CASSINI Hackhaton at ZICER

Join the CASSINI Hackathon in Zagreb!

Can you create solutions using space technology to help strengthen Europe’s security? The 5th CASSINI Hackathon is open for entries.

Be inspired by experts, learn to access data from Copernicus, EGNOS and Galileo, and connect with a team to build your solution. There are three challenges on the theme of defence and security:

  • Enabling cross-terrain mobility
  • Making the seas more secure
  • Protecting our critical infrastructure

Already working closely with the Croatian defence sector, local organiser ZICER will welcome leading experts – like SES Techcom – to this edition of the Hackathon. From physical security to cybersecurity, our local challenges are diverse. Are you ready to tackle them?

Join us in Zagreb between Friday 24th and Sunday 26th of March. All you need is an interest in space technology – and the motivation to develop a winning idea. There are local and international prizes for the best team giving the winners the support they need to launch their ventures!

Europe-wide CASSINI Hackathons are a major opportunity to develop ideas for digital application of space data. They are particularly addressed to students, graduates, researchers and teams/startups in their very early stages. Each hackathon takes place simultaneously in ten European cities and the local organizers offer everything needed to form a great team, learn about accessing space data, identify customer needs, and start working on digital solutions.

CASSINI Hackathons & Mentoring are part of the European Commission’s CASSINI initiative to support space entrepreneurship. The initiative tackles global challenges through space technologies.

ZICER – Zagreb Innovation Centre is organizing the Croatian edition of the CASSINI Hackathon. The 5th CASSINI Hackathon: Space for Defense & Security will take place from 24 to 26 March, 2023. ZICER is the nation’s leading startup incubator and accelerator and the largest startup hub in Croatia.


Prior to the hackathon, Big Ideas Campaign will be held from March 6 to 10, 2023 (also at ZICER). This preparatory week will feature several warm up events (keynote speeches, fireside chats etc.) that will provide inspiration and additional information to participants who have registered for the hackathon and interested parties.


  • 1st Prize – EUR 5,000
  • 2nd Prize – EUR 1,000
  • 3rd Prize – Goodie packages
  • Special prize powered by SES Techcom: A 6-month paid internship at SES Techcom in Luxembourg

Meet ZICER, Croatian local organiser of the 5th CASSINI hackathon

ZICER – Zagreb Innovation Centre is the nation’s leading accelerator and incubator and the largest start-up hub in Croatia. This organisation was founded by the City of Zagreb and aims to identify, grow, connect and finance tech startups and entrepreneurs. Inside the flagship centre 90 start-ups are currently incubated, receiving support to develop, launch and market their innovative solutions. ZICER has, over the past 28 years, assembled expert programs to mentor innovative ventures. Its collaborations with companies, authorities and investors make it the perfect place to turn ideas into entrepreneurship!

Register now!

Don’t miss your opportunity to learn about satellite technology – and build your own solutions – from the entrepreneurial heart of Croatia’s thriving space sector.

Register now via!

The final conference on the Digital Education project was held

On Saturday, February 11, 2023, starting at 11:00 a.m. in the PISMO incubator building (Trg Luka Ilića Oriovčanina 8, Novska), the final conference on the Digital Education project (UP. was held.


At the conference, the project team presented the project goals, target groups, project elements, project activities and achieved project results. With the Digital Education project, members of the associations A3, Igra znjana and HZTK were trained to carry out the activities of creating and using educational materials to respond to crisis situations. Mechanisms of intergenerational solidarity and learning of the elderly with the help of the younger ones in the field of ICT have been developed.

Digital educational materials will remain permanently available on the created web portal The project also organized the development of strategies and innovative tools for managing crisis situations for Sisak-Moslavina County in the field of digital satellite data.
The total value of the project is €59,550.17 (448,680.78 HRK), and the funds are provided from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia (15%) and from the European Social Fund (85%).

The project was co-financed by the European Union from the European Social Fund.
The project is co-financed by the Office for NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
The content of the publication is the sole responsibility of the Adriatic Aerospace Association.
For more information on EU funds: and

Start of intergenerational education on the Digital Education project

The Digital Education project (UP. invests in innovative and different education and establishes mechanisms of intergenerational solidarity based on the teaching of the elderly by the younger, thereby increasing digital literacy and good governance in the local environment through increased resistance to crises. situations.

The end users are vulnerable groups of the elderly population at risk of social exclusion and young people in secondary schools who lack work experience for better employability.

