Shaping the Future: Space Park Leicester presentation to Parliament

A delegation of staff from Leicester presented their vision of how the regional Space Park Leicester industry-academic cluster will contribute to the future of the UK space economy to politicians and opinion leaders at the Houses of Parliament.

Professor Martin Barstow (pictured)and Professor Richard Ambrosi from our Department of Physics and Astronomy were invited to speak at the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee on 10 September at Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament.

There, they discussed the future direction of the space sector and the benefits of ‘Low Cost Access to Space’ (LOCAS) satellites - and how the University’s plans for Space Park Leicester will help to deliver that.

Professor Barstow and Professor Ambrosi took part in a fifteen minute presentation followed by a thirty minute Q&A session, alongside presentations from Professor Andrew Coates (Head of Planetary Science, UCL), Professor Andrew Holland (Open University), David Morris (Teledyne e2v) and Theresa Condor (Executive Vice President Spire Global). The opportunity arose following an invited lead article on the space industry for Science in Parliament penned by Martin Barstow and Grant Bourhill, CEO Leicester Science Parks.

Professor Barstow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Science Projects, said: “This was a very stimulating event with a lot of important discussion about the growing space economy and regulation around access to space. The debate highlighted the important role that the University is playing in driving forward new ideas and the enormous potential of Space Park Leicester to contribute to the future of Space, while contributing significantly to regional growth.”

Professor Richard Ambrosi, Professor of Space Instrumentation & Space Nuclear Power Systems, said: “The presentations and discussions highlighted the competitiveness of the global space sector and how the UK has all of the ingredients to respond to the challenge. But the UK still has some work to do.

One aspect that was discussed was the importance of skills and the need to work harder to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. This is particularly important if we are to deliver the skilled people to fill the 30,000 new space sector jobs that will be created if the sector grows as predicted by three to four times in the next decade. Space Park Leicester is an important initiative as a response to both the competitiveness and skills challenges.”

Based in Leicester, near the National Space Centre, the Space Park is a partnership between the University of Leicester, the City and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).