6-10 September 2019

Pi School, Rome & ESA/ESRIN, Frascati, Italy

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Applications now closed

Over 90 applications have been received to participate in the PhiWeek Bootcamp. 40 participants from around the world have now been selected to join an intensive 5-day action-packed design sprint to prototype a solution, solving a big industry challenge using earth observation data.

Applications are now closed.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


PhiWeek Bootcamp

The PhiWeek Bootcamp is hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA) in the framework of Phi-Week. It is an intensive 5-day event, which guides you through the design sprint process, answering critical questions in the design, prototyping, and testing ideas relating to Earth Observation.

What will I do?

The goal is for 40 pre-selected participants from around the world to work in teams to respond to a specific industry challenge. The solutions will be tested with a set of users and then presented to a jury that awards prizes to the best prototype, which has the potential to be commercialised.

What is the format?

The event is designed in a workshop-style format, designed to be hands-on and interactive with different resources available to the participants, as well as real-life users with whom you can test the prototypes before presenting on the final day.

What is design sprint?

The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing of ideas with customers. Developed at GV, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behaviour science, design thinking, and more— packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.

How much does it cost to participate?

Once selected participation is subsidised 100% by ESA. A refundable participation fee of 100 EUR is requested from each participant to secure his or her place on the programme.

A full refund is given to those that have participated at the event. A full refund is also given to those that cancel their participation up to 1 month before the programme begins. No shows lose their right to a refund.

All selected participants will have to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

What is covered in the Bootcamp?

• participation in the programme
• interaction with resources, mentors, speakers
• networking opportunities with space and industry professionals
• access to all working materials
• access to copying, computers, e-mail & internet facilities
• coffee, tea, soft drinks and healthy snacks
• breakfast and lunch throughout the period of the Bootcamp
• transport between Pi School and ESRIN


Pi School

Pi School
Via Indonesia 23
00144 Roma RM


Largo Galileo Galilei 1
00044 Frascati (Roma)



Define the challenge

Produce a mass of solutions


Curate and vote on best solutions

Define the prototype with a storyboard


Design and build a prototype

Recruit and schedule user tests


Test the prototype with 5 real users

Use feedback from testing to create clear next steps


Prepare final presentations

Presention to jury and award ceremony

Design Sprint Facilitators

  • Federica Pecoraro

    UX Director & Design Sprint Facilitator, FightBean

    Federica is a strong advocate of user's needs and fights for a simple and frustration-free digital universe. Head of UX and Founding Partner at Fightbean, she is experienced in design studios using Design Sprints to guide companies in the creation of innovative digital products.

  • Mattia Carletti

    Graphic/UI Designer, Fightbean

    Mattia studied Design and Visual communication at Politecnico di Torino, where he graduated in 2014. He has always been fascinated by the digital design and wanted to work in that field, and is proud to work in Fightbean since 2015. Here he had the opportunity to expand my knowledge and specialising in topics such as User Experience, User Interface, interaction, and motion.


  • Carina Ahlqvist

    Mountaineer, Climate Research Explorer and Senior Project Manager - AdventurebyCarina

    Carina Ahlqvist is one of the most experienced female mountain climbers in Sweden. She has completed five climate research expeditions to 8000m mountains including the Himalayas, collecting samples to climate researchers at ESA and NASA. Carina is partly sponsored by the ESA and was an approved ”Official Collaborator at NASA” for her 2018 mission to the world’s fifth highest mountain Mount Makalu, 8481 m. Carina is Member of The Explorers Club (TEC), a Climate Reality Leader for Al Gore and certified Project Manager Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI), US.

  • Gemma Milne

    Freelance Science & Tech Writer

    Gemma Milne is a technology and science writer who covers biotechnology, space, energy, health and quantum computing for outlets such as Forbes, BBC, Guardian and Quartz. She is also Co-Host of the Science: Disrupt podcast and soon to publish her first book, on hype in science and technology.

