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University joins international space centre

26 October 2011

The University of Reading will be using its strong track record on space-related research and links to industry to drive innovation and enterprise in the area following its membership of the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC).

ISIC is the first facility of its kind in Europe and was set up with Government investment to bring together expertise and facilities from research institutes, universities and industry. It aims to create new space-related technologies and applications, and intellectual property that will promote growth in the sector.

Reading's membership was announced today and the University joins other leading organisations and companies involved with space-related research. Reading has an international reputation in climate sciences, earth observation (EO) and space weather. Many of its scientists contribute expertise to the European Space Agency and NASA, as well as a number of governmental departments and have a strong track record of collaboration with industry in this area.

The University will initially focus on EO and space weather. EO uses data from satellites to monitor both global and regional changes in the environment, and to develop a detailed understanding of these changes so that future environmental conditions can be modelled and predicted. Experts in space weather at the University have advised the UK government on solar flares and their potential impact on UK infrastructure and power supplies.

Last year, the Government published a UK Space Innovation Growth Strategy which sets out a 20-year vision for the sector which aims to grow to £40bn by 2030. One of the key focus areas is EO and major market growth in this downstream market is anticipated.

Robert Gurney, Professor of Earth Observation Sciences at the University, said: "The University of Reading is delighted to have joined ISIC. We believe our research will contribute significantly to innovation in EO applications and services. We have unprecedented opportunities in Earth Observation research and innovation, areas in which Reading has an international reputation. ISIC gives us new pathways to applying that knowledge for economic growth, education and the public good."

Barbara Ghinelli, Executive Chair of ISIC, said: "The University of Reading adds substantial strength to the ISIC partnership. We are very excited about the potential of space in a broad range of markets which will help boost the UK economy. Services enabled by Earth Observation are a major area of growth where Reading can make a huge difference. We look forward greatly to working closely with Professor Gurney and his colleagues."