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Bristol welcomes UK Space Agency CEO to mark ‘Space West’ launch

Paul Bate in the Diamond Lab at University of Bristol

Left to right - Prof Kate Robson-Brown and Prof Neil Fox with Dr Paul Bate in the Diamond Lab. University of Bristol

Press release issued: 8 March 2023

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of UK Space Agency, visited the University to meet some of the academics at the heart of research into next-generation space technology.

His visit marks the debut of regional partnership Space West, announced earlier at the Government’s Ignite Space event, hosted by Aerospace Bristol.

Space West, which includes the University, was one of eighteen projects to recently receive funding from the UK Space Agency as part of the levelling-up boost for the UK space sector, funding for new growth.

Seizing the opportunity to play a leading role in the future success of the space sector and the wider space-enabled economy, the West of England was successfully named as one of seven new Space Hubs established by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) in November 2020.

The funding awarded in February 2023 will build on the work undertaken in the West of England over the past two years to develop a space strategy and regional space hub. Space West will deliver a cluster development programme of activities to support businesses in the space and adjacent space technology sectors.

Dr Bate met with some of the University's prominent space researchers such as Bristol's Space initiative lead and Co-Chair of Space Academic Network (SPAN) Professor Kate Robson-Brown and Professor Neil Fox. He was greeted by Professor Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol.

Professor Taylor said: “We were delighted to welcome Dr Paul Bate to our campus to show him first-hand, the contribution University of Bristol is making to the region’s space sector.

“We have a talented community of space scientists developing next generation technologies. Their research into advanced materials and manufacturing, secure satellite communication, earth observation, climate science, robotics and resilient satellite systems is world-renowned.

“We look forward to working with our partners in Space West to grow the region’s influence in the space sector while using this research to address social and environmental challenges."

With the vision to become an internationally recognised space region, engagement with space stakeholders has identified four ‘Grand Ambitions’, which aim to address key challenges in the sector: Space for Climate, Environment and Net Zero, Space Infrastructure, Safety and Sustainability, Space for National Security and Defence, Space for Smarter Local Government. To realise the vision, Grand Ambitions and unlock market opportunities, actions under four strategic pillars will be delivered across the Space West programme, to grow the space sector in the region and achieve economic, social and environmental benefits.

Reinforced by strong endorsement from industry champions, Space West will continue the momentum for the development of an ambitious and timely regional space strategy. The consortium also includes the West of England Combined AuthorityNational Composites CentreCentre for Modelling and SimulationUniversity of Bath and University of the West of England.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “The West of England space sector is a success story. From the genuinely world-leading scientific research on developing state-of-the-art satellite systems to monitor and then address the impacts of the climate emergency here on Planet Earth at Bristol’s CGI UK to work to make nuclear-powered space missions a reality at Rolls-Royce over at their Filton home, we are harnessing the endless possibilities of space to boost all our communities.

“I’m pleased to have secured a £130,000-plus cash injection into Space West that we have developed so that, with our partners, we can go even further. My West of England Mayoral Authority will continue working to deliver so we can lever even more money to put rocket boosters under these and more exciting West of England space projects to protect our planet, secure our futures and explore our universe.”

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