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Scottish Space Sector Gets Levelling-Up Boost

Space Scotland is one of 18 different groups to receive new funding. 

£6.5 million is being dedicated to the UK Space Sector across 18 different schemes, aiming to ‘level up’ the industry.

High impact, locally-led schemes and space cluster development managers will receive the support across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The projects aim to harness space-enabled technologies to address local priorities, such as using Earth Observation data to improve local public services and help innovative engineering companies access the UK’s growing space markets.

Secretary of State for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, said: “These projects will tap into the wealth of talent found in places like Cornwall and the east Midlands, as well as across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while using space and satellite technology to support local communities.

“This funding will help link local clusters to valuable networks of innovators and investors, showcasing the strengths of the UK space sector to international investors and levelling up the economy.”

Supported by the Satellite Applications Catapult, the UK Space Agency‘s delivery partner, the projects are focused on piloting local activity that could be scaled up and rolled out nationally.

The funding also follows £600,000 given to ten space clusters across the UK in February 2022, with some of those same groups receiving further funding this round.

Part of this funding will support local areas to appoint Space Cluster Managers: individuals who will work with local government, businesses, and academia to coordinate space activity and encourage collaboration and inward investment.

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Establishing a network of space clusters and high impact projects will accelerate the development of the thriving space ecosystem the UK needs to realise the full economic potential of space across the UK.

“We’ve been working with the regions to understand their strengths and the needs of their local space economies so that we can back these clusters of excellence to collaborate, grow and thrive.”

The UK Space Agency funding also includes £1.5 million for an expert consortium of business support providers, led by Entrepreneurial Spark, to work with entrepreneurs from all over the UK and help them get involved in the space sector.

A previous collaboration between the UK Space Agency and Entrepreneurial Spark, aimed at space start-ups, generated almost £9 million in investment and created 80 new jobs for those who took part in the business support programme.

Stuart Martin, Chief Executive Officer at the Satellite Applications Catapult said: “We have a long-standing commitment to driving the growth of the UK space sector at a regional level and are delighted to continue our support for the delivery of this investment, with our focus on building a coherent space community.

“This additional funding will help cement relationships across the UK’s space community while forging new collaborations with those not yet utilising and benefiting from space data and technology. We look forward to ensuring that the sector as a whole takes advantage of the opportunities presented through these locally led initiatives and supporting a connected and thriving ecosystem.”

Space Scotland will receive £373,000 from the fund to strengthen the Scottish space ecosystem by enabling initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, addressing workforce skills challgenges, and leveraging new market opportunities with neighbouring and novel sectors.

Source: DIGIT

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