New funding from UK Space Agency to launch tech projects

New funding from UK Space Agency will kickstart space technology projects. Government grants worth up to £15,000 each will help UK companies get their ideas for space-based technologies or research off the ground.

The call for Grants for Exploratory Ideas, part of the National Space Technology Programme aims to fund short, three-month long projects that support innovative space technology activities, encourage collaboration between industry and academia, and encourage new entrants to the space sector.

Projects could include knowledge transfer, skills development, market studies, and proof of concepts for space technology. The UK Space Agency is encouraging those who are new to space technology to participate in the call. Established businesses, non-profits and academics are also welcome to apply.

Charles McCausland, from the UK Space Agency, said, “As we recover from the impact of the pandemic, this programme will play an important role in nurturing new collaborations and supporting early-stage ideas which have the power to grow the space sector, create jobs and strengthen the UK’s position in the global space market.

“Since launching in 2011, the NSTP has supported 277 projects. Previous successful applicants include London-based Rocket Engineering, which invented a magnetic propulsion system the size of a can of coffee, allowing spacecraft to manoeuvre more efficiently in orbit.

“Northumberland’s NORSS developed and tested a data processing pipeline that could use a novel electro-optical camera system to process Low Earth Orbit Space Surveillance and Tracking data, an improvement upon slower conventional radar observations,” he added

Figures released by the UK Space Agency in May show strong growth in the UK space sector. Income rising from £14.8 billion in 2016/17 to £16.4 billion in 2018/19, representing a growth of 5.7 per cent in real terms, while employment is up by 3,200 from 41,900 to 45,100. Research and development spending rose 18 per cent in real terms from £595 million in 2016/17 to £702 million in 2018/19.

The deadline for applications is 12pm on August 12, 2021.


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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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