UK Space Sector Gets £1 Million Government Boost to Support International Innovation


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Projects to remotely probe ice on Mars to help explorers find life below the surface, a system to warn of impacts of flood risks to infrastructure based on research in India and a scheme to design UK imaging technology for a space telescope are among the new international initiatives to receive backing from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP).

The funding will see UK companies and organisations working with partners such as NASA, and space agencies from Canada, Japan and Italy. NSIP is the first fund dedicated to supporting the UK space sector’s innovation through collaborations with international partners designed to contribute to UK science, security and prosperity.

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

Space technologies are part of almost every aspect of our daily lives. With rapid technological innovation, space offers a broad and growing range of opportunities to support economic activity and protect the environment.

These projects champion the best of British innovation while strengthening our partnerships around the world.

The International element of NSIP aims to increase UK exporting potential, strengthen research partnerships around the world that complement our existing activities through the European Space Agency, and develop key space technologies and capabilities important to the UK’s security interests.

The UK space sector is a major economic success story, growing by over 60% since 2010. The UK remains a leading member of the European Space Agency, which is independent of the EU. ESA membership allows the UK to cooperate in world-leading science on a global scale, enabling UK scientists and researchers access to a range of international R&D programmes. 

The new funding for these international projects follows over £7 million awarded to 21 UK organisations in December 2020. These were the first projects to receive funding from the national element of NSIP.

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