The IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenges are 1-1.5 year projects intended to engage students and young professionals in solving a complex engineering problem within the scope of GRSS and other Societies (e.g., Aerospace and Electronic Systems, Antennas and Propagation, Ocean Engineering, Computer, Microwave Theory and Techniques) and other entities (e.g., Van Allen Foundation).
IEEE GRSS is organizing its third Student Grand Challenge in 2021.
Third IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge in 2021
The third edition of the Student Grand Challenge is a partnership between IEEE GRSS and the Van Allen Foundation. The Van Allen Foundation is a partnership foundation of the University of Montpellier and supports the Montpellier University Space Center where students are trained in space jobs through the development of nanosatellites as part of projects and internships. IEEE GRSS is an international professional Society that seeks to engage students and young professionals in contributing to the solution of complex engineering problems within the scope of the Student Grand Challenges. IEEE GRSS has in the past sponsored two previous Student Grand Challenges related to remote sensing based on drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems, and nanosatellites.
The two organizations have agreed to join forces in publishing the present call for ideas. While the Van Allen Foundation is addressing the wide community of scientists, engineers and students, GRSS is focusing on students and young professionals in the global geoscience and remote sensing community. There are two calls for the Third IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge: The first one closed on April 30, 2021, the second one will close on June 30, 2021.
Published on June 4, 2021: Call 2 for Ideas
The Van Allen Foundation and GRSS have opened another Call for Ideas (called Call 2 for Ideas). GRSS leads Call 2 and has organized additional information events to help spread the word about the IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenges. People interested to submit a proposal to Call 2 are strongly encouraged to attend the information event on June 7, 2021.
Submission to Call 2 are accepted via email to studentgrandchallenge@grss-
Deadline for Call 2 submissions: 30 June, 2021.
Published on June 3, 2021: Register for Information Event on June 7, 2021
What? Information Event for Third IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge
When? June 7, 2021 at 7:00 AM Pacific Time
How? Register here: bit.ly/3p54qa9
Published on April 10, 2021: Call 1 for Ideas
Through this Call for Ideas, the Van Allen Foundation intends to feed a reservoir of innovative projects, offering engineers and students of the Space Center a source of inspiration, and at the same time, allowing the establishment of partnerships with research laboratories and organizations, to which it will bring its ability to gather funding that has already enabled the construction and launch of several nanosatellites since 2012.
IEEE GRSS seeks to engage students and young professionals in contributing to the solution of complex engineering problems within the scope of this call. IEEE GRSS has in the past sponsored two previous Student Grand Challenges related to remote sensing based on drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, and nanosatellites.
The two organizations have agreed to join forces in publishing this Call for Ideas. While the Van Allen Foundation is addressing the wide community of scientists, engineers and students, the GRSS is focusing its cosponsoring participation in this Call on students and young professionals.
Deadline for Call 1 submissions: 30 April, 2021.
|10 April||Call 1: Call for Ideas released on GRSS website|
|30 April||Call 1: Deadline for Submissions (Step 1)|
|TBD||Call 1: Announcement of Step 1 winners on GRSS website|
|4 June||Call 2: Call for Ideas released on GRSS website|
|7 June||Information Event 1: Webinar||7:00 am PDT|
|30 June||Call 2: Deadline for Submissions (Step 1)|
|15 July||Call 2: Announcement of Step 1 winners at IGARSS and on GRSS website|
|1 September||Formation request for IEEE GRSS student chapter due. Coordinate your chapter creation with the organizers.|
|1 October||IEEE GRSS student chapter formation completed. Initiation of transfer of funds.|
|1 November||Transfer of funds to IEEE GRSS student chapters completed.|
Application and Selection Process
The selection will be made in two steps:
Step 1: As a first step, applicants are invited to complete a preliminary two-page form, accessible at fondationvanallen.edu.umontpellier.fr/files/2021/03/Applicationform.pdf. If necessary, at this stage, an interaction with the proposers may take place for clarification purposes.
The two-page applications will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee of the Van Allen Foundation and GRSS. This assessment will permit the pre-selection of a limited number of projects who then enter Phase 1.
Step 2: The candidates of the pre-selected projects will be invited to provide a more complete proposal, based on a template that will be sent to them. The full proposals shall include a scientific and technical description of the envisaged solution, the type of data produced or used and the means available or to be acquired, as well as the biographical and administrative elements allowing the experience of the proposers to be assessed. They should specify the duration of the study or experiment to be carried out, the additional budget required and any resulting constraints to abide to. Once this has been accomplished, the pre-selected projects will enter Phase 2.
Once the proposal teams enter Phase 2, the teams will need to establish an IEEE GRSS student chapter in order to receive funding from IEEE GRSS. See 'Important Dates' for details on the timeline. Information on how to set up a IEEE GRSS student chapter can be found here: www.grss-ieee.org/community/chapters/start-a-chapter/. The organizers will help with the paperwork for your chapter formation.
Submissions for Steps 1 and 2 will only be accepted by email via studentgrandchallenge@grss-
The selected projects may be the subject of studies and developments, the funding of which will be submitted to the members of the Van Allen Foundation and GRSS. A budget of US $6000 per proposal is already set aside to finance Phase 1 projects, for example by hosting or sponsoring interns or post-docs. Overall, approximately 5 proposals will be funded by IEEE GRSS. Results of selected projects can be presented at scientific conferences and congresses and a dedicated session at a future GRSS sponsored International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) will be planned. In the longer term, depending on the results obtained in Phase 1, the Foundation and GRSS plan to do everything possible to achieve and launch selected projects.
IEEE GRSS held an information event on June 7, 2021, that was full of helpful information for anyone interested in submitting a proposal to the third IEEE GRSS student grand challenge (recording on YouTube and presentation).
