By Mark McIntyre
The University of Strathclyde has been chosen to be the host of a new technology hub being developed by Satellite Applications Catapult, a network of companies promoting growth of the UK technology and innovation industry.
The Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications will act as a link between the science sector and the business community, and is set to be based at the University’s new £89m Technology and Innovation Centre, currently under construction on George Street.
According to the University, the UK space industry is responsible for around a 40% share of the global small satellite market, worth around £8.2 billion to the economy. The Centre of Excellence is intended to tap into information and data gathered by these satellites and their developers, and relay this to a network of research and business partners across the UK where it will be used in practical applications and services.
The University beat out competition from more than a dozen other proposed sites in the selection process.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, speaking on the day of the announcement said: “Scotland’s space sector is already driving the development of new technologies through leading-edge research and technology-driven companies. The challenge now is to bring universities, business and space agencies together to enable the sector to reach its full potential.”
“The new Centre of Excellence will play an important role in helping companies to identify where satellite data can assist them in new and exciting ways, from measuring wind speeds from space to determine optimum location for offshore windfarms, to using satellite navigation for integrated transport systems in future ‘smart cities’.”
“Today’s announcement reflects the world leading space research that exists in Strathclyde, our partner universities and technology companies.”
The new University of Strathclyde-based centre will work in partnership with similar Centres of Excellence hosted by Business Durham and the University of Leicester, and will bring together expertise from other Scottish institutions including the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee and private companies such as Clyde Space Ltd.
Stuart Martin, CEO of the Catapult, said: “These Centres of Excellence are an essential part of our national engagement strategy and will help us deliver our core objective: to help foster growth across the UK economy through the exploitation of space.”
The Centre of Excellence is to commence activities immediately, beginning in April 2014.