The economic division of Durham County Council has been appointed to spearhead one of the region’s major support networks in space and satellite technology.
Business Durham will continue to lead the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence until March 2022, having successfully delivered support to the sector for the last six years.
The Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Space Agency, which funds the centre, has confirmed Business Durham will lead one of the three centres of excellence across the UK.
The North East Centre is based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, home to some of the world’s fastest-growing companies.
Business Durham has led the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence since April 2014 and engaged with over 670 organisations, seeding 277 links between business and universities; and helping companies secure more than £9m worth of funding.
Sarah Slaven, interim managing director of Business Durham (pictured above), said: “Over the past six years the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence has become a focal point of activities for space and satellite technologies within the region, acting as a catalyst for sector growth.
“The Centre has already made a positive impact and we are excited to build on that momentum. Over the next two years we will focus on the continuing growth of the space sector and raising the profile of the North East within the wider space network, nationally and beyond.”
Catherine Mealing-Jones, director of growth at the UK Space Agency, added: “The North East Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications is at the heart of efforts to grow the space economy in the region, capitalising on investment to link space sector opportunities to local priorities and strengths.
“The work of the Centre has been instrumental in championing the regional space sector and forging new partnerships with space and non-space companies, contributing jobs and growth to the UK.
“The UK Space Agency is pleased that Business Durham will continue its leadership of the Centre of Excellence which will support the region’s space sector through these challenging times and unlock its strengths and capabilities for the benefit of the whole of the UK.”
The North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence works with companies of all sizes from industries using and developing space technology and data.
The programme will provide business with the opportunity to tap into the UK’s multibillion-pound space sector.
As well as working with companies already involved in the space sector the centre also encourages companies to enter the sector to apply their knowledge and experience to the space industry or use data from space to solve problems in their business and industry.
It includes a programme of industry, technical, networking and challenge events, access to world class academic and industry expertise, public and private sector funding opportunities and business development support.
The centre is supported by a regional consortium of Business Durham, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside, as well as other regional support organisations.
Stuart Martin, chief executive at Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “The North East Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications continues to do great work supporting the space sector in the North East, and helping to grow the space economy for that region.
“We are delighted to announce today that we will continue our successful partnership with Business Durham to support the centre over the coming two years. In these challenging times, we need to ensure that successful collaborations, funding and investment not only continue, but are given the focus and energy they need.
“The North East Centre has a vital part to play in minimising the impact of current events on the space sector, and ensuring that it continues to be a great source of employment and growth for many regions around the UK.”