Competition 2019

The competition seeks ideas for use of one or more climate Earth Observation (EO) datasets from the ESA Climate Change Initiative/Copernicus programme to inform a specified local to global policy need.  Submissions are welcomed that propose use of climate EO data in combination with other datasets/model outputs and must identify the scale of relevance e.g.  a Local authority/municipality, city, region or international.

Submissions can be in the form of a 3 minute audio/video file or 5 slide presentation to explain idea for product/service on how climate satellite data can be exploited to meet (identified geographic scale) policy needs. All compliant submissions will be made available on the Space4Climate website.

Competition entrants need to start with an identified policy need.  To give a flavour it could be an idea to support international climate policy, for instance the Global Stocktake and anticipated Paris Agreement reporting requirements, perhaps evidence to inform UNFCCC more generally, perhaps evidence or tools to support the National Adaptation Programme and national emissions reporting.

The submission idea could instead be focused on facilitating climate informed policy making or monitoring in other policy domains for instance, agricultural subsidies, fisheries planning/monitoring, port air quality, critical infrastructure climate vulnerability, public health or local authority/city policy measures seeking to reduce impacts of urban heat, subsidence, drought and/or floods.

Useful resources:

All competition entries must be submitted by midday 13th September

Enter your submission now, complete the submission form which requires the following information about your idea:

  • Submission URL
  • Submission title
  • List the climate EO dataset(s) proposed for use within the submission
  • Geographic scale of policy making targeted
  • What’s required to make the idea a viable product/service proposition (max 1100 characters with spaces)

Here are further details about the competition:


Submission format

Submissions can be in the form of a 3 minute audio/video file or 5 slide presentation to explain idea for product/service on how climate EO data can be exploited to meet (identified geographic scale) policy needs. The submission must set out at either the beginning or the end, the name(s) of all the applicants involved in the submission, their organisations and summarise their expertise in EO data

Valid submissions are a weblink to either:

  • a maximum 3 minute video on a video sharing site such as youtube or vimeo or
  • a maximum 3 minute audio file on an audio sharing site such as Soundcloud or
  • a presentation of maximum 5 slides on a sharing site such as  SlideShare.

Whilst not encouraged, submissions for video, audio or presentations will be accepted from a file sharing service such as Dropbox or Google Drive but must be publicly available throughout the competition process. Slides submitted this way must be in PDF form, videos must be MP4 and audio MP3 format.  If the judges have any difficulty accessing and viewing the submission, it will be disqualified.

Eligible data

This competition is focused on exploiting ESA Earth Observation data.  Applicants must propose exploitation of at least one dataset from the CCI or Copernicus programmes. Eligible datasets may include CCI, C3S and could also include other climate EO datasets that are peer-reviewed or sit on a trusted, open, repository.

Here we provide links to further information about these programmes and how to access the data.


The European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative (CCI) is a research programme dedicated to generating satellite-derived Essential Climate Variables, required by the UNFCCC and IPCC, to support evidence-based decision-making. The CCI is run from the ESA Earth Observation Climate Office  at the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications based in Harwell, UK. The programme capitalises on the world class sciences in the UK studying Essential Climate Variables such as Sea Surface Temperature, Ozone and Land Surface Temperature. The CCI data can be accessed via this data portal:

The UK has been a member of ESA and its predecessor organisations since the 1960s. ESA enables us to share costs and risks on missions which are of global interest, access a vast pool of technical expertise and facilities enabling us to collaborate scientifically and technically with other countries but also to take part in multi-lateral missions.


Copernicus is the world’s leading, European-led Earth Observation (EO) Programme designed to deliver global, near real-time measurements of the Earth using a series of satellites called ‘Sentinels’ and a range of supplementary commercial data and information. Copernicus is served by a set of dedicated satellites (the Sentinel families) and contributing missions (existing commercial and public satellites). The Copernicus services transform this wealth of satellite and in situ data into value-added information by processing and analysing the data.

The UK is a global leader in Earth Observation satellite technology and has been instrumental in developing Copernicus through our industrial capability, academic expertise and support for public sector uptake and use.

Copernicus the largest space data provider in the world, currently producing 12 terabytes per day. The vast majority of data and information delivered by the Copernicus Space infrastructure and the Copernicus services are available on a free and open access basis. You can access Copernicus Data and Information Services through the DIAS or the Conventional Data Hubs.

The Copernicus Programme is coordinated and managed by the European Commission. It is implemented in partnership with the Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), EU Agencies and Mercator Océan.


There is a limit of one entry to the Competition per person.

Entries may be submitted by more than one individual or organisation, but a lead individual/organisation and point of contact must be named and the entrants must be willing to have a lead contact and organisation name published online.

