asked questions

Who Can Apply for the Challenge?

Anybody residing in New Zealand or New Zealand citizens living abroad whose intention it is to work on a solution that will be developed in New Zealand. If applying as a team or company, the principal applicant must reside in New Zealand or be a New Zealand citizen living abroad.

What are the start and end dates for the Challenge application?

Applicants will need to be prequalified by submitting a proposal from X March 2019 to 15 April 2019. Full application requirements for qualified applicants/teams are due 15 September 2019.

 Can individuals apply for the Challenge or only teams/organisations?

Both individuals or teams/organizations can apply to participate in the Challenge.

How are applicants evaluated?

All applications will be judged according to the following six criteria: (10 points each)


  • Use of Space and UAV Technology – Leverage space/UAV technology to solve problem

  • Technical Feasibility, Safety and Rigor – Based on scientific principles and method.

  • Innovative Solution – Novel and new idea

  • Market Viability – Clear business case or plan for execution. Plan is easy to implement, adopt and scale.

  • Environmental Impact – Maximum positive impact and benefit to society at scale

  • Prototype – Practical demonstration of solution to the Challenge

    Additional points for four criteria: (2 points each)

  • Evidence of impact within 3 years

  • Collaboration with multiple stakeholders

  • Creative integration (from other technologies, etc.)

  • Team composition for execution

Requirement – Applicants must adhere to NZ regulations for UAV operations.


What is the judging process?

Judging of the Aerospace Challenge will be in three phases. In phase 1, an internal committee of industry experts will pre-qualify each proposal and select the top twenty (20) candidates that will be supported by the Aerospace Challenge incubator program. The Challenge incubator program will support applicants with access to data, analysis, mentorship and more.

In phase 2, judges comprised of academic, industry, and government representatives will evaluate each final submission to ensure it meets the challenge criteria. The judges will then select ten (10) finalists to compete in the final demo and Pitch session on 17 and 18 October 2019. The judges may solicit additional information from the Finalists.

In phase 3, the top 10 finalists will then be invited to demo their solution and present at a pitch session and awards ceremony in Christchurch. A panel of experts between eight (8) to twelve (12) judges from different regions and Aerospace Challenge partners will select one (1) individual or team on 18 October 2019 for a Grand Prize.

What benefits do pre-qualified applicants to the Challenge incubator program get?

  • Support from Challenge partners including but not limited to:

  • Airbus Sandbox platform and access to data

  • Mentorship

  • Use of approved areas for testing solutions (e.g. Birdlings Flats and Ngai Tahu farm lands)

  • Airways guidance and process for testing drone solutions (e.g. beyond visual line of sight, BVLOS)

  • Use of SpaceBase collaborative online platform.

Can applicants submit a full application without participating in the Challenge incubation program?

Applicants or teams can submit a full application before 15 September provided that they also submit a proposal and prequalify before the 15 Sept deadline date.

What benefits do the final winner get?

The final winner gets $50,000 cash prize plus 6 months of desk space at a Christchurch incubator with access to mentorship. Travel and accommodations to attend the demo and pitch session on 17-18 of October will be provided for the applicant or one member of the team.  

What benefits do the 10 finalists get?

Finalists will get at least six months of desk space at a local incubator and access to mentorship in region. Travel and accommodations to attend the demo and pitch session on 17 & 18 October will be provided for the applicant or one member of the team.

Is travel to the final pitch session for regional finalist covered?

Travel and accommodations for the final demo and pitch session on 17 & 18 October will be covered for one individual or one member of the team from within New Zealand.

When would the finalist be notified?

Finalists will be announced on or after 23 September.

What are the pre-conditions for final acceptance?

Finalists must sign a statement of terms and conditions (T&C) and confirm that they will attend the final demo and pitch session on 17 & 18 October in Christchurch.

Does my application need to be a new idea or can it be an existing solution used elsewhere?

We encourage new and innovative ideas to solve the problem but also welcome technology already being applied in different industries or problems that may be repurposed to solve the Challenge problem.

 Who owns the intellectual property (IP) to the idea or solution to the Challenge?

Applicants have complete ownership of their IP.  

What are the requirements for the initial proposal?

  • Background/curriculum vitae (CV) of the applicant or team members

  • General technical approach

  • Specific aspect of problem being addressed

  • Projected plan and schedule

  • Specific request for technical support (satellite data, or other)

  • The pre-qualification proposal should be ten pages or less

What are the requirements for the final application?

  • Background/curriculum vitae (CV) of the applicant or team members

  • Abstract and description of proposed solution (maximum 500 words)

  • A pitch deck describing idea or prototype (a file consisting of a maximum of 20 slides, and less than 10 MB)

  • A five-minute video describing their team, solution, and plan of implementation (submitted as a link to video hosting site, such as YouTube - with a password, if desired)

  • A prototype or proof of implementation (could be part of the video or detailed results of tech demonstration)

 Who will be evaluating the applications?

Applicants will be evaluated online by judges coming from academia, industry and government experts in space and agritech. A panel of judges, comprised of agritech and space specialists, entrepreneurs, and local and national government representatives will determine the winner during the final demo and pitch session.

Can an application be revised once it has been submitted?

The application portal (Slideroom) allows applicants to save work on the application and applicants can continue to add, edit and revise at any time - using the “Save and Exit” option. However, once the application is finally submitted - using the “Submit” button - you will NOT be able to make any changes. Once you hit the “Submit” button, the application will be submitted for judging. This is done to allow more time for judges to evaluate finalized evaluations throughout the Challenge application period. All applications must be submitted by the 15 September 2019 deadline.

 Can an applicant submit more than one application?

As an individual, an applicant can only submit one application.

Can an applicant be a member of more than one team?

An individual may be a member of more than one team, as long as both teams are aware of the individual's participation and contribution to each team, and there is no unauthorized transfer of proprietary information between the teams. The primary contact individual for each team must be unique.

Can applicants (individuals or teams) share information about their proposed solution?

During the competition, applicants can decide whether they share any information, or how much information they chose to share, to other individuals, teams, or the public. If an applicant becomes a finalist (announced 14 October), the short description (500 word abstract) of their proposed solution will be shared publicly during promotion of the 17-18 October final pitch and awards event. 

Can a finalist (selected 23 September) revise their solution before the final pitch on 17 October?

After an applicant is selected as a finalist on 14 October, and invited to present at the final pitch event on 18 October, they may revise and update their presentation for the pitch event. It is not required to alter or revise their presentation in any way. Any changes should only involve minor updates or enhancements to their proposed solution or presentation, and not any significant change to the proposed solution which allowed them to be selected as a finalist.

 Can individuals join teams during the competition?

The composition of a team may change up until the application is submitted. The deadline for submissions is 15 September.

If a team wins the prize, how is the prize divided among team members?

It is up to a team to decide (if they become a finalist) who would make the presentation at the final demo and pitch event on 17-18 October, and (if they win) how to allocate the final prize award. The team submission identifies a contact person for the team and ChristchurchNZ will interact with that contact person as representative of the team.

How can an individual or team find technical information about the Challenge?

After the start of the Challenge, SpaceBase will be working to provide technical resources, training, and links to videos and reports related to the Challenge. These will be available through the website. Individuals and teams are invited to create accounts on SpaceBase and join in chat discussions (public and private) about aspects of the Challenge.

What tools are available to help teams work on the Challenge?

For those qualifying to participate in the Challenge Incubation Program, the Sandbox platform will be made available to them for access to data and analysis tools. Support from Challenge partners for help in technology demonstrations and mentorship will also be provided during the duration of the application process. 

In addition, SpaceBase will be working to make available information, online resources, and discussion forums for individuals and teams working on the Challenge. SpaceBase will be adding these tools for the duration of the Challenge and answering questions from applicants through the website.