Leading space experts from Africa visited Leicester last week during a tour of the UK’s top space research, manufacturing and launch facilities.
Space innovators, government officials and entrepreneurs from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa visited the University of Leicester’s pioneering £100 million space hub Space Park Leicester and the National Space Centre during the UK-Africa Space-Technology Knowledge Exchange.
The knowledge exchange tour showcased the UK’s impressive space capabilities to the African delegation and is helping to foster new opportunities for collaboration between businesses, academia and space agencies based in the UK and the visiting countries.
Head of Commercial and Innovation at Space Park Leicester, Vinay Patel, said: “This tour is highly significant because it’s taking the relationship between the UK and African space sectors to the next level so that it includes commercial and academic players as well as agencies.
“The UK is a leader in developing space technologies and innovations in key areas, including new launch capabilities, financing and legal affairs, and it has created a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and deep industrial networks in this field.
“The Knowledge Exchange tour showcased these capabilities, and it was a huge honour for us to be asked to highlight the fantastic work that’s going on at Space Park Leicester to key space sector stakeholders from Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, and South Africa.
“We look forward to playing a role in the ongoing development of the relationship between the space sectors in the UK and these countries.”
During the visit to Space Park Leicester, the African delegation saw the space hub’s end-to-end capabilities, including its Concurrent Design Facility for designing hardware and software, prototyping laboratories, manufacturing workshops and clean room.
After the tour of Space Park Leicester’s facilities, the venue hosted a networking lunch for the visitors who were then given the opportunity to visit the National Space Centre before leaving the city.
Global Alliance Africa, a six-year project funded by UK International Development through Innovate UK’s Global Challenge Research Fund and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, partnered with The Research Institute of Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) and the Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA) fund to organise the UK-Africa Space-Technology Knowledge Exchange.