  • Daniel Angerhausen

    CSH Fellow, Bern University, Explainables

    Dr Daniel Angerhausen is an Astrophysicist and Astrobiologist at the Center for Space and Habitability in Bern. The former NASA fellow is also founder and CEO of the Science and Tech Communication start-up 'Explainables'. On his search for planets around other stars Daniel flew five missions on the NASA airborne telescope SOFIA. Daniel is also mentor and science committee member of NASA Frontier Development Lab, an ML incubator tackling challenges in space sciences in collaboration with industry stakeholders such as Google Cloud, Nvidia or IBM.

  • Liliana Castillo Villamor

    Co-founder and CEO, AMIGROW

    Liliana Castillo Villamor is a PhD. student in Geography, with experience on the application of geoinformation and earth observation sciences in agriculture. Liliana has done did research on agroclimatology, and she has been involved with projects that used geo-information tools to improve official agricultural statistics in Colombia. Currently, she is leading AMIGROW, a start-up that aims to integrate field information, about crop condition and management practices, with satellite imagery in order to provide agricultural managers valuable insights to manage crop production and maximise crop yield

Resource mentors

  • David Petit

    Head of EO applications, Deimos Space UK

    David Petit has a PhD in Computer Sciences, applied to radar imagery. He leads the Earth Observation Applications team in Deimos, promoting the use of Artificial Intelligence in projects for the European and UK space agencies, through applications in agriculture, forestry, environment, maritime, urban mapping, land classification.

  • Michele Iacobellis

    Senior Technical Specialist, Planetek Italia

    Since his graduation, he had the chance to apply the deep knowledge acquired at Polytechnic of Bari in many markets, from CRM to design of systems for control and monitoring of railway transports. In 2007, SMA Industria SpA invites him to be a team-leader/product-manager of a Decision Support System for Forest Fire Alerting and Management. Once activities were successfully done, he becomes Software Architect in ALSTOM Ferroviaria SpA, to design and develop SIL4 (CENELEC 50128/50129) applications. In 2015, he joins the team at Planetek Italia, being involved as architect and designer of space and ground systems.

  • Jon McLoone

    Director of Technical Communication and Strategy, Wolfram Research Europe Ltd

    As Director of Technical Services, Communication and Strategy at Wolfram Research Europe, Jon McLoone is central to driving the company's technical business strategy and leading the consulting solutions team. With over 25 years of experience working with Wolfram Technologies, Jon has helped in directing software development, system design, technical marketing, corporate policy, business strategies and much more. Jon gives regular keynote appearances and media interviews on topics such as the Future of AI, Enterprise Computation Strategies and Education Reform, across multiple fields including healthcare, fintech and data science. He holds a degree in mathematics from the University of Durham.

  • Lorenzo Benassi

    Freelance graphic designer. Design & Data GmbH

    Lorenzo Benassi is a graphic designer from Milan who studied Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano. He likes communication and the tools used to convey and dress up a message. He enjoys to be challenged and to get in touch with different cultures and point of views. He is now working as a freelance designer dealing with traditional graphic outputs such as logos and brochures, as well as with videos and web design.

  • Ciro Manzo

    Copernicus Account Manager, Rhea Group c/o ESA

    Ciro has 8 years of research experience in Earth Observation application for environmental analysis, both optical and SAR data. Since 2017 he is the Account Manager of Copernicus Service Providers in the Copernicus Space Component Data Access.

  • Jolanda Patruno

    EO platform support Engineer, RHEA Group for ESA

    Jolanda achieved her MSc degree in Aerophotography/Ancient Topography at La Sapienza University (Faculty of Archaeology - Rome, Italy), focusing on EO data exploitation for Cultural Heritage. In 2012, she joined the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications of Rennes, France. Her PhD research (European joint PHD programme) was focused on the use of full-polarimetric SAR data for desert environments and UNESCO sites in danger. She gained skills in optical data processing and GIS as well. She worked as EO engineer for satellite projects on data exploitation, image quality and performance assessment. Since August 2017, Jolanda is EO Data Exploitation and Application Engineer at the ESA/ESRIN (Italy), providing engineering support for Thematic Exploitation platforms and supporting a variety of projects as SAR expert.

