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Science and Technology to educate future space entrepreneurs

ST will be help students to come up with ideas for start-ups through an interdisciplinary Space Entrepreneurship Programme, which will teach students in subjects within both space technology and entrepreneurship.

2019.01.15 | Ole J. Knudsen

[Translate to English:] Studerende AU har de sidste par år været med til at gøre nanosatelliten Delphini-I klar til opsendelse. Satellitten befinder sig nu ombord på den Internationale Rumstation, hvorfra den i februar skal sætte i kredsløb omkring jorden. Målet med ESA BIC DK er, at give de studerende mod på at starte deres egne virksomheder inden for rumteknologi efter afslutningen af deres studier. Foto: Lars Kruse/AU foto

Over the past couple of years, AU students have helped ready the Delphini - 1 nanosatellite for launch. The satellite is now on board the International space station, from which it will be put into orbit around Earth in February. The aim of the ESA BIC DK is to encourage the students to start their own businesses within space technology after the end of their studies. Photo: Lars Kruse/AU Photo.

Lektor Christoffer Karoff. Foto: Privat

Associate professor Christoffer Karoff. Photo: Private

ST will be help students to come up with ideas for start-ups through an interdisciplinary Space Entrepreneurship Programme, which will teach students in subjects within both space technology and entrepreneurship.

 

Before Christmas it was announced that AU is part of setting up the ESA Business Incubation Center Denmark (ESA BIC DK),  a new national centre that will act as an incubator for future space entrepreneurs, and turn Denmark into a powerhouse within the fast-growing space industry. The DKK 50 million (EUR 6.5 million) project is being supported by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, the Danish industry Foundation and the European Space Agency (ESA). Nationally, the centre will be led from the Technical University of Denmark.

Read the article about the center.

"Although entrepreneurship has been a permanent part of engineering programmes for many years, we are now taking a new initiative to invite students from bioscience, geoscience, physics and astronomy to join us," says Christoffer Karoff, associate professor at the Department of Geoscience, and he continues: "The ESA BIC hub at AU will be established as a collaboration between engineering sciences, bioscience, geoscience, physics and astronomy, and this interdisciplinary aspect is very important for the space entrepreneurs of the future. It’s important that we maintain our strong academic foundation at AU, and that we educate space entrepreneurs who can work across traditional subject boundaries".

Christoffer Karoff will be leading work at the ESA BIC hub at Aarhus University.

The centre is being funded by a number of companies and foundations, and it will help new start-ups and established businesses that exploit and develop space technology or satellite data.

The first start-up companies will commence their incubation period at the ESA BIC in January 2020. Twice every year, new companies will be enrolled in the incubator. 40 new high-tech companies will be enrolled over five years. In 2025, the goal is that these efforts will have resulted in a batch of new businesses with revenues totalling EUR 20 million and 350-400 new high-tech jobs.

One example of an existing AU spin-off is the SCALGO company, which maps flooding risks from the sea and watercourses. Monitoring and adaptation to climate change is exactly one of the areas where the space industry is expected to be able to make a big difference in the years to come, and where there is a need for entrepreneurs who can work across disciplines. "The aim of ESA BIC DK is to make AU spin-offs just like SCALGO," says Christoffer Karoff.

Globally, the space industry has a turnover of about USD 350 billion (EUR 305 billion), and even though the space industry in Denmark is still relatively small, Danish space companies are already seeing strong growth.

 

Read more about ESA BIC and results.

Read more about SCALGO 

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