Government grants worth up to £75,000 are available to the UK space sector to develop new commercial technologies and bring them closer to market.
The funding from the Swindon-headquartered UK Space Agency is available for businesses, non-profits and academics.
The UK has a thriving space sector which generates an income of £14.8 billion each year. This funding call, as part of the National Space Technology Programme (NSTP), is looking for innovative 6-month projects that could develop instruments for commercial applications or test disruptive ideas.
Since launching in 2011, the NSTP has supported 272 projects. Previous successful applicants include Belstead, which improved drag sail methods in the removal of space debris, and a collaboration between the University of Bristol and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to track and analyse volcanic ash clouds, which can be detrimental to jet engines.
Charles McCausland, Head of Major Projects and Technology Development, UK Space Agency, said: “The National Space Technology Programme has a strong track record of developing new ideas and driving growth in the UK space sector, with support available for organisations of any size.
“In 2019, we successfully funded 58 projects. As we ramp up support for national space capabilities and develop the new UK space strategy, the programme will continue to play a major role in forging new collaborations and backing early-stage technologies with future potential.”
The NSTP funds four types of grants. This call for Pathfinder projects aims to increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of space technologies, encourage collaboration between industry and academia, and encourage new entrants to the space sector.
The UK Space Agency is leading work across government to develop a comprehensive UK space strategy. A new National Space Innovation Programme will further strengthen national space capabilities and international space co-operation, while creating high-skilled jobs across the country.