Satellite Applications Catapult to Expand its Living Labs Network

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Following the successful launch of the Agri and Health Living Labs in July 2022, the Satellite Applications Catapult is expanding its national Living Labs network with a new Environmental Living Lab in the South West.

The Environmental Living Lab will enable the space sector to collaborate with the agriculture and environmental sectors, demonstrating the economic benefits of satellite-enabled technologies across real-world environments within agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, aquaculture, and the management of woodlands and other habitats.

The project is funded by key partners, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is supporting the Satellite Applications Catapult to set up the project’s facilities and kick-start trials and demonstrations of sustainable agricultural and environmental technology. The funding will see new equipment installed and the refurbishment of three training facilities across Devon: Bicton College in East Devon, the Cannington campus of Bridgwater and Taunton College, and the Barnstaple campus of Petroc College. Each location will be fitted out with a 5G mobile network and demonstration labs, including 3D modelling and immersive technology capabilities. This will bring in field connectivity for research and demonstration purposes, with the aim of increasing the adoption of technology across farming communities.

The Lab will ensure the region’s future workforce has the relevant digital skills to encourage technology implementation and make sure its associated environmental benefits are well-recognised, which in turn will strengthen the collaboration between education providers and employers.

The lab will also benefit from the expertise of the University of Plymouth, North Devon Biosphere and the Joint Centre of Excellence in Environmental Intelligence, a partnership between the University of Exeter and the Met Office.

Sonia Pietosi, Living Labs Lead at the Satellite Applications Catapult, said:

“We are extremely excited to work in partnership with the Heart of the South West LEP and the Environmental Living Lab consortium to support farmers and land managers in the region. We purposefully decided to take a decentralised approach to reduce inequalities within the region and maximise the impact of the Environmental Living Lab on the levelling up agenda. We are excited to see how satellite-enabled technologies can help accelerate our path to net zero, transform environmental management, and increase agricultural sustainability.”

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said:

“The Heart of the South West is leading the way in agricultural technology, and it’s exciting to see the sector continue to go from strength to strength. We are delighted to be supporting the new Environmental Living Lab, which will offer further state-of-the-art facilities for testing and demonstrating new agricultural technologies.”