Leicester has developed a ‘space city’ cluster for the UK space sector collaborating on space observation and research

A part of the Loughborough and Leicester Science and Innovation Enterprise Zone, Space City represents one of the largest groups of Earth and space observation researchers in the UK.

Space City Leicester, dedicated to space development, manufacture, research and innovation, will make Leicester a key branch of the UK’s space observation industry.

With around 300 academics and researchers from the University of Leicester alone, this collaboration has had up to £233 million in investment for its new facilities.

Its facilities now include the University of Leicester’s science and innovation hub Space Park Leicester, the award-winning National Space Centre visitor attraction and the flexible working space and high-tech business incubator facilities at Dock and Dock 2.

Forecast to contribute £750 million per year to the UK space sector

Space Park Leicester is forecast to contribute £750 million per year to the UK space sector over the next decade.

Beneficial to the economy with its research, Space City is expected to support more than 2,500 jobs in the East Midlands.

Not only good for space research, the Space City cluster will also have numerous non-space related knowledge economy businesses, including businesses working towards decarbonisation, innovative start-ups and established businesses looking to grow in the space sector.

The Space City Leicester partnership includes:

  • DOCK
  • Leicester City Council
  • Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP)
  • National Space Centre
  • Space Park Leicester
  • The University of Leicester
Space City team
Space City team | Image © Space Park Leicester

X-ray and observational astronomy, radio and space plasma physics

In 1967 Leicester built an instrument which has since been operating in space. Now, this work continues to grow from this original research and innovation, making room for more innovation.

This innovation now includes x-ray and observational astronomy, radio and space plasma physics, space weather, and planetary science and instrumentation development.

“This is the launchpad for an exciting new chapter in our city’s space history”

Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “Space City Leicester has put our city firmly on the map for research production and manufacture in the space industry, but the good news doesn’t end there as further expansion is planned to meet the demand from businesses keen to locate here from the UK and overseas.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Nishan Canagarajah said: “This is the launchpad for an exciting new chapter in our city’s space history.

“From its beginnings 60 years ago at the University, we have grown space activity to unlock its huge potential to advance learning, to stimulate inward investment, innovation and growth and to address the challenging problems of our time.

“Space City Leicester is exciting, it is bold and it is built upon a heritage of success. I would like to thank all our supporters, industrial partners, LLEP and the Leicester City Council for their steadfast commitment to this ambitious endeavor.”

Building on the space-science research of the University of Leicester, Space Park Leicester is an Earth and space observation cluster that has built a community of industry, academics and students driving growth in the space sector.


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