Our Challenges

The sixth round of the INNOspace Masters is running from 30 October 2020 to 5 February 2021. Participants of the INNOspace Masters have the choice to select one out of five challenges, which would fit best on the focus of their idea. The competition is annually awarding innovative concepts and solutions that solve current challenges in space or non-space industries by transferring knowledge or technology. In addition to worldwide network contacts, the winners receive technological and economical support as well as assistance in implementing the project.

Each of our partners presents its own challenge with individual areas of focus covering the entire value chain along three phases of maturity:

DLR Challenge 2020/2021

DLR Logo

Acting on behalf of the Federal Government, the DLR’s Space Administration designs and implements Germany’s Space Programme, which integrates all German space activities on the national and European level.
The DLR Space Administration has started the initiative INNOspace® to promote innovations, technology transfer and new markets.

Who can apply?

  • SME
  • Publicly Financed University
  • Institutions


  • Verifiable applications involving individual or joint proposals are eligible for funding from Germany’s national space and innovation programme!
  • Up to 400,000 EUR in possible funding for each project.
  • This funding is subject to the general funding guidelines of the German federal government

The DLR Space Administration is looking for innovative ideas and concepts leading to improved technologies, processes and applications by transferring expertise between space and other sectors. This year’s DLR Challenge focusses on:

  • digital sustainability and security in space (e.g. protection from cyber-attacks like GNSS spoofing, enabling secure communication services, space weather resistance, etc.)
  • resource-saving approaches in space and on earth (e.g. reusability, green fuels, reduction of redundancy and testing, process optimization, etc.)

The ideas can reach from basic applied research up to technology demonstrators

ESA BIC Challenge 2020/2021

ESA BIC Logo white solid

Who can apply?

  • SME
  • Start-Ups
  • Research teams, students

The German ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) offer the only start-up programme in Germany that promotes company foundations based on technology transfers from and into the space sector from the initial phase up to the marketable product. In close collaboration with renowned partners the programme supports young companies for a period of up to two years.
The start-ups receive financial and technical support as an incentive.

The ESA BIC Start-up Challenge of the INNOspace Masters is looking for new technology transfer ideas and business models from earth into space and vice versa. Potential examples :

  • Mobility applications and solutions
  • Innovative optimisation solutions
  • Increased efficiency and customer orientation solutions
  • Components or subsystems
  • Or any other ideas in the space sector

Start-ups are invited to submit their innovative products or services for the new space economy and obtain support from Germany’s ESA Business Incubation Centres in entering this future industry.


  • The winning proposal will be awarded with a support package tailored to the requirements of its realisation:
  • Assistance in transforming the business concept into a viable business plan
  • Support of the application in one of the German ESA BIC facilities. If accepted, you will benefit from 50,000 EUR in funding
  • Access to the Europe-wide network of experts, which can assist in both, technological and business-related aspects

Airbus Challenge 2020/2021

With new commercial approaches, Airbus is positioning itself as an European leader at the pinnacle of technology and industrial development.

Airbus welcomes the opportunity to find external innovators with this award, in order to shape the future of commercial space together – along the complete aerospace value chain.

Who can apply?

  • Individuals
  • Start-ups
  • SME
  • Institutions


  • The winning idea receives an Airbus support package
    customised from the following components:
  • Access to Airbus experts
  • Possibility to pitch to Airbus Ventures and/or Airbus BizLab accelerator
  • Possibility to pitch for a crowd investing campaign
  • Development of a mission proposal (with the aim of a joint application for public funding)
  • EUR 3,000 for the challenge winner
  • EUR 2,000 for the 2nd place and EUR 1,000 for the 3rd place

Airbus is looking for exceptional hardware, industrial process, application or business model that – through aerospace – are suitable to have a lasting influence on our daily lives. Airbus is looking for solutions enabling sustainable infrastructures on earth and in space on topics such as, but not limited to:

  • Mobility and transportation
  • 5G connectivity and IoT/M2M
  • Agriculture, life sciences and health
  • Microgravity sciences and material research
  • New and sustainable technologies and services

The challenge is looking for participants who strive to advance into new realms with Airbus, who would like to discover what the access to Airbus platforms and services could offer to them  and learn how they could interface with Bartolomeo, KIWI, FLP, OneWeb, OneAtlas a.o. to realise their ideas.

OHB Challenge 2020/2021

Who can apply?

  • Individuals
  • Start-Ups
  • SME
  • Institutions

OHB SE is an European aerospace and technology group and one of the major independent forces within the European aerospace industry. Approx. 2,500 experts and executives are working on central European aerospace programmes.

With nearly 40 years of experience in the development and implementation of innovative aerospace systems and projects, and a range of specific aerospace and telematic products, the OHB Group has earned itself an outstanding position and is a renowned entity in international competition.

