Lift off! Space hub to be set up in West Midlands

19 November 2020

A new space hub is to be set up in the West Midlands.

Supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), it will use Government funding to bring together expertise and businesses drive the commercial space sector in the region.

The money will be used to assess current space capabilities and develop action plans for how to accelerate the growth of the hub.

The West Midlands space hub will be led by City-REDI of the University of Birmingham, and supported by the WMCA and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).

Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This is an immensely exciting avenue to explore, which could potentially create more jobs, improve skills, and boost the West Midlands’ economy.

“Exploration of the global space technology sector is especially welcome at this challenging time as we start plotting our region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The West Midlands has a proud past as a hotbed of innovation and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. This is the place to create, innovate, and build for the future.”

In the last decade, space has transformed into one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors. Trebling in size in 2010, at the last count the UK space industry now employs close to 42,000 people in all corners of the country and generates an income of nearly £15 billion every year.

Professor Simon Collinson, deputy pro-vice-chancellor for regional engagement and director of the West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WM REDI) and City-REDI, said: “This is an important national initiative to both enhance the UK’s position in the global space technology sector and promote regional growth.

“We are immensely pleased that City-REDI at the University of Birmingham has been awarded funding to work with our local partners to help develop these industry hubs. These will translate leading R&D into applied technologies and better job opportunities for the regions.”

Pictured: Earth, seen from the moon, which may now be in reach for the West Midlands

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