North Wales tech centre to nurture UK space firms

A technology centre based at Glyndwr University in North Wales is to support UK space businesses after raising more funds.

The OpTic Technology Centre is celebrating after receiving a £50,000 grant to nurture firms from the UK’s £11.8 billion space industry.

Just last year, the centre celebrated its tenth anniversary and completed a million pound project to produce prototype mirror segments for the £900m E-ELT telescope.

Funding has also been allocated to several other incubators across the country. These include Business Durham, Leicester Dock, Sci-Tech Daresbury and Loughborough University.

These investments are aimed at growing start-up space firms and the industry in the UK. It has ambitions to achieve a 10 per cent share of the global space market by 2030.

The announcement of the grant was made at a Northern Space Consortium event held in Liverpool. It attracted politicians and business leaders from right around the UK.

Colin Baldwin, UK space gateway programme manager at the UK Space Agency, said: “North Wales, northern England and the Midlands all have the potential to make a significant contribution to our thriving space sector.

“There are opportunities for a range of companies developing innovative products that can match the needs of the space industry.

“The incubators at Glyndwr Innovations, Sci-Tech Daresbury and Business Durham will build upon the growing interests in space and the role it can play to support other sectors within their local areas, both in technology developments and space-derived services.

“We’re committed to nurturing business and research in these regions, and showing small businesses how they can benefit from our £11.8billion space industry.”

Caroline Gray, the head of OpTIC, led the bid for the grant in North Wales. She said: “The vision is to ensure a high-quality, consistent supply chain for the sector.

“Glyndŵr Innovations will maximise and expand current links to form a North Wales base of knowledge transfer, technological expertise and a programme of business and technical support in an environment which allows small companies to concentrate on growth and development without the constant pressure of everyday business concerns.

“It will, through its networks such as the North West Innovation Network, collaborate closely with similarly focused incubation units throughout the UK to share best practice and ensure small companies benefit through a national network of relevant events taking place in their sector.”