Press releases

Four UK space technology innovators awarded in global GRAVITY Challenge programme

13 October 2021

Four UK space technology innovators have been recognised as Challenge Champions in the GRAVITY Challenge programme, a global programme facilitated by Deloitte.

UK-based companies Helyx, Little Place Labs, Seanasol Consortium and Treeconomy proposed winning solutions to challenges posed by global brands addressing key industrial, social and environmental problems.

The Challenge Champions will now work with the organisations that posed the challenges, with the support of Deloitte mentors, to pilot and scale their innovative concepts.

Scott Campbell, partner in Deloitte Ventures, said: “It's testament to the strength and excellence of the country's space technology industry today that four UK companies have developed winning solutions in this global programme. From developing technology that will protect sea life in international waters, to providing patients in Australia with better access to medication and treatment, UK innovators are delivering world-leading solutions to significant industrial, social and environmental problems. The ‘space bridge’ partnership - aimed at increasing knowledge and investment between the UK and Australia’s space sectors - has provided a strong foundation for many of the projects, aiding collaboration between organisations across the world that I’m sure will last beyond the completion of the Challenge.”

UK-based Helyx developed the winning concept in response to a challenge set by the UK Hydrographic Office, alongside Whale and Dolphin Conservation, which asked entrants to optimise satellite and environmental data in order to minimise vessel strikes on marine mammals during port approach and departures.

Meanwhile, Little Place Labs successfully answered a challenge set by AWS, exploring how developers could use AI and machine learning technologies to improve the identification and analysis of a high value event of interest– such as plumes of smoke indicating a warning of bush fire.

Seanasol Corsortium championed as the winner of Roche Australia’s challenge, which looked at how to improve access to healthcare services and supplies. Innovators were asked to use real-time satellite data to support supply chain management, ultimately ensuring Roche’s customers received the lifesaving medications and treatments they needed, 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. He explained: “The medicine was in transit from the pharmacy where it was originally delivered to and not where patients had been relocated to because of COVID. 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 us 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 providers, which have made our approach to solving this challenge unique.”

Finally, UK-based Treeconomy was awarded for its solution to a challenge presented by Responsible Risk, looking at valuing nature and how to better assess financial risk.

Harry Grocott, CEO and co-founder of Treeconomy, commented: "We know qualitatively that our financial and business sectors are intrinsically linked to nature. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated this very clearly, but there are very few tangible and quantitative links in our business-as-usual society. At Treeconomy, we have used the GRAVITY 03 Responsible Risk challenge to really accelerate our work in both valuing nature quantitatively, in a manner that financial institutions and capital allocators will understand, and converting this into something digestible by making the supply chain much more transparent. The benefit for business is that carbon, climate and nature risk are quickly becoming financial liabilities, and therefore having a solution to track risk and opportunities in a clear manner is increasingly valuable.”

GRAVITY Challenge 03 builds on the success of two previous GRAVITY Challenges. GRAVITY Challenge 02, which concluded in 2020, saw seven winners awarded from the UK, selected from an initial group of over 300 global registrations. To date, the programme has reached 700 world-class innovators from the space sector.

Campbell concluded: “UK innovators delivering these kind of world-leading solutions will have a significant impact on the local economy and wider society, creating new jobs across the UK, while at the same time addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

-Ends-

Notes to the editor

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.

GRAVITY Challenge is supported by Deloitte, AWS, Government of South Australia, South Australian Space Industry Centre, Australian Space Agency, Agrifutures, Geoscience Australia, Australian Space Data Anaylsis Facility, Lot Fourteen, Airbus, Land Services SA, Maxar, Pivotel, Southern Launch, Saber Astronautics, SmartsatCRC, xOrigin, Satelitte Applications Catapul and Stone & Chalk.

Gravity 03 invited participants from Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Luxemburg, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic, making it one of the largest space innovation programmes of its kind.

Full list of Challenge Champions

About Deloitte

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit www.deloitte.co.uk.

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