Westminster Business Forum

Next steps for the UK space industry - growth, innovation and priorities post-Brexit

Morning, Friday, 15th February 2019

Central London


This seminar will be a timely opportunity for policymakers and stakeholders to discuss the next steps for the UK space sector as the industry sets out its vision for growth, and in the context of a possible sector deal.

It follows the Space Industry Act, which provides the regulatory framework to enable the UK’s launch capability, and delegates will assess what else is needed in terms of infrastructure, technology and investment to support the development of commercial spaceflight.

Sessions will consider the future shape of partnerships to enable development of UK spaceports - with speakers from Highlands and Islands Enterprise  and Lockheed Martin, who are working in partnership to develop the Sutherland spaceport - as well as the wider economic and environmental impact on local communities as they look to develop clusters in spaceport locations. 

As the Government awards funding to the four potential spaceports - with the aim of realising a potential contribution to the UK economy of £3.8bn over the next 10 years - delegates will discuss how can sites best tackle emerging practical issues and how can they work with the industry and satellite providers to ensure that the best meet the needs of users.

The agenda also focuses on the Space Growth Partnership, which lays the foundation for a space sector deal and a national space programme.

Delegates will consider what else is needed in policy terms and from the sector itself to enable the UK to become a global space hub and a European leader for space services, against the backdrop of increasing European competition and Brexit.

They will look at  what might be needed to support growth, involving both established players and new entrants, and strategies for improving recruitment, efficiency and innovation as manufacturers, spaceflight companies, local authorities and investors develop their space strategies.

Further sessions assess the future of  the UK’s own strategic satellite navigation capability, as Government undertakes its feasibility study, and the possible continued involvement with the EU’s Galileo system.

In light of significant skill shortages in the industry, we also expect discussion on how to tackle the skills gap including priorities for engaging with the education sector and young people to encourage take-up of STEM subjects, continuing to attract international talent, and improving diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

Guest of Honour

Tim Just

Head of Space, Innovate UK

Guest of Honour

Tim Just

Head of Space, Innovate UK


Jo Stevens

Managing Director, Oxford Innovation

Nick Appleyard

Head of Downstream Business Applications, European Space Agency

Jonathan Firth

Executive Vice President, Spaceport & Program Development, Virgin Galactic

Professor Anu Ojha

Director, National Space Academy and Professor, University of Leicester

David Oxley

Acting Director of Business and Sector Development, Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Patrick Wood

Director, International Advanced Programmes, UK Country Executive, Lockheed Martin