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Space Park Leicester recognised for hosting award-winning workshop

Space Park Leicester is proud to announce its pivotal role in the success of the Astropolitics Working Group (AWG), recently honoured at the British International Studies Association (BISA) 2024 Annual Conference in Birmingham.

The AWG, co-convened by Dr Bleddyn Bowen, Associate Professor of International Relations and an expert in Astropolitics and Space Warfare at the University of Leicester, and Dr Sarah Lieberman of Canterbury Christ Church University, was jointly awarded the “Working Group of the Year Award” alongside the Colonial Postcolonial Decolonial Working Group.

Special recognition for a workshop held at Space Park Leicester in December 2023 was highlighted by judges as a significant factor in the AWG’s accolade.

In their commendation, they noted: “One of BISA’s newer working groups, Astropolitics has excelled in promoting research and networking in a field often overlooked in international studies. Their recent event at Space Park in Leicester attracted diverse participants, highlighting the working group’s significance beyond the discipline and the academy.

“They have prioritised Early Career Researchers with seminars and publishing sessions. This positive impact is noteworthy and deserving of recognition.”

This workshop, which focused on exchanging and developing research in astropolitics, drew an impressive array of participants from various backgrounds, underscoring Space Park Leicester’s role as a premier venue for cutting-edge academic and industry events.

There was a particular focus on supporting Early Career Researcher development with a session on publication strategies for junior scholars and developing practitioner links by hosting a keynote talk by Bronwen Halfpenny-Ray, the Head of Strategy at the Corporate Services Directorate at the UK Space Agency.

Research papers covered diverse topics, including the politics of the Artemis Programme, Russian anti-satellite weapons, space arms control, historical research on RAF Fylingdales’ space tracking mission and international cooperation in deep space exploration.

Since its inception just two years ago, the Astropolitics Working Group has rapidly ascended to prominence within the international studies community. Its efforts to integrate emerging scholars through seminars and publishing opportunities have been particularly celebrated.

Dr Bowen, from the University of Leicester’s School of History, Politics, and International Relations, expressed pride in the group’s achievements, attributing part of their success to the exceptional support and facilities provided by Space Park Leicester.

He said: “We are delighted that the workshop at Space Park Leicester received such positive recognition. It demonstrates the value of our collaborative approach and the crucial role of venues like Space Park Leicester in advancing academic and practical understanding of astropolitics and supports the Humanising Space agenda at the Institute for Space.”

Sarah Dunn, a PhD student at the University of Leicester and Communications Officer for the AWG, also played a crucial role in the group’s success. Her contributions to organising and promoting the workshop were instrumental in creating a platform that bridges academia and practical applications in space politics.

Space Park Leicester and the Institute for Space continues to be at the forefront of fostering interdisciplinary research and innovation in space studies. The facility’s state-of-the-art amenities and strategic location make it an ideal setting for significant academic gatherings and collaborative endeavours.

For more information about the Astropolitics Working Group and its initiatives, visit

The Astropolitics Working Group’s second Annual Lecture is free to attend and open to all and will start at 2pm on Tuesday, June 25, on Zoom. The lecture is called ‘Space policy and politics in Latin America: Revisiting the multiple board games’ and will be delivered by Laura Delgado Lopez of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. To find out more and to register, visit

The full list of BISA 2024 prize winners is available here: