Funding awarded to Portsmouth scheme to support space entrepreneurs

The University of Portsmouth is to share in £150,000 funding from The UK Space Agency to support entrepreneurs and small companies in the space industry.

The Agency is working with UK industry to deliver world-class science innovation support, in line with the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which emphasises the importance of science, innovation and skills.

Just under £50,000 has gone to a joint scheme between the University’s Innovation Space and the National Oceanography Centre’s Marine Robotics Innovation Centre, in Southampton. The money will be used to provide an incubation centre in Portsmouth and an innovation hub in Southampton with world-leading expertise in developing next generation Marine Autonomous Systems.

The business incubation centre in the Solent is one of three in the UK (with two others in South West of England and Scotland) and it will support start-up companies by providing advice and support, giving access to facilities and resources and collaborating on events and initiatives with other business incubators.

UK and Ireland pictured from the International Space Station. Credit: Andre Kuipers/ESA/NASA.

UK and Ireland pictured from the International Space Station. Credit: Andre Kuipers/ESA/NASA.

Sarah Duckering, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University of Portsmouth, said: “We are delighted to support businesses in the region who are exploiting the opportunities that the advancement of satellite applications offer. The funding will provide incubation space and training programme for start-up companies, here and at the National Oceanography Centre, and participants will be able to access facilities and staff at both organisations to help them establish and grow commercial opportunities.

“Portsmouth is ideally located to support the growth of the space sector in general.  The University already hosts the South Coast Regional Centre for Excellence for Satellite Applications and this announcement reflects other University investments supporting the space sector, for example our Future Technology Centre and ASTA Technology, the only ESA accredited training centre in the UK.”

The space sector is a UK success story, with growth averaging over 8 per cent a year over the last decade, a turnover in excess of £11 billion a year and ambitious plans to achieve 10 per cent of the global space market by 2030.  Much of this growth is anticipated to come from companies using space-derived data or services in a broad range of different sectors.

Helen Roberts, Regional Growth Manager at the UK Space Agency, said: “We are delighted to extend the network of incubators supporting space sector start-ups to cover even more of the UK.

“These new business incubators add to the existing network of SETsquared, Leicester Dock, UNIP in Nottingham, Loughborough University, Business Durham, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at its Daresbury Laboratory site, Glyndwr Innovations in St Asaph, North Wales and the European Space Agency’s business incubator at Harwell.

“We look forward to working with them and seeing them help exciting new businesses to develop and flourish.”

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