Research and Development Investment Opportunities in the UK


The UK’s space sector is fast growing, globally competitive, and increasingly important to all parts of our economy, national security, and everyday life.


£836 million

The estimated spend on space-related R&D in 2019/20, equivalent to 5% of total industry income.¹



The UK's global ranking for private space investment.²






With such a developed space sector, it’s only natural that the UK possesses an impressive research & development capacity. Top-tier universities help drive R&D with the assistance of the Satellite Applications Catapult, who connect academia with industry and stimulate the commercialisation of innovative space technology.

A variety of R&D support is available from funding to partnerships. For example, UK Government offers R&D tax credits and access to innovation-themed grants. The UK’s global Science & Innovation Network also helps UK-based researchers collaborate with international partners on mutually advantageous technologies, such as with Australia under the UK-Australia Space Bridge. The positive climate for research and innovation saw the expenditure of £702 million space-related R&D in 2019.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory provide industry with an interface to develop science and technology with the UK’s Ministry of Defence, bridging the gap between civil and defence space to protect our national security interests.

Find out more about the space sector in the UK by visiting the space sector page on the Department for International Trade's Investment Atlas.




Size and Health of the UK Space Industry


Investment Opportunities

Space in Leicester and Leicestershire

Join the space race from Leicestershire, increasing market penetration and profits by building better data-driven products, services and solutions.

The UK space sector is worth £16.4 billion, and satellites underpin £360 billion per year of wider economic activity. With more than 50 years of history and innovation, the UK has outperformed most nations in developing a modern space industry, and its companies are global leaders.

Leicester is driving new growth and is home to Space Park Leicester, a cluster for research, enterprise and education in space and Earth observation. It draws on the region's centres of excellence to exploit space-enabled data, develop skills for the space industry and provide low-cost access to space and satellites.

Find out more about this investment opportunity by visiting the Department for International Trade's Investment Atlas.

Research and expertise

From fundamental research to commercialisation, Leicester and Leicestershire have everything to take your technologies from concept to market, including product accelerators ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) UK, SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology), STAR (Space Technology Applications from Research) and the Space Commercialisation Engine from The Satellite Applications Catapult.

Space Park Leicester’s combination of facilities – including laboratories, workshops, cleanrooms, a concurrent design facility and a virtual reality cave – will provide an essential support infrastructure to those collaborating on research and development projects.

Companies based at Space Park Leicester will be plugged in to the UK’s wider space ecosystem including launch expertise in Scotland and Cornwall.












Space Park Leicester was formally launched in March 2022 by British astronaut Tim Peake 

Key Dates



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1. GOV.UK. (n.d.). The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry 2021. [online] Available at: