Business Durham to lead North East space and satellite innovation 

Business Durham has been appointed to lead the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence until March 2022, having successfully delivered support to the sector since 2014. 

The Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Space Agency, which funds the centre, today confirmed that Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, will lead the North East consortium. 

One of the three centres of excellence across the UK, the North East Centre, is based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, home to some of the world’s fastest-growing companies.

Business Durham has led the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence since April 2014  engaging with over 670 organisations, seeding 277 links between business and universities; and helping companies secure £9.2M worth of funding. 

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “Over the past six years the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence has become a focal point of activities for space and satellite technologies within the region, acting as a catalyst for sector growth. 

“The Centre has already made a positive impact and we are excited to build on that momentum. Over the next two years we will focus on the continuing growth of the space sector and raising the profile of the North East within the wider space network, nationally and beyond.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “The North East Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications is at the heart of efforts to grow the space economy in the region, capitalising on investment to link space sector opportunities to local priorities and strengths. The work of the Centre has been instrumental in championing the regional space sector and forging new partnerships with space and non-space companies, contributing jobs and growth to the UK.

 “The UK Space Agency is pleased that Business Durham will continue its leadership of the Centre of Excellence which will support the region’s space sector through these challenging times and unlock its strengths and capabilities for the benefit of the whole of the UK.”

Stuart Martin, chief executive at Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd said:  “The North East Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications continues to do great work supporting the space sector in the North East, and helping to grow the space economy for that region. We are delighted to announce today that we will continue our successful partnership with Business Durham to support the centre over the coming two years. In these challenging times, we need to ensure that successful collaborations, funding and investment not only continue, but are given the focus and energy they need. The North East Centre has a vital part to play in minimising the impact of current events on the space sector, and ensuring that it continues to be a great source of employment and growth for many regions around the UK.“

The North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence works with companies of all sizes from industries which use and develop space technology and data.  The programme will provide business with the opportunity to tap into the UK’s multibillion-pound space sector.

The programme will include a programme of industry, technical, networking and challenge events, access to world class academic and industry expertise, public and private sector funding opportunities and business development support. 

As well as working with companies already involved in the space sector the centre also encourages companies to enter the sector to apply their knowledge and experience to the space industry or use data from space to solve problems in their business and industry.

The Centre is supported by a regional consortium of Business Durham, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside, as well as other regional support organisations. 

For more information or to find out how the North East Satellite Applications Catapult Centre of Excellence can support your business, contact Elaine Scott on 07786 026916 or

Sarah Slaven - Managing Director Business Durham

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CPI has developed a specialist offering to support SMEs looking to develop their printable electronics applications and our partnership with Business Durham has been instrumental in attracting several SMEs to locate here in the region.

Dr Jon Helliwell, - Director of Printable Electronics, CPI

The proximity to the universities and the infrastructure are very important factors. Ultimately having a presence in Europe is very valuable to us and we intend to stay at NETPark for many years to come.

Dr Arnab Basu, - CEO, Kromek

We initially came because of the printable electronics centre but access to a highly skilled semi conductor workforce in the North East has been a key factor in us staying and growing here, as well as the value for money office space and the access to funding.

Ken Williamson, - COO, PragmatIC Printing

It fits perfectly for us that we’re surrounded by like-minded companies at NETPark. There are a number of highly skilled people in the area who can help us grow our business. The facilities and services offered by NETPark are first class, they make office life simple and engaging.

Stuart Wilson, - CEO, Ascarii

The quality of the facilities at NETPark and the attitude of staff is first class. It has a really dynamic, innovative atmosphere.

Dr Neil Loxley, - Chief executive, IBEX

Access to quality facilities was one of the main drivers for deciding to locate the business at the NETPark. We have been able to use this as a launch pad to link into support from CPI and world-class expertise from Durham University.

Steve Clements, - Managing Director, aXenic
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