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Space Solutions University Challenge 2014

31/03/2014 2277 views 4 likes
ESA / Applications / Telecommunications & Integrated Applications / Technology Transfer

The Space Solutions University Challenge is an initiative of ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office to give European students the opportunity to work with ESA on non-space applications based on the Agency’s intellectual property portfolio . 

On behalf of ESA, the Space Solutions University (S2UN) Challenge 2014 will be organised by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO).

Space Solutions University Challenge
Space Solutions University Challenge

Aimed at technical graduate and masters students with an entrepreneurial spirit, the initiative is based on the notion that many of the technologies developed for space have to meet very strict requirements – such as for robustness, low weight, small size and high reliability – that also make them desirable back on Earth.

Transferring these technologies to non-space systems can be of great benefit to students with entrepreneurial potential in creating new business prospects. At the same time, spin-offs yield tangible return from Europe’s investments in space research and exploration.

The contest will challenge teams of university students to develop business plans based on a number of inventions protected by ESA. Each participating university can enrol with up to 10 teams, each with 3–5 students, who will work on creating business ideas based upon ESA patented technologies, as part of entrepreneurial courses in their own universities.

Their business plans will outline the use of a technology in a non-space specific application.

All groups will be supported by the Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) during the development phase.


They will meet (by virtual means) the technology inventor responsible for the patent, who will answer technical questions concerning the invention.

In each country, among all participating universities, one group will be selected – based on the most complete idea and feasible business plan – and will be invited to the ESA’s ESTEC space technology R&D centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, to present their work to technology transfer experts.

If the students decide to proceed with developing their business plan after the contest, they can apply for support at one of ESA’s nine Business Incubation Centres.

Intellectual property rights for the contest

The following ESA patents are made available for the challenge:

  • ESA Patent 446: Ocean altimetry method with improved accuracy
  • ESA Patent 491: Architecture for an interactive decoder
  • ESA Patent 517: Direct voltage switching converter
  • ESA Patent 561: Imaging optics for mapping
  • ESA Patent 576: Method for compressing time series data
  • ESA Patent 578: Deployable tensegrity structure


Space Solutions University Challenge 2012-13 participants
Space Solutions University Challenge 2012-13 participants


The Challenge will begin in March 2014, with the deadline of 15 June 2014 for submitting business plans.

The winners will be presented at a special event in ESTEC 16–18 September 2014.

Further information and contact points

More information on the Challenge is provided here.

 Andreas Dippelhofer, Project Management
Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofe (AZO)
Friedrichshafener Str. 1
82205 Gilching, Germany

Tel: +49 8105 / 77277-16
Mobile: +49 162 / 2708780

ESA Space Solution University Challenge contact
 Nuria Hernandez Alfageme
ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office
Telephone: +31 71 565 6511

ESA Technology Transfer Programme Office

The main mission of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme is to facilitate the use of space technology and systems for non-space applications, thereby realising the benefit of European space programmes to citizens.

ESA’s TTPO is responsible for defining the overall approach and strategy for the transfer of space technologies and systems, including the incubation of start-up companies at ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) and related funding.

The office has transferred over 260 technologies since the programme began and it is supporting around 100 new start-ups yearly at its nine BICs. TTPO initiated as a limited partner the Open Sky Technology Fund, a €100 million venture fund that invests in start-ups using space technology.

For more information on TTPO, please contact:

ESA Technology Transfer Programme Office
European Space Agency
Keplerlaan 1
2200 AG, Noordwijk
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 71 565 6208

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