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Space experts help University of Leicester to share knowledge

William Wells, Deputy Director Research & Enterprise Division at the University of Leicester

Space Park Leicester has been credited as a major component in enabling the University of Leicester to benefit society and the economy by exchanging knowledge with external partners.

Last week, Research England published its latest Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) results which identified the University of Leicester as having very high engagement levels with external non-academic partners in several key areas.

It found the University is among top 20 per cent of higher education providers in the country to engage with partners in terms of local growth and regeneration, working with the public and third sector and IP and commercialisation.

It also reported that the University had high levels of engagement in three further areas – research partnerships, working with business, CPD and graduate start-ups.

Deputy Director Research & Enterprise Division at the University of Leicester, William Wells, said: “Space Park Leicester is a critical part of the University of Leicester’s enterprise and innovation strategy.

“It is driving economic growth and regeneration and is creating a dynamic new industrial base in our city. It is doing so by attracting new businesses, creating new businesses and facilitating innovation.

“Our investment in funded innovation support programmes and our work with 200-plus businesses has been a key feature of performance in the third iteration of the Knowledge Exchange Framework.”

Space Park Leicester opened in July 2021, is home to nearly 20 businesses and has helped attract millions of pounds of funding from the likes of Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Satellite Applications Catapult, Research England, the European Space Agency and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Along with the Department of International Trade, Space Park Leicester welcomed delegates from more than 50 companies from 12 countries during the past year. 

Thirty business innovation projects also benefitted from SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) – the national space innovation programme managed by the University of Leicester and Space Park Leicester.

SPRINT was funded by Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund and was a unique partnership of top universities, industry, government agencies and the investment community dedicated to supporting the growth of UK small to medium enterprises through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

Three organisations have also graduated from the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA-BIC) at Space Park Leicester and 12 business innovation projects have benefitted from the STAR (Space Technology Applications from Research) Accelerator at Space Park Leicester.

STAR was funded by the University of Leicester and the European Regional Development Fund to help businesses deliver new and innovative products, components, and tooling across all manufacturing sectors, including space. Space Park Leicester is also part of Space City Leicester which launched in March to market the city globally as the location for space business, education and visitors.

Cosmic Coffee is Space Park Leicester free community networking event, open to anyone working in and around the space community at Space City and across the Midlands.