• (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

The first collaborative activity within the UK-Australia Space Bridge framework was launched this week by SmartSat CRC, UK Science and Innovation Network, and the Satellite Applications Catapult with the support of Austrade and the Australian Space Agency.

SmartSat CRC and the Satellite Applications Catapult will fund research projects that align to the mutual benefits of both countries and create collaboration through the Space Bridge. 

According to a statement released by SmartSat CRC, "these preliminary phase projects aim to develop and foster partnerships across academia and industry in both the UK and Australia".

It is expected the projects will lead to "larger collaborative research projects that grow industry capacity, provide an innovative end-product or capability, and build upon the respective space ecosystems of each country". 

Projects will address four topic areas identified as strategically beneficial to the mutual interests of each country: Earth Observation and Climate Resilience; Agriculture and Land Management from Space; Enabling Connectivity and Innovative Space Communications; and Quantum Technologies for Space. 

SmartSatCRC CEO Professor Andy Koronios said the Space Bridge Framework Arrangement is an important step in leveraging the significant research capabilities of both countries.

“This is the first joint initiative to be undertaken since the announcement of the Space Bridge with the backing of both the UK and Australian governments," Professor Koronios said. "It is just the beginning of the exciting collaborative partnerships that aim for long term growth and commercial opportunities for both countries.”

Australian Space Agency Head, Enrico Palermo, said the Space Bridge Framework Arrangement is a valuable partnership to ensure Australian businesses and researchers have greater opportunities to showcase their talents to the world.

“The arrangement will open doors to build local capability, as well as significantly boosting our collaboration with the UK Space Agency," Palermo said.

It is anticipated that four projects, which must be completed by 30 June 2022, will be funded up to AU$100,000 per project. SmartSat CRC will manage the assessment process, in collaboration with the UK Science and Innovation Network and the Satellite Applications Catapult. 

Applications are due by 30 August 2021 via the SmartSat website.

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