Innovate UK welcomes Africa’s top space experts on UK knowledge-sharing tour

Leading space experts from Africa will tour the UK’s top space research, manufacturing and launch facilities from 4-8 December 2023.

Posted on: 01/12/2023
Innovate UK welcomes Africa’s top space experts on knowledge-sharing tour of the UK

Organised by Innovate UK and Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA), and facilitated by the Research Institute of Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS), the delegation of African space innovators, entrepreneurs and government officials are meeting their British counterparts to share insights and explore opportunities for collaboration and partnership.


UK-Africa space technology tour agenda

This UK-Africa space technology knowledge exchange tour includes a series of presentations, roundtable discussions, and site visits across England and Scotland. Participants will examine the UK’s challenges, opportunities, and experiences in building sustainable space ecosystems. Opportunities for joint research, development, and commercial partnerships between the UK and Africa will also be discussed.

The UK is a world leader in space, specifically in the manufacturing and launch capability fields, but also in areas such as finance, law, education, and ecosystem development. These are all components of a growing and sustainable space sector. Our focus is on giving our African partners an opportunity to interrogate how these elements contribute to a robust space ecosystem, and explore how they can apply similar strategies to spur industry growth at home.

– Alana Kruger, Knowledge Transfer Manager for South Africa, Innovate UK KTN

Joining the tour are representatives from the African space agencies; academics from the universities of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Witwatersrand; and directors of African space start-ups such as Astrofica, AgriBORA Labs, Locus Dynamics, Sayari Labs, and Wanscan Consulting. They are accompanied by a team of sectoral experts from Innovate UK and the RISA Fund, who have co-funded this tour.

Photograph courtesy of © ESSI/Max Alexander.
Photograph courtesy of © ESSI/Max Alexander.
  • Starting at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on 4 December, the delegation will meet with the Earth Space Sustainability Initiative and Lloyd’s of London to unpack space policy and regulations in Britain. We will be joined by several specialist space organisations including the UK Space Agency. This is followed by a visit to Seraphim Space, where local start-ups and investors will discuss the role of venture capital in funding the innovation process, development and scaling of space technologies.

  • On the morning of 5 December, the group will travel to Leicester Space Park. Here, they will learn about how the community acts as a catalyst for collaboration between the University of Leicester and the private sector. The afternoon will be spent at the nearby National Space Centre, where curators will walk attendees through the various exhibitions and discuss the role of museums in generating public interest in space technology.

  • The tour then travels to Harwell on 6 December for an introduction to the Satellite Applications Catapult. Topics of discussion include ‘cluster building’ in innovation, as well as approaches to skills development and training. After lunch, participants will have the opportunity to meet with local start-ups during the monthly ‘Satuccino’ meetup, followed by a visit to the European Space Agency.

  • Delegates have been invited to attend the Scottish Parliament on 7 December, where they will meet with representatives from the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and Space Scotland. This is followed by a roundtable discussion with Space Scotland and chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Angus Robertson MSP on space-entrepreneurship, and a networking dinner hosted by the Scotland Africa Business Association and Scottish Development International.

  • The tour concludes on 8 December in Glasgow with a visit to Skyrora – a leading designer, manufacturer and deployer of rockets and satellites in Scotland – followed by a visit to the Technology and Innovation Centre at the University of Strathclyde.

I am very pleased to be able to meet the delegation and I look forward to identifying areas where our nations can collaborate. I will be informing them about Scotland’s space industry journey and how we have a thriving space eco-system, manufacturing more small satellites than anywhere else in Europe and soon to deliver launch capability.

– Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Member of the Scottish Parliament

The tour delegates will benefit from valuable insights into the UK’s space industry, with the visit offering ample networking opportunities within the global space community. The tour also aims to explore opportunities to strengthen their countries’ capabilities, particularly in light of space technology’s increasing significance in areas such as agriculture and disaster management.

The UK-Africa space technology knowledge exchange tour forms part of the Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa six-year project funded by UK International Development through Innovate UK (GCRF), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the RISA Fund. This project aims to forge stronger UK-African partnerships and enhance bilateral market access, funding, and investment opportunities through innovation and knowledge exchange between the UK, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

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Alana Kruger

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Alana Kruger

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Global Alliance Africa

Global Alliance Africa

This Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa 6-year (2019-2025) project funded by UK International Development aims to build new and stronger UK-African partnerships to maximise the creation of inclusive market access, funding and investment opportunities through innovation knowledge transfer between the UK, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.


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