Veneto launches ‘Veneto Stars’ space challenge for ‘young European innovators’

Conference announcing the 'Veneto Stars' competition

ROME - The region of Veneto has launched a space “challenge for young European innovators” to use space data to become key players in the future of Veneto’s agricultural sector, regional officials said at a press conference on Friday.


The competition is aimed at 18 - 25 year old Europeans who, using space data, have to come up with an innovative project relating to the agricultural sector. According to the President of the Region of Veneto, Luca Zaia, the competition has already received applications from teams across Europe, based in Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. 


The challenge is running until April 15 and the 10 short-listed projects will be notified by April 18. These teams will be invited to pitch their projects in Venice during the “Space Meetings Veneto” convention in May. The winning team will be announced on May 17 and they will be invited to spend a week in the Veneto region to further advance their ideas and develop a prototype. 


According to Francesco Calzavara, a councillor for the Veneto region, the competition will take place every year for the next three years. “Next year's theme will be tourism, and the year after will focus on big events, in preparation for the Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026,” he said.


The President of the Italian Space Agency, Giorgio Saccoccia, commented on the advantages of this “wonderful initiative.” He explained the importance of international collaboration in helping to protect the earth and its agricultural sector and how the challenge is putting Italy on the map as a world-leading contributor within the space data industry. 


The competition, which was partly set up by students and academics at the University of Padova, “will show how space presents the possibility for acting at a local level,” according to Saccoccia. 

The President of the Aerospace Innovation and Research Institute (AIR), Federico Zoppas, highlighted the importance of the competition for the region of Veneto stating “we want Veneto to be at the forefront of space innovation in Italy. In our region we have around 260 companies which are linked to the Aerospace sector in some capacity … and this competition for young people is crucial for our local companies who are looking for talent,” he said.  

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Promotional image for the competition