  • Itziar Alonso

    EO Platform Support Engineer, ESA-Solenix

    Itziar is an EO Platform Support Engineer in the Data Applications Division, Science, Applications & Climate Department at ESA-ESRIN. She has a Master in Telecommunications Engineering and a PhD in Remote Sensing, for which she developed an algorithm for burned area detection on a global scale in the frame of the Fire_CCI project, within ESA’s Climate Change Initiative (CCI). Prior to the current position she was Project Manager at Airbus Defence and Space, being involved in the development of EUMETSAT’s MTG Cryocooler Control Electronics (CCE), Metop IASI CCE and ESA’s EUCLID FGS.

  • Riccardo Di Roberto

    Head of Space Systems, GAUSS Srl

    Riccardo Di Roberto is an Astronautical and aerospace engineer. He graduated from the School of Aerospace Engineering in Rome, with a final dissertation on a standalone remote sensing system for small sats. He has been a visiting scholar at the Space Science Center of Morehead State University, where he worked on several nanosatellite projects as RF expert. He has been part of the GAUSS research team since 2011, and he now works as Head of System Engineering Division, managing various Company projects.

  • Rafael Resende Dias

    Aerospace Engineer, GAUSS Srl

    Rafael is an aerospace engineer with a great focus on systems, electronics, programming, control and automation. He has worked as a test engineer designing test solutions for both qualification and acceptance. He has also developed electronic space systems and designed and implemented aerospace firmware, FPGA configuration and software for autonomous and control systems. Moreover, he is responsible for ground station satellite operations and management.

  • Zee Zheng

    CEO & Co-founder, SpaceChain

    Zee Zheng is the CEO & Co-founder of SpaceChain, a community-based space platform combining space & blockchain technologies to build the world’s first open-source blockchain-based satellite network. Having launched 2 blockchain-enabled satellite payloads into orbit within SpaceChain’s 1st year of operation, Zee has been recognised as a pioneer in the industry and has been sought as a speaker at events like Space Tech Summit, SpaceTide and Space Forum. Zee honed his entrepreneurship at Draper University, his space expertise at the International Space University, and is a graduate of Columbia University.

  • Ziheng Xiang

    UK Technical Director, SpaceChain

    Ziheng Xiang is the technical director, responsible for the research and development of SpaceChain UK. He has successfully led and participated in several R&D projects both in academia and industry, and has passion pushing the technology development and commercialisation, as well as the fundamental research of SpaceChain UK. Ziheng is an expert in blockchain technology, on-orbit optical, quantum communication and holograms. He graduated from Tokyo Institute of Technology and Beijing Institute of Technology with an Engineering degree, and worked at University of Cambridge during his doctoral degree with Toshiba Research Europe Limited.

  • Luis Peraza

    Professional Services Engineer, Planet

    Luis is a TU Berlin graduate Geoinformatics Engineer currently working as a Professional Services Engineer at Planet. Before Planet, he worked at the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and the German Center for Geosciences GFZ researching on the detection of Arctic Sea-Ice from space using GNSS reflectometry, publishing a scientific paper on Radio Science Vol 52-11. He began his stay at Planet as a Technical Support Engineer helping customers solve any technical issues. Currently, he focuses on helping customers use and understand Planet’s products as well as architecting and developing solutions that enables them to make global change actionable.

  • Vittorio Gentile

    Senior SAR application developer, e-GEOS S.p.A.

