Press Release

UK space hub to host innovation teams in new Agency competition

By SpaceRef Editor
June 21, 2012
Filed under , ,
UK space hub to host innovation teams in new Agency competition

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.

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.

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.”

The Announcement of Opportunity is available at:

For further information, please contact:

Madeleine Russell
Press Officer
UK Space Agency
Tel: +44 (0)1793 418069
Matthew Goodman
Head of Communications
UK Space Agency
Tel: +44 (0) 1793 41 8085
Mob: +44 (0) 7766 780 926
Notes for editors

National Space Technology Programme

This investment forms part of the UK Space Agency’s National Space Technology Programme (NSTP), which involved a fresh government investment of #10 million to help UK industry exploit the growth opportunities identified in the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy by improving the UK’s space technology capabilities. The investment is driven by the priorities within the National Space Technology Roadmaps, published and endorsed by the UK Space Leadership Council in 2011. Augmented by investment from other government agencies and the private sector, the total programme value of the NSTP is expected to reach #27M.

For information about the NSTP, including the delivery plan, delivery status report and details of the other awards granted as part of the NSTP please visit:

UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space. It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

The UK Space Agency is responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in the space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. It leads the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefits to all citizens.
The UK Space Agency:

* Co-ordinates UK civil space activity
* Encourages academic research
* Supports the UK space industry
* Raises the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad
* Increases understanding of space science and its practical benefits
* Inspires our next generation of UK scientists and engineers
* Licences the launch and operation of UK spacecraft
* Promotes co-operation and participation in the European Space programme

The International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) is the first centre of its kind in Europe. ISIC provides a unique environment where government, universities and industry work together to drive innovation and enterprise, creating new technologies, and developing applications and intellectual property for the benefit of the UK.

ISIC began trading on 1 April 2011. Existing members include; Astrium Services; Astrium GEO-Information Services; BMT Argoss; Logica; Met Office; NERC, STFC; SSTL; TSB: UK Space Agency, Telespazio VEGA and the Universities of Leicester, Nottingham, Reading and Surrey.

SpaceRef staff editor.