New Higgs Centre for Innovation opens as unique home for Space-based start-ups

Launch of the Higgs Centre for Innovation

The launch of the Higgs Centre for Innovation, attended by Prof. Peter Higgs and officially opened by Prof. Mark Thomson.
(Credit: STFC)

25 May 2018

A new innovation centre opened in Edinburgh today offering start-up companies direct access to world leading scientists, engineers and big data experts, as part of UK Government efforts to help boost productivity and innovation.

The Higgs Centre for Innovation offers specialist expertise and support in space-related technology and big-data analytics. Up to 12 companies will be based in the Centre at any one time, and will work next to researchers and engineers from both STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre and the University of Edinburgh.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said:
“Scotland has an outstanding reputation for science and innovation, and the Higgs Centre will harness this creativity, helping disruptive start-ups and entrepreneurs create the products of tomorrow.

“Big data and space technology have endless opportunities, and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are supporting our world leading innovators to help to build a Britain fit for the future.”

Professor Gillian Wright, the Director of the UKATC, said:
“The Higgs Centre for Innovation creates a collaborative hub where business can work with and alongside specialists in the space and big-data sectors. By plugging smaller companies straight into the world-leading research and engineering available on our historic Royal Observatory site in Edinburgh, it will provide a significant stimulus to innovation across the region.”

Higgs Centre for Innovation

The Higgs Centre for Innovation
(Credit: STFC)

The Higgs Centre for Innovation is funded through a £10.7 million investment from the UK Government through STFC and STFC is also investing £2M over the next five years to operate the Centre. The Centre incorporates laboratories and working spaces for researchers, and facilities suitable for businesses, and includes a Business Incubation Centre (BIC) based on the successful European Space Agency model already in operation in the UK.

Operated by STFC, who are part of UK Research and Innovation, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the Centre will also support new academic activities and enable the University’s astronomy and astrophysics PhD students to work directly with start-up companies to solve real-world problems.

The Centre is named in honour of Professor Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013 for his theoretical prediction of the Higgs boson.

Higgs Centre for Innovation

The Higgs Centre for Innovation
(Credit: STFC)

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Professor Higgs’ theoretical work could only be proven by collaboration in different scientific fields, using technology built through joint international ventures. This reflects the aims and values of the Higgs Centre for Innovation, which bring scientists, engineers and students together under one roof to work together for the purpose of bettering our understanding of space-related science and driving technological advancement forward.”

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “UKRI is supporting the UK’s world-leading knowledge-driven economy by working collaboratively with researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to develop the most exciting ideas and technologies and bring them to fruition. The Higgs Centre for Innovation is a perfect example of this. It creates a collaborative environment where young companies will work alongside world-class scientists and engineers to fuel innovation and rapidly harness the commercial potential of big data and space-related technologies.”

Higgs Centre for Innovation

The Higgs Centre for Innovation
(Credit: STFC)

Notes to Editors

Media contacts

Harry Loney, Communications Manager
UK Astronomy Technology Centre
Tel: 0131 6688 212
Mob: 07740 537 858

Jake Gilmore, STFC Media Manager
Mob: +44 (0)7970 994 586

Higgs Centre for Innovation BIC

Higgs Centre for Innovation

The Higgs Centre for Innovation
(Credit: STFC)

The Higgs Centre for Innovation BIC forms part of a wider network of business incubation centres in the UK including those funded by the European Space Agency, CERN, and UK Space Agency.

UK Astronomy Technology Centre

STFC’s  UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) is the national centre for astronomical technology. The UK ATC designs and builds instruments for many of the world’s major telescopes. It also project manages UK and international collaborations and its scientists carry out observational and theoretical research into questions such as the origins of planets and galaxies.
Twitter: @UKATC

Last updated: 25 May 2018

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