A major UK initiative to help businesses use space satellite technology to expand their global reach is to be extended into the Highlands and Islands.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise [HIE] has teamed up with the UK-wide Satellite Applications Catapult and the University of Strathclyde to develop a new programme of activity in the region.
This initiative will see the existing Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications [based at the University of Strathclyde], extend its work to the Highlands and Islands. The two-year programme of work will support innovative businesses and researchers to capitalise on the market opportunities presented by advanced space satellite technology.
Key sectors such as healthcare and marine renewables are predicted to benefit from increased use of data derived from space satellites. The programme will also support those working on transforming ideas into new commercial products and services for the growing space market itself.
The announcement follows the recent addition of two more Centres of Excellence by the Catapult [South Coast and South West], extending their network to five Centres. Co-funded by the UK Space Agency, the Centres are in response to the growing interest in how satellite data and technologies are helping businesses generate new ideas and solutions to grow.
Charlotte Wright, director of business and sector development at HIE says: ‘The Highlands and Islands is a globally competitive region with a growing number of businesses trading in markets around the world. Exploring the opportunities presented by space satellite technology is the next natural step for many companies. This could be to boost their existing trade through improved market reach or indeed by developing products and services for the growing space satellite industry itself. I am delighted we are able to hook up with the Catapult and the University of Strathclyde to bring this opportunity to the region and look forward to helping businesses make more of space.’
Dr. Nick Veck, head of the CEO’s office at the Satellite Applications Catapult, says: ‘The Scottish Centre of Excellence has made great strides in the past two years in terms of engagement throughout mainland Scotland. We hope that this expansion into the Highlands & Islands will generate new opportunities in a region not previously exposed to the far-reaching benefits offered by satellite-derived applications and solutions.’
Dr Malcolm Macdonald, director of the Strathclyde-based Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, says: ‘We are delighted to be joined by HIE as partners in the Centre. They will expand the knowledge and expertise we have available in the continued enhancement and development of satellites.
‘Satellites play an essential role in a broad range of environmental, security and communications fields, as well as contributing to our wider understanding of space and delivering considerable economic benefits. We look forward to working with HIE towards achieving these goals and to establishing Scotland further as a leader in space technology research.’