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Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO)

AZO utilizes the Copernicus Masters to promote commercialization of cutting-edge solutions for everyday use of Earth Observation.

Published 30.10.2019 - Updated 30.10.2019

AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen is an international networking and branding company for the European space programmes, supporting entrepreneurship with more than 700 companies founded in Europe. For more than 15 years, AZO has established the leading European space cluster innovation network for the satellite downstream market, while providing the necessary marketing and promotion platform, incubation and expert network, including regional funding programmes with the objective to increase the uptake of business cases.

AZO launched the Copernicus Masters in 2011 on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and with the strong support of world-class partners. The Copernicus Masters is an international competition with the objective to drive Copernicus user uptake of Earth Observation (EO) data and thus respective business cases. The competition awards prizes to innovative solutions for business and society. With the expansion of the Copernicus Space Component every year, new prize categories enable solutions that tackle global challenges.

Since 2011, more than 3,700 participants have submitted 1,500 solutions from over 100 countries, and the organisers have selected and rewarded over 100 winners with approximately 4.8 million Euro. Within the 2019 edition, 94 startups participated.

Please find below the organisation form statistics of the participants:


Additionally, AZO organises it’s “Innovation Masters Series”, the most important space-related innovation competitions: Galileo Masters, INNOspace Masters, Space Exploration Masters as well as the Copernicus Hackathons and the Copernicus Accelerator in close cooperation with the European Commission (EC), Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology Germany (BMVI), European Space Agency (ESA), German Aerospace Center (DLR), as well as a number of major industrial partners such as Planet, BayWa AG, Stevenson Astrosat Ltd., Airbus and many others. In all competitions, AZO and well-known partners award product innovations and established associated accelerator programs in almost all competitions.

EO and big data from space offer great potential for the creation of innovative products and services. The Copernicus Masters is looking for new applications in Earth observation (EO) addressing a wide area of application fields with the objective to create EO applications, fostering innovation & business growth, and raising awareness for the manifold application potential deriving from Copernicus. Area of application fields include agriculture, environmental protection, transportation and urban management just to name a few. Participants are able to choose from different challenges in cooperation with renowned industry partners, ensuring their solutions are reviewed by experts from relevant industries.

The Copernicus Masters offers young entrepreneurs an entry point into the Copernicus network and helps them develop Earth observation related innovations by providing financial support resources, mentoring and coaching as well as networking services.

Today, the Copernicus Masters has developed into the moving force promoting cutting-edge solutions. Applications are welcome from April till June each year.

The impact of AZO’s Relay work is to commercialise EO data for everyday use – giving EO in Europe a new, young face. The Copernicus Masters has managed to establish a new market for `big data from space` in Europe and trigger a startup boom with more than 100 young companies.

The most successful projects of the Copernicus Masters which have also been selected as overall winners:

CybELE – Making Business Above Profit (2018)
Contact: Robin Bouvier

FSSCat – Towards Federated EO Systems (2017)
Contact: Adriano Camps & Alessandro Golkar

AZO ‘s objective is to constantly extend the Copernicus Masters network by engaging regional partners in the competition, awarding regional winners, and also fostering the use of Copernicus data and the development of new applications on a regional base. Thus, regional partners can be an active player in EO for Europe, and benefit from an extensive group of innovative challenge-solvers particularly since EO is a key technology in tackling modern society’s major issues.

A growing community of partners, experts, entrepreneurs and visionaries help to drive the use of Copernicus imagery in innovative solutions.


CybELE aims to use satellite data to empower experts, especially in the private sector (law firms and insurance), with the management of their legal environmental cases.