The first ESA Business Applications Ambassador for the North West and North Wales will bring space enabled opportunities and prosperity to commercial projects across the region.
Located at Daresbury Laboratory, at Sci-Tech Daresbury, and funded by the European Space Agency, Alan Cross is the North West’s newly appointed Ambassador, with a clear mission to engage regional businesses with the commercial applications of space data, and to offer guidance and support in applying for ESA Business Applications funding for bringing commercial products and services to market.
The UK has a strong presence in the global space market, and this is set to continue and grow. However, according to the 2016 Health and Size of the UK Space Economy report, the North West & North Wales generate less than 0.5% of the UK’s space economy. This is despite a substantial digital economy in terms of manufacturing and skills across the region.
Alan, who has several years’ experience of working with businesses in the space sector, says: “My main goal is to increase business engagement with the space industry in the North West and North Wales, to raise awareness of the funding and support available, and to identify commercially viable market opportunities for companies in the region. This is relevant to any company that uses data in any way, form or sector, whether they are in the businesses of asteroid mining or in the supply chain for eggs.
He added: “The reach of space data is ubiquitous across the economic sectors of the UK, in fact between the moment we wake up and by the time we reach the office, we have normally interacted with at least 25 individual satellites. We need to identify how all this data derived from these interactions can be used to grow the economies in the North West and North Wales.”
Alan is one of a network of five Regional Ambassadors across the UK, appointed as part of a European Space Agency Business Applications Programme, each active in stimulating space related business development in their region.
Throughout the coming year Alan will be organising a series of networking events across the North West and North Wales to raise awareness of funding and opportunities for companies to engage with the space industry, and to explore how collaboration between businesses can deliver real change and prosperity to the region.