The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Scotland’s space industry set for lift-off

Leading figures from the UK and Europe’s Space sector descended on Glasgow this week for the second Scottish Space Symposium, to explore the benefits that Space technology can provide as the multi-billion pound industry continues to grow.

The symposium, organised by the University of Strathclyde and supported by Scottish Enterprise, focussed on the downstream sector of the industry that uses space-derived services such as satellite telecommunications, earth observation and navigation.

Worldwide, the space sector is expected to grow to £400 billion by 2030, The UK’s share of that sector could create as many as 100,000 high-value jobs. Scotland is well placed to play a significant role, and the event highlighted the many opportunities for businesses across the country.

Dr Derek Bennet of the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, said: “Information provided from Space will be a significant growth area over the next decade and beyond, not only for companies developing platforms and systems to deliver it, but for companies able to the use the data to develop new products and services.

“It is estimated that the downstream element of the sector is worth ten times more than upstream, with satellite data increasingly being used in a range of industries including transport, agriculture and renewable energy.

“At Strathclyde we are actively engaged with industry partners to develop Scotland’s capabilities, and the symposium provided an ideal platform to ensure that partnership approach continues.”

Senior figures from the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency and the Technology Strategy Board joined leading downstream space companies at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow for the event.

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear first hand about the Technology Strategy Board-funded Satellite Applications Catapult Centre. The new centre, expected to open in Autumn 2012, will provide in-orbit test facilities, allowing innovative UK organisations to demonstrate new satellite technologies. It will also remove significant cost barriers, and expedite the development of new products and services delivered by satellites.

Ross White, Scottish Enterprise added “Scotland’s Space industry is a dynamic and growing sector, spearheaded by companies with cutting edge specialisms, supported by a national technology centre and underpinned by world-leading research groups. Scottish Enterprise was delighted to support the second Scottish Space Symposium, which brought these key Scottish groups together with UK and International partners to explore opportunities for growth.”

• The Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, at the University of Strathclyde, delivers world-leading research on advanced space concepts, delivering radically new approaches to future space systems for space-derived products and services.

• Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main enterprise, innovation and investment agency. Working in partnership with industry, academia and the public sector, SE aims to help make Scotland a place where business can thrive and key industries can be competitive. Its focus is to help businesses grow, encourage greater innovation and create the right conditions for companies to access property, markets and finance to increase productivity.

• The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency; its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit

• Catapults are centres of excellence that bridge the gap between business, academia, research and government. They are a powerful new element in the UK economy, helping businesses develop relevant and exciting ideas in receptive and invigorating environments.

• The Technology Strategy Board will oversee the Catapult centres. So far high value manufacturing is the first to open, and centres for cell therapy, offshore renewable energy, satellite applications and connect digital economy have also been announced.

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