Space Park Leicester expert called to UN Space Affairs meeting

A leading expert from Space Park Leicester, the University of Leicester’s pioneering space research, innovation and teaching cluster, has been invited to deliver “world-leading” research to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

Dr Sarah Jane Fox was one of the first researchers to write about the opportunities and challenges of mining in space and is an expert on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and aspects relating to air travel such as the use by drones.

Next week she will present to top government representatives and policy advisers on her research at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) meeting in Vienna on the applications of GNSS.

Dr Fox said: “I’ve been honoured to work with various parts of the UN before but this is the first time I’ve been invited to participate at a UN Space Affairs meeting. 

“It endorses that my research is world leading and of note to national, regional and international bodies and agencies. 

“This has incentivised me even more and means my years of dogged determination to pursue this area of research is paying off and being noticed. 

“I’m thrilled to be representing Space Park Leicester and the University of Leicester at such a prestigious event."  

The event is co-organised and co-sponsored by The International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) which works with UNOOSA to raise awareness of the importance of GNSS to society.

Dr Fox has worked across transport modes and systems for over 20 years. In 2015-2016, she successfully achieved a Fulbright Commission 12-month research scholarship to the United States to research air and space law and policies and their associated safety, security, legal, competition and trade risks.

She added: “When I returned from the US, I was eager to continue my research but opportunities in this field were limited. Joining the University of Leicester is providing me with the opportunity to grow my research areas as part of Space Park Leicester and the newly launched Institute for Space.

“Space is pretty unique as it involves the sciences, law, policy, international relations, history, politics, business opportunities and technology and I enjoy the interaction between all these subjects. 

“I specialise in the challenges and risks of technology, particularly those that go into the air and space and cross borders and boundaries. 

“My current work relates to the challenges of new technology and ensuring we have systems, processes and controls in place, including laws and policies.”

Dr Fox also sits on an expert European group which considers how technology can be used by agencies such as the police to assist society.

This month she has delivered her findings in relation to this research in Europe and has taken part remotely in international discussions being held in India.

Dr Fox’s previous work with the UN has related to ICT use, mentoring women and girls and increasing education and employment opportunities, particularly relating to technology.