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UK Government announces National Space Park plans

National Space Park£12.87 million in funding towards the building of a new National Space Park, led by the University of Leicester, was announced on the 9th of March, as part of the Government's Midlands Engine Strategy.

The plans for the new development, to be built next to the National Space Centre in Leicester, include providing a national hub for space research, learning, public engagement and innovation. Around 500 jobs are expected to be created and 100 businesses supported locally by the creation of the park, which would also have strong links with existing space hubs, including the Harwell Space Cluster.

 

The planning for the space park project has strengthened links between the University of Leicester and the National Space Academy, with Academy Director Anu Ojha being made an Honorary Professor of the University – his role there will include ensuring that educational support for all levels is built into the ethos and operation of the park. The National Space Academy is set to help embed strong educational and skills programmes from "primary to postdoc", making the National Space Park a driving force in addressing the skills needs for the UK space sector.

A further £1 million towards the extension of the National Space Centre was also announced. The centre plans to use the extension of its facilities to allow it to meet the needs of greater numbers of visitors as well as pursuing its charitable objectives.

Professor Paul Boyle, President & Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: "It's great to hear that the government is again backing Leicestershire's success by investing in our world-class research and development clusters. Our new project, with a working title of National Space Park, will be a true game changer, and with our friends at the National Space Centre, we will specifically address skills shortages through apprenticeships, professional training and business-focused degrees and internships."

Artist's impression of National Space Park design. Credit: University of Leicester

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