Government has today (Wednesday 18 November) backed the development of new ‘space hubs’ across England as well as providing funding to support projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each area, dubbed a ‘space hub’, will use Government funding to bring together local authorities, expertise and businesses to create a strategy for how their area can take maximum advantage of the commercial space race. Harwell in Oxfordshire established itself as a space hub in the 10 years, and Ministers want to replicate this success in other areas.
Funding is going to seven locations – including the North West, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire – to ensure space is a priority for regional economic growth and attract commercial investment from space companies to these areas.
In the last decade space has transformed into one of the UK’s fastest growing and most venerable sectors. Trebling in size in 2010, at the last count the UK space industry now employs close to 42,000 people in all corners of the country and generates an income of nearly £15 billion every year.
The Government is committed to making space a sector that thrives beyond the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford, and contributes jobs and growth to regions across the whole of the UK. This approach is reinforced by support for seven potential spaceport locations in areas across Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland.
The six-month projects will see local government, experts and business leaders come together to find out how their area can take advantage of the opportunities of the commercial space age. Each location will use the money to assess their current space capabilities and develop action plans for how they can accelerate the growth of their local space hub.
Space hubs will be led by a consortium of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), combined authorities, academic institutions, research groups and businesses, to look at current strengths and set a strategy for how to grow the space sector in their area.
The UK Space Agency will also support Space Leadership Forums in each region, bringing together local government, business leaders and academia into a representative body that can drive forward this work and champion the sector.
We welcome lift-off for the development of a space hub here in the West Midlands region led by Citi-Redi, University of Birmingham.
“This is an exciting opportunity to come together to create a strategy to identify industries in our region working in the space sector and to explore new market opportunities. Our purpose at the GBSLEP is to create inclusive, economic growth in partnership with the public, private and academic sectors. We have a vast network of supply chains in the region and this first step towards a space hub will also enable us to examine how we can support businesses to contribute to the commercial space age.’’