Press Release

European Space Agency launches UK centre

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2009
Filed under ,
European Space Agency launches UK centre

Leading industrialists and academics from across the world have witnessed the launch of the European Space Agency (ESA)’s first ever UK base at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus (HSIC). As part of a two day event (22nd and 23rd July), ESA saw for themselves the world-leading research and technology facilities already at the campus and at its sister Science and Innovation Campus in Daresbury.

Lord Drayson, the UK’s Minister for Science and Innovation, attended the launch event in London on 22nd July where representatives from industry, academia and other government departments heard how the ESA facility will focus upon three key areas: combining data and images from space to create new applications for everyday life; climate change modelling; and the development of novel power sources and innovative robotic technologies to explore space.

The establishment of the new ESA facility will capitalise on the UK’s world-leading expertise in space science, earth observation and related technologies. The ESA facility is expected to be a key element of a much wider vision for the future of the UK’s fast-growing space economy, through the creation of an International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) at Harwell.

During a visit to HSIC on the 23rd July representatives from US and European aerospace companies were shown the opportunities available through co-location onto the campus. On the same day, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) hosted a visit from ESA officials to the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, Harwell’s twin centre in Cheshire. The aim of the Daresbury visit was to show how the campus’s successful collaborative and interdisciplinary approach is working in practice and to inform the future development of the ESA facility in the UK and the wider proposed ISIC project.

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the STFC said: ”Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus is a world-class centre of innovative and leading-edge research and technology. It provides a critical mass of high technology and cutting edge research that stimulates the development and commercialisation of new technologies and products. Since its opening in 2005 nearly 100 high-tech businesses have made Daresbury SIC their home as a direct result of the way it successfully integrates and exploits science and technology programmes leading to new applications across a wide range of disciplines and commercial sectors. Daresbury and Harwell Science and Innovation Campuses are leading the way in finding solutions to the global challenges we face in healthcare, environment, energy and security by bringing together and promoting innovation, knowledge sharing, collaboration and networking between scientists, academics and industrialists”.

Martin Ditter, Project Manager of the ESA facility added: “This is a very exciting time for ESA and I was delighted to be able to visit the national Science and Innovation Campus at Daresbury to see first-hand how the research community and businesses are working collaboratively to increase the impact of UK science. I am looking forward to working with STFC and its partners at both Science and Innovation Campuses to develop a similar model at a European level for the ESA facility based at Harwell”.

Dr. Sally Ann Forsyth, Director of Science Parks at Goodman, the development partner for Harwell said: “Harwell is a world class location for science and innovation, and the arrival of the European Space Agency underlines these credentials. Working alongside our joint venture partners we are building on Harwell’s rich history as a place that fosters open innovation and collaboration between businesses, research organisations, and academia. As a result, we are confident that Harwell will continue to attract major interest from other companies.”


Notes to editors

For more information about the new ESA facility at HSIC see the British National Space Centre (BNSC)’s press release at Images available:

Please contact the press office for more details Contacts:

Lucy Stone Press Officer STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Email: Tel Number: 01235 445627

Further Information

European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is a research and development (R&D) agency working on behalf of its 18 member states and one associate member. These are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and the Czech Republic, and Canada (associate member). By pooling the resources of its member states, ESA undertakes programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country, developing the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Harwell Science and Innovation Campus

The Harwell Science and Innovation Campus (HSIC) was created by the UK government in 2006 to build on the outstanding set of existing science and technology facilities already on site to become a world-leading centre of science and technology.

Researchers at Harwell are working in fields as diverse as fusion energy, climate change and medical science. Facilities already available include X-ray and neutron radiation sources, a Peta-Watt class laser; and the existing Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Space Science and Technology Department. The campus at Harwell is a joint venture between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (a government-funded organisation); the UK Atomic Energy Authority; and international property group Goodman.

Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus

Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus (Daresbury SIC) is an internationally recognised location for high-tech businesses and leading-edge science. It represents a fundamentally new approach to driving UK competitiveness in global science and innovation. Daresbury SIC was formed by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and the Science & Technology Facilities Council, Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool, the University of Manchester and Halton Borough Council. For further information please visit and

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The Science and Technology Facilities Council ensures the UK retains its leading place on the world stage by delivering world-class science; accessing and hosting international facilities; developing innovative technologies; and increasing the socio-economic impact of its research through effective knowledge exchange partnerships.

The Council has a broad science portfolio including Astronomy, Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics, Nuclear Physics, Space Science, Synchrotron Radiation, Neutron Sources and High Power Lasers. In addition the Council manages and operates three internationally renowned laboratories:

– The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire

– The Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire

– The UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh

The Council gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) and the European Space Agency (ESA). It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory. The Council is a partner in the UK space programme, coordinated by the British National Space Centre.

SpaceRef staff editor.