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International Space Innovation Center-Surrey Launched

A new innovation centre that will radically boost the UK’s space industry was officially opened on 6th May based at the University of Surrey’s Research Park.

The International Space Innovation Centre – Surrey (ISIC-Surrey) will aim to attract £25 million worth of investment to the UK’s space related industry by providing business, technical and facilities support and the entrepreneurial environment for small businesses and start-up companies operating in the space industry to flourish.

The centre will be the first spoke into the £40m central ISIC Hub based at the Harwell Science Campus in Oxfordshire.

ISIC-Surrey at the Surrey Research Park – owned and developed by the University of Surrey and co-funded by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) – is ideally located to support space related businesses in the South East; a region that accounts for around 75% of the UK’s turnover in the space industry.

Support and facilities on offer at ISIC-Surrey include: access to highly-specialist space modelling software; business development support and mentoring; training and skills development; and collaborative opportunities between academia and industry.

Links with the University’s Surrey Space Centre – Europe’s largest academic research group in the field of Space Engineering – will add invaluable international academic expertise to the business incubation guidance offered at ISIC-Surrey.

The aim is to give a head start to UK companies working in this exciting sector to enable them to become world leaders in their fields and emulate the scale of success achieved by local company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd – a spin-out from the University of Surrey which is now the world’s leader in small satellite design and manufacture.

ISIC also ran a simultaneous opening ceremony on 6th May at Harwell – a public-private partnership providing a unique environment where government, universities and industry work together.

Keith Robson, Director of Research and Enterprise Support at the University of Surrey said that by 2014 ISIC-Surrey aims to support 70 SMEs/start-ups, engage 100 businesses in knowledge based collaborations, attract over £25m of venture capital and business support, and support 500 people in their skills development.

He added: “The University has a world-class reputation for its research, knowledge transfer and skills development in the space industry – therefore ISIC-Surrey is in an ideal position to support regional businesses and to help nurture further innovation and growth. Bringing together start-up companies and SMEs, academic researchers, and major international companies will foster an entrepreneurial and innovative business environment to support this exciting period of growth in the UK space industry.”

Malcolm Parry, Director of the Surrey Research Park, added:

“ISIC-Surrey is a fantastic addition to the ongoing work on the commercialisation of science and technology on The Surrey Research Park. Over the last 26 years, the Park has incubated over 800 start-up companies and created in excess of 1,500 new jobs, with many of the companies still trading as independent businesses or seeing their technology reach the market, having been acquired by large corporates, and we’re committed to continuing with success with ISIC-Surrey. The presence on the Research Park of the Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), which is one of the most successful UK University spin-outs ever created, combined with the ISIC-Surrey is certainly going to add to Surrey’s momentum and worldwide reputation for its developments in space innovations.”

Pam Alexander, Chief Executive of SEEDA, said:

“SEEDA’s £900K investment in ISIC-Surrey supports our previous investment in the space industry in the South East, which will generate new ideas from the unique facilities and networks for exploiting space at Surrey and at Harwell. I’m delighted that this global hub and spoke are being launched simultaneously today, demonstrating the powerful partnerships in the South East which are leading the UK’s fast growing space sector. Our investment will help small businesses and start ups create jobs and growth to build the country’s future economic success.”

Dr Barbara Ghinelli, Executive Chair of ISIC said:

‘We believe the ISIC is the catalyst that will bring UK space activities and capabilities together and position us to win a larger share of a growing global market. ISIC integrates four cutting-edge facilities – an Earth Observation Hub, a Security and Resilience Unit, a Visualisation and Application Centre, and a Concurrent Design Facility as well as linking to the wider Harwell Space Cluster which includes the ESA Centre, the ESA-STFC Business Incubator Centre and a growing number of commercial companies. Built around these facilities will be a supported innovation environment, encouraging the sharing of ideas and stimulating growth amongst aspiring space and non-space businesses. ISIC will operate in a hub and spoke model, linking national and international capabilities.’

The UK space industry is supported by the UK Space Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The UK government committed £10 million to the UK space industry in the 2011 budget.


Release date: 23rd May 2011

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