Scale up space projects with STEPHANIE

Zulfiqur Ali, Graham Miller, Daniel Roe, Michael Lawrence, Chris Jones, Nigel Cameron, Laurent Dala, Christopher Newman, Peter Holt, and Trevor Hardcastle at the launch of STEPHANIE.

Scale up space projects with STEPHANIE

Firms looking for scale in the growing space sector will be boosted by a new innovation project, designed to help them get products to market.

STEPHANIE, delivered in County Durham by Business Durham, is a five-year EU-funded Interreg programme which will help promote research and innovation in the space and photonics industry in the North East and the wider UK.

The project will be based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, which is already home to some of the world’s most cutting edge companies including Kromek, a leading developer of radiation detection solutions, and PolyPhotonix, creator of a sleepmask which uses light to combat diabetic retinopathy.

The scheme creates potential for skilled jobs not only directly at these businesses, but in their burgeoning local supply chains too.

Catherine Johns, innovation director at Business Durham, said: “As an innovative local authority we’re keen to see companies collaborating at an earlier stage with the right organisations which will help them scale up faster.

“It’s about bringing people together who would never normally interact and sharing knowledge across disciplines and sectors. As a result, the North East is fast becoming a hub for developing and applying space technology and satellite data to solve fundamental social problems.”

Business Durham has also just secured an additional three years’ funding for the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence from the Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Space Agency.

Space technologies based on photonics are considered as one of Europe’s areas of key industrial competence. They have huge potential to address a number of today’s grand societal challenges, in particular health and wellbeing, climate action and secure societies.

STEPHANIE brings together eight partners from seven European countries to exchange knowledge on how to ensure that policy is designed to guarantee real benefits from space technology based on photonics, particularly in space and earth observation.  It is being led by the National Research Centre of Italy.