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Harwell Space Cluster grows 16 percent in 2019

31 January 2020

Harwell Space Cluster is continuing to grow as its members reached 105 in December 2019, up from 89 the previous year. Collectively employing over 1,100 people, a year-on-year increase of 16 percent, Europe’s most concentrated space cluster is on track to reach its ambitious target of 200 organisations collectively employing 5,000 people by 2030.

The UK space sector is expected to play a crucial role in the growth of the global industry. Harwell Space Cluster has at its heart stakeholders including RAL Space, European Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult and UK Space Agency working together with the member organisations to deliver the UK’s vision to achieve 10 percent of the global market share by 2030.

Dr Joanna Hart is the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Harwell Space Cluster Development Manager. She said: “Having strong research and unique testing facilities, combined with space expertise, business support and physical space to grow has been critical to the rapid development of the Harwell Space Cluster. The concentration of space activity alongside the Energy and Health technology Clusters at Harwell Campus has created a fertile environment for multi-disciplinary innovation, in turn attracting companies to Harwell from across the space value chain.”

Harwell Campus’ model for incubating growth by providing investment opportunities and business support are key. The European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre United Kingdom (ESA BIC UK) at Harwell, provides business and technical support and funding for space related start-ups looking to turn their ideas into profitable products and services using space technology, or developing technologies for use in space.

Dr Barbara Ghinelli is STFC’s Director of Harwell Clusters and Business Development. She said: “The three Clusters together now comprise 162 organisations, and, significantly, almost a third of these are active across more than one cluster, providing avenues for technology translation across disciplines. Innovative thinkers and business leaders are no strangers to seeing the potential of technology from one sector being applied to another. Cross-sector collaboration creates opportunities in new markets and this is the competitive advantage that Harwell provides businesses located at the Campus.”

The physical space for growth is a major factor is the cluster’s continuing success. Companies such as Oxford Space Systems, GMV, AG Space and Thales Alenia Space have all grown their businesses and scaled-up at Harwell, benefitting from the Campus model which provides everything from co-working spaces and bench labs, to small/medium/large mixed use hybrid office and  lab/engineering space, up to design and build options.

Around 200 organisations in total are located on the Campus, a private public partnership between Harwell Oxford Partners and U+I, plus STFC and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). Ongoing UK government support for the space cluster at Harwell is currently being demonstrated by the building work underway of the £99m National Satellite Test Facility. This will soon provide the UK with a set of world-class space test capabilities.

Read more about the cluster’s growth here.

Harwell Science and Innovation Campus

With a heritage of 75 years at the forefront of UK innovation and discovery, Harwell Campus continues to drive scientific advancements to the benefit of the UK economy and to improve the human condition, centred around an open innovation community and culture. The contribution that Harwell makes to the UK is significant - leading in research and achieving commercial success in key global markets, including Life Sciences, Space, Energy, Supercomputing, AI and Big Data. With 6,000 people employed across +200 public, private, and academic organisations, and an estimated GVA of over £1billion, Harwell provides job creation and economic growth that benefits the whole country.

Last updated: 05 February 2020


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