University teaming with Space Agency

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Falmouth University is bringing together academics, the local business community and satellite technology to help grow the Cornish economy.

The South West Catapult Centre of Excellence, which is co-funded by the UK Space Agency, will use data obtained through satellites to generate global trade opportunities for the south west.

It is being set up in response to the growing interest in how this information can help transform existing businesses and create new companies. This data provides information about the world around us, topics such as climate and weather, the location of ships and aeroplanes and agriculture.

The Falmouth Satellite Applications Office will be based at the university’s Penryn Campus. It will host specialist events and workshops related to satellite applications allowing academics to work with industry, particularly small businesses, to ensure new products and services become commercially available.

The centre will be based at Goonhilly with regional offices based at university campuses across the south west.

Professor Philip Moore, director of research and development at Falmouth University, said: “Falmouth will support this project by working with businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to identify and develop new commercial opportunities that utilise satellite data.

“We will look to provide support and advice to the businesses in development of digital products and services for applications in areas such wellbeing and the environment.”

Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said: “The Government is backing the UK’s successful space sector and ensuring more businesses can benefit from space technology through the Satellite Applications Catapult.

“These new and extended centres will deliver more support to businesses and scientists across the country, and help the space industry reach its ambition to grow to £40 billion by 2030 and generate 100,000 new jobs.”

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “We’ve witnessed a significant upturn in regional engagement over the past two years through the initial three centres. This has included activities linking up the science base, large industry and SMEs to help develop satellite-derived applications and solutions.

“The network’s expansion to cover the southern region of the UK and the Highlands & Islands will hopefully result in generating further understanding and awareness of the opportunities that satellite data and technology can provide – especially among market sectors not currently engaging with them – and developing new commercial opportunities for the UK’s space sector.”

Colin Baldwin, UK Space Gateway programme manager at the UK Space Agency, added: “The UK Space Agency is delighted to support this initiative. The expanded network of Catapult Centres of Excellence demonstrates that applications of satellites provide business opportunities across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.”

Project partners include the University of Exeter, Falmouth University, Plymouth University, the MET Office, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Goonhilly Earth Station and Rothamsted Research.

Market focus areas will include agri-tech, maritime and e-health, healthcare supported by electronic communications. The three universities will work together with the Met Office, GES, Rothamsted and a number of commercial partners.