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UK Space Agency announces £15M for Earth Observation technologies

UK Space Agency funding
Picture credits: UK Space Agency

UK Space Agency is an executive agency of the Government of the United Kingdom. It has announced new funding of £15 million for satellite Earth Observation (EO) technologies, which is critical to improving humanity’s understanding of the planet and its climate, and is now available for UK organisations. 

This investment comes at a time when the UK government has set plans for how the country will remain at the forefront of EO technology and know-how for commercial and public services. 

This amount will support the research and experimental development of space-based instruments, aimed at supporting a range of environmental services. These include meteorology, climate monitoring, environmental management, agriculture, and urban planning, and improving scientific knowledge.

While the is already a world leader in Earth Observation (EO) tools, technologies, and data use, this funding will help to accelerate the development of promising UK EO technologies which could be flown on satellites in the next few years.  

Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology George Freeman MP, said: “Earth Observation technology is critical to tackling the fundamental challenges of our age – from monitoring climate change to responding to humanitarian disasters – and so we owe it to the future of our planet to harness the UK’s world-leading skills in this field. This pivotal technology doesn’t stop there and from ensuring the safety of bridges to enabling our farmers get the best from their land, this £15m investment will boost our economy and drive forward our ambition to make the UK a science superpower.”

Harshbir Sangha, Missions and Capabilities Delivery Director at the UK Space Agency, said: “Satellite technology is essential to our daily lives, helping us to monitor climate change and protect our environment, manage our resources, respond to global humanitarian disasters and support sustainable development. This funding will help catalyse investment across the sector to support a range of innovative projects, from developing new sensor technologies to using the data for improved understanding of climate change.”

Chris Brownsword, Director of the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation, said: “It has been recognised that previous CEOI calls have had major impact across the entire UK Earth Observation community; bringing together academia and industry to develop UK owned technologies. We are excited to see what successes this new call can facilitate.”

The Earth Observation Technology Programme

Notably, the Earth Observation Technology Programme funding, delivered by the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), is part of a £400 million package announced in November 2022 to support the UK’s Earth Observation sector. The £15 million funding will cover Pathfinder projects of up to £75,000, Fast Track projects of up to £250,000, and Flagship projects of up to £3 million. 

Pathfinder and Fast Track projects will support new and innovative ideas for technology development, including early-stage research and lab-based experimental hardware. On the other hand, the Flagship projects will develop technologies further, including testing instruments in relevant environments such as vacuum chambers and airborne demonstration flights.

Since 2016, the Earth Observation Technology Programme has provided £20 million in funding across a total of 57 projects. This funding opportunity is the latest in a series of technology development activities the UK Space Agency has issued under its Earth Observation Technology Programme.

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