space competition coimbra
© Al Powers, PowersImagery.com

Instituto Pedro Nunes is organizing the biggest global space competition for startups, ActInSpace, for the Portuguese edition in Coimbra on May 25.

Seventy cities are participating in the ActInSpace competition worldwide, and this year Coimbra has the distinction of hosting the event in Portugal at the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) of Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN).

Read More: European Space Agency holds open call for startups to join incubator in Portugal

In this unprecedented initiative in Portugal, students and entrepreneurs from all walks of life have 24 hours to develop innovative solutions that respond to the challenges posed.

Those wishing to participate may sign up here.

Applications are available for individuals or teams of two to five members. If you have no team, the organizers are generous enough to help you to create one.

Participants in the challenge will have the support of professionals in the areas of business management, business creation, technological innovation as mentors.

The most promising Portuguese teams will receive support from ESA Incubation Centres and their partners to accelerate their projects.

Read More: European Space Agency challenges Portuguese companies to ‘Oscars of Space’ competition

The winning team will be able to compete in the international final at the Toulouse Space Show 2018, the largest European event associated with space taking place June 27 in Toulouse, France.

The international winner will win a parabolic flight aboard the famous Airbus Zero-G aircraft to experience zero-gravity sensation.

The ActInSpace competition is the only contest in the world that offers startups the chance to work on Centre national d’études spatiales (French Space Agency CNES) and European Space Agency (ESA) patents, with the aim of fostering startup creation.

“By taking part in ActInSpace®, you’ll be taking part in a truly international event bringing together entrepreneurs, students, job seekers, developers and creatives worldwide. For 24 hours, teams come together to work on real-life challenges alongside business mentors and technical experts and to imagine and design innovative services and products that find every day uses for space technologies or data,” states the ActInSpace website.

“And that’s just the beginning! The winning teams will proceed to the national and international finals to present their project to an international jury of experts on technology transfer and business development. All teams with promising projects will go on to receive guidance from ESA’s Business Incubation Centres and partner incubators to accelerate their project and turn their idea into a real company.”

Midway between a hackathon and a start-up weekend, ActInSpace will be held concurrently in some 40 countries and 70 cities on all five continents [sorry Antarctica].

Open to entrants from all horizons, the competition aims to develop entrepreneurship and forge ties between space stakeholders and citizens by setting challenges for teams to solve based on patents, software, data or space infrastructures. ActInSpace was initiated by CNES in May 2014.

Since 2014, IPN has coordinated the ESA BIC in Portugal. Together they support startups that transfer space technology to terrestrial sectors, along with new companies that intend to enter the commercial space market, in the call New Space.

Read More: European Space Agency opens a Business Incubation Center in Portugal

To turn the great ideas and ActInSpace projects into new European companies, ESA and its Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office encourage the participants to join one of ESA’s Business Incubation Centres throughout Europe.

More than 550 new startups have been fostered at the 18 centres, which are taking in 140 new applicants each year.