2018 ‘Farming by Satellite’ Prize launches today

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Registration for the 4th edition of the Farming by Satellite Prize was officially opened today by Deputy Director General Pierre Delsaux, DG Grow, European Commission who was speaking in Brussels at the European Parliament during the Conference “Agriculture: a new frontier for the European space policy” organised by MEP Eric Andrieu.

The ‘Farming by Satellite Prize’ has a top prize of €5,000 and asks the question: “How can we use satellite technologies to improve agriculture and reduce environmental impact?”.

Dr Andrew Speedy, Chair of Judges, said: “We’re looking for new ideas and innovations, particularly those relying upon Europe’s satellite navigation services EGNOS, Galileo and the European Earth Observation programme, Copernicus. What’s different this year is that students and young professionals are invited to complete their projects in the summer vacation.  We’re anticipating submissions featuring hot topics like Big Data, augmented reality, farming 4.0, artificial intelligence and more!”

Finalists will be invited to a major event for the judging and awards ceremony, with all expenses paid. In the past, this has been at the SIMA agricultural show in Paris, a Space Solutions conference in Prague and most recently, International Green Week in Berlin. A similar venue is being arranged for late 2018.

The competition is an initiative of the European GNSS Agency and the European Environment Agency, and is sponsored by CLAAS, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of agricultural machinery. The aim of the prize is to promote Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Earth Observation (EO) services in agriculture.

It ran for the first time in 2012 with previous finalists including young people from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Topics have ranged from geo-referenced online data platforms, swarm technologies, precision seed planting robots, crop type detection and evaluation systems, and a new forecasting system for rice production.

The winners of the most recent competition were a team from ISA Lille in France with their proposal for optimisation of plant cover properties using satellite imagery. Commenting on the wider impacts of the win, team member Louise Vernier said: “It helped me to find an internship. I’m actually an apprentice student (70% at work and 30% at University) in a grain trade company, in the innovation service. During the job interview, my manager asked me a lot about the Prize! I think it made him choose me rather than someone else.”

Fellow team member Marie Rolloy recommends people to have confidence and go for it: “You just have to analyse the needs of a market and make a brainstorming on all the solutions you can imagine. Winning the prize was a real opportunity for me. First it gave me a wonderful professional experience, and above all confidence in my capacities to create innovations. The Prize allowed us to meet many companies and to expand our contacts but more importantly it, gave us confidence in our idea.”

Full details on the competition are available at www.farmingbysatellite.eu. Registration is simple and should be completed before the deadline of 30 June 2018, but early registrations will be able to take advantage of support events.  Final submissions must be received by 7 September 2018.