A £4.8 million Boost to the UK Space Industry

Date: April 16, 2018

The UK’s aerospace industry has been hailed time and time again for being the largest in Europe and for being such a fast-growing sector, with a growth of 39% in five years and an annual turnover of £32 billion (according to ADS’ 2017 report).

So, seeing that 2018 is The Year of Engineering, what better time for the government to invest in the UK space sector, a sector that contributes billions to the economy?

uk space industry; satellite in space

Investing in the Future by Funding UK Universities

Research England has awarded £4.8 million to a group of UK universities to boost research and innovation in UK aerospace (and plans to invest £2 billion in total into universities between 2018 and 2019 to fund research and knowledge exchange).

This Connecting Capability Fund grant has been offered to the Universities of Leicester, Southampton, Surrey, and Edinburgh, as well as Open University. The goal behind it is to allow SMEs to collaborate with universities, where they will have access to academic expertise and facilities.

Both these universities and the UK Space Agency are part of the SPRINT programme (Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology), which has 400 businesses that support the UK Space Sector Growth Strategy.

What Does It Mean?

According to Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, “our growing sector depends on the success of technology and expertise that comes from the world-class research carried out in the UK” and “the UK Space Agency is working hard to ensure the benefits of space are felt across the whole of the country”.

Developing the UK space industry, therefore, is a priority.

With NASA working on many Mars exploration missions, SpaceX seeking to colonise the red planet, and ESA focusing on a range of new space missions, just to name a few, it’s clear that the future of space exploration is bright – and the UK can play a big role in it!

With a £100 million government investment in 2017 to help the sector ‘stay ahead of the competition’ and the UK’s ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030, it’s clear just how important this new investment is – and how crucial the collaboration between businesses and universities is for the achievement of these goals.

For example, Southampton’s Astronautics Group possesses knowledge and expertise in areas like space debris, near-earth objects and environmental sensors, while Leicester University’s Space Research Centre’s focus includes engineering in space and planetary science.

The projects that will arise from these collaborations are set to be innovative and help elevate the UK space sector to new heights. In the words of David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, these projects “demonstrate the commitment of universities to work together to strengthen the R&D and technological capabilities of the UK” and “present important innovations that should inform our strategic approach to commercialisation in UK Research and Innovation for the future”.

At Dean Group, we believe that developing the space industry is vital to the growth of the UK economy and to catapult us to a new market position in the near future. Our connection to the sector lies in the form of our ELITE investment casting process, which creates parts that are lighter and stronger – perfect for space applications.

Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you and keep an eye on our news page for manufacturing, engineering and aerospace news!

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