ESA’s S2UN Challenge 2012–13
22 November 2012
The first of ESA’s Space Solutions University Challenges has begun. The contest gives students the opportunity to work with ESA in the pursuit of non-space applications based on the Agency’s intellectual property portfolio.
The Space Solutions University (S2UN) Challenge is an initiative of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO). This first challenge is in collaboration with three universities: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto from Portugal, Universidad de Oviedo from Spain and Politecnico di Torino from Italy.
It challenges teams of university students to create business plans based on some of the many inventions made and protected by ESA.
The group who develops the most complete idea and feasible business plan in each university will be invited to ESTEC in the Netherlands to present their work in to a panel of scientists, the inventor of the technology and TTPO representatives.
“The overall objective of the S2UN challenge is to provide technical students from ESA Member States the opportunity to work with real space technologies as an integral part of their university education and thereby broaden their horizons,” explains Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of TTPO.
“They get a chance to develop their entrepreneurial skills by creating novel spin-offs from competitive ESA technologies.
“It could also bolster the Member States’ competitiveness by leading to the setting up of new businesses based on leading-edge technologies developed for space.”
Each university will enrol up to 10 teams, each consisting of 3–5 graduate or master students, who will work on creating business ideas based on eight ESA patented technologies, as part of entrepreneurial courses in their own universities.
TTPO will support the students with technical and business expertise during their work via video-conferencing and face-to-face meetings at the universities. The technology inventors and scientists will also provide help.
“And should some of the students want to realise their ideas and turn them into businesses, we can support this at one of our seven business incubation centres in Europe,” adds Mr Salzgeber.
The students must submit their proposals by the beginning of May 2013 and the winner will be announced by July.
European Patent Academy IP workshops
The European Patent Academy of the European Patent Office (EPO) promotes and supports patent-related intellectual property (IP) teaching and training in 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation. Using experts from within the EPO, as well as from across industry, academia and the IP profession, the Academy raises awareness and understanding of IP as an important tool in technology transfer. As part of this mission the Academy is supporting the ESA SUN challenge by organising IP workshops for researchers.
ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO)
The main mission of ESA's Technology Transfer Programme is to facilitate the use of space technology and systems for non-space applications, and thereby also further demonstrating realising the benefit of the European space programmes to the citizens.
ESA 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 and related funding.
The office has transferred over 260 technologies since the programme start and is supporting directly and indirectly around 100 new start-ups a year. TTPO has also initiated as a limited partner the Open Sky Technology Fund, a €100 million venture fund which invests in start-ups using space technology.
For more information on TTPO, please contact: