SMEs to benefit from new space tech accelerator
Space Park Leicester has been awarded a grant of just over two million pounds from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s (LLEP) European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to match the University of Leicester’s investment of just over £2.4m to establish the Space Technology Applications from Research (STAR) Accelerator.
The three year STAR project is aiming to engage with SME businesses across all sectors to provide help, support and expertise in designing and developing products to meet the short timescales demanded in modern production. It will also assist industry in assessing modern manufacturing technologies and their applicability to those businesses. The project will include approaches for rapid development, iterative design, fabrication and fault finding. Prior to opening of the new Space Park facilities in 2021, STAR will be housed in buildings on the main campus of the University of Leicester.
Formally launched on 1 November 2019, STAR will ramp up from early 2020 with all manufacturing and test facilities expected to be operational by the summer. The equipment and expertise being offered to businesses will include a suite for 3D printing, in metal, plastic, wax and composites, offering businesses the opportunity to re-evaluate and optimise conceptual designs and allow demonstration of methods to reduce production time. The STAR offering will also include: computer aided design; precision machining; design and production of electronics; and integrated design, prototyping and coating of micro-fabricated devices such as sensors. These facilities will allow STAR to support a wide range of products developed by SMEs.
The grant funding was gained via a competitive ERDF bidding process, and awarded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG); the grant funding enables the expansion of the University’s world-class scientific research capability and enables even wider engagement and co-working with industry for enhanced local economic impact.