A successful & innovative region
The West of England is an economic leader. With an economy worth over £40bn a year, a population of over 1.1 million people, one of the highest rates of employment in the country and over 46,500 businesses, our region competes on a global scale. It is a place where highly skilled people work, where ideas flourish and where businesses grow. It is also a place that a diverse population of people call home. We recognise the benefits of working collaboratively and our vision for the cluster is to harness complementary strengths in aerospace, communications, compound semi-conductors, robotics, cybersecurity ,nuclear energy and advanced engineering across the wider region to accelerate innovation, growth and regional prosperity.
Building on a strong base
The West of England has a long history in the space sector. The Filton Enterprise Area, usually connected with aerospace, was also once the home of BAe Dynamics, and its subsidiary BAe Space Systems. The Filton site specialised in the design and construction of scientific satellites, and had a long pedigree in that discipline. The first concerted effort to develop a horizontal take-off and landing launch vehicle concept was jointly carried out by Rolls-Royce and BAe in the 1980s at Filton.
Today the South West is home to over 250 space related organisations, the third largest in the UK, and is fortunate to have a unique and diverse space sector. Our region supports both multi-national space companies and innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), with space-specific expertise spanning upstream (earth observation, space science and exploration, propulsion), downstream (satellite data to support climate change monitoring and mitigation, security and defence and space weather), engineering consultancy (military satellite communications, systems architecture, requirements, reliability and supportability engineering) and financial and professional services (space-specific legal, recruitment and start-up financing services). In addition, there is significant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach and community engagement. This is supported by world-class universities and research centres undertaking an impressive breadth and depth of space-related research activity, and a wide range of organisations supporting inspirational outreach and community engagement. This is further complemented by exceptional world-renowned aerospace and advanced engineering expertise, with the region being home to major global players and a dynamic supply chain. Strong capabilities in technologies of high relevance to space – including artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, quantum technologies, high performance computing, composite materials, digital engineering and augmented and virtual reality, also add to the unique strength of the region.
With a vision of becoming an internationally-recognised space region, we are bringing together space stakeholders to work with a common purpose to generate economic, social and environmental benefits for the West of England and beyond.