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Business & Economy

Government space chiefs head up North East conference

Industry leaders from across the UK will be heading to the North East for a conference designed to help businesses capitalise on the growing, multi-million pound space sector.

Graham Turnock, CEO of the UK Space Agency, the Government agency responsible for the UK’s civil space programme, and Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, are just two of the speakers on March 22 who will be telling the region’s business owners how they can tap into the burgeoning market.

The conference, at the Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham City, is being organised by the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, which is delivered by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham. The centre is one of five across the country and is based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark), in Sedgefield, County Durham

Other speakers at the conference include:

·       John Bone, chairman of the North East Satellite Applications Advisory Board and chief operating officer at RHEA Group, will be chairing the conference

·       Justin Pringle, chief technical officer at Newcastle-based Drone Ops

·       George Gerring, partnership manager at The Water Hub and the Environment Agency

·       Si Brown, founder of Teesside-based Skignz

·       Simon Tricker, partnership manager at Urban Foresight

Catherine Johns, innovation director at Business Durham, which works on behalf of Durham County Council, said:

“The North East has a unique approach to developing space and satellite designs and products. Businesses here are providing tangible solutions to real problems with a focus on commerciality rather than being research led.

“The UK space sector has plans to secure ten per cent of the anticipated £40bn global space market by 2030. The conference will hear from a myriad of people who will be able to give a full picture of the space industry and the exciting opportunities which it offers.

“They’ll hear about the support available to commercialise ideas and scale up, and about the skilled workforces on their doorstep and the benefits of the right environment technology parks such as NETPark can provide.”

Business Durham also delivers the space incubation programme which is currently offering mentorship and support to ten businesses in the region.

One of the businesses is Durham-based professional drone services company Superfly Guys. Director Al Yong, said: “You can learn a great deal at conferences such as this with so much knowledge in one room. There’s a real desire to make the North East the front-runner in drone technology in the UK and with support like this it’s going to happen. The satellite applications landscape is very fast moving but there is the knowledge here about what’s changing and how to capitalise on it.”

To register for the event visit