The University of Surrey is a partner in the national SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme. At the event, held at the Surrey Space Centre on the University of Surrey campus, representatives from local businesses learned how SPRINT can provide them with unprecedented access to the University’s space expertise and facilities to help them to develop new commercial products for space and other key sectors.
The aim of the event, well-attended by academics, partners and local SME businesses, was to demonstrate that space technologies, and satellite imagery and data are being utilised in a rapidly increasing range of applications from transport, construction and agriculture, to medicine, environmental sustainability and disaster relief.
Attendees heard from leading experts about the benefits of forming collaborative partnerships within the SPRINT programme and met companies involved in services for space and other key sectors.
Speakers included the Director of the Surrey Space Centre, Professor Guglielmo ‘G’ Aglietti; Vice-Provost, Research and Innovation, Professor David Sampson and members of the SPRINT team, who presented news from current and upcoming SPRINT projects and explained how SMEs can access funding.
Prof Aglietti described the University of Surrey’s Remove Debris project, with video showing the actual capture of an in-orbit object using a tethered net. Ross Burgon emphasised the exciting opportunity of using space applications, imagery and data to non-space companies. This was illustrated by a current SPRINT project with SME Fourth State Medicine, which is adapting plasma-based technologies, developed in the Surrey Space Centre, to the treatment of skin wounds and ailments.
The £5 million SPRINT programme is supported by Research England. It is being delivered by a consortium of five of the UK’s leading space universities, led by the University of Leicester and including the University of Edinburgh, Open University, University of Southampton and University of Surrey.
Professor Guglielmo Aglietti, Director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, said: “It was a pleasure to speak at the regional SPRINT event, but it was more of a delight to witness the excitement in the room at the immense opportunity that exists within the space sector. The collaborative effort of academia, small businesses and traditional actors within the space industry is now key to many activities in future missions.”
Dr Ross Burgon, Head of the national SPRINT programme added: “It was refreshing to see so many businesses and academics engaging around the opportunities available through the SPRINT programme and potentially accessing to expertise, data and facilities from the University of Surrey and our other SPRINT universities.”