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Registrations open for Australia’s global 2020 Gravity Challenge

Stephen Kuper

Innovation in Australia’s space sector has been given a boost with the announcement that space technology innovation program the Gravity Challenge, launched in South Australia last year, will now run in both the UK and Australia.

Registrations open for Australia’s global 2020 Gravity Challenge
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The South Australian government will continue as a major supporter, with Gravity HQ being hosted at the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct in Adelaide, the epicentre of Australia’s space industry.

The Australian Space Agency is also on board to support the Challenge for a second year.

Lot Fourteen is already home to the Australian Space Agency and SmartSat CRC and the state’s space industry credentials will be further strengthened with the Mission Control Facility and Space Discovery Centre also set to join the precinct.

South Australian Space Industry Centre chief executive Richard Price said the South Australian government was proud to be a key partner again following the success of the challenge in 2019.

“It is terrific to see the Gravity Challenge coming back bigger, better and international in 2020 and the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct is the ideal location for Gravity HQ, being home to some of the brightest minds in the industry,” Price said.

Deloitte’s Australian chief strategy and innovation officer, Rob Hillard, said the success of the inaugural Gravity Challenge last year had shown the value of bringing together disparate stakeholders to solve real industry, social and environmental problems.

“The Gravity Challenge is about using space technologies, such as satellite imaging and the internet of things, to solve real world problems happening on Earth today. We bring together innovators and entrepreneurs, with businesses, universities and governments who have challenges to solve,” Hillard added.

The Gravity Challenge brings together Challengers (businesses, government agencies and universities) and Innovators (start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs) to collaborate and create solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges.

In 2020, Challengers and Innovators can come from either Australia or the UK and all Challengers and Innovators will be able to work together to create new solutions, regardless of geographic location.

The 2020 Gravity Challenge will run around a new, nine-month, concurrent structure, split into three phases, each 12 weeks long: 

  1. Phase 1 – Challenges (Challengers and Innovators recruited and Challenges set)
  2. Phase 2 – Innovate (Innovators work to develop solutions, collaborating with Challengers)
  3. Phase 3 – Pilot (Ongoing support and mentoring to commercialise the solutions)

The 2020 Gravity Challenge will revolve around the same industry sectors as last year, namely: 

  • Mining and energy resources;
  • Defence, security and military;
  • Agriculture and meteorology;
  • Banking and insurance;
  • Telecommunications and connectivity;
  • Health and life sciences;
  • Transportation, logistics and smart cities; and
  • Travel and tourism.

Deloitte and Amazon Web Services (AWS) will draw on their capabilities in Australia and the UK to help accelerate commercial innovation in the space sectors of both countries and encourage greater collaboration between them.

Head of innovation at Deloitte, Jason Bender, said, “The overwhelming success of the inaugural Challenge last year has inspired us to go bigger and better in 2020 and we are thrilled to now make this an international program.

The Gravity Challenge is now looking to recruit Challengers. If you are a businesses, university or government agency, register your interest by emailing: [email protected] by 31 May 2020.

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