Partnership launched to help county lead on space projects

By Tim Aldred

26 May 2023

Lancashire In Space Partnership Launch

A new collaborative partnership has launched to help maximise Lancashire's position as a hub of future flight, space and satellite innovation.

The Lancashire in Space Partnership features the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Lancaster University, Edge Hill University, the North West Aerospace Alliance and the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub.

It is tasked with 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.

At the official launch event, it was discussed how many of Lancashire'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.

And with the establishment of the National Cyber Force at Salmesbury, and in conjunction with its associated local research, commercial, and government partners, the county has the opportunity to position itself as a global player in developing the digital technologies that will secure the ever-growing satellite infrastructure upon which so much of our modern lives depend.

Lancashire partners are already playing a key role in contributing to and growing the UK Space economy, which is nationally now worth £17.5bn. The launch of the partnership builds on work by Lancashire's local enterprise partnership 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.

This has so far seen work by partners in preparing the current and future workforce through developing skills bootcamps and resources for schools, as well as engaging industry, supporting academic R&D and contributing to the development of major regional initiatives - including around space-based nuclear energy.

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. 

"In short; 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."

He added: "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."

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