Harwell Campus receives a double boost as new ESA Centre is launched and a £7m investment announced

10th December 2013 - The Harwell Campus Campus has received a double boost with the UK Government announcing a £7m investment in a new innovation hub and the European Space Agency commencing building a European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications.

Minister Willetts, ESA DG Jean-Jacques Dordain and former DG Roy Gibson celebrate the naming of ECSAT
Minister Willetts, ESA DG Jean-Jacques Dordain and former DG Roy Gibson celebrate the naming of ECSAT
(Credit: UK Space Agency/Max Alexander)

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts MP announced the new £7m "open innovation hub" at Harwell whilst speaking at the STFC Appleton Space Conference on Thursday December 5th. This new investment in the campus is for a 43 thousand square foot building to offer a focus for innovation by bringing together under one roof business, researchers and a wide range of academic and commercial organisations.  The Minister said:

“I am very pleased to announce that the Government will be investing £7 million in a new £14 million open innovation hub at Harwell. This will be a physical space in which the many different exciting organisations and people can come together and share ideas and information. The whole point of a cluster such as this must be that office walls and organisational boundaries don’t get in the way of innovation.  The new hub, which will be 43,000 square feet, will offer support for new start-ups and provide meeting, conference and innovation space. It will provide a crucial focal point that is currently lacking at Harwell.”

Earlier in the day Mr Willetts attended the ceremony to launch the first building of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) new establishment in the UK. ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications, or ECSAT, is scheduled for completion on the Harwell campus in 2015 and marks the renewed ambitions of the UK in using space for competiveness and growth.

Named after ESA’s first Director General, The Roy Gibson Building is set to be one-of-a-kind in the UK, with almost zero carbon emissions and a dedicated area open to the public, emphasising its cooperative nature on the campus. This also makes it unique as an ESA centre.

David Willetts noted: "The UK is taking a stronger role in the European Space Agency and this new centre is an embodiment of our intention to work more closely together. I have high hopes that this centre will allow us to maximise the potential of space for future economic growth, keeping the UK at the forefront of the global science race."

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Last updated: 09 September 2015

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