The University of Portsmouth is to share in £1.2 million funding from the UK Space Agency in a drive to boost further innovation and growth in the south-central region’s thriving space industry.
Part of a £6.5 million package of investment in 18 locally-led projects across the nation, the funding includes £300,000 for the newly-formed Space South Central, the UK’s largest ‘space cluster’. The University of Portsmouth is one of the key partners in Space South Central using its globally-important research and innovation in space technologies to strengthen the UK as a world-class space nation.
The money will support Space South Central’s aims to promote collaboration and investment and champion space-related business, research and development across Hampshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight.
The region accounts for an estimated £3 billion of national space industry turnover, with more than 5,600 people working in the space sector ¹ at companies including BAE Systems, Airbus Defence and Space, In-Space Missions and SSTL. The area boasts a world-class reputation for satellite manufacture and data services, launch technologies, next-generation communications, robotics and autonomous systems.
Space South Central brings together the universities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Surrey, the South Coast Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SCCoE), the Enterprise M3 LEP’s Space Hub and more than 125 of the region’s space-related businesses.
The fact that £1.2 million of the total £6.5 million of UK Space Agency funding was awarded to the south-central region is a testament to the extensive space expertise and world-leading businesses based here.
The three universities will play a central role in the new space cluster, joining forces to maximise the impact of their respective areas of expertise to boost industry collaboration, create new opportunities for international partnerships and play a key role in tackling skills gaps. The main departments involved are the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, the University of Southampton’s Space at Southampton, and Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey.
Professor Adrian Hopgood, Director of the SCCoE and Professor of Intelligent Systems at the University of Portsmouth, said: “The fact that £1.2 million of the total £6.5 million of UK Space Agency funding was awarded to the south-central region is a testament to the extensive space expertise and world-leading businesses based here.
“This investment will help Space South Central build on the legacy of the SCCoE to grow the region’s space sector, harnessing its diverse expertise, developing stronger partnerships and growing its national and international reputation.”
Science Minister, George Freeman, said: “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.”
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.”
¹ Data attained for reported space-based income/turnover, published in company accounts found on the UK HMG Companies House portal in the UK Space Capabilities Catalogue.