We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

UK Astronomy Technology Centre


UK Astronomy Technology Centre
(Credit: STFC)

The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) is a national centre of excellence for the development of scientific instrumentation and facilities for ground- and space-based astronomy. Based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, and operated by STFC it has a world class reputation for delivering innovative and capable cameras, spectrometers and even turnkey telescope systems.

The UK ATC works with leading organisations, such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO) the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, to answer fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of planets and galaxies. It does this by:

  • designing and building state-of-the-art instruments for many of the world’s major telescopes
  • managing UK and international collaborations with universities, research centres, national institutes and industry
  • conducting observational and theoretical astronomical research.

How to find us

How to get to UK Astronomy Technology Centre

(Credit: STFC)

The UK ATC manages the Royal Observatory Edinburgh Visitor Centre, whose inspirational programmes include the UK Dark Sky Discovery initiative to engage schools and communities across the UK. The Observatory site is shared with the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Edinburgh, creating a vibrant mix of astronomers, students and engineers. Practical Benefits UK ATC and technology delivers a range of practical benefits outside its traditional field of astronomy. Expertise in optics and imaging systems is being used for:

  • biomedical imaging including tools for ophthalmology
  • biomedical imaging to detect diseases
  • instruments for monitoring the Earth’s environment from the ground, from pilotless aircraft and space (including via cubesats).
(Credit: STFC)

The Observatory site is also home to the Higgs Centre for Innovation, a new business-focussed facility in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, for supporting startups and SMEs working in the space and data-intensive sectors, and encouraging collaboration between researchers, engineers and post-graduate students.

The Higgs Centre for Innovation will brings together world-class research in astronomy and particle physics and the instrumentation expertise that underpins it, with business incubation facilities and laboratories suitable for commercial use. Scientists, engineers and students interact and collaborate to improve our understanding of the Universe and will engage with companies both big and small to drive technological advancement forward.

Last updated: 22 July 2021


Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000