Science Minister praises Leicester's leading position in space science - and pledges to visit University

Posted by pt91 at Jul 19, 2018 01:53 PM |
Leicester West MP Liz Kendall highlights Leicester as ‘a world leader in space research and engineering’

Issued by University of Leicester on 19 July 2018

The Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Sam Gyimah, has spoken of ‘Leicester’s leading position in space research and science research’ and pledged to visit the University during a debate on Space Policy in the House of Commons.

In response to a question from Leicester West MP Liz Kendall, Mr Gyimah said: “I am very aware of Leicester’s leading position in space research and science research, and I am looking forward to visiting the university shortly to discuss some of these matters.”

In the debate that took place on July 18, Ms Kendall said: “Leicester is a world leader in space research and engineering, working with NASA and partners across the world. Our new space park will create 3,000 jobs—I hope the Minister will visit us one day. He says he is frustrated with the EU’s reaction on Galileo, but I have heard nothing practical from him about what he will do to protect the Airbus jobs directly related to Galileo in Leicester and to ensure the free movement of EU scientists and researchers, who are so vital to this critical industry of the future.”

Mr Gyimah responded to this and other questions during the debate in the Commons Chamber during which he said: “The UK space sector is growing. It is worth about £13.7 billion to the economy according to current estimates, and it employs more than 38,000 people across the country.

“As is set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, we are working with industry to increase the UK’s share of the global space market from 6.5% to 10% by 2030. The sector has grown at an average of more than 8% every year over the last decade, and three times faster than the average sector over the last five years. Space is a growth sector not only in its own right but as part of our “critical national infrastructure”, underpinning all other key industrial sectors including agritech, automotive, aerospace, maritime and energy. Our space sector is one of the most innovative in the world. It is a world leader in small satellite technology, telecommunications, robotics and Earth observation. For example, we build 25% of the world’s telecommunication satellites and our universities are some of the best in the world for space science.”

Earlier, Mr Gyimah visited the Farnborough Air Show and met with Professor Martin Barstow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Strategic Science Projects and Director, Leicester Institute of Space and Earth Observation.  Professor Barstow said: “It was a great pleasure to meet the Minister and talk about the important role the University is playing in the development of the space economy, through the Space Park Leicester development. He was already aware of Leicester’s great space heritage and I will look forward to seeing him again on his promised visit.”

Space Park Leicester is an ambitious initiative to develop a global hub and collaborative community based on space and space-enabled technologies. It will be a brand new centre for the analysis and commercialisation of space-enabled data and space mission development.  The new flagship regional facility will be a critical component of the UK’s National Space infrastructure, supporting our industrial strategy and helping secure the UK’s share of the global space market. To fund and deliver this significant initiative, the University of Leicester is working in partnership with Leicester City Council, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and the National Space Centre.

You can read the full text of the debate here and watch the debate here

• Leicester is the UK’s leading space city, home to the National Space Centre, Space Park Leicester and the University of Leicester’s #outofthisworld space research.

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