From June 24 to July 28, 2018, a five-week intensive Journey around Europe trained 40 young “InnoSpacers” to combine Earth Observation data with entrepreneurial skills and forge new business ideas to face the climate challenge.

The InnoSpace Journey is a Climate-KIC program supported by Copernicus aimed at combining Earth Observation (EO) data with entrepreneurial skills. The forty selected participants gather knowledge of Copernicus platform, with the objective of applying them to create the business plan of a disruptive ready-for-market service.

The program, that in its 2018 edition run from June 24 to July 28, is a five-week intensive Summer School and offers the InnoSpacers the opportunity to travel in three different countries (Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands).

This format allowed participants to interact with Climate-KIC broad network of partners and stakeholders and to acquire the adequate skills in data, business models, design thinking and communication. CMCC was partner of the initiative and offered, during the 5 weeks of the Journey, technical support and training to the InnoSpacers.

By interacting in groups, participants combined their diverse backgrounds to develop a unique idea in the Climate-KIC thematic areas: (i) Sustainable Land Use; (ii) Sustainable Production Systems; (iii) Urban Transition; (iv) Decision Metrics & Finance. Each week of the Journey tackled a specific area of knowledge, providing the adequate tools to the participants to leave their comfort zone and think out of the box. Copernicus observations and services have been both explored during the first two weeks, through class lectures and site visits.

Lectures offered by the Journey included experts from research centres, universities, startups, and private firms. Among the CMCC experts actively involved: Silvio Gualdi (Director of the Climate Simulation and Prediction Division), Andrea Bigano (researcher at the Economic analysis of Climate Impacts and Policy Division), Giovanni Coppini (Director of the Ocean Predictions and Applications Division) and Simona Masina (Director of the Ocean modeling and Data Assimilation Division). Moreover, additional lectures have been given by partners of the CLARA project (Climate forecast enabled knowledge services), coordinated by CMCC: Paolo Mazzoli, from GECOsistema, showed exemples of real entrepreneurship initiatives in the field of climate services, mainly built over increasingly available Copernicus data.

Among field visits, at the European Space Agency (ESA) in Frascati (Rome), InnoSpacers had the opportunity to understand how Sentinel satellites operate and how data is gathered. In Sweden, instead, participants foster their entrepreneurship and innovation skills. Knowledge on Business Model Canvas, design thinking, and start-up planning is tailored to develop solutions to Climate Change, while using Copernicus products and services.

Participants have been one of the core ingredients for the success of the Journey: through their globalized professional and personal backgrounds, they created the conditions for a creative, dynamic and innovative environment, where sharing becomes key in the co-creation process. Francesca Larosa, junior researcher at CMCC, was one of the forty participants of this year edition. Together with her team, she developed “BalanceShift”, that won the first price at the ESA BIC Startup event in Noordwijk (The Netherlands). The startup concept aims at revaluating physical corporate assets, geolocalised using Sentinel-2 Copernicus data in the long and medium run using scenarios (by IPCC) and seasonal forecasts provided by Copernicus Climate Change Services. The judges of the event included business angels, business coaches and space innovators.