    Vittorio Gentile graduated in Nautical Science at Parthenope University of Naples in 2008. He is member of COSMO-SkyMed Product Innovation and Technical Support Unit in e-GEOS. Has done a thesis on the use of altimeter data for the study of large-scale ocean processes using BRAT software developed by ESA and CNES. Since 2009 he has been working on high-resolution radar data in e-GEOS and now he deals with new COSMO-SkyMed application development , using multitemporal, radargrammetric and interferometric technologies in the agricultural, forest, defence and intelligence fields. He has held several courses on the use and interpretation of SAR and Electro-Optical data in the intelligence field. From 2012-2015 he has been part of the Emergency team about the monitoring of catastrophic events like flooding, earthquake and the support of the management of humanitarian crises. He received his doctorate in physical oceanography in 2016 and published several paper regarding remote sensing and physical oceanography.


  • Alice Barthe

    Geospatial Analytics Engineer, ESA Phi-Lab

    Alice graduated as an Aerospace Engineer specialised in applied mathematics from ISAE supaero. Footloose space passionate she has been studying space systems in Japan, working as an intern in a space startup in Australia, working as an AOCS intern for ESA in the Netherlands, researching GNC concepts in London, and designing SONAR algorithms in France. She has now settled in Italy, where she works as a staff for the Phi-Lab in ESA. More specifically she is supporting the InCubed programme aiming at stimulating the European commercial Earth Observation ecosystem.

  • Pedro Ferreira

    Technology Development Engineer, EDP Inovação

    Pedro joined to work in EDP Labs in 2004, then moved to EDP Innovation working in the Smarter Grids area with a strong focus on leveraging new IT capabilities to improve the EDP DSO processes. In his role, he develops several innovation projects related with cybersecurity, big data, AI, advanced analytics, IoT and Blockchain.

  • Marco Trombetti

    Co-founder, Pi Campus

    Marco is a computer scientist, serial entrepreneur and investor. Among others, he co-founded Pi Campus, a venture capital firm that invests in growth-stage technology startups, mostly in the AI field, with more than 40 investments from Europe and US in its portfolio. Some of the companies funded by Pi Campus are based in a startup district located in Rome, where villas have been converted into offices to provide the best work environment for talented people.

  • Thomas Grübler

    Co-founder & Managing Director, OroraTech

    Thomas is an electrical engineer by heart and developed his space skills through two university projects (FOVS & MOVE-II). Together with three co-founders, he started OroraTech in 2018 to develop a global constellation of thermal infrared imaging satellites to tackle global problems like wildfires.

  • Federica Mastracci

    Open Innovation Manager, Telespazio S.p.A.

    Federica Mastracci is Open Innovation Manager in Telespazio, for innovative space based integrated solutions, and also Head of the UAS Integrated Project Team, managing the design of innovative services for drone management and exploitation; Telespazio representative in d-flight, the Italian digital platform for drone management (with Leonardo and ENAV). Previously she worked for 15 years in e-GEOS as Head of Product Management & Innovation, developing applications and solutions based on EO for Civil Protection, Oil&Gas, Infrastructures, Maritime Surveillance, Agriculture, etc. She is enthusiastic about Copernicus, working on the programme since 2004 (Service Component and DIAS), conceiving industrial solutions for Emergency Services, Maritime Surveillance and some of the Land layers.


  • Pi School

    Pi School is designed for people interested in coming together to exchange, expand their horizons and learn from one another in order to build an amazing future: highly skilled engineers, brilliant creative minds, young global talents, tech-savvy, innovators, experienced senior leaders and people who believe their ideas have the power to change the world.

    It is a next-generation kind of school focused on building an amazing future, through technology and creativity. Part of the wider project Pi Campus, it is located on its 6th villa, in the heart of Europe, in Rome.

    For more about the location of Pi School read it here.

    Pi 6 drone view
    Bernbach Hall (Pi School)


    ESRIN, known as the ESA Centre for Earth Observation, is one of the five ESA specialised centres situated in Europe. Located in Frascati, a small town 20 km south of Rome in Italy, ESRIN was established in 1966 and first began acquiring data from environmental satellites in the 1970s.

    How to get to ESRIN: read it here.

    ESRIN's ground facilities with Envisat building in the background
    The Envisat building at ESRIN
    Armillary sphere in ESRIN