Through the project, it is planned to hold 6 intergenerational educations for 24 people, and on November 23, 2022. was held first. Students of the Novska secondary school, majoring in video game development technician and users of the Day Center for the Elderly in Novska participated in the training. Education will be held throughout November, December and January.

The project was co-financed by the European Union from the European Social Fund.
The project is co-financed by the Office for NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
The content of the publication is the sole responsibility of the Adriatic Aerospace Association.
For more information on EU funds: and

IT IS TIME TO ACT IN SPACE EXPLORATION: A letter of European space industry to decision makers

Europe has often fallen behind in key sectors because of a lack of daring decision at key moments. We are at such a historical moment for human and robotic exploration. Stepping up the ladder or falling off is at stake. The concerned European industry is asking political decision-makers to be bold at the next ESA Council at ministerial level.

Dear Madams and Sirs,

At the beginning of this decade, the US and China embrace exploration boldly for a sustained robotic and human presence in the Solar system. The early space race was a sprint, especially for the first Moon walk, but the new race will be long lasting and into deeper space, especially for Mars. Besides medium players such as Russia and India, non-traditional space-faring countries like UAE or Saudi Arabia are now also engaging in space exploration programmes. Under such geostrategic circumstances a European standstill is not an option.

We are at the dawn of a low Earth orbit economy, expanding to the Moon and later to Mars. Europe must shape its own future and not just passively witness others exploring beyond Earth, establishing their economic influence, and reaping the benefits. The European space industry strongly holds that Europe cannot afford to be sidelined, considering its GDP and international ambition. Skilled jobs creation and technological innovation with spillovers well beyond space technology are at stake.

But there is much more. With an accelerated pace of space activities around the globe, we want to alert politicians that it is their decision now for Europe to have its own sovereign capabilities or to be a follower forever and miss out market shares and future prosperity.

The European industry can undoubtedly deliver. Europe’s strength is unique multilateralism, creativity and diversity, federation of resources and know-how for common goals. The thrill of the first ever asteroid landing (Rosetta mission) and recently Ariane 5’s perfect launch of the James Webb Space Telescope are outstanding proofs of competence. The same has to hold true for exploration.

Cooperation on the International Space Station, on Orion and soon the lunar Gateway and Mars sample return, all led by the US with significant European contribution, has already strengthened European industry resulting in some instances in worldwide market advantage like the on-going B2B initiatives well established with US and other industries.

In this new era of expansion, we as space industry, have to strive for more autonomy in a level playing field. We are ready to move on to the next step and embrace new innovative business models, such as service-based commercial initiatives. Like in the US, governmental support and commitment as anchor customer is vital, as well as setting clear rules for co-funding and derisking technology maturation. We also foresee that numerous non-space industrial sectors such as energy, automotive, health, food, etc. will be profiting from opportunities created by a large variety of exploration challenges in order to tackle immediate grand challenges including energy and climate, circular economy and sustainability.

This open letter is therefore a plea for decision-makers to step up at the occasion of the ESA Council at ministerial level in November this year. Courageous and bold decisions are needed to unlock the potential of industrial growth by supporting fully the Terrae Novae programme proposal and its 2030+ strategy roadmap. Failing to open the door for the next decades will see Europe’s heritage of explorers vanish, and so will the pride of the young Europeans bound to watch others making history, leaving the dream to the ones who dare, taking away the emotions of being part of this endeavour and putting their inspiration in a straitjacket.

Space exploration is not a nice to have, it is also more than pride and soft power, it is a civilisation necessity.


For Adriatic Aerospace Association

Slobodan Danko Bosanac, president

Signatories of the letter:

The EuropeanAI Newsletter

Welcome to the EuropeanAI Newsletter covering the European AI and technology ecosystem. If you want to catch up on the archives, they’re available here.

The European Commission set up a virtual space for interested parties to engage with and shape the EU and US discussions in the Trade and Technology Council together. In this newsletter, we cover the potential interaction between the proposed regulation on foreign subsidies and agreements within the Trade and Technology Council’s work streams.

The European Commission is also running a tender in correlation to the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act for which it is commissioning a foresight process related to these regulatory interventions for online platforms.

Other key topics to keep an eye on are AI regulatory sandboxes, as defined in the AI Act. They are currently being discussed in the European Parliament, both in light of their interaction with general purpose AI systems, with an eye towards increasing legal certainty and fostering innovation. We’ve previously covered AI sandboxes and testing environments in this newsletter.

Policy, Strategy and Regulation

The EU’s new foreign subsidies framework and its potential implications for chips manufacturing

The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on the regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market. The agreement paves the way to the adoption of the regulation into effective law, which is subject to final approvals by the Council and the European Parliament.

