combined to form a picture of reef ecology across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. The Reef Support platform can be used for strategic planning and resource management in aquaculture farming. Its deep learning algorithm adapts to user applications and regional tendencies. Small business owners can quickly access its subscription-based service, which is available for both iOS and Android. 
 
Angsa Robotics – The Autonomous Trash Collection Robot

Galileo Prize Bavaria Winner 2020
Galileo Masters Overall Winner 2020
The founders of Angsa Robotics (from left to right): Karl Schulz, Lukas Wiesmeier and Bilal Tariq, © Angsa Robotics
Angsa Robotics developed Germany’s first autonomous rubbish robot. “Clive” can move independently and detect and localise individual objects based on its unique artificial neural network architecture, which enables it to clean grass and gravel areas. Individual objects such as crown caps or cigarette butts are targeted for collection, but insects are spared. Angsa Robotics thus not only reduces the negative impact of rubbish on the environment. Since conventional sweeping machines designed for flat asphalted surfaces cannot be used, other types of areas typically must be cleaned manually. Hence, “Clive” also creates an economic benefit for its customers. Its target use cases include the cleaning of festival venues after events and the daily cleaning of parks and other green spaces. 
2020 will be surely remembered by Angsa Robotics, as they not only have been awarded a Galileo Prize and the Galileo Masters Overall Winner trophy, but also won one seat on the Galileo Incubation Programme, co-funded by the European Commission, which includes an incubation and acceleration prize package worth up to EUR 62,000. 
In the course of this year, both winning teams, consisting of young and highly educated professionals and graduates from prestigious European universities, will continue to build on the success of 2020 and start actively benefiting from the supporting mechanisms, offered by the European Commission, GSA and the Copernicus and Galileo Prize local partners in The Netherlands and Germany/Bavaria. The local engagement and support following the awarding is of essential importance and the Copernicus and Galileo Prize unlock its potential. 
How to bring the Copernicus and Galileo Prizes to the next level?
In 2021 the European Commission continues to support start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs: a total of 58 prizes will get co-funding of up to €10,000 each to foster new business ideas and attract regional and local partners to join efforts for a successful implementation of of a new round of these competitions. Incubators, accelerators, innovation centres or other business support intermediaries, regional development agencies, chambers of commerce, technology transfer organisations, space agencies, a universities, ministries or commercial companies, are welcome to become a Copernicus and Galileo Prize partner. Interested organizers from the to the European Union countries the European Economic Area (EEA), European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) area and other countries, with whom the European Union (EU) has space dialogues are invited to join the Copernicus and Galileo Prizes 2021.
For more information please visit the Regional Partners website, as well as the Galileo Masters and Copernicus Masters ones.
 

Thu, 25/03/2021 - 12:00

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