Cornwall has been chosen by the Satellite Applications Catapult to host a new South West Centre of Excellence to explore how satellite and data technologies can help businesses generate new ideas and grow new markets.
The new Centre, which is co-funded by the UK Space Agency, will be led by the University of Exeter, with a hub in Goonhilly in Cornwall, and staff resources in Goonhilly, Falmouth, Exeter and Plymouth.
The bid was supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as part of its focus on developing the space and aerospace sectors. Cornwall’s Aerohub Enterprise Zone is being extended to include Goonhilly, offering incentives for inward investment on the site.
As well as the University of Exeter, partners in the new Centre include Falmouth University, Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd (GES), Plymouth University, the Met Office and Exeter Science Park, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and Rothamsted Research.
Its focus will include agritech, maritime and e-health, which are among the key growth markets identified by the LEP in its economic plan. The three universities will work together with the Met Office, GES, Rothamsted and a number of commercial partners.
The Centre will use data obtained through satellites to generate global trade opportunities for Cornwall and the South West. It is being set up in response to the growing interest in how this information can help transform existing businesses and create new companies.
This data provides information about the world around us, such as climate and weather, the location of ships and aeroplanes, and agriculture. A series of themed events and workshops will be organised to which local regional academics and business people will be invited to engage and exchange ideas and knowledge.
The UK Space Sector provides the potential for some highly skilled, highly paid jobs and with Goonhilly at the heart of the South West's space story there is a real opportunity for local people to benefit from these jobs.