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ChristchurchNZ to host Airbus space data agritech challenge

ChristchurchNZ in partnership with Airbus will today launch a Challenge for the brightest minds in New Zealand to solve one of the world’s biggest issues using emerging unmanned aircraft (UA) and space data technology.

The New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019 is open for applications for incubation support.

This Challenge will see contestants using the very latest satellite and unmanned aircraft technology to come up with cutting-edge approaches to sustainable water and soil management.

Airbus Managing Director Andrew Mathewson says the aeronautics and space company is pleased to be involved in the Challenge and is committed to supporting the development of the space sector in New Zealand.

“Airbus has over 50 years’ experience in the aerospace technology sector and New Zealand has a global reputation for innovation and an approach to problem solving unlike anywhere else. It’s a great partnership and we can’t wait to see what ideas will come about as part of the Challenge and how we can help solve a global problem.”

The New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019 is the outcome of one of the initiatives from the Letter of Intent by signed by Airbus and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in 2018 as part of the government’s Innovative Partnerships programme.

Minister of Research, Science and Innovation, Hon Dr Megan Woods, says the Government is excited Airbus is engaging more closely with New Zealand’s business and research institutions, and partnering locally.

“The Challenge will seek to generate solutions for problems facing New Zealand’s agricultural sector and be a catalyst for stimulating innovation in UAs and space data technology and applications.

“Airbus is a world leader in aeronautics and space technology with deep knowledge and powerful data, and we are excited Airbus has chosen to come to New Zealand and engage closely with our research institutions.

“This Government has committed to increasing our economy-wide R&D spending to 2 percent of GDP. Partnerships like these support the development of New Zealand as an internationally credible, competitive and connected R&D destination, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of the Challenge,” Dr Woods says.

Christchurch will host the national Challenge which will see up to 20 applicants invited onto an incubator programme with access to Airbus data and technology, mentorship from tech and agri specialists and the use of testing solutions and guidance from Airways. The Challenge will culminate in a national demo and pitch event in Christchurch in October 2019, with the winning team receiving a cash prize of $30,000.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the challenge is a perfect fit with being a city that explores opportunity and a testbed for innovation.

“We want to be at the forefront of the space and advanced aviation sectors. Our collaborative industry, strong high-tech manufacturing and agricultural sectors and open landscapes makes the city and surrounding region a drawcard for innovators nationally and globally to explore all we have to offer,” she says.

For more information on The New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019 and to download an application form for incubation support visit nzaerospacechallenge.com

The New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019 launch event is being held in Christchurch today, Friday 8 March from 1pm to 3pm at Tūranga, TSB Room, Level 1.
Media are most welcome to attend. Media packs will be available at the launch.
A media standup to be held at conclusion of speeches (approx. 1.50pm) with:
Airbus Managing Director Australia Pacific Andrew Mathewson
Minister of Research, Science and Innovation, Hon Dr Megan Woods
Mayor of Christchurch Hon Lianne Dalziel
Blinc Innovation CEO Toni Laming
SpaceBase Co-Founder Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom
For more information on The New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019 and to download an application form for incubation support visit nzaerospacechallenge.com
Key dates for the New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019

8 March
Launch event in Christchurch
Applications for incubation support open at nzaerospacechallenge.com

15 April
Applications for incubation support close

1 May
Up to 20 incubation participants announced

May to September
Incubation programme

15 September
Full applications due, finalist judging commences

17 October
Flight demos in Christchurch

18 October
Awards ceremony in Christchurch


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