further & higher education

Investing in UK Aerospace

further & higher education

08:45 - 15:40

Thursday 14 March 2019

America Square Conference Centre, Central London

This Forum provides a timely opportunity to explore how the UK can retain and build upon its position as a world leader in developing aerospace technology. Attendees will gain insights from best practice case studies from across industry and research institutions who are working in partnership to pool and further cultivate specialist skills. In addition, participants will discuss the creation of cutting edge technology, and how to apply it in innovative ways to utilise the full potential of aerospace technology and increase future funding opportunities.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Higher and Further Education Sectors, Research Councils and the Private Sector. Typical job titles will include:

  • Heads of Aerospace
  • Heads of Knowledge Exchange
  • Heads of Aviation
  • Business Development Managers
  • Heads of Manufacturing
  • Heads of Engineering
  • Apprenticeship Managers
  • Innovation Managers and Researchers
  • Heads of curriculum development
  • Heads of Strategy
  • Professors and Lecturers

This Forum will also be open to Local Authorities to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Ian Lucas MP, Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Aerospace 
  • John Morlidge, Head of Aerospace, Innovate UK 
  • Professor Iain Gray CBE, Director of Aerospace, Cranfield University
  • Graham Peters, Chair, UKspace
View the agenda and additional speakers

Research from the ADS group (2017) has demonstrated that Aerospace is a vital sector for the UK economy, with a value of approximately £31.8 billion and responsible for the livelihoods of 120,000 people. An addition 118, 000 people work in roles indirectly related to the sector. Within the last ten years the UK Space Industry has seen growth of 91% compared to the world growth in the industry of 42%.

In March 2018, Parliament passed the Space Industry Act 2018, paving the way for the first commercial space launch in history from UK soil. This legislation is intended to create the conditions for British industry to thrive in the commercial space race. These efforts will build on the UK’s reputation as a world leader in satellite manufacturing, operation and application development. Figures from a recent report published by London Economics entitled Size & Health of the UK Space Industry 2018 found that the Satellite Service Industry contributes up to £300 billion in to the wider UK GDP.

Moreover in July 2018, the government announced £31.5 million of funding to support the creation of the UK’s first spaceport in Sutherland. In addition, The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK announced joint investments worth £3.9 billion in total and £150 million in 2018/19 for projects that enhance the nation’s competitiveness in Aerospace and deliver the UK Aerospace Strategy (2016). This is an exciting time for the sector with the UK Aviation Strategy also due to be announced in 2019, and the Department for Transport having published Beyond the Horizon – The Future of UK Aviation Strategy: Next Steps Towards an Aviation Strategy in April 2018. The government announced at the end of 2018 that it will be working in partnership with the aerospace sector to encourage companies and HEIs to invest in hybrid-electric and electric propulsion technology to ensure the UK is in line with other leading aerospace countries such as the US, China and Germany.

It is now more vital than ever that stakeholders involved in the aerospace industry are able to effectively collaborate and form strong partnerships that will ensure that the UK aerospace industry is about to maintain its position as a producer of world-leading research.


Professor Martin Barstow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Strategic Science Projects, Director, Leicester Institute of Space & Earth Observation, Professor of Astrophysics & Space Science, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester

Prof Martin Barstow joined the University of Leicester in 1979, gaining his PhD in 1983. Subsequently, he has been head of Physics & Astronomy, founding head of the College of Science & Engineering and is now Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Science Projects and Director of the Leicester Institute of Space & Earth Observation, leading the development of Space Park Leicester. He was President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2014 to 2016. He has served on STFC Council, UKSA SPAC and currently chairs Space Telescope Institute Council. He has been involved in many space missions and published more than 300 papers.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Martin Barstow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Strategic Science Projects, Director, Leicester Institute of Space & Earth Observation, Professor of Astrophysics & Space Science, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Understanding the Current UK Aerospace Landscape

  • Outlining the current landscape of aerospace across the UK
  • Highlighting the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Aerospace in supporting the UK aerospace industry
  • Understanding the importance of collaborative working to improve aerospace research and innovation
  • Examining the current challenges facing the aerospace sector in the UK and next steps needed to ensure issues are effectively tackled

Ian Lucas MP, Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Aerospace (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Achieving the Vision of the UK as a World Leader in Aerospace Technology

