Local economic development bodies urged to grab share of £600,000 to ignite regional space growth

Space Agency harvesting sun’s energy

The UK Space Agency is inviting local development bodies to bid for funding of up to £100,000 to help put space at the heart of local economies.

The £600,000 Regional Space Development fund, launched today, aims to accelerate the development of a thriving, resilient and well-connected space ecosystem across the UK.

The fund will support the space sector at a local level by supporting the recruitment of Space Cluster Development Managers and pump-priming activities that create jobs and growth.

Dr Colin Baldwin, Head of Local Growth Strategy at the UK Space Agency said: “Our cities, towns and rural areas all have competitive advantages essential to shaping our economy – and the space sector will be a key driver of future growth across the UK.

“This funding will strengthen innovative companies and agencies in all corners of the country, helping the UK to achieve its ambitions in space and realise its potential on Earth.”

Local economic development bodies are encouraged to act as the lead applicant. However, applications from UK Higher Education Institutions, other research organisations, and industry will also be considered.

Figures released by the UK Space Agency last month show strong growth in the UK space sector. Income rising from £14.8 billion in 2016/17o £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.