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University Challenge - From the Lecture Hall to the Board Room

Starting Position Objectives Prizes Organisers University Partners Winner

Starting Position

High-quality GNSS education is a driver of innovation, a means of enhancing companies' competitiveness, and a valuable opportunity for international cooperation. The ESNC University Challenge is being carried out by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) and the GNSS Research & Applications Centre of Excellence (GRACE) with the support of several leading universities among Europe.


To bridge the gap from GNSS research and academia to entrepreneurship, the ESNC University Challenge addresses students and research associates with a background in aerospace and GNSS-specific courses of study, in particular with the aim of fostering the transformation of bright ideas into commercial ventures. In addition, the ESNC University Challenge seeks to reach out to any young researchers working in areas of potential applications, be they prospective automotive engineers, logistics providers, game and other mobile application developers, or health promoters. The competition heightens the exposure and credibility of student innovations on a global level while establishing links to the world of business. The evaluators will focus on creativity and market needs rather than the technological perfection of the business ideas submitted.

Prize 2016

  • The winner will receive a EUR 1,000 cash prize.
  • Virtual incubation, technical and business consultancy support (a EUR 3,000 value) will be provided by the GNSS Research & Applications Centre of Excellence (GRACE).
  • The Institute of Space Technology and Space Applications of the Universität der Bundeswehr München will sponsor a ticket for the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit 2017.
Further details may be added at a later stage.


Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO)
AZO was set up in 2001 by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs at the prominent aerospace location Oberpfaffenhofen, located near Munich in Germany. The company's main goal is to drive innovation and incubation in the commercial use of space technologies and infrastructures. Through the leading innovation networks for satellite navigation (Galileo Masters) and Earth monitoring (GMES Masters), AZO drives the creation of innovative products, services, and business concepts for these emerging market segments. The underlying business concepts can be realised in the form of company foundations as part of the incubation programme at ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Bavaria. Start-ups can apply for admission to ESA BIC Bavaria at one of its three Bavarian locations - Oberpfaffenhofen, Nürnberg and Berchtesgadener Land. Financial support is provided by the Free State of Bavaria and the European Space Agency (ESA). In addition, start-ups benefit from technical and expert support from the local partners: the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at the branch office Oberpfaffenhofen, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS at the branch office Nürnberg, and the Economic Development Corporation Berchtesgadener Land (WFG BGL) at the branch office Berchtesgadener Land. Furthermore, ESA BIC Bavaria is part of the Europe-wide ESA BIC network, which has been established to empower entrepreneurship at the European level to the considerable benefit of the regional ESA BICs and their associated start-up companies.

GNSS Research & Applications Centre of Excellence (GRACE)
GRACE is part of the University of Nottingham's Nottingham Geospatial Institute (NGI), an internationally recognised centre of excellence in surveying, positioning, and navigation technologies. It focuses on helping organisations, businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs to take advantage of satellite navigation, positioning, timing, and location-based technologies. We provide business support, consultancy services, training, and testing for the exploitation of new ideas and the creation of new business opportunities. By offering a portal for sharing ideas, engaging with people, and learning about new technologies, GRACE serves as a hub for the GNSS community and beyond.

University Partners

These leading universities and institutions are partnering the University Challenge and organise dedicated competitors' workshops throughout the submission phase to help students bridge the gap from academia to entrepreneurship. Find out more about the opportunities offered by the University Challenge and develop your innovative GNSS application idea at any of the following dates:

Politecnico di Torino (POLITO), Italy | gabriella.povero@ismb.it
l'École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile (ENAC), France | ojulien@recherche.enac.fr
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain | jaume@ma4.upc.edu
University of Nottingham (UNOTT), UK | paul.bhatia@grace.ac.uk
Universität der Bundeswehr München, Germany | kristina.kudlich@unibw.de

Previous Winners

Asst Prof Panagiotis Partsinevelos, Nikos Afentakis & Senselab Research Team
Message in a Bubble (MiaB): Pinpoint the Present, Empower the Future

Show all winners of University Challenge

Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen
Mr Andreas Dippelhofer
Friedrichshafener Str. 1
82205 Gilching

+ 49 (0) 81 05 77 27 710

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