Space Park Leicester’s transformative regional impact showcased for shadow ministers
A visit by two Members of Parliament to Space Park Leicester provided an opportunity to showcase the University of Leicester’s science and innovation hub’s pioneering approach to boosting high-tech business here in Leicester.
The University hosted the Labour Party’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Right Honourable Pat McFadden MP, and Liz Kendall, MP for Leicester West, for a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities at Space Park Leicester today (6 July).
Mr McFadden works closely with Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves MP, in developing the Labour Party’s economic policy in advance of the General Election.
The Labour MPs were welcomed by President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost Professor Henrietta O’Connor and Commercial Director Will Wells, before experiencing the pioneering £100 million hub science and innovation park first-hand.
The 9,700m2 University of Leicester facility provides state-of-the-art facilities for research, development and manufacturing, with offices, shared laboratories, teaching facilities and co-working spaces, focussing primarily on research, development and applications of space.
Staff and students from the University of Leicester showcased some of their work on Martian meteorites, as well as a demonstration of alternative and virtual reality technologies by the Visualisation and Optics laboratory. Several businesses based at Space Park Leicester presented and gave demonstrations during the tour, illustrating the benefits of being based at the site.
As part of the visit, Mr McFadden, gave a speech on the economy and took questions from around 100 representatives of businesses in the region about the issues and challenges they face, their views about the wider economy, and the action they would like to see from a potential Labour Government.
Space Park Leicester is already the 2nd largest campus-based cluster with a dedicated space focus in the UK and generated an estimated £89m for the economy in its first year.
Liz Kendall, MP for Leicester West, said: “Leicester is the heart of some of the most exciting research and opportunities for jobs and businesses with state-of-the-art facilities like Space Park Leicester offering young people in our community the chance to pursue exciting careers on our doorstep.
“I am proud to have showcased our amazing Space Park, and the potential Leicester has to lead developments in the growing space economy. I will continue to work with all our businesses to make sure their views are heard, and that they get the support they need and deserve.”
Pat McFadden MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Visiting the Space Park has given me the chance to hear at first-hand about the potential Leicester has to create the high skill, high wage jobs of the future. I have also heard directly from Leicester’s many different businesses about the challenges they face, and what they are looking for from an incoming Labour government.”
Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “By holding this event and bringing together business, politicians and higher education, we are making a powerful statement about the potential of working together to bring about transformative change, impact and benefit for the region as a whole. I am grateful to Pat McFadden and Liz Kendall for their support. Space Park Leicester is the product of joined-up thinking that connects political partners with the University and industry. It literally is an out-of-this-world example of the power of a collaborative approach that is making a sustained difference in our region.”