THE West Midlands has been chosen as the location of a new ‘space hub’.
Supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) it will use Government funding to bring together expertise and businesses to explore how to take maximum advantage of the commercial space race.
The money will be used to assess current space capabilities and develop action plans for how to accelerate the growth of the hub.
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.”
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).
Tim Pile, chair of GBSLEP, said: “We welcome lift-off for the development of a space hub here in the West Midlands region led by City-REDI, University of Birmingham.
“This is an exciting opportunity to come together to create a strategy to identify industries in our region working in the space sector and to explore new market opportunities. Our purpose at the GBSLEP is to create inclusive, economic growth in partnership with the public, private and academic sectors.
“We have a vast network of supply chains in the region and this first step towards a space hub will also enable us to examine how we can support businesses to contribute to the commercial space age.”
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.
Funding has been made to six other regions in Great Britain to ensure space is a priority for regional economic growth and to attract commercial investment from space companies.