UKSA CEO Paul Bate at Space-Comm EXPO: Space to remain ‘priority’ despite election result

6th Mar 2024
UKSA CEO Paul Bate at Space-Comm EXPO: Space to remain ‘priority’ despite election result

UK Space Agency CEO Dr Paul Bate has said that he believes the UK space industry will continue to be a key priority for the UK Government, regardless of the result of the next general election. The UKSA chief made the comment while reflecting on the state of the UK space industry.

Dr Bate said that while the prospect of a general election “can cause uncertainty”, he shared his assertion that “space is going to be a government priority, and it’s here to stay… What remains absolutely constant is the value of space-based technologies to prosperity, security, discovery, and to driving efficiencies in public services,” he said.

Quote of Paul Bate

His comments were made at Space- Comm Expo in Farnborough on Wednesday, which brought key players such as UKSA together to discuss the local and global commercialisation of the space industry.

Four general elections and one world … pandemic

Dr Bate stated that since the establishment of UKSA in 2010, the agency had seen four general elections, as well as a global pandemic.

“When we look at what has changed in that period, we know that in that time, the UK space sector has gone from strength to strength, growing from an annual turnover of just £7.5 billion to £17.5 billion today.”

At the same time, Dr Bate took the opportunity to highlight the need for those working in the space industry to champion the commercialisation of the industry within the greater economy.

“We’re a sector that employs nearly 50,000 people that powers the jobs of 125,000 more,” he said, “that provides critical infrastructure and services to businesses and communities up and down this country.

UKSA making the case for space

“But in our very tight fiscal environment…we have to continue together to make the ‘case for space’.”

Dr Bates continued: “Money is tight, and space is a team sport. By that, I mean, every one of us has a role to play to make sure that we communicate and spread the word… about the benefits of space to life on Earth.”

“We have a great story to tell. So now more than ever, we need to tell it far and wide.”

It comes as the UK Space Agency gears up to announce its next project to be funded under the Space Clusters and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF).

“We have invested in multiple projects through the SCIF to connect local talent and supply chains. ​​£47 million, to date, released over the last six to 12 months, matched by industry so £100 million in tangible projects.”

Projects currently backed by SCIF investments include the North East Space Skills and Technology (NESST) centre in Newcastle, in partnership with Northumbria University and Lockheed Martin, which brings together skilled personnel, research, and commercial projects to escalate, as well as the Cardiff-based Space Forge microgravity research centre.

“We’re here to support the UK to be in the staying the front rank of space-faring nations. That’s what it says in the National Space Strategy. And it’s what we’re going to continue to do, from infrastructure, to R&D funding, that’s our game in the Space Agency.”

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