The growing number of actors and users of space might become a problem for its future utilization. Packed orbits, jammed frequencies, irresponsible actions, space debris… all can influence how sustainable the space business will be in the future. It is important that we find ways to ensure that humanity will be able to continue benefiting from the use of outer space as a resource for big scientific and technological advances.

The development and use of new technologies and processes with focus on space sustainability from space and non-space sectors have potential for greater benefits in the future. OHB is seeking for new ideas for a more sustainable future space sector – from novel concepts to competitive solutions:

  • Ideas and concepts for cost-reduction and efficiency in the manufacturing of future space systems: e.g. robotics systems, automation, power systems, etc.
  • Technologies for better use of the space infrastructure: e.g. applications and services based on space technology, cryptographic technologies, cloud operations, cyber-security.
  • Ideas for commercialisation of space, exploration, experiments and any other inspiring idea in the space sector that might contribute to a more sustainable space business!

Overall, OHB aims at ensuring long-term sustainability in space while increasing the performance in all future space projects.

Let’s make space a more sustainable business!


  • Support from relevant experts from the OHB Group
  • Cooperation opportunities at European level through companies in the OHB Group
  • Possibility of a joint technology development programme
  • Pitch opportunity at OHB Venture Capital
  • Invitation to meet the OHB Group and the Space Community at a fair
  • Funding / Grant / Cash prize > EUR 6,000

DB Netze Challenge 2020/2021

DB Netz AG, the infrastructure subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, operates the largest railway network in Europe:

  • measuring 33,300 kilometres it is three times as long as Germany’s motorways
  • enabling more than 40,000 customer trains to complete their journeys every day
  • when lining up its 120 million railway sleepers they would nearly reach the moon!

Who can apply?

  • Start-ups
  • SME


  • EUR 2,500 for the challenge winner
  • EUR 1,000 for the 2nd Place, EUR 500 for the 3rd Place
  • The chance to develop a proof of concept in a 100-day project (worth EUR 25,000)
  • Exclusive access to Deutsche Bahn AG’s mindbox Accelerator programme
  • A mentoring programme with experts from DB Netz AG who will help you advance your business model
  • The opportunity to present your solution to a management board at DB Netz AG

DB Netze is seeking for innovations from the aerospace sector that can be used to intelligently inspect, automatically maintain and continuously monitor the current state of tomorrows infrastructure, in order to make it more efficient, available and robust.

Support the development of their technical systems with an eye towards achieving intelligent, interconnected, durable and disruption-free infrastructure. Partner up with DB Netz AG and put your solution to the test in their working railway environment.


DB Netz AG is looking for innovative solutions in the following areas:

  • Technologies for monitoring our technical equipment (railway tracks, switches, signalling equipment) aiming at a predictive maintenance strategy
  • Materials that will increase the useful life of our technical equipment
  • Protection solutions against weather, aging or erosion of infrastructural elements
  • Standalone energy supplies and data transfers for sensors and signalling equipment
  • Rapid recording, transmission and analysis of large amounts of data across our rail infrastructure
  • Digital models for mapping and simulating the physical infrastructure

Evaluation Criteria

Learn which criteria your submission needs to fulfill in order to have the best chances of winning the dedicated challenge.

This site uses Cookies

Please accept cookies and tracking on this site for the best experience.

If you deny the use of cookies and tracking on this site, we will save that in a necessary cookie. You will lose access to personalised content and may not have the best experience on this website.

Please see our Privacy Policy for detailed information on how we process your personal data. You can withdraw your consent at any time and demand information about your data as well as the correction, access to or deletion of it.

To protect your privacy, we block cookies and tracking scripts until you consent with the usage.

We use cookies and tracking scripts to offer additional functions, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. 

You are able to change or withdraw your consent anytime. 

About Cookies
Cookies are small text files that can be used by websites to make a user’s experience more efficient.
The law states that we can store cookies on your device if they are strictly necessary for the operation of this site. For all other types of cookies we need your permission. This site uses different types of cookies. Some cookies are placed by third party services that appear on our pages.
Learn more about who we are, how you can contact us and how we process personal data in our Privacy Policy.

Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. Also, your consent with or denial of additional cookies and tracking scripts is stored in a necessary cookie.
The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Marketing cookies are used for personalisation and tracking users across websites and devices. These cookies help us to display relevant content and ads for the individual user.

Marketing services used on this site:
On this site, we use cookies from:

  • Mautic

Tracking cookies help us to better understand the behaviour of our visitors. We track your interaction on this and across other websites and devices to improve the user’s experience on our site.

Tracking services used on this site:

  • Mouseflow
This site uses Cookies

Please choose:



If you deny, we will save this information in a necessary cookie and accept your wish.