Lord Willetts appointed chair of the UK Space Agency’s Board

David, Lord Willetts at the launch of Space Park Leicester in March 2022.

University of Leicester Chancellor David, Lord Willetts has been appointed as the new chair of the UK Space Agency’s Board.

The appointment comes ahead of the UK’s first domestic launch this year, and following the recent publication of the National Space Strategy, which sets out the Government’s long-term commitment to building on the UK’s existing strengths in order to develop the UK as a world-class space economy.

Lord Willetts brings a wealth of experience to the role, and will work with the recently appointed CEO of the UK Space Agency, Dr Paul Bate, to deliver on the Government’s vision for space and maximise opportunities for the sector. Speaking of the appointment, Lord Willetts said: “I am a strong supporter of the UK space sector in all its diversity and am grateful for this new opportunity to serve it.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “I am delighted to have appointed Lord David Willetts as the Chairman of the UK Space Agency’s Board. Lord Willetts will bring a wealth of expertise to the role while working with the excellent Paul Bate to deliver on the UK’s space ambitions.

“Our £16.5 billion space sector is a major contributor to a strong and secure UK economy and looking ahead to the first satellite launches from the UK this year, this is an extremely exciting time for the industry across the country.”

A former Minister for Universities and Science, Lord Willetts was installed as the University’s seventh Chancellor during the 2018 summer degree congregations. He will reach the end of his five-year term in February 2023.

The role of Chancellor is largely ceremonial, presiding at major ceremonies – including Graduation – and serving as Chair of the annual meeting of the University’s Court.

As well as serving as the Member of Parliament for Havant, Lord Willetts has held a range of Chair and Board positions across the space and science sector, including Chair of the British Science Association, member of the Space Policy Advisory Board for EU External Action Service, the Board of UKRI, and of the ESA Expert Group on the Future of Space in Europe.

He is also a passionate advocate for Leicester’s world-leading work in the space sector, demonstrated through his continued support for the University’s flagship Space Park Leicester project, developed in partnership with a number of regional, national and international partners.