SPRINT partner, the University of Leicester, has announced that its Space Park Leicester development been awarded a grant of just over £2.3 million from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s (LLEP) European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This will match the University’s investment of just over £2.4m to establish the Space Technology Applications from Research (STAR) Accelerator.
The three-year STAR project is aiming to engage with SME businesses across all sectors to provide help, support and expertise in designing and developing products to meet the short timescales demanded in modern production. It will also assist industry in assessing modern manufacturing technologies and their applicability to those businesses. The project will include approaches for rapid development, iterative design, fabrication and fault finding. Prior to opening of the new Space Park facilities in 2021, STAR will be housed in buildings on the main campus of the University of Leicester.
STAR has formally just started (1 November 2019) and it will ramp-up from early 2020 with all manufacturing and test facilities expected to be operational by the summer. The equipment and expertise being offered to businesses will include a suite for 3D printing, in metal, plastic, wax and composites, offering businesses the opportunity to re-evaluate and optimise conceptual designs and allow demonstration of methods to reduce production time.
The STAR offering will also include computer aided design; precision machining; design and production of electronics; and integrated design, prototyping and coating of micro-fabricated devices such as sensors. These facilities will allow STAR to support a wide range of products developed by SMEs.
Ross Burgon, Head of the national SPRINT programme said: “STAR will provide new world-class space facilities and expertise at the University of Leicester, and will be accessible to businesses nationwide through the SPRINT programme from summer 2020.
“It is fantastic to see continued investment in technologies and capabilities at the University of Leicester for the benefit of SMEs in the UK. I look forward to seeing more SPRINT collaborations enabled through these new facilities.”