David Willetts, the UK Science Minister, recently announced £12 million funding to support UK participation in the European Life and Physical Sciences (ELIPS) programme over the next 4 years – part of a package of £60 million per annum to boost the UK’s spending in space.
This is exciting news because the UK hasn’t contributed funding to this programme, or any other involving Human Spaceflight, so UK scientists have been disadvantaged in taking leading roles in research projects. At the end of September, Qi3 was contracted by ESA (European Space Agency) to review the UK’s academic and industrial capability in areas relating to ELIPS in order provide evidence to the UK Space Agency ahead of the the ESA Council of Ministers meeting in late November. We analysed the scientific research case, the business opportunities for supply to ELIPS, knowledge transfer opportunities and industrial use of the ELIPS facilities to provide an integrated view of the value of the ELIPS programme for UK science and industry. We deployed the methodology already used successfully to provide an industrial rationale for UK participation in the Aurora programme of Mars exploration.
This is the third time Qi3 has been asked to provide rapid input ahead of ESA Ministerial meetings. The space sector in the UK is growing strong and showing opportunities for new companies to enter. Forgive the (very bad) pun, but watch this space…..