Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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UK Space Agency to invest up to £32 million in global space industry partnerships

The UK Space Agency is investing up to £32 million to open opportunities for the UK space sector to share expertise in real-world satellite technology and services overseas.

Grants will be awarded to British companies to work with international partners developing satellite technology to tackle issues like flooding, deforestation and humanitarian crises in emerging economies. These grants will be match funded by industry.

The UK space sector continues to thrive, growing at over 7% per year and is currently worth £11.3 billion to the UK economy. With more than 5,000 jobs created in the last 2 years, it employs more than 34,000 people and supports a further 72,000 jobs in other sectors.

The International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP) will run over 2 years. It will support UK companies to become trusted partners to provide high-tech exports, thereby growing the UK space sector and creating jobs.

Announcing the money as part of a visit to Airbus Defence & Space in Stevenage this morning, Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said:

Rosetta has captured the world’s imagination, and the mission is a real testament to British engineering and technological expertise. I am very proud that a major part of the Rosetta platform was built in Britain here at Airbus.

UK space companies are an engine for growth for the UK economy and this programme will support our ambitious target of achieving 10% of the global space sector by 2030.

This programme will help our international partners to take advantage of British expertise in satellite technology, services and scientific research. Today’s funding will give even more UK companies the chance to work on these kinds of exciting projects so that more people can enjoy the considerable economic and social benefits that new space technologies provide.

Greg Clark toured the Airbus facilities with the European Space Agency’s first astronaut, Major Tim Peake. During the visit they met with engineering apprentices to hear about types of careers in the space sector and promote the #YourLife campaign, which encourages students to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Notes to Editors

  1. A recent example of the space sector providing technology overseas is the work Surrey Satellite Technology, and the work it is doing to fight the spread of Ebola. The UK company has built a satellite used to map areas of West Africa. Humanitarian organisations have been using inaccurate maps, but the new satellite images have given information on the best routes to evacuate people from affected areas.
  2. It is expected that the majority of the IPSP’s projects will focus on better use or enhancement of existing space infrastructure but the scheme will also be open to funding satellite applications, infrastructure, facilities, data, research, skills and training, as well as establishing the UK as the partner of choice with collaborating countries once they are in a position to acquire or enhance their own space or satellite infrastructure.
  3. Satellites often provide the only communication options in many countries in the world, particularly in places like sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, environmental monitoring from space can make a valuable contribution to resource management and response to environmental crises which can be particularly challenging owing to extreme environments and harsh conditions. Data from satellites can also help effectively target urban development and agriculture programmes.
  4. The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry’ report reveals that the sector continues to soar and is currently worth £11.3 billion to the UK economy, growing at over 7% per year, employing more than 34,000 people and supporting a further 72,000 jobs in other sectors.
  5. Your Life is a 3 year campaign to ensure the UK has the maths and science skills it needs to succeed in a competitive global economy. It will do this by inspiring young people to study maths and physics as a gateway to exciting and wide-ranging careers. Your Life has 3 aims:
    • change the way young people think about maths and science by raising awareness of the exciting and wide-ranging careers that studying these subjects can lead to
    • an ambitious target to increase the number of students studying maths and physics at A level by 50% in 3 years
    • increase the opportunities for all people and particularly women to pursue a wide range of careers that need skills in science, technology, engineering and maths.
  6. For further information about the IPSP, please contact Matt Goodman, Head of Communications, UK Space Agency


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