Science and Technology Facilities Council
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STFC funded partnership results in UK's first space nanosatellite and nomination for prestigious knowledge transfer award

A space research partnership that resulted in the production of the UK’s first space nanosatellite system, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the national Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards. The results of the national KTP Best Partnership Award will be announced at a ceremony in London on 22 November.

Funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the partnership between Clyde Space Ltd and the University of Strathclyde has already secured the KTP Scottish Regional Best Partnership Award and a commendation in the KTP Engineering Excellence Category.

KTPs, which are led by the Technology Strategy Board, aim to stimulate business innovation by drawing on the expertise in UK universities and colleges and transferring that knowledge by placing a recently qualified individual into a company to deliver innovation and business growth. There are already some 800 KTPs across the UK, and only those who are delivering over and above the original expectations of their project can be nominated for the awards.

Clyde Space’s KTP with the University of Strathclyde developed an integrated nanosatellite for customers to buy as a kit or fully assembled spacecraft, to enable data capture for space missions and research. Nanosatellites are smaller and much cheaper to build than traditional satellites. This not only established the company at the forefront of nanosatellite design, known as CubeSat, but has also helped to position Scotland as a leader in space technology.

The partnership also formed the base platform for the UK Space Agency’s (UKSA) CubeSat competition, which was held in association with STFC and TSB, and through which Clyde Space won a contract with UKSA for testing, construction and assembly of UKube-1, the UK’s first nanosatellite system, which is due to launch in early 2013.

Through the partnership, Clyde Space is now an internationally recognised company in the market, having seen business value and R&D contracts exceed expectations, as well as attracting £1m in venture capital investment. Involvement in UKube has also sparked interest from the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in CubeSat technology.

The University of Strathclyde benefitted from the project by overseeing 13 undergraduate group projects involving six academic departments and 34 undergraduate students. Additionally, it has built strong industry links with the space industry and was able to set up a £50,000 satellite ground station.

Professor Grahame Blair, Executive Director for STFC Programmes  commented:  “This is an excellent example of knowledge exchange; cementing the relationship between a small high growth company operating in a global market to a strong scientific academic group. This has clear benefits not only for the commercial partner but also provided a strong teaching and training function back into the research base.”

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board added: “This project clearly demonstrates that the UK has the expertise to lead space communication research. What is particularly rewarding is the end result – a product that is able for the commercial market that was hatched from collaborative research.”

For further information on the Knowledge Transfer partnerships (link opens in a new window)

Notes to Editors

About the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Awards

KTP (link opens in a new window) is Europe's leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness by enabling companies to work with higher education or research and technology organisations to obtain knowledge, technology or skills which they consider to be of strategic competitive importance.  The UK-wide programme is overseen by the Technology Strategy Board,  (link opens in a new window)the UK’s innovation agency, and supported by 15 other public sector funding organisations. Each year, the KTP Programme opens up a nomination process for Awards.  Nominations are only open to those Partnerships who have been rated as delivering over and above original expectations on which their project was approved for support (based on independent assessment of the Partnership’s Final Report at the end of their project). 

The 2012 award categories are:
• Best Partnership (8 finalist teams; 1 overall winning team)
• Engineering Excellence (1 winning team and 1 commended team)
• Business Leaders of Tomorrow (5 individuals)

About the Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative
products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit
www.innovateuk.org (link opens in a new window)

Contacts

Wendy Ellison
STFC Press Officer
Tel: 01925 603232

Technology Strategy Board:
Natasha Warren,Proof Communication
t: 0845 680 1869

Paul O’ Grady, Proof Communication
t: 0041 78880 8658 e:
paul@proofcommunication.com

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