Catapulting around the UK

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All aboard the Catapult tour bus! We’re going on a road trip and we hope you’ll join us! With our SatNav set, we’re visiting five cities around the UK; Belfast (2nd), Leeds (4th), Edinburgh (10th), Bristol (11th) and London (12th), to spread the word on how the Satellite Applications Catapult and our sister Catapults are helping accelerate the take-up of emerging technologies and drive economic growth.

The Catapult programme has come a long way since October 2010 when the Prime Minister announced that Catapult centres would be launched as a catalyst to stimulate innovation and growth in the UK. Each of the existing seven Catapults focuses on a specific area of technology and helps businesses develop new solutions and products to meet current and future market needs.

While the UK already commands a 7% share of the global space market, the Satellite Applications Catapult is tasked with helping the UK space industry secure an even greater stake as the market swells to a predicted value of £400 billion by 2030.

In 2010-11, UK space revenues were £9.1bn (up from £6.7bn in 2006-07), and the expectation from the recently published Space Growth Action Plan is that this will increase to an annual turnover of £19bn in 2020.

In commercialising space data, the Catapult provides people and businesses with access to the data, expert knowledge and facilities required to help them develop and innovate. To date, we’ve helped nearly 70 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) utilise a wide ranging scope of satellite applications. SME activities range from tracking animals in South Africa to increasing crop yields through mobile applications. We’re also tackling multiple projects which utilise space data to develop and succeed. These include illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and future planning and regulation for Milton Keynes Council. Details about these and other projects will be available during our roadshow events.

So, what’s next for the Satellite Applications Catapult’ Like space, the possibilities are endless. In our CEO’s previous blog posts, Stuart has written about the future of the industry and development of the growth plan. The Catapult wants to ensure that the UK space sector is at the forefront of space development in the future. In addition to the projects and SMEs we are working with, we are developing our Regional Centres of Excellences, details of which will be unveiled during the roadshow.

The Regional Engagement Initiative is being launched to build relationships with knowledge-based organisations across the UK. The Catapult will develop these knowledge “hubs” into virtual Centres of Excellence. It is hoped that these long-term, joint investment relationships, will also act as enablers to the wider Catapult network.

As a member of the Catapult network, we’re excited to be joined by other Catapults at various roadshow venues – Connected Digital Economy (Bristol), High Value Manufacturing (Bristol), Transport Systems (Belfast and Leeds), Offshore Renewable Energy (Edinburgh), and Future Cities (London). We hope this will be a stimulus for further collaboration and co-operation between Catapults to drive forward the UK economy and the continued success of the Catapult network.