Space tech innovators solve global issues in GRAVITY Challenge

GRAVITY Challenge

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 UK, the US, Germany, France, Luxemburg, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic had to solve challenges from 12 different organisations. 

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. 

This year’s challenge garnered some of the most innovative solutions from top space tech talent, 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,” Deloitte Australia head of Innovation and Space leader Jason 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.” 

Cloud computing is already playing a role in the next frontier of space exploration, communication and innovation, Amazon Web Services ANZ country director Worldwide Public Sector Iain Rouse said. 

“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,” Rouse said. 

“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. 

“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.” 

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,” Rural Bank CEO Alexandra 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,” she said. 

“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.” 

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 lymphoma treatment 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,” 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, allowing the business outlook of the solution to be fulfilled, leveraging the capabilities of space technology and capturing 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,” Escobar said. 

“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, South Australian government, 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. 

For a full list of Challenge Champions, visit the Deloitte website.