International Ambassadors meet Oxfordshire Space Sector

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 The Satellite Applications Catapult, an independent technology and innovation company, was proud to welcome senior British representatives from across the world recently, as guests of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) South East.

The high 13 profile diplomats from countries including South Africa, India, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Russia and Canada visited the Catapult’s leading edge facility in Harwell, Oxford to learn more about the UK’s excellence in space technology at this world-class site for science, technology and innovation.

“The UK space sector is set to experience dramatic growth over the next 15 years and local companies like the Catapult will be at the forefront of this”, said UKTI South East’s Deputy Director, Rory Pereira. “The UK space sector currently contributes œ9.1 billion to the economy, providing employment for over 29,000 highly skilled people, with a 20% share of the global satellite telecoms market. Giving our ambassadors and senior diplomats the opportunity to see the outstanding innovation and high technology in existence will help us boost our global reputation.”

The Catapult is working with global organisations to help develop new satellite-based services which are used in our everyday life – from helping to tackle illegal fishing on the high seas, to improving the quality of life for the elderly living safely in their own homes. The company is one of a network of Catapults established across the UK to accelerate the take-up of emerging technologies and drive economic growth.

As part of a tour of the high-tech facilities, the ambassadors heard from Satellite Applications Catapult’s CEO Stuart Martin. He said: “Satellite applications are as important in the developing world as in the more technically advanced countries, so welcoming this prestigious group of ambassadors was a fantastic opportunity. This event provided a unique chance to engage with UK diplomats from Embassies across the globe, and to start discussions which we hope will lead to exports and new international partnerships for UK businesses.”

Steven Polkinghorne, International Trade Adviser for UKTI, and space specialist for the South East, added: “This visit came at an opportune time – as the Government ramps up its efforts to grow the UK space sector overseas, the visit by these senior diplomats offers a further channel to develop our strong reputation for innovation and high technology in space applications, and informs world markets of the strength of the UK offer in this important area.”

Tim Vallings, Commercial Director of Rezatec – one of the SMEs located in the Catapult – presented to the delegation and explained: “Our software platform enables organisations to bring down the cost of incorporating satellite data into their business decision making processes and very often the land assets in question are located far from the client. Since our establishment in 2012, and with the support of the Catapult, Technology Strategy Board, Climate KIC, the European Space Agency and others, we’ve had some notable successes in the UK with companies looking at areas such as Predictive Crop Modelling, Supply Chain Assurance, Carbon Stock and Emissions Impact Assessments, Land Classification and Land Use Change.

“We were hugely grateful for the opportunity to meet the ambassadors and senior diplomats, as it enabled us to spread the word that we are a small company based in the UK but offering global solutions.”

Rory added: “The visit was a real coup for Oxfordshire, offering confirmation of the region’s prominent position in space technology.”

During the visit, the Satellite Applications Catapult signed an agreement with UKTI South East which outlines practical ways that the two organisations can work together to enable local satellite companies to boost overseas sales.

Rory Pereira said: “The facility at Harwell is rightly proud of its reputation for space technology, and this agreement will give us the combined strength to help these local businesses get the specialist and targeted export support they need to compete on a global scale.”