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Good practice: Knowledge Exchange via the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence (COE)

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Project STEPHANIE, part of the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence  has been recognised as an example of good working practice by Interreg Europe .  The following Interreg article outlines how we helped drive economic growth through the exploitation of space. Its Knowledge Exchange activity enables business/ university collaboration.

News source: Interreg Europe

The Catapult supports industry and the science base across the UK to accelerate the growth of satellite applications to contribute to capturing a 10% share of the £400bn global space market predicted by 2030.

The regional Centres of Excellence, such as the one in the North East support work with local communities to achieve this aim. They create focal points for linking the science base with large industry and SMEs around the UK, to enable the development of applications and solutions, as well as to engage the wider end user market.

They seek to understand what space research is taking place within the UK, and then connect the experts who are doing this research with businesses who can utilise their knowledge and skills to create new technologies and develop new products and services.
They encourage partnerships and collaborations through a number of different mechanisms.

Resources needed

Total budget just over £540,000, funded via partner contributions including just over £360,000 from the Catapult from 2013 to March 2018. Required human resource includes a full time innovation manager, with part-time support from an administrator, communication executive and the Innovation Director

Evidence of success

In years 1-3 every £1 Catapult investment secured £18 investment in organisations.
Up to 2017, 345 organisations were engaged (including 68% SMEs and 84% beyond the space sector). 165 links were made and 69 projects created.

In 2017, 146 businesses were engaged, and 48 links made.

Many good quality projects have resulted from reaching out to all Quadruple Helix actors and making appropriate connections, e.g. involving primes and end users to identify challenges to generate innovative solution

Difficulties encountered

•Gaps in consortium – required expertise difficult to identify until challenges & opportunities are clear
•Lack of engagement with elements of the ecosystem
•Lack of strategic communications
•Impact – scratching the surface; deeper engagement could be facilitated with increased resource & time

Potential for learning or transfer

Whilst not all countries will have an organisation with a national reach for the space sector, there are elements of the Centres of Excellence to stimulate growth in satellite applications in the regions that can be applied. This in partnership with the UK’s networks (e.g. UK Space Agency and Knowledge Transfer Network) which have specialists in photonics and space, has sometimes formed quite a powerful ‘network of networks’.

Potential areas of transfer and/or learning include activties in:

• Identifying key areas of current or potential satellite applications research strength
• Ensuring the key areas are linked to local industry and user markets to foster new collaborations
• Helping the Catapult identify and bridge gaps in capability that need to be strengthened to enable growth in the market sector
• Some of the mechanisms practiced in enabling the interactions to produce successful outcomes.

News source: Interreg Europe


Lynsey Stephenson
Marketing Manager