Copernicus Sustainable Development Challenge 2017


With this Challenge, the European Commission wanted to demonstrate that Copernicus is a revolutionary tool for sustainable development, as it enables the delivery of new and cost-effective environmental and societal services.

Participants in this Challenge should thus have proposed applications that use Copernicus and support sustainable development, in particular with regard to:

  • The achievement of the UN’s sustainable development goals (no poverty, zero hunger, good health, clean water…)
  • The sustainable use of natural resources (agriculture, forestry, raw materials, fisheries…)
  • Climate change actions (renewable energy production, monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions…)
  • The protection of the environment in general

The Challenge was open to all profiles: entrepreneurs, start-ups, students, SMEs and large companies, research centres, university departments, and public organisations at the European, national, and local level.

The European Commission was looking for innovative ideas based on Copernicus data and/or Copernicus services. The projects proposed should have delivered concrete value for users (ideally, users should be involved from the start). Their technical feasibility should also have been demonstrated, ideally through a prototype. Applicants should have a clear plan for their project’s short- and long-term financing. The best teams were asked to combine both technical and business expertise and show a strong commitment to the Project.

Submission was possible from 1 April to 30 June, 2017 all completed proposals are undergoing evaluation at the moment.


BeeNebula – Bee activity monitoring using satellite data, submitted by submitted by Dr Sylwia Nasilowska and Team, from the Institute of Aviation, Poland

PRIZE 2017

  • EUR 5,000 cash prize
  • Substantial satellite data quota worth EUR 5,000
  • Access to the Copernicus Accelerator programme (if eligible)
  • Ticket to the next satellite launch in Kourou


  • Use of Copernicus data and services with respect to the Challenge topic
  • Project potential (Is the project innovative? Does it create value for the users? Is it feasible technically?)
  • Sustainability of the project (Have potential users/clients been involved in the design of the project? Are they willing to pay? How does the applicant intend to finance the project? Why is the project better than competing endeavours?)
  • Quality of the team (technical and business expertise, understanding of the thematic area at hand, commitment to the project)


The European Commission is one of the main institutions of the European Union. It implements the policies, laws, and treaties of the European Union. In particular, the European Commission manages several Space Programme, including Galileo (the European GPS) and Copernicus, which provides free Earth observation data and services for environment and security. Copernicus products are used for instance to help save lives at sea, improve our response to natural disasters, and allow farmers to better manage their crops.