  • Outlining current funding opportunities within the £3.9 billion UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme
  • Understanding the key criteria within the grants process
  • Exploring key priorities in line with the UK Aerospace Strategy including creating propulsion technologies of maximum efficiency
  • Supporting businesses to maximise the opportunities available in the emerging aerospace sector and develop innovative projects through Sector Competitions
  • Evaluating the current landscape of aerospace sector funding and horizon scanning in the context of Britain’s exit from the European Union

John Morlidge, Head of Aerospace, Innovate UK (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Successfully Adapting Space Technology to Increase Funding Opportunities

  • Offering UK Space Agency Funding provided to adapt technology originally designed for space into medical applications that enhance quality of healthcare
  • Accessing funding in Dorset to harness technology to meet the challenge of an ageing population and support individuals to retain independence
  • Trialing GPS soles for people affected by dementia in order to work to reduce hospital admissions: Lessons from the development process and how to apply this to other sectors
  • Examining how satellite data can play a role in medical innovations going forward

Emily Gravestock, Head of Applications Strategy, UK Space Agency (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Working in Partnership to Deliver World Class Research Skills

  • Outlining the aims of the National Aerospace Research Consortium (NARC) founded July 2018
  • Striving to develop integrated infrastructure across the UK that enhances the accessibility of cutting edge research facilities and ensuring vital partnerships are formed
  • Enhancing talent pipelines by increasing integration of graduate and postgraduate learning pathways
  • Examining the benefits of a single point of access in encouraging more students to enter the aerospace engineering field and encouraging a larger contribution to the aerospace sector

Chris Gerada, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Industrial Strategy, Business Engagement and Impact), University of Nottingham (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Accessing Funding for the UK's First Spaceport

  • Sharing lessons from the process of accessing £31.5 million in funding to establish the UK’s first spaceport in Sutherland
  • Examining the benefits and challenges of developing end-to-end capability in one location
  • Creating a strong public-private partnership to bring together expertise, skills and commercial awareness from both sectors
  • How does the new spaceport fit within the UK Industrial Strategy and commitment to retaining global market leadership in the small satellite construction arena

Roy Kirk, Project Director – Sutherland Spaceport Development, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Investing in Research and Development to Achieve World-Leading Technology

  • Exploring recent developments and status of the Space Growth Partnership
  • Promoting awareness for the UK aerospace industry and the benefits that it can have for a wide range of industries
  • Supporting the creation of new launch technologies, and manufacturing and testing capabilities facilitated by a new satellite test facility
  • Assessing the current landscape of aerospace funding and how this will continue in a post-Brexit landscape to maintain UK leadership in this area

Graham Peters, Chair, UKspace (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Sharing a Vision for the Future of UK Aerospace

  • Exploring what the ‘third revolution’ in air travel will look like in practice and its implications for aerospace engineering
  • Working to develop an integrated cross departmental aerospace strategy across the university
  • Examining the importance of bringing together aerospace and aviation strategy
  • Outlining the process of setting up the new Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) and Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC): What will be the planned impact on research?

Professor Iain Gray CBE, Director of Aerospace, Cranfield University (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Unleashing the Research Base to Encourage Innovation

  • Examining the pros and cons of the funding formulae for academic engagement in aerospace research
  • Considering the need for a new open innovation approach to reduce frozen ideas and lost opportunities
  • Exploring a model for SME access to Higher Education facilities to accelerate aerospace innovation
  • Stimulating the talent pipeline in STEM and aerospace from schools to industry with better connectivity, sponsorship and planning

Roger Gardner, Aerospace Sector Adviser, University of Southampton (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Panel Session: Where Next for Aerospace Research in a Changing Global Context

  • Assessing the key upcoming challenges if the UK is to remain a leader in the aerospace field
  • What are the emerging areas that the UK must invest and excel in to remain at the forefront of aerospace technology
  • Exploring the role of public-private partnerships in driving innovation and examining how these can be cultivated
  • Discussing the future of research for UK’s aerospace industry and helping to develop the next generation of researchers

Professor Iain Gray CBE, Director of Aerospace, Cranfield University (CONFIRMED)

John Morlidge, Head of Aerospace, Innovate UK (CONFIRMED)

Graham Peters, Chair, UKspace (CONFIRMED)

Jeegar Kakkad, Chief Economist, ADS Group (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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