2015 European Satellite Navigation Competition and Copernicus Masters launched at Houses of Parliament



The House of Commons yesterday hosted the official launch of the 2015 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) and Copernicus Masters, both of which are being supported by the Satellite Applications Catapult.

The ESNC is Europe’s leading space business competition, and aims to identify new innovative applications using satellite navigation, positioning and timing technology (i.e. GNSS). It supports individuals or companies to rapidly accelerate their idea into a commercial success, with the UK winner receiving a cash prize and extensive business support worth £10,000, as well as entry into the ESNC Grand Prize with the chance to win an additional £14,500 (€20,000). UK entrants have achieved considerable success in the competition, winning the overall prize twice in the past 11 years and consistently placing in the top five.

The Copernicus Masters competition is designed to help stimulate innovative solutions for business and society, based on Earth observation (EO) data delivered by Sentinel-1A. Sentinel provides a wealth of data and imagery that is at the core of Europe’s flagship programme, Copernicus. The total prize pool is worth €300,000, with the overall winner receiving a cash prize of €20,000.

The Catapult is managing the UK leg of the ESNC, along with the Copernicus Masters’ Smart Cities and Intelligent Transport challenge, which offers the winner a Catapult business support package worth £10,000.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “Following last year’s record number of UK entries to the ESNC, and the response we had to our 2014 Copernicus Masters challenge, we’re very keen to build upon these successes, given our commitment to helping entrepreneurs and innovators take their ideas or solutions and turn them into commercially viable products or services.

“Some of the past competitions’ winners have gone onto generate great success, so I would strongly encourage any entrepreneurs or businesses with an idea in either satellite navigation or Earth observation to enter one or both of these competitions.”

The UK leg of the ESNC is also supported by Innovate UK, the UK Space Agency, Airbus Defence and Space, Marks and Clerk, the University of Nottingham, CGI, Ashby House, and the ESA Business Incubation Centre, Harwell.

Delivering the keynote speech, Maureen Kinsler, Partner and European Patent Attorney, Marks and Clerk, commented: “The Space sector is seeing an influx of new companies coming up with innovative applications for satellite technology, benefiting many different kinds of industries. Many of the companies we work with have benefitted from the support given by public organisations and the initiatives they run, like the European Satellite Navigation Competition. With this support, they are much better equipped to turn good ideas into successful businesses.”

Mark Stevens, Business Development lead for Navigation within Airbus Defence and Space UK, added: “The recent proliferation of GNSS equipment and associated applications demonstrates that diverse uses for accurate location and timing information are continually being identified and developed. The ESNC provides a real opportunity for individuals or companies to present their new ideas to an ever-expanding audience – and potentially be supported down the path to a whole new business.”

During May, the Catapult will host a series of workshops around the UK where people can find out more about the competitions, learn from previous winners, and receive feedback in confidence on their ideas. Details about these workshops can be found on https://sa.catapult.org.uk/events.

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To speak to someone directly about your idea or queries about the competition process, please contact the UK ESNC team at ukesnc@sa.catapult.org.uk or call 01235 239637.

ESNC closes on 30 June 2015 and Copernicus Masters closes on 13 July 2015.

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