Further £50 million for satellite solutions to help developing countries

A  five-year, £152m programme designed to partner UK space expertise with overseas governments and organisations has opened its second round of funding. More than £70m has already been given to projects applying inventive satellite solutions to a range of areas such as deforestation, illegal fishing, marine pollution, disaster recovery, drought and flooding. The latest tranche of funding will focus on issues around health and education.

During the first round announced in January, 20 projects were selected to provide solutions for local issues in countries across Africa, Asia and Central and South America. The programme’s current projects include providing communications in remote areas for education in Tanzania, improving maritime safety for small fishing vessels in South Africa and Madagascar and reducing illegal logging in Guatemala. Among those funded in the first round was Forests 2020; a £23.8m project led by Edinburgh-based Ecometrica UK, in conjunction with a consortium of national and international partners, to protect and restore forests across the globe.

“The UK space sector is thriving with innovative developments and technologies that can be used to solve some of the most pressing global challenges of our time,” said the UK’s Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson. “The International Partnerships Programme has already harnessed Britain’s world-leading expertise in analysing satellite data to make a real difference to a number of countries. The latest round of funding is exactly the sort of project our industrial strategy is looking to support – boosting the UK space sector and delivering benefits to millions around the world.”

Call 2 for funding opens today and will close on 5 September. The assessment is due to take place in October and successful projects will begin by the end of the year.