UK Space Agency Extends Funding to National SPRINT Programme to Support Collaborations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has extended its funding for the national SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme. The additional £200,000 of funding will support collaborations with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This will increase the collaborative opportunities for UK space-related businesses to work with academic experts and create high value partnerships, supporting the development of the UK space sector and the growth of the UK economy.
The additional funds provided by the UKSA will allow HEIs in the devolved nations to actively engage with the SPRINT programme and benefit from the funded collaborations with industry partners that SPRINT can provide. SPRINT Innovation Vouchers will provide funded access to research assistance from HEIs across the ‘Celtic Arc’ of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, supporting SMEs in delivering technology development and innovation for space or for space-enabled applications.
The funding will also support the delivery of a number of engagement events targeting HEIs in the Celtic Arc. The aim of these events is to showcase the support that SPRINT can provide to SMEs and how this can build longer-term partnerships that result in sustainable collaborations for investing in the future of the UK space sector.
The UKSA funding comes as SPRINT has selected eight UK universities to join its new Associate Membership initiative which aims to broaden the provision of space-related knowledge exchange across the UK. The universities joining the SPRINT Associate Membership partner initiative include City, University of London; Durham University; Kingston University; University of Bristol; University of Exeter; University of Glasgow; University of Leeds and University of Strathclyde.
Colin Baldwin, Head of Local Growth Strategy at the UK Space Agency said: “The National Space Strategy sets a clear ambition to unleash innovation and foster collaboration between space businesses and our world leading universities. Through UK Space Agency funding we are extending the reach of the highly successful SPRINT programme to deliver on these aspirations and ensure that the space economy works for everyone across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.”
Martin Barstow, Principal Investigator for the national SPRINT programme added: “The extension of the support offered by the UKSA will enable SPRINT to spread our scope to the devolved nations. The additional opportunities with the new HEIs will further support innovation across the UK space sector by enabling collaborative knowledge projects that accelerate the sustainable growth of the UK space companies involved.”
This new funding award follows an announcement in January 2021 that the UK Space Agency would be supporting five SPRINT projects specifically designed to bring together UK business expertise with universities to help build space solutions to global problems, on UK soil.