Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the Copernicus Masters competition? Find your answers below

  • General Questions

    What is the Copernicus Masters?

    The Copernicus Masters is an international innovation competition launched in 2011 by AZO on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and with strong support of world-class partners as part of their mission to foster the User Uptake of Copernicus.

    Who is organises the Copernicus Masters?

    AZO on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and with strong support of world-class partners.

    I’ve heard that the Copernicus Masters competition is looking for innovative ideas. What does that mean?

    The Copernicus Masters is an international competition which awards prizes to innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data. Make sure to have a look at the individual challenges to determine your eligibility.

    What kind of ideas or solutions can be submitted?

    Different prize categories tackle global challenges with revolutionary competition entries in the fields of machine learning, IoT, big data analytics, smart mobility, agriculture, disaster management and industry 4.0 – just to name a few.

    What can I win?

    Participants have the chance to win a wide variety of prizes. This includes cash prizes, business development support, technical support and much more. You can find the prizes for each challenge on the challenge pages.

    If I submit my idea, what are the benefits for me/my company?

    As a winner of a partner challenge you will have access to the Copernicus Accelerator Programme if eligible. Winners will gain visibility in front of Europe’s key stakeholders of the space industry, have access to a large expert networks, and profit from the individual prize pools of the different challenges.

    What is the Copernicus Accelerator?

    The Copernicus Accelerator offers a customised business development scheme for the winners of the Copernicus Masters challenges if eligible. It supports startups and entrepreneurs from Copernicus Participating Countries to move beyond idea conception into real commercial ventures.

    Selected participants are matched with high-level professionals and benefit from an individual 10-month mentoring alongside further training opportunities. The Copernicus Accelerator is a project of the European Commission’s DG GROW.

    What are the key dates of the competition?

    Submission Phase: April-June 2018

    Evaluation Phase: July-September/October 2018

    Awards Ceremony: November/ December 2018

    How do I become the Copernicus Masters Overall Winner?

    The Copernicus Masters Overall Winner is selected from the pool of challenge winners by an international panel of high-ranking experts.

  • Submission Requirements

    What are the requirements for my application?

    The most important thing is that you complete your submission during the period 1 April – 30 June. You can find more detailed information about the requirements in our terms and conditions

    I am not located in /or a citizen of Europe. Can I still apply?

    Enterprises, scientific institutions, and individuals of legal adult age are entitled to participate in the Copernicus Masters. Applications will be accepted from anywhere in the world, with some exceptions:

    • Participants of the six European Commission (EC) Challenges have to be either residents or must have established their company in the territory of one of the Copernicus participating countries. Eligible countries are listed hereafter: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

    Do I need to be represented by a company or scientific institution?

    No, you can either participate as an individual person, a group, or be repsresented by a company/ university or scientific institution.

    Can start-up companies participate in the Copernicus Masters?

    Start-ups are highly welcome.

    Can I enter as an individual or do I have to be part of a team?

    You can either participate as an individual person or as a part of a team, both are possible.

    What if my solution does not cover Europe or affect European citizens -but other regions? Can I still apply?

    Although Copernicus is a European Commission programme, the Copernicus Masters Competition is looking for innovative ideas and applications that can be used or implemented on a broad and international scale.

    Are there any age restrictions?

    Participants must have reached the minimum age/ legal age.

    Do I need a working prototype of my idea in order to enter the competition?

    Please be sure to check the individual challenge requirements as some partners are looking for an existing prototype – but not all!

    How mature does the idea need to be?

    Each challenge has their own requirements, so make sure to read the Challenge descriptions.

  • Registration Process

    How can I submit my idea and where do I find the submission database?

    You can register on the Copernicus Masters website and submit your idea through our database.

    How much time do I have to spend answering the questions in the database?

    If you have your solution already formulated, it will take about two hours to submit.

    Is it possible to submit the same idea for more than one Challenge?

    No, this is not possible. The only exception are the European Commission Challenges. As an EU citizen you can submit your idea to one of the partner challenges and also select one of the European Commission Challenges.

    If I am a European citizen, will my idea automatically be submitted for the EC Challenges?

    No, during the submission process you must select one of the EC Challenges.

    Can I submit more than one entry?

    Yes, you can submit more than one entry, but the ideas have to be different.

    How can I ensure that my idea is safe?

    Solutions submitted to the competition are protected against unlawful access by unauthorised third parties. Experts and all other personnel who organise the competition,are also required by contract to treat all matters as confidential. Please find more detailed information in the terms of participation

    Can I join the competition without a patent?

    A patent is not required for the participation of the Copernicus Masters.

    I submitted my idea, what is the next step?

    Following the end of the submission phase, solutions will be evaluated by panels of international experts. If you are a finalist, you will be informed by the Copernicus Masters team. If you are not amongst the finalists, you will be informed latest in October.

  • Evaluation Phase

    When will I be informed about the status of my submission?

    If you are a finalist, you will be informed by the Copernicus masters team in August. If you are not among the finalists, you will be informed in October at the latest.

    How is the evaluation process structured?

    The panel of experts will first complete an online evaluation to identify the finalists of each challenge. After that the finalists will be informed. Finalists will then receive some pitch coaching, as they are required to present their idea in front of an expert panel of each challenge via video conference. Hereafter the winner of each challenge will be nominated and informed. An overall evaluation meeting will then take place, where the winners must give a short pitch via video conference again in front of a different panel of experts. The overall winner will then be selected. During the festive awards ceremony of the Copernicus Masters the overall winner will be announced.

    Who will evaluate my idea?

    A panel of international experts with various fields of expertise (technique, business etc.)

    Will I have the chance to present my submitted idea personally in front of the experts?

    No, the finalists and winners will present via a video conferencing tool.

    What are the main assessment criteria to win a Challenge?

    Each challenge has their own criteria, make sure to read the individual challenge descriptions.

    How many winners will be selected?

    One winner per challenge will be selected. From these winners, the overall winner will be selected.

    Is it possible to be nominated as a finalist for more than one prize?

    If you submitted more than one different solution, then you can be selected as a finalist for more than one prize. You can also be nominated as a finalist for both a partner challenge and a European Commission challenge with the same idea.

    Will I get feedback on my idea submission?

    Yes, after the overall evaluation meeting, you will receive feedback on your submission via the database.

    Will I be informed how my entries have been evaluated?

    No, this information will remain secret.