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One giant leap as Lancashire launches new Space Partnership

May 30, 2023

A new collaborative partnership between leading academic, governmental and industry bodies has been launched with a mission to make Lancashire a hub of future flight, space and satellite innovation.

The Lancashire in Space Partnership was launched during a special event at Sci-Tech Daresbury celebrating the one-year anniversary of the launch of the North West Space Cluster.

The partners forming the partnership include Edge Hill University, the University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University, the North West Aerospace Alliance and the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub.

The new partnership will play a vital role in driving forward the agendas on skills, diversification and innovation to grow the local space economy, while also directly supporting the work of the regional cluster and national space economy.

Michael Boyle, Edge Hill’s Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Coordinator, said: “This is an exciting knowledge exchange opportunity for all of the partners involved and we are proud to be part of this pioneering consortium.

“The UK space industry is growing at pace and our leading experts in computer science, data, cyber security, and engineering will be able to contribute to making Lancashire the go to location for emerging research and commercial opportunities in space.”

Lancashire partners are already playing a key role in contributing to and growing the UK Space economy, which nationally is worth £17.5bn. The launch of the partnership builds on work by Lancashire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) over the last year including the launch of a Lancashire space sub-strategy linking into the North West Space Cluster Strategy and the National Space Strategy.

The consortium is currently preparing the workforce with skills bootcamps and additional resources for schools, as well as engaging industry, supporting academic research and contributing to the development of major regional initiatives – including around space-based nuclear energy.

Commenting on the launch of the partnership, Alan Cross, North West Space Cluster Development Manager for UKRI-STFC said: “In the 21st century, space is no longer the exclusive domain of nation-states and mega-corporations. The UK space industry is worth £17.5bn  and employs almost 50,000 people, almost 3,000 of whom are right here in the North West. Space means jobs. Space means security. Space means business.

“The communities of Lancashire have much to gain from the novel use of space in their everyday lives; from predictive flood monitoring and wildfire prevention to improved traffic management and access to public services via universal digital connectivity. The innovative digital businesses of the county are perfectly placed to develop and deliver these critical space-enabled services, delivering economic and societal growth for all.

“Over the past few years, Lancashire has taken many important small steps towards securing its future in space. Now, with the Lancashire In Space Partnership, it takes one giant leap.”

The establishment of the National Cyber Force at Salmesbury, in conjunction with local research, commercial, and government partners, means Lancashire has a key role to play in elevating the UK as a global “space super power”. Many of the county’s businesses and research institutes have capabilities and technologies that can be diversified into both the civil and defence space sectors, opening new markets for Lancastrian businesses.

Nathan Shoesmith, launching the partnership during a presentation to the North West Space Cluster on behalf of the consortium of partners said:  “Partnership and collaboration will be crucial to inspiring and preparing the future workforce, engaging businesses and supporting industrial innovation, and successfully driving forward the already fast-growing space and satellite economy for the benefit of everyone.”

The partnership will meet regularly to progress key initiatives, while more public-facing events are also set to take place to engage Lancastrians of all ages in the space economy.

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May 30, 2023


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