Image: UK Space Agency
The UK Space Agency is launching a £20 million fund to support international partnerships that will harness the UK’s national strengths, support new space capabilities and catalyse investment.
Up to £2 million will initially be available from the International Bilateral Fund (IBF) to help strengthen the space sector’s partnerships with other space nations, with further funding to be made available over the next two years, it was announced yesterday on the opening day of the Space Symposium conference in the US.
The IBF is the UK Space Agency’s first dedicated fund focused on building and strengthening the UK’s relationships with strategically important international partners and partners from emerging space nations.
The funding is available to industry, academia and research organisations to work with international partners on projects that could help, for example, bring new services to market or support cutting-edge research.
Minister of State at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman, said: “The global commercial space tech sector is growing fast creating big opportunities for the UK to convert our longstanding space science excellence into a fast-growing commercial industry.
“That’s why we set out a commitment in our 10-year National Space Strategy to make the UK one of the world’s most innovative and attractive space economies – through our £2 billion public investment and through deepening international partnerships in areas like Earth observation, space debris and space traffic control.
“Backed by £20 million in government funding, these international partnerships will boost our commercial and scientific endeavours as we work with some of the world’s most dynamic space economies, creating more jobs and generating investment in the UK.”
This first tranche of funding will support approximately 30 projects, with up to £75,000 each, which will be overseen by the UK Space Agency in collaboration with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
These projects will build relationships between UK organisations and international counterparts and stimulate knowledge exchange, engagement and collaboration.
Successful phase one proposals could then secure a second tranche of IBF funding, where up to £1.5 million will be available for a period of 12 months to catalyse innovation across international partnerships.
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Successful international partnerships support our work to catalyse investment, deliver new missions and capabilities, and champion the power of space to improve lives.
“This new fund will help unlock cross-border innovation, promote the exchange of knowledge, and strengthen the UK space sector’s relationships with strategic partners. Together we can maximise the vast potential of space to benefit people and businesses on Earth.”