INNOspace Masters
Sustainable and Efficient Innovations for Space and Earth

The INNOspace Masters initiated by the the German Space Agency at DLR in 2015 is an annual innovation competition as part of the INNOspace® initiative. The competition looks for pioneering ideas relating to the transfer of technologies, services and applications from space into other sectors and vice versa. Together with the ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) in Bavaria & Northern Germany, Hessen & Baden-Württemberg, and Airbus, OHB and Mercedes-Benz, the German Space Agency at DLR offers five different competition categories within the INNOspace Masters. As a participant, you can choose whichever of these categories best corresponds to the thematic focus and maturity of your idea. The Challenges cover the entire scope of the innovation process – from R&D projects, newly founded companies and new business models, to marketable solutions.

  • The DLR Challenge is aimed at pre-competitive R&D projects and application-related research projects.
  • The ESA BIC Challenge focuses on ideas in the founding phase and the “market potential” stage or market-oriented prototypes that have already been developed.
  • The Airbus, OHB and Mercedes-Benz Challenges search intensively for ideas that are already in the innovation and/or integration phase with existing technologies, systems, services and/or solutions.

More than 530 submissions have been received from companies, SMEs, start-ups, universities, research institutes, non-university research institutions and individuals from more than 40 countries since 2015. The best submissions from the different categories and a main winner will then be awarded at the annual INNOspace Masters conference. So far, 6 overall winners and 62 challenge winners (including 2nd and 3rd prizes) have been awarded prizes and funding worth EUR 8.1 million by high-ranking representatives from politics and business. This prize pool enables the winners of the INNOspace Masters, with the support of the respective Challenge Partners, to pursue their ideas in the long term and to implement them in concrete innovation projects.

The INNOspace Masters is aimed at visionaries from a wide range of industries. A total of 330 participants from 23 different countries submitted 126 ideas in the 2020/21 competition round. In this way, the competition makes a crucial contribution to promoting innovation and commercialising space throughout the entire value creation chain. You can find current statistics and brochures from the last few years below and under Media.

INNOspace® initiative to promote innovation and new markets

Space has always been a driver of innovation and a key technology. But how do forward-looking inventions become new products, processes and services? How can industry use developments and innovations from space? How can a transfer of expertise from the space industry to different sectors of the economy be successful?

To do this, the German Space Agency at DLR launched the INNOspace® initiative on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in 2013. INNOspace is an initiative within the framework of the “National Programme for Space and Innovation” by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and has been part of the German government’s New High-Tech Strategy since 2014. It is intended to stimulate innovative inventions and technology transfer between space and other sectors of the economy. The exchange of expertise and technologies is to take place in both directions: As a “spin-off”, i.e. the commercialisation of space technology and expertise in non-space industries, and as a “spin-in”, i.e. the use of technologies from non-space industries into space. Multiplier effects open up new markets and create economic added value in downstream markets and outside space.

Further information can be found here.

AZO – Your Partner in Competition & Innovation

AZO – Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen is an international networking and branding company for the European space programms, with main focus on supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as assisting clients with innovation advisory, management & business consulting and market development.

These services, with focus on the space up- and downstream domains, include strategy and technology consulting, communication activities, and interdisciplinary project management for public institutions and industry in the space and space applications domain.

The main areas of activity include space (Earth observation, satellite navigation & communications, space exploration), security & defence, transportation & aviation, mobile & mobility, and energy.

In the last 15 years, AZO has established the leading European space innovation network for the satellite downstream market, while providing the necessary marketing and promotion platform, incubation and expert network, as well as regional funding programmes with the objective to increase the uptake of new businesses.

AZO organises it’s “Innovation Masters Series”, the most important space-related innovation competitions: Galileo Masters, Copernicus Masters, INNOspace Masters,  as well as the other projects in close cooperation with the European Commission (EC), European Space Agency (ESA),  European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology Germany (BMWi), German Aerospace Center (DLR), German Space Agency at DLR, as well as a number of major industrial partners such as Airbus, OHB, Planet, BayWa, Merck, DHL, SAP, T-Systems, CGI and many others.

Additionally, AZO manages the ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) Bavaria and Northern Germany. This incubation programme has supported to date more than 190 company foundations in Germany. AZO further engages in crowd-investing and venture capital and provides business coaching for start-ups and SMEs.

AZO Facts & Figures

  • AZO’s global space innovation networks: >17,000 participants (entrepreneurs & inventors), > 30 million EUR prize pool, 48 European Partner regions, over 700 industrial & public stakeholders
  • Entrepreneurship: 192 company foundations in Bavaria and Northern Germany, 3,100 jobs created, 160 million EUR revenue in 2020 and a total of 810 million EUR Venture Capital (2004-2021)
  • Venture Capital: AZO runs a very successful business angel network which invested more than 442 million EUR Venture Capital in 2020
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