Yesterday, the next stage of one of the most exciting developments in the country got underway, as ground was broken at Space Park Leicester.
LLEP Chair Kevin Harris (third from right) breaks ground with partners and dignitaries including Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester West MP Liz Kendall, Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Minister Chris Skidmore MP and University of Leicester Pro Vice Chancellor Nishan Canagarajah.
Space Park Leicester is a true collaboration between the public and private sectors, and between industry and academia. The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd. (LLEP) has backed the project with £8.175 million from its £126m Local Growth Fund, due to the economic benefits the it will bring.
The Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP, Secretary of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation attended the ground-breaking event, underlining the project’s importance not only at a local but at a national level.
When it opens in 2021, Space Park Leicester will be a world-leading centre of space research and technological development. The vision for the site includes facilities for small businesses and start-ups to carry out vital research in space-related industries This will make the site a key focus of the space industry helping the UK capture a growing share of the global space market, that is projected to be worth £40bn and creating 100,000 jobs by 2030.
The LLEP has supported Space Park Leicester from its inception, using its Local Growth Fund. The Leicester and Leicestershire Growth Deal aims to drive growth across the region by providing funding, leveraging investment and building new homes and space for businesses.
Science and technology is a key industry that the LLEP aims to support, and in Space Park Leicester, it is continuing a theme that has seen it invest Local Growth Fund capital in high-technology, cutting edge projects that will bring skilled jobs and economic growth to Leicester and Leicestershire.
Kevin Harris is Chair of the LLEP Board of Directors. He said:
“Nationally, the Space technology sector is of crucial importance to the UK economy. Satellites are described as one of the “eight great technologies” in which the UK is set to be a global leader. Here in Leicester and Leicestershire, we want to be at the heart of this transformational industry.
“Space Park Leicester is a top priority in the LLEP’s Local Industrial Strategy (LIS). Our LIS will set out our ambition to provide our region with a global competitive advantage and make Leicester the destination for innovative space-sector businesses.
“As we embark on a new decade, we aim to position Leicester as a world-leading hub for space engineering and space-enabled research driven by our partners in academia and in collaboration with our thriving local businesses.”
Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the Midlands Engine and the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“This £8.175m investment from the Local Growth Fund will drive forward the development of Space Park Leicester as a world leader in the multi-billion-pound global space market which, when completed, will create an estimated 2,500 jobs. This transformational project will build on the city’s expertise in space technology to develop new state-of-the-art facilities for innovation, research and development, education and training.”
Professor Paul Monks is Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Leicester and Head of the College of Science and Engineering. He said:
“Space is not the final frontier, We’re embarking of a journey to push back the boundaries of space exploration. Here at Space Park Leicester, we aim to develop the next generation of satellites, be a catalyst for success, and continue a tradition of pioneering space innovation in Leicester that goes back over sixty years.”
Space Park Leicester is located on the former John Ellis site, and is part of the Loughborough and Leicester Science and Innovation Enterprise Zone. Its location makes it easily accessible by road, rail or air.
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