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13 May 2010
Ideas for Apps?

It’s the Dragon’s Den of the ‘sat-nav’ world… the UK round of a major European competition to find the best new applications for satellite positioning technology is being launched at The University of Nottingham’s Geospatial Building on Jubilee Campus.

A picture of a satellite flying over the earth

Big cash prizes and business opportunities are up for grabs as innovators from all over the country compete to devise new products and services based on global satellite positioning. The contest is part of the wider European Satellite Navigation Competition which acts as an ideas database for application innovations in this life-changing field.

The Nottingham Geospatial Building’s ‘GNSS Research & Applications Centre of Excellence’ (GRACE) is hosting the competition this year and is inviting innovators from all walks of life to an information day on Tuesday 11 May 2010. This will provide an opportunity not only to find out more about the Competition, but also to network with colleagues from across the industry, and meet the award judges and previous winners. More open days are taking place throughout May and June at other venues across the country, (details below.)

GRACE’s General Manager, Paul Bhatia, said: “The European Satellite Navigation Competition is a fantastic platform for people to develop new applications using Satellite Navigation. It could be creating I-Phone or Android Apps or even new devices such as the person overboard system (the UK and overall winner of the competition in 2008). The competition is open to anyone who has a good idea from students, to entrepreneurs to people representing companies of all sizes and provides tremendous exposure to potential investors for the participants.” 

GPS is virtually unlimited in its scope of potential application, having contributed to a wide array of industries in recent years. These range from the more traditional — such as automotive, transport and logistics — to more specialised areas like high-accuracy solutions for agriculture, security, green tech, and healthcare, as well as the practically boundless field of location-based services for GPS-enabled mobile phones.  

Last year’s UK winner was Rachel Jacobs whose gaming company Mudlark took home the UK prize for ‘Heartlands’, a mobile, location-based game in which the player's body becomes the joystick. Heartlands also offers a global platform for location and biosensor-based entertainment. Rachel is now studying for her PhD at The University of Nottingham’s Horizon Digital Economy Doctoral Training Centre.

Rachel said: “Winning the competition has opened up opportunities for investment, profile raising and developing new ideas and possibilities of making games and applications that use satellite navigation.  We have had high profile exposure to the global market, and have access to new types of funding, investment and advice that is bringing us closer to commercial success.”
As well as a €20,000 grand prize and 6 special topic European prizes, this year’s UK prizes include:

    A first prize of £10,000 to the overall winner
    Second prize of £1,000
    3 years membership to the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN)
    6 months business incubation
    A free UK patent submission
    Business plan advice
    Introductions to technology partners and funding opportunities 
    High Profile national and international PR campaign

Further ESNC open days are taking place on Monday 17 May at Surrey Space Centre, Guildford, Thursday 20 May at the Cambridge Network, Cambridge, Wednesday 26 May at STFC Innovations, RAL, Harwell, and Friday 10 June at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.

The competition closes for applications on the 31 July 2010.
The ESNC website
The UK site
The GRACE events website giving information on the open day on Tuesday 11 May. 

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© The University of Nottingham 2009