€1m satellite technology competition opens for Irish entries

2 Apr 2013

Image depicting the four Galileo satellites currently in orbit. Credit: European Space Agency

Start-ups and third-level researchers with ideas for new innovations using satellite navigation technology can now submit their entries for this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). The winning entry from the Irish region will avail of free incubation space at the National Space Centre in Co Cork.

As part of the overall €1m prize fund open to 24 regions, the National Space Centre is sponsoring the Irish region’s prize. The overall contest is supported by the European Commission and European Space Agency.

The National Space Centre, which is based near Midleton in Co Cork, is seeking entries from start-ups, individuals and researchers at third level to submit ideas based on satellite navigation applications.

“Irish entries enter the Irish regional prize. From that, there is an Irish regional winner who goes forward to represent Ireland at the international competition later this year,” explains Fiona Eivers, who is based at the National Space Centre.

She says the competition is open to university-level researchers right up to businesses, with a particular leaning towards start-ups.

A panel of judges from the National Space Centre, Enterprise Ireland, academia and private industry will choose the winning Irish entry in September.

The National Space Centre will then provide incubation space for up to three people, plus business consulting and technical support to the value of up to €20,000.

The centre will also fund the Irish winner to attend the ESNC competition finals in Munich, Germany, later this year.

Construction of a Eutelsat Tooway antenna at the National Space Centre's Earth Station in Elfordstown, Co Cork

Construction of a Eutelsat Tooway antenna at the National Space Centre’s Earth Station in Elfordstown, Co Cork

Rory Fitzpatrick, who is chief executive at the National Space Centre, says the competition will give the Irish winner an opportunity to raise the international profile of their product.

Last year’s Irish region winner was Vicinity Systems, which is developing technology to increase the driving range of electric vehicles.

People have until 30 June to submit their online application via the official Galileo Masters website.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic