International Jury and Winners from Three Countries: Vernadsky Challenge V grand-final

21 Jun 2021

On June 15-16, Noosphere hosted the fifth final of the Vernadsky Challenge engineering startup competition. The anniversary event took place in Kyiv, within the framework of the “AVIASVIT-XXI” International Aerospace Salon at the International Exhibition Center (IEC). During the two days we arranged many activities, including a panel discussion of the scientific and business communities, lectures from the finalists of the previous years Vernadsky Challenge and an exhibition of children’s space drawings Noosphere Space Art Challenge. In the “AVIASVIT-XXI” expo zone there were  presented booths of Noosphere stalwarts – FireFly Aerospace, Dragonfly Aerospace, FlightControl propulsion, SETS, and Earth Observing System.

The first day of the final was marked by a panel discussion on “Prospects for engineering startups in Ukraine and the world”. The discussion was joined by:

  • Michael Ryabokon – Co-founder and Headman of the NGO “Noosphere Association”, Ph.D.
  • Borys Davydenko – engineer and economist, editor-in-chief
  • Dmytro Khmara – co-founder of space startups Lunar Research Project, Space Cossacks and co-author of MySatUA project, multiple finalist of Vernadsky Challenge
  • Olexandr Butkalyuk – famous Ukrainian engineer and designer, one of the Mars Hopper project founders, founder of the Club of Experimental Rocket Building
  • Max Gerbut – inventor and entrepreneur in the field of energy efficient construction, smart homes, IoT, 3D printing, specialist in marketing, physics, engineering, industrial design and business development
  • Serhiy Veretyuk – Noosphere Engineering School Director
  • Dmitry Gazda – CEO of Esper Bionics, Vernadsky Challenge 2019 winner.

In addition to the discussion on June 15, we managed to hold traditional “success stories” from the finalists and winners of previous years’ competitions. The presentation by Dmytro Gazda from Esper Bionics was so successful that Mr. Dmytro received an invitation from Max Polyakov and Michael Ryabokon to enter the jury of this year’s Vernadsky Challenge final.

The first day ended with the showrun of the film, created with the support of the NGO “Noosphere Association” and Max Polyakov personally. The “Unbreakable. The Way to a Dream” tells the story of a famous scientist in the field of rocketry and astronautics and a designer, the founder of practical cosmonautics Sergiy Korolev.

Follow this link to watch a panel discussion, as well as success stories of the Vernadsky Challenge finalists.

The second day and the culmination of the event were, of course, the pitches of the finalists. The stage was opened on June 16 with welcoming speeches by Michael Ryabokon, Noosphere co-founder, Volodymyr Sokolov, Chief Engineer and First Deputy General Director of the Southern Machine-Building Plant, and Oleksandr Kordyuk, Academician of NAU, Ph. D. Physics and Mathematics.

132 startups joined Vernadsky Challenge 2020-21l: 89 foreign and 43 Ukrainian. More than half of them are space projects. The top 10 participants from 6 countries (Canada, Slovakia, Sweden, Spain, USA and Ukraine) reached the final. The jury was more than international too:

  • Luca Rossettini – CEO and founder of D-orbit, who greeted the finalists with an inspiring speech
  • Boris Otter – President and Founder of the Swiss Space Tourism Association
  • Isy Goldwasser – CEO and founder of Thynk
  • Christian Ziach – Investment Manager of High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
  • Eduard Maltsev – Deputy Dean of Kyiv-Mohyla Business School and Head of Presidents’ MBA
  • Max Gerbut – inventor and entrepreneur in the field of energy efficient construction, smart homes, IoT, 3D printing, expert  in marketing, physics, engineering, industrial design and business development
  • Serhiy Zakharchenko – Deputy General Director for Corporate and Legal Affairs of the Southern Machine-Building Plant
  • Nana Voitenko – Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor and Head of the Sensory Signaling Department of the Bogomolets Institute of Physiology
  • Dmitry Gazda – head and founder of Esper Bionics, doctor, engineer, serial entrepreneur, winner of Vernadsky Challenge 2019
  • Andriy Kolesnyk – Advisor to the Head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine
  • chaired, as always, Michael Ryabokon.

The final of the fifth Vernadsky Challenge was held in a “hybrid” format, so some of the jury and finalists were online, and some of them were on the main stage in Kyiv. For two days, the broadcast on YouTube and Facebook was joined by more than 1, 500 online viewers.

This format did not affect the fierceness of the fight in the final. So the jury had a difficult task – to determine the best of the best. And that’s what their decision was.

3rd place in the Vernadsky Challenge 2021 and a development grant of 400,000 hryvnias was awarded to the BOROSPACE project from Slovakia. The authors have developed an innovative design of lithium-ion batteries, thanks to which the battery will not only save electricity, but also serve as a hybrid rocket fuel after the mission.

2nd place and a grant for development of 600,000 hryvnias was awarded to the Ukrainian project chaired by Pavlo Tkachenko – Provizio. The Provizio team has developed a device to measure intraocular pressure that helps delay vision loss. Provizio software notifies the doctor in real time about changes in blood pressure and informs him about available treatment options.

1st place and 1,000,000 hryvnias was awarded to the Medicsen project from Spain. The Medicsen team created a smart patch that opens micropores in human skin for the non-invasive administration of large-molecule drugs (such as insulin).

Watch the 2021 finalists pitches at this link.

This was the most international of the Vernadsky Challenge finals. Stay in touch with us, because the new season of our engineering startup competition is coming soon!