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European Satellite Navigation Competition with ESA special prize

For the first time ESA is offering an Innovation Prize as part of this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition. ESA has already been supporting this competition through its Technology Transfer Programme Office since the start four years ago.

The aim is to find new ideas for the commercial use of global satellite navigation systems, and to kick off new businesses in this area in Europe.

Among the innovative ideas for satellite navigation applications originating from previous rounds of the competition are systems that report flooding in real time, track your carbon footprint and provide tourist information wherever you may be. All have one thing in common: they use the services provided by global satellite navigation systems, such as Europe's Galileo.

Five years of success to find novel ideas for satellite navigation services

The European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is an annual competition to find innovative marketable applications for satellite navigation. What was started in the Free State of Bavaria in 2004 has matured into a global network for high-tech regions and international technical experts.

Not only the number of partner regions has increased over the last four years from 3 to 11, but also the number of participants has risen from 84 in the first year to 258 in 2007. Organised annually by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen and SYSTEMS, the ESNC is oriented toward companies, entrepreneurs, research institutes, universities and private individuals.

A number of special prizes are being offered this year in addition to the main prize: Galileo Master 2008.

ESA will award its Innovation Prize to whoever comes up with the best idea for the use of global satellite navigation systems; it is looking for ideas that can be quickly implemented and which will have a long-lasting influence in the area of implementation.

"By awarding the ESA special prize we want to do more than just encourage creative minds and lateral thinkers to develop their ideas; we want to provide the winner with the unique support of ESA Business Incubation, which can bring their ideas to life," says Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO).

Winner to be hosted at ESA Business Incubation centre

The prize winner can look forward to an extensive support package for implementing the winning innovation. One of ESA's Business Incubators will help the entrepreneur who will receive technical and financial assistance to bring their application to market as quickly as possible.

"Businesses for the future need interdisciplinary solutions. For instance, in a few years, satellite navigation, Earth observation and robotics will be used to further optimise agricultural processes. The European space programme can provide many of these enabling technologies."

"From entertainment to flood protection, there is potential in nearly every conceivable business area. You only need the courage to think outside the box - and the right support of course," adds Salzgeber.

The idea to award an Innovation Prize at this year’s ESNC came from ESA's Technology Transfer Programme (TTP), whose job it is to find and encourage innovative uses for existing space technology. One of the key elements of the programme is to promote high-tech start-up companies and to do this, incubation centres have been set up in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

The ESA Business Incubators provide young entrepreneurs with technical and business-related support to bridge the gap between an abstract idea and founding a successful company. To date, ESA's Technology Transfer Programme has fostered the conversion of over 200 space technologies to trend-setting innovative uses on Earth.

If you have an innovative idea for the use of satellite navigation technology and would like to take part in the competition, more information can be found on:

All entries must be received by 31 July 2008.

About the ESA technology transfer programme

The main mission of the ESA TTPO is to facilitate the use of space technology and space systems for non-space applications and to further demonstrate the benefit of the European space programme to European citizens. The TTPO is responsible for defining the overall approach and strategy for the transfer of space technologies including the incubation of start-up companies and their funding.

Frank Salzgeber | alfa
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