What is it?

The regulation institutes a regime for oversight of state subsidized investments and economic activities of companies in the EU. These state subsidies may take various forms, such as grants, loans, capital injections, tax incentives, or exclusive rights. All companies operating within the Single Market are captured by this proposal, whether they are state-owned and private, based inside or outside of the EU.

The aim is to screen for and preempt the direct distortative or spillover effects of state aid to those companies, instigated by non-EU countries.

  • Direct distortive effects may arise when a foreign company finances its activities in the EU using foreign subsidies and this affects its competitive advantage compared to competitors in the Single Market.
  • Spillover effects refer to the second order impact of foreign subsidies. It can arise when foreign subsidies create an undue competitive advantage for a company abroad that spills over to the company’s operations in the Single Market For example, through capacity expansion, support for bottom line, etc..

Under the proposed regulation on foreign subsidies, companies must notify the European Commission of planned mergers and public procurement bids prior to their implementation should they be above certain thresholds. The Commission reviews the mergers/bids, assesses the existence of foreign state aid and whether it distorts competition.

  • If the positive effects outweigh the distortive ones, the Commission may approve the merger/bid.
  • If the distortive effects prevail, the Commission may: (i) impose redress measures on the companies concerned; and (ii) request them to commit to implementing remedial measures.

It may also investigate mergers and bids of lower values, as well as any other economic operations in the EU on its own initiative. Companies, interested parties and EU member states may inform the Commission of suspected distortive foreign aid.

Analysis: Why is it AI-relevant?

According to Eurostat, the US is the largest foreign investment partner to the EU in terms of both stocks and flows. In terms of stocks (i.e. positions), the US accounts for the largest share (~30%) of the foreign direct investment in the EU in 2020 (the latest, for which public statistics is available). In terms of direct investment flows, the US ranks first among the other EU partners, with more than EUR 250 billion of investments. The US was also the largest importer in the EU of goods and services. These data points appear to suggest investment and trade intensity that exposes the US the most to any EU measures targeting foreign aid.

The proposed EU regulation on foreign subsidies includes critical infrastructure and innovative technologies, such as semiconductors and AI, and comes at a time when the EU and the US are attempting to strengthen their cooperation and facilitate investments in trade and technology through the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC; read more here). A key area of overlap between those two efforts will likely be the TTC’s focus on investments in semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

In a joint statement earlier this year, the EU and the US have committed to avoiding “subsidy races” in the sector. Language in the statement suggests that the two parties are aware of subsidization effects of their schemes for promoting home-grown chip manufacturing through the EU Chips Act and the US “CHIPS for America Act” (e.g. Intel’s  new factories under construction in Magdeburg, Germany and in Ohio, the US, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s new plant in Arizona).

In order to navigate potential trade tensions, the EU and the US have committed to cooperating on subsidies to chip manufacturing via the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, the EU’s proposed foreign subsidies regulation will operate in parallel to the WTO’s subsidies controls and the TTC’s cooperation arrangements. It appears to serve as a safety vault for the EU in case foreign industrial policies change in unexpected ways. For example, fluctuations in demand or state measures could possibly affect projected policy outcomes and economic fundamentals of a sector (e.g. by resulting in overcapacities, “killer” acquisitions). Which, in turn, may have distortive effects on the EU market (e.g. lessened competition).

Notes in the Margins: The EU’s proposed regulation on foreign subsidies complements its existing framework for screening foreign direct investments (previously covered in this early edition of the newsletter). The former monitors and intervenes with foreign firms’ investment activities on grounds of their potential distortive effects on competition in the Single Market. The latter monitors and could preempt investments in certain sectors on grounds of security and public order. For example, sectors such as defense, energy, other critical infrastructure, critical technologies (such as semiconductors and AI).


Dataset auditing and AI tools

The European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) published a study on auditing the quality of datasets used in algorithmic decision-making systems (more specifically, in machine-learning applications). The study examines different types of bias, their causes, associated technical and legal complexities, and approaches to mitigating bias.

It puts forward a range of policy options, the most interesting of these are: (i) application and appropriate interpretation of existing and proposed draft legislation (e.g. non-discrimination laws, the General Data Protection Regulation, the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, the Data Governance Act, the Data Act, and the AI Act) – instead of adoption of new specific rules — in order to tackle bias; and, (ii) introducing requirements and schemes for standardization and certification of datasets to be used in AI systems.

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Dessislava Fessenko provided research and editorial support.
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Disclaimer: this newsletter is personal opinion only and does not represent the opinion of any organisation.

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