Colin Baldwin, Head of Local Growth Strategy, UK Space Agency talks about how the innovative work done in the North East is removing silos.
Space is more accessible than people think. As the North East space and satellite sector has shown, it is not just about future manned missions to Mars, it is also about doing practical things every day.
Countless products and services that rely on space and satellites are embedded in our daily lives, delivering products and services that people want, yet not all the companies that provide them would regard themselves as part of our industry.
One of our challenges at the UK Space Agency is to make businesses across the country aware of the opportunities that space provides and another is to identify those with a valuable contribution to make.
Providing these linkages and inspiring people to play a part in the region’s space cluster is just one area where the Satellite Applications Catapult North East Centre of Excellence, based at NETPark in County Durham, has made such an impact.
By breaking down communication barriers, people from a broad spectrum of businesses and the wider community have been encouraged to contribute to an industry which is driving economic growth.
The work done in the North East shows what can be achieved when silos are removed, directing businesses and academics to where they can find support and providing integration between the various initiatives available locally, nationally and internationally.
Among the many bodies and agencies offering funding, advice and networking opportunities are the UK Space Agency, the European Space Agency, and the Satellite Applications Catapult.
One of the North East’s innovative approaches is to focus on how space can solve local problems, which in turn opens a route to solving national and international problems, ultimately creating global opportunities for the region’s world-class businesses and universities.
When the UK Space Agency visited NETPark recently, we were blown away by the high level of interest and expertise from industry and academics, their positive approach to new ideas and opportunities and their willingness to engage with other sectors – demonstrating why the North East is now clearly part of the UK’s space landscape.