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Companies challenged to find solutions for COVID-19 using spatial data from Copernicus

At a time when the world is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are different initiatives that seek to find solutions to mitigate the disease, which has been accumulating deaths and hospitalizations of infected people. Instituto Pedro Nunes challenges national companies to participate in the international competition Copernicus Masters, in the search for products and services that are innovative against the new coronavirus, but that use the Earth observation data obtained through the European satellite Copernicus.

The competition was organized by AZO: Space of Innovation and the European Space Agency and applications for the delivery of projects are valid until June 30th. Copernicus Masters' objective is to respond to the challenges of areas such as health, renewable energies, environmental protection, intelligent agriculture, catastrophe management, smart cities and others. Due to the pandemic situation, the organization encourages and gives priority to COVID-19 related projects.

In previous editions of the competition, three Portuguese companies, which are part of the ESA Incubation Center in Portugal, were awarded: Space Layer Technologies won in 2017 one of the categories with the SOUL project (Sensor Observation of Urban Life) that used data from observation of the Copernicus planet to power a smartphone application with regard to city air quality. This is designed to help patients with respiratory diseases to avoid certain places and their visits to the hospital.

In 2018, CybELE won the main category award, which uses its images to more easily identify environmental crimes. Finally, last year, Theia was awarded in one of the categories, with an app for monitoring the state of the road infrastructure using satellite data.

It should be noted that the data from Copernicus is accessible to all users for free and open consultation, in order to be used to improve the quality of life of citizens in Europe.

In the case of Copernicus Masters, in addition to the monetary awards, the winners of the contest will have access to specialists, business incubators, business coaching, technical support, testing facilities, prototype development, advertising, marketing support and public funding.