The East Midlands RCO background

With deep industry roots in the aerospace, rail, automotive, motorsport and marine sectors, the East Midlands has world-class strengths in the development of transport technologies and niche strengths in complementary technologies such as composite materials and the application of space technologies. The manufacturing field cuts across other priority areas, such as life sciences and low carbon, which positions the region to exploit new opportunities and to create a sound foundation for future competitiveness.

Within the East Midlands the Transport sector employs approximately 87,000 people in more than 2,500 companies, including a high percentage of SME’s and represents approximately 3.5% of the region’s economic output.

This includes the Aerospace, Space, Automotive, Motorsport, Rail and Marine sectors, E.ON’s global R&D headquarters, Rolls-Royce Intelligent Energy, BAE Systems Integration, Toyota and Bombardier.

Topic-based priorities for the region are: housing; economy and regeneration; natural and cultural resources (including energy and climate change). The current Regional Economic Strategy identifies GMES and GNSS as cross cutting technologies able to deliver innovation for regional development in areas of regional economic priority. Regional economic priorities in transport, citizens’ health, sustainable construction and agriculture are all areas where applications of space technologies can support innovation in these sectors.

  • England’s fourth largest region covering an area 16,700 km2 with a population of 4.3 million people.
  • Positioned in the middle of England and made up of six counties with diverse economies.
  • Host to the National Space Centre, a brain child of the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, now a major educational facility and tourist attraction
  • Home for eight research-active universities. Three of these, University of Leicester, University of Nottingham and De Montfort University have world leading research and teaching programmes in space science, technology and applications.
  • Space-based companies in the region include Astrium Geo-information services (previously Infoterra), Nottingham Scientific Ltd and a wide range of SME’s involved in space applications.
  • Industry-academic partnerships are promoted through GRACE at the University of Nottingham and G-STEP (GMES - Space Technology Exchange Partnership) at the University of Leicester, as enablers of end user applications and business opportunities based around space data and technologies in GNSS (GRACE) and GMES (G-STEP) respectively.
  • The East Midlands region is the UK‟s first, and so far only, member of NEREUS.
  • In 2008, the industrial turnover in space activities in the East Midlands-predominently in downstream telecommunications, satellite navigation and remote sensing was estimated at £104M, contributing 400 space sector jobs and a further 2500 jobs from supply chain and indirect service functions to the regional economy. Source: Oxford Economics: The Case for Space: The impact of Space Derived Services and Data. May 2009.

The network of Universities in the region are actively invovled in GMES activites contributing to projects such as GEOLAND2, GIONET and through G-STEP, which fosters partnerships between providers and users by providing a vehicle for engaging with potential users of Earth Observation services. Industries in the region specialise in aerospace, airbourne surveys, Earth Observation data collection and GNSS technologies resulting from a spin-out company from the University of Nottingham.

The National Space Centre in Leicester is a science visitor centre that presents the impact of space on everyday life in the 21st century. It was founded through a partnership between the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, with major funding from the Millennium Commission and support from the British National Space Centre and the UK space industry. The National Space Centre attracts 220,000 visitors annually, including over 50,000 school children undertaking education programmes in science using space as the inspiration.  It hosts the only Challenger Learning Centre outside North America, and also leads regional collaboration which has set up UK’s first National Space Academy.

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