Information on Marine Pollution and Litter
The Third IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge focuses on novel methods and techniques to detect and track marine pollution and litter.
Current estimates show that up to 250 million metric tons of plastic could end up in the ocean by 2025. With the wide-ranging potential impacts on marine life and human health still requiring extensive research, interdisciplinary global collaborations are paramount.
Below are a few curated articles and videos that give insight into marine pollution and litter:
- Article in Scientific Reports by Lauren Biermann, Daniel Clewley, Victor Martinez-Vicente, and Konstantinos Topouzelis on Finding Plastic Patches in Coastal Waters using Optical Satellite Data: Article
- Erik van Sebille from Utrecht University is a physical oceanographer who uses numerical Lagrangian particle tracking techniques to find out where marine litter ends up in the ocean. He gives a thorough overview of 15 years of ocean plastic research, highlighting pressing option questions: YouTube Video
- Lauren Biermann from Plymouth Marine Laboratory discusses the detection of floating macroplastics by satellite: YouTube Video
- François Galgani from IFREMER discusses approaches for a global monitoring of marine litter: YouTube Video
- Ellen Ramirez (NOAA), Lauren Bierman (Plymouth Marine Laboratory), Fabien Laurier (Minderoo Foundation), Caleb Kruse (Earthrise Media), and Grayson Shor (US Dept. of State) discuss how satellites can help identify and combat plastic marine debris: YouTube Video
- More videos from Ocean Plastic Webinars (OPC):
First IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge in 2018
The First IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge was a 1.5 year project intended to engage students and young professionals in solving a complex engineering problem within the scope of GRSS and other sister Societies (e.g., Aerospace and Electronic Systems, Antennas and Propagation, Ocean Engineering, Computer, Microwave Theory and Techniques).
The winners presented their work and received their awards at IGARSS 2019.
Winners of the First IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge in 2018
- Development of a surveillance system for forest fire detection and monitoring using drones
- Saif Allauddin Md.; Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology
- Sai Kiran G; Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology
- Raj Kiran G S S; Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology
- Srinivas G; Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology
- Uma Ratna Mouli G; Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology
- Vishnu Prasad P; Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology
- Machine learning applied to UAV imagery in precision agriculture and forest monitoring in Brazilian Savannah
- David Robledo Di Martini; Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
- Everton Castelão Tetila; Catholic University Dom Bosco
- José Marcato Junior; Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
- Edson Takashi Matsubara; Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
- Henrique Siqueira; Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
- Amaury Antônio de Castro Junior; Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
- Márcio Santos Araujo; Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
- Carlos Henrique Monteiro; Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul
- Hemerson Pistori; Catholic University Dom Bosco
- Veraldo Liesenberg; University of the State of Santa Catarina
- Multisensory surveillance drone for survivor detection and geolocalization in complex post-distaster environment
- Budiman P.A. Rohman; Kumamoto University
- Muhammad Bagus Andra; Kumamoto University
- Hanif Putra; Kumamoto University
- Dion Fandiantoro; Kumamoto University
- Masahiko Nishimoto; Kumamoto University
- Development of a UAV based glacial lake outburst monitoring system
- Swastika Chakraborty; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
- Saurabh Das; IIT Indore
- Nirmal Rai; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
- Anirban Patra; JIS College of Engineering
- Aritra Dhar; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
- Arnav Sadhu; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
- Baishali Gautam; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
- Pooja Verma; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
- Anindita Singh; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
- Chimila Sherpa; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
- Lipika Karn; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology
Second IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge in 2019
The Second Student Grand Challenge allowed student teams to develop Earth Observation payloads for a small satellite. The winning payloads were considered for integration into a CubeSat that will be developed at the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC), Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in collaboration with the YahSat Space Lab at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The competition started with the submission of a proposal to design payload/experiment(s) that can solve real-life space exploration problems such as collecting data on the global climate, environmental change and natural hazards. Winning teams have received grant funding for two years that will be used to develop the proposed payload idea.
A jury composed of scientists from NASA, ESA and UAE Space Agency has evaluated the proposals to develop an Earth Observation Payload for a 3U CubeSat mission to be developed at the National Space Science and Technology Center, UAE.
The winners presented their work and received their awards at IGARSS 2020.
Winners of the Second IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge in 2019
- The student team from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain, supervised by Prof. Juan Ramos Castro proposed to develop a combination of payloads within a small form factor for CubeSats. These include an L-band radiometer for monitoring ice thickness and soil moisture, a multispectral camera for monitoring vegetation, and a software defined radio for monitoring Radio Frequency Interference along with a deployable antenna system.
- The student team from Telkom University, Indonesia, supervised by Prof. Edwar proposed the development of a multispectral camera and a miniature spectrometer for atmospheric sensing.
- The student team from Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan, was partially funded. The team proposed to develop smart cameras with onboard classification capability to automatically detect the best quality images for downlinking.
Video showing a satellite animation and its different subsystems. LOCANA and RITA are the two selected payloads being implemented by GRSS students. There is also a software payload from Japan on LOCANA. The NSSTC team members involved are:
- Dr. Abdul-Halim Jallad
- Zulkifli Abdulaziz
- Mai Al Mazouei
- Amel Al Ameri
- Eiman Alshamsi
- Ahmed Ba-Lyith
- Anoud Alkatheeri
- Abu Baker Alzubaidi
- Abdulla Aldhaheri
The team leaders of the three payloads are:
- Haris Prananditya, LOCANA payload
- Yasir Abbas, ICU (SW for cloud detection running on LOCANA P/L)
- Adrian Perez Portero, RITA
Questions and more information
If you have any question about the IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenges or the Third IEEE GRSS Student Grand Challenge in particular, send the organizers a message:
Submissions will only be accepted by email via studentgrandchallenge@grss-