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The North West Space Cluster

The North West generates 9% of national Gross domestic product (GDP). Its £17bn digital economy is second only to London and the South East, whilst its Aerospace sector is the largest in UK, with a 25% national market share. The UK’s space industry is comprised almost entirely of digital applications (£11.65bn) and manufacturing/operations (£4.25bn), and the North West has world leading expertise in the parallel sectors.

In order for the UK to realise its national vision to double its market share of the global space sector to 10% by 2030, the UK Space Agency commissioned a series of seven locally led studies to explore the viability of establishing self-defined ‘Space Clusters’ which can diversify, harness and grow capabilities across the country.

As a result of its know-how in the successful implementation and growth of clusters, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has been chosen to lead the vision for the North West, out of Sci-Tech Daresbury.

Clusters are a mechanism to promote dialogue between like-minded organisations while identifying potentially productive cross-over points with other disciplines and this has been evident through the development of the North West HealthTec Cluster, and the recently launched Digital Tech Cluster.

It is clear that this rapidly developing space sector presents a considerable opportunity for growth across the region and that time has come for the North West to commit to space.

Each of the five Local Enterprise Partnerships or Combined Authorities across the region are already home to research institutions and private enterprises working in, or directly benefiting from, the space sector. Greater still is the number of organisations across the North West who, excelling in adjacent sectors such as defence manufacturing, machine learning, big data, software-as-a-service, advanced materials, telecoms, or electronics, have the potential to leverage or pivot into the space sector in order to access new markets and customers, thus stimulating growth

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