As “Europe’s eyes on Earth”, the EU’s Copernicus satellite programme monitors the global environment, including the air we all breathe. To encourage innovation around space data and space technology, the Copernicus programme has a Europe-wide Accelerator and Masters programme. Startups and businesses accepted onto these programmes receive additional support to take their ideas forward.
“We are always looking for applicants with innovative ideas to participate in the Copernicus Masters programme,” explains Monika Mayr, one of the organisers of the programme.
The programme has been running since 2011 and has seen almost 3,300 applicants, with over 100 winners in various challenges. “UrbanZee took part in the Copernicus Accelerator programme in 2018–2019 and was one of the winners of the four pitching competitions. We are happy to see their application for our Masters programme”, Mayr added.
“During our time in the Copernicus Accelerator, I saw our ideas continually develop,” UrbanZee’s CEO Aschwin van der Woude said, “not only did we get the support we needed to further understand the satellite data, our designated mentor played a vital role in developing our current business model.”
In 2017, the Sentinel-5P was launched, which was the first Copernicus satellite dedicated to monitoring air pollution. Using data from this satellite in combination with its own sensor data, UrbanZee aims to provide street-level air quality maps of individual cities around the world, allowing citizens to make the best short- and long-term health decisions.
“Participating in the Copernicus Masters programme is the next logical step as its Environment, Energy & Health challenge is very much about societal and health impact, which is at the core of our goals”, van der Woude continued. “Air pollution is shown to have a serious negative impact on the health of individuals, leading to a greater burden on our local healthcare systems and a less productive workforce for companies overall.”
“With our approach, we try to engage citizens as city-wide communities, and encourage them to collaborate with local governments and organisations to create both short-term and long-term impacts,” van der Woude concluded. “Taking part in this Copernicus Masters challenge will greatly enhance our capability to reach this vision.”