The Copernicus Masters 2018 – the innovation competition for Earth observation (EO) – is searching for outstanding ideas, applications, and business concepts from future-oriented SMEs, startups, universities and individuals working in business, research, and higher education.

From 1 April to 30 June, participants can submit their innovative EO ideas to 16 challenges offered by the largest number of partners since the competition started; the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), CGI, Planet Inc., BayWa AG, Stevenson Astrosat Ltd., Airbus, Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd., and the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI).

The Copernicus Masters has developed into an important innovation driver for Earth observation. Solutions submitted to the competition not only benefit citizens but also bring multiple socio-economic advantages into various economic areas,” states Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes.

ESA is an initiating partner of the Copernicus Masters and has set a challenge for participants every year since 2011.

Participants can demonstrate their innovative use of Earth observation data across a wide variety of challenge topics, including:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Machine Learning
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Sustainable Living
  • Smart Farming
  • Disaster Management
  • Maritime
  • Defence & Security
  • Forestry
  • Digital Transportation
  • Smart cities.

For the second year running, the European Commission (EC) offers six additional European challenges, covering the topics of sustainable development, government, data access, B2B applications, land monitoring and emergency management. Participants also have the unique opportunity to build their solutions with additional satellite data sources offered by the new partners of the competition.

Together with cash prizes, challenge winners will receive access to an international network of leading Earth observation organisations, substantial satellite data quotas, crowd investing platform, and business development support worth more than EUR 600,000 in total.

Additionally, the Overall Winner receives a VIP trip to a Satellite launch in Kourou valued at EUR 10,000.

We’re proud of the active role the Copernicus Masters is playing in the commercialisation of Earth observation services,” adds Thorsten Rudolph, Managing Director of AZO, the competition organiser. “Since 2011, the competition has selected 87 winners in total. They were chosen out of more than 2700 entrants from 73 different countries, who submitted over 1100 cutting-edge business ideas. This is an excellent demonstration of how the innovation competition functions as a European deal flow pipeline for Earth observation.

In addition, the Copernicus Masters is complemented by the Copernicus Accelerator to empower the transformation of great ideas into commercially viable solutions through a tailored 12-month business coaching service.

All winners of the Copernicus Masters 2018 will gain access to the Copernicus Accelerator if eligible.

For more details on this year’s challenges, prizes, and partners, please visit

Additional information on the Copernicus programme is available at: and