Mapping the UK’s Academic Capabilities within the Space Sector: A Case Study on the Academic Expertise Portal

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Connecting Academia with Industry

The Academic Expertise Portal (AEP) is a digital platform designed to map the UK’s academic capabilities within the space sector. Embedded within the Space Capabilities Catalogue (SCC), AEP aims to enhance collaboration among industry, government, and academia. Funded by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) Local Growth Collaboration grant, the AEP identifies academic organisations with relevant research and development expertise. This facilitates collaborations that might not otherwise occur, offers valuable insights for consultancy, aids in consortium building, and guides investment targeting across academia. The platform also provides reliable data on UK academic engagement in the space sector.

Funder: UK Space Agency
Grant reference number: UKSAG22_0033

Spotlight on Viktor Doychinov

Viktor Doychinov, a Lecturer at the University of Bradford, focuses on Electronics and Software Engineering at the Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI. Identified through a review of new SCC users, Viktor is part of the Researcher in Residence programme and has previous connections with Satellite Applications Catapult.

Expanding Networks and Identifying Resources

Victor has used the AEP, along with other aspects of the Space Capabilities Catalogue for several reasons:

  • Network Expansion: The portal has helped Viktor become aware of the wider community of academics and researchers in the UK, aiding in the expansion of his professional network and identification of potential collaborators.
  • Research Insights: It provides access to information on previous and current work conducted by other academics and researchers.
  • Facility Identification: While not a direct feature of the AEP, the portal offers a list of equipment hosted at universities, helping Viktor identify available facilities in his region and across the UK.
  • Regional Strengths: It highlights local and regional strengths and interests in research topics and fields.

Viktor appreciates the AEP’s systematic approach to locating relevant departments and filtering by area of expertise, which has streamlined his search for collaborators at institutions like the University of Manchester and the Open University. He also passed valuable insights into areas for enhancement which have been conveyed to the relevant team. Feedback from users is always appreciated.

Experience, Reflection, and Lessons Learned

The AEP has provided Viktor with a broad overview of the academic landscape in the UK space sector, making it easier to find and connect with other researchers and providing valuable feedback to the Catapult team.

Victor noted: Overall, I found the AEP useful, as it has helped me map where to look for potential collaborators. I sought to use it for this purpose, and it has been overall great for that. It has also been useful for identifying relevant test facilities, which can help with my experiments”.