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UK space hub to host innovation teams in new Agency competition

21 Jun 2012

Inspired teams seeking a place to collaborate need look no further. The UK Space Agency is calling forward multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational groups for the Space Collaborative Innovation Team Initiative (Space CITI). Successful teams with innovative ideas will be provided with up to £0.5M funding and world class facilities to call home.

International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC). Credit: STFC (JPG, 352 Kb) 
International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC).
Credit: STFC

Space CITI is a pilot programme designed to support accelerated innovation and economic growth. Funding will be available for one or more focussed multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational teams to undertake a programme of work which exploits the unique environment of the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) at Harwell, Oxford.

ISIC Ltd. is a not-for-profit-organisation set up by members from the public sector, industry and academia. Its remit is to provide a ‘badgeless’ open, nurturing environment for new space companies. It has been supported by an original £12.5M of government funding and a similar amount of private sector investment.

ISIC is an ideal environment for the collaborative projects that Space CITI aims to foster. The Announcement of Opportunity will call for projects that require funding to:

  • build the technical and commercial business case for a new UK space-related business;
  • solve a technical challenge preventing the creation of a new UK space product;
  • create a working prototype of a new UK space-related service or product; or
  • develop a spin-out product or application of space technology or space data.

International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC). Credit: STFC (JPG, 247 Kb) The core of the UK Space Agency strategy is to lead and sustain the growth of the UK space sector. In support of this the National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) promotes the accelerated development of new UK space technology for commercial and scientific applications. This pilot programme is the latest strand of the NSTP’s £27M push for space industry growth. Earlier calls have kicked-off £4M projects for new satellite communications and Earth observation technologies plus numerous smaller projects across the full range of UK expertise from cubesats to future launch vehicles.

Major Chahal, Technology KE Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency said: “This is an exciting new part of the NSTP. This is an opportunity to create fresh collaborations and jump-start new ideas. We are very much looking forward to receiving creative and imaginative proposals that will make best use of ISIC as a hotbed of innovation”

The concept is inspired by the European Space Agency’s StarTiger initiative which aims to speed up the turn-around time for key technological developments. The core of this is accelerate progress by physically bringing together otherwise dispersed teams in a dedicated and supportive innovation environment allowing engineers and scientists to focus entirely on the problem being tackled.

Barbara Ghinelli, Executive Chair of ISIC commented:

“We are delighted and excited to be hosting Space CITI on behalf of the UK Space Agency. The programme exactly aligns with our shared vision of building a centre for national space facilities and networks at Harwell in order to promote growth in our space economy.”

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