Boost to improve the UKs capability in Earth observation to tackle environmental challenges globally

Our University is part of a new £2m joint programme which will help to develop innovative technologies to observe Earth from space.

The UK Space Agency has unveiled new support to help the UK space and satellite technology sector maintain their leading position in earth observation and help tackle global issues such as deforestation and disaster monitoring.

Working together with the University of Leicester, Airbus Defence and Space UK, QinetiQ and STFC RAL Space, the £2m funding from the UK Space Agency will nurture UK companies and academia to develop their technologies and help them gain access to a funding pot of more than £10m to take their ideas to the next level.

New funding for satellite technology development will be managed on behalf of the UK Space Agency by the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), a consortium of world-class academia and industry experts.

Over the next five years, CEOI will be responsible for managing EO technology projects with a total value of up to £20m - the £10m from the UK Space Agency could be matched by additional funds from industry. This funding helps ensure the UK remains competitive in the global space sector, supporting a growing community of SMEs and maintaining a leading role for UK scientists.

Our University held a signing event for the contract with the CEO of the UK Space Agency, the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester and attended by senior figures from Airbus Defence and Space, QinetiQ and STFC RAL Space.

The project is part of the Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation. This new Institute brings together all the research work within the University associated with Space (including astronomy and planetary science) and Earth Observation.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of our University, said: “The University is world-renowned for its work in space science – every year since 1967 has seen a Leicester built instrument operating in space. UKSA is an important partner for the University in developing our Space and Earth Observation interests and our management of the CEOI programme continues a successful collaboration with Airbus, QinetiQ and STFC. The University is extremely well placed to bring academic input to the project and it complements other important projects such as NCEO (National Centre for Earth Observation) while aligning with our ambitious plans to develop the National Space Park.”