48M Research England funding provides major boost to UK space industry
A consortium of UK universities and agencies, including Leicester, has been awarded nearly £5M from the Research England in order to fund major national initiatives to enhance research and innovation in the UK space industry.
The Universities of Leicester, Southampton, Surrey, Edinburgh and the Open University, which together form part of the Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology (SPRINT), have received the £4.8M Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) grant in order to support small and medium-sized businesses engaging with Higher Education institutions, providing them with unprecedented access to university expertise and facilities.
Research England’s funding of SPRINT will act as a catalyst to transform the ways that universities and broader partners collaborate, working to boost economic growth, jobs and prosperity throughout the UK by delivering market-led solutions to the space and space enabled economy.
For Leicester, SPRINT aligns strongly with its Higher Education Industry Funding (HEIF) strategy and its flagship Research Institute, the Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation (LISEO), and pioneering work which will take place at Space Park Leicester.
Space Park Leicester is an ambitious initiative to develop a global hub and collaborative community based on space and space-enabled technologies. Based in Leicester, adjacent to the National Space Centre, the Park's first building is expected to be ready in 2020. It is part of the Leicestershire Enterprise Zone and was formally launched in March 2017 as part of the Government's Midlands Engine strategy with an allocation of £12.87 million and £10 million from the University.
Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “We are pleased that Leicester has played a significant role in developing this partnership between a number of outstanding universities and space businesses. Our illustrious space scientists have a long-held reputation for conducting world-class research. This award is evidence of the deep partnerships that they have forged with industry, which will be vital if the government’s ambitions for the space sector are to be achieved.”
"The imminent development of Space Park Leicester provides a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on these types of collaboration; there has never been a better time for businesses to work with the University of Leicester. Whether you are observing a distant supernova or the traffic jams on Earth, processing data from a space probe or from a weather satellite on your mobile phone, space-enabled technology is affecting your everyday life and we are still at the tip of the iceberg of what it can achieve.”
The SPRINT funding is part of an investment of £67 million through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) in new collaborative projects, between universities and with other partners, to drive forward world-class university commercialisation across the country.
Watch a video of President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle talking about the local, national and international benefits of Space Park Leicester, the University's strengths in space science and how it fits in with the University's Strategic Plan: