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Space tech experts take on key industry challenges

GRAVITY 03 has brought hundreds of space technology experts together to address 12 critical industry challenge areas, including across farming and sustainable supply-chains.

5 min read
The Mullion Group The Mullion Group are closing the gap between satellite data and farmers. Image: Rachael Lenehan Photography

Space tech innovators have proposed solutions to world-changing problems from climate change to healthcare supply chain management across the globe as part of round 03 of the GRAVITY Challenge.

GRAVITY Challenge is a global technology innovation program that connects start-ups, entrepreneurs, and universities with businesses and governments to solve real world business challenges using space enabled data, technology, and capability.

Space tech enthusiasts from Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Luxemburg, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic, were challenged as part of GRAVITY 03 to solve challenges from 12 different organisations.

Deloitte Australia Head of Innovation and Space Leader Jason Bender said this year’s challenge had garnered some of the most innovative solutions from top space tech talent across the globe, with great cross-collaboration between innovators and the organisations setting the challenges.

“What we’ve seen this year from innovators is a raft of inspired thinking that disrupts and innovates to offer tangible solutions to real world issues, through deep thinking and potential application,” Mr Bender said.

“Innovation is thriving despite the shock of the pandemic across the globe with organisations reminded of just how important it is to be future focused in times of crisis.

“The GRAVITY Challenge continues to provide an environment for innovators from the space ecosystem to grow new ideas to complex problems and potentially create new jobs to boost economies across the world.”

Rural Bank

Rural Bank CEO Alexandra Gartmann said GRAVITY 03 has teased out some great solutions from innovators challenged with equipping Australian farmers with climate management tools to build resilience and strengthen business viability.

“GRAVITY Challenge 03 has been a unique opportunity for Rural Bank to access global innovators and cutting-edge data to address a critical challenge facing Australian farmers – building climate management tools to build resilience and strengthen business viability,” Ms Gartmann said.

“Innovation has long been a strong feature of Australian agriculture and more recently, technologies such as data processing and modelling, satellite technology and meteorological measurement have enabled Australian agriculture to become a more modern and precise industry.

“Climate change poses a significant risk to the future sustainability of food and fibre production globally as well as in Australia, and by extension, the thousands of communities that rely on the sustainability of the agricultural value chain for their economic and social prosperity.

“By engaging creative thinkers to reimagine solutions leveraging space data, we will better enable farmers to measure and manage emissions and adaptation actions, while also strengthening our understanding of climate risks across our own business.”

The Mullion Group

The Mullion Group were the Rural Bank Challenge champions, moving to scaling a potential solution to manage risk and measure sustainability on-farm and across the supply-chain. Led by CEO and Co-founder, Dr Rob Waterworth, The Mullion Group took a systems approach to the Rural Bank Challenge, bringing together existing and in-market technologies to provide a best-fit solution.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Australia and New Zealand Country Director, Worldwide Public Sector, Iain Rouse said cloud computing is already playing a role in the next frontier of space exploration, communication, and innovation.

“Cloud technology is changing how some organisations collect, store, and analyse vast amounts of space generated data to help to redefine research, make decisions, and deliver industry-focused solutions that are addressing societal challenges. The potential of space data to help organisations tackle complex issues on Earth can continue to grow, as the cloud makes accelerated analysis and decision making possible,” Mr Rouse said.

“It has been a privilege to observe the GRAVITY Challenge Space innovators and witness the innovation first-hand, notably the use of space-sourced data to address problems like agriculture management, environmental hazard reduction, and marine life preservation.”

Roche Australia

Challenger organisation, Roche Australia, set the task of driving better access to healthcare services and supplies. Innovators were asked to use real-time satellite data to support supply chain management, ultimately ensuring Roche customers receive the lifesaving medications and treatments they need, such as oncology treatments.

Dr Emmanuel G Escobar, a member of the innovator team Seanasol Consortium realised he would be impacted by the challenge itself after arriving at a rural hospital for treatment for lymphoma, only to learn his medicine had not yet arrived.

“It was in transit from the pharmacy where it was originally delivered to and not where patients were relocated because of COVID,” Dr Escobar said.

“Over the last 12 weeks we have built a solution that unlocks the best routes for the delivery of medicines and allows healthcare providers to have greater control of available treatments.

“Working as a multidisciplinary team proved to be what was needed in addressing this challenge, and allowed to fulfil the business outlook of the solution, leverage the capabilities of space technology, and capture our personal motivations for improving global health—but we achieved more than that; we formed a space where we could have open discussions and lead a project with collaboration in mind.

“And for that, GRAVITY is a wonderful medium for collaboration that encourages cross-industry interaction. Our team is especially grateful for the constructive feedback we received from our Deloitte mentors and the challenge provides, which have made our approach to solving this challenge unique. We are in a prime position to deliver better medicine access in Australia and already envisioning its applications worldwide.”

GRAVITY Challenge is supported by Deloitte, AWS, Government of South Australia, South Australian Space Industry Centre, Australian Space Agency, AgriFutures Australia, Geoscience Australia, Australian Space Data Analysis Facility, Lot Fourteen, Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Southern Launch, Saber Astronautics, SmartSat CRC, xOrigin, Satellite Applications Catapult and Stone & Chalk.

Participating countries this year include Australia, Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Luxemburg, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic.

GRAVITY HQ is hosted at the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct in Adelaide, the epicentre of Australia’s space industry, supported by the South Australian Government and home to the Australian Space Agency.

Learn more about the GRAVITY Challenge.

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