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Space sector set to double predicts SEEDA report

21 July 2009

SEEDA is launching its report into the importance of the Space industry to the UK economy, The Case for Space: The Impact of Space Derived Services and Data. The report shows the space industry’s value to the UK economy is set to double over the next decade from £6.5bn to £14.2bn a year.

The report is due to be published tomorrow to coincide with the opening of the European Space Agency (ESA) research centre at Harwell, Oxfordshire. The English Regional Development Agencies along with other public and private bodies, demonstrated the UK’s strong track record and future potential in space to secure the ESA centre for Harwell.

The report, produced by Oxford Economics and prepared in coordination with the British National Space Centre, demonstrates that the space industry has the potential to be one of the strongest growth sectors in the UK. The sector has already shown success by bucking the economic slowdown and continuing to expand over the past year.

The industry is expected to grow by five per cent year on year until 2020 and R&D could sustain even stronger growth at seven per cent a year. This growth could be as much as three times the rate of GDP. It currently contributes around £6.5bn to the UK economy each year and directly employs around 19,100 people nation-wide. The number of jobs rises to 68,000 if you take into account all those indirectly employed. By 2020 these figures are expected to have jumped to a contribution of up to £14.2bn and to direct and indirect employment of 115,000.

The South East sits at the heart of the UK’s space industry. Harwell, bringing together the ESA and the Science and Innovation Campus, now represents the national hub for the space industry, where academic excellence meets public and private enterprise. This new facility is a unique resource for future development of knowledge and skills and will further boost the sector’s growth and contribution to the economy.

Ed Metcalfe, SEEDA’s Chief Scientific Advisor, said: "There is a great deal of activity and interest in the space industry at the moment. Last month saw the establishment of the government-backed Space Innovation and Growth Team and now the launch of the ESA in the UK. The evidence in our report clearly demonstrates its importance; this is a sector that will grow and the UK must continue to lead to maintain its advantage."

Pam Alexander, SEEDA Chief Executive, said: "Space is no longer a far removed concept - it impacts everyone through mobile phones, television viewing or weather forecasts and is a key component of the digital economy. SEEDA is supporting future development in this sector as the continuing rise in demand acts as a key economic driver, creating benefits such as high quality jobs. The ESA centre is a huge boost to an already very successful industry in the South East. By focusing on emerging and high tech sectors with this sort of potential for high growth we are helping to deliver these wider economic benefits."

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jessica Stewart, Media Relations Manager, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 501307
Email: jessicastewart@seeda.co.uk

View full news release.

Related publications:

The Case for Space: The Impact of Space Derived Services and Data, July 2009

Task Force Interim report

For more information please contact our press office

Tel: 01483 470155