The Competition is open to all companies and academic institutions with a registered office in the United Kingdom and residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years or over except for members of the Board of the Space4Climate group and the group’s Climate Services Development Manager. Staff directly reporting to members of the Board and other members of their organisation are not excluded from applying. The applicant(s) must be based in the UK until 31 March 2020

Shortlisting criteria and judging panel

The shortlisting panel will select three entries to be shortlisted. In order to be eligible to be shortlisted and to claim the prize, you, or if a consortium, a member of the consortium, must be able to attend, at own expense and organisation, the UK Space Conference on 26th September 2019 in Newport, Wales. If you have no access to funding that would cover your registration fee for the 26th September but are able to attend, and your submission is shortlisted, the Space4Climate group will consider the circumstances and might cover the registration fee for the day.

The shortlisting panel may also select additional entries, where a representative is unable to attend the UK Space Conference, for commendation.

Shortlisted and commended entries will be announced in the week commencing 16 September 2019.

All valid entries will be considered by the judging panel for shortlisting or commendation, using the following criteria:

  • Problem articulation – Does the applicant/team clearly articulate and demonstrate a climate-policy related societal problem their idea helps to solve?
  • Innovation – Is the idea distinctive or fundamentally different from existing policy approaches and/or existing EO based policy decision support services? Does the idea inspire people to support it?
  • Potential for societal impact -Does their solution demonstrate the potential to change how policy derived impact is achieved? How much potential exists for scaling their product/service’s societal impact?


The judging panel is comprised of:

  • Beth Greenaway, Chair of Space4Climate group and Head of Earth Observations and Climate, UKSA
  • Professor Stephen Briggs, Chair of GCOS
  • Eleanor Webster, Science Advisor – Head of Greenhouse Gas Inventory Science and Innovation for Climate & Energy, BEIS
  • Simon Howe, Senior Programme Manager (Climate & Weather), NERC


Pitching for the prize

The three shortlisted entries will be expected to present a 3-minute pitch during the ESA and Space4Climate session “Protecting the Planet – Using EO data and services to influence and inform climate policy” at the UK Space Conference on the 26th September. If the entry was submitted by a consortium, one consortium member must be put forward to make the pitch on behalf of the consortium.

The panel of judges at the event will ask those pitching questions about their ideas. The panel of judges at the event consists of:

  • Beth Greenaway, Chair of Space4Climate group and Head of Earth Observations and Climate, UKSA
  • Susanne Mecklenburg, Head of ESA Climate Office, ESA
  • Professor Stephen Briggs, Chair of GCOS
  • Eleanor Webster, Science Advisor – Head of Greenhouse Gas Inventory Science and Innovation for Climate & Energy, BEIS
  • Simon Howe, Senior Programme Manager (Climate & Weather), NERC

The prize will be determined by  the number of votes from the judges and audience. In the event of a tie, the judges will confer and make the final decision.

The prize

The prize is an accelerator support package consisting of a bespoke package of advisory and support services listed below are available to be won, contracted and managed by the Space4Climate group of up to £8,000 in value.   The most appropriate package will be discussed with the winning applicant(s) but elements could include:

  • specialist advice about licensing and how the rules work when clients are international and the data used is open/has some requirements against it
  • product models for business planning to enabling a service to retain money to ensure it can be maintained and updated in the future
  • designer to help develop an early brand/design work to help with communication of the proposition
  • value chain mapping and market research to help with business plan formulation and identify who the users along the value chain are as might be to develop the product need to speak with mid points (existing data/product suppliers to policy makers) rather than the policy makers themselves

For those of you who might already have access to some of this but would need Earth Observation researchers’ expertise to develop the idea further, subject to their availability, the package can seek to include that.

Competition Terms and Conditions

The Terms and Conditions can be accessed here (PDF) All submission applicants must be willing to accept these Terms and Conditions.


The Terms and Conditions have been devised with support from Alden Legal.

Alden Legal are a thought-leading professional advisory firm for the space, satellite and communications sector, with significant experience in providing policy and legal advice (including commercial contracts, IP, corporate and general finance) and all forms of regulatory and licensing advice. We advise on complex areas such as the regulatory and commercial aspects of innovative technology, including in-orbit servicing, large constellations, aeronautical services and new applications. We also cover all forms of licensing, spectrum, liability, insurance and financial issues. We are often involved in the drafting of national space and communication laws, launch and spectrum regulations.”

About Space4Climate

Space4Climate is a public-private-academic partnership working to raise the profile of, and support, the UK’s world-leading climate community in delivering, sustaining and making use of trusted climate information from space. Space4Climate builds on the UK’s trusted expertise in climate datasets. The group’s activities enable a seamless supply chain of climate data from space assets, help identify climate services user requirements and facilitate climate services development for global economic and societal benefit.

For more information about the group and it’s activities, including this competition, contact Briony Turner:

The Space4Climate group is hosted by NCEO at the University of Reading.

Follow us on twitter: @space4climate