HUB:BLE‐2 Boosting Local Enterprise

On 16-17 October 2013 at the National Space Centre in Leicester (UK), “The Space IDEAS Hub” project in collaboration with NEREUS and its Explo-Working Group organized a two-day workshop HUB:BLE-2 Boosting Local Enterprises sized for Small and Medium Enterprises within the East Midlands and both national and international players with a particular interest in innovation, exploration, collaborative working and technology transfer, to foster relationships and forge links within the region and beyond. 134 participants altogether, representing 51 regional SMEs, additionally, both Thales and Astrium, as well as national institutions such as UKSA, UKTI, Space Catapult, local council, universities, and individuals joined the event.

NEREUS was represented by Prof. Mark Lester (NEREUS-vice-president) who gave a welcome and introductory remarks and Roya Ayazi, Secretary General. In her speech Roya thanked the network members in the East Midlands and the Explo-WG for their efforts in organizing this special event and highlighted the proactive involvement of the East Midlands on the NEREUS-platform. Players from the East Midlands are involved in almost all EU-funded projects that were mobilized on the NEREUS platform (e.g. former DORIS_NET, THE ISSUE, ERASMUS-summer school). Roya emphasized network activities aimed at spreading the awareness of space uses and public outreach. While highlighting the project idea European Exploratoria that aims at bringing together relevant organizations such as National Space Center, Cité de l'Espace etc. to cooperate and join forces at a European scale she introduced the NEREUS-position paper A NEREUS Position Paper, the Network of European Regions Using Space Technologies: A large scale awareness raising campaign for promoting space exploration at citizen level. Further to this, she stressed the vast business opportunities for SMEs and regional actors. From next year onwards Europe will have two excellent space systems at disposal (EGNOS/Galileo and Copernicus) and also Europe's exploration activities produce plenty of outcomes that are fit to be commercially exploited at regional level. It is up to Europe's entrepreneurs to make the step from an a space market that tended to be characterized by few industrial player who served institutional needs (ESA, national governments) to a mass market with a wide spectrum of space based produces and services.

Chair of the NEREUS-Exploration-working Group joined Piero Messidoro and Laura Gatti (both Thales Alenia Space) were among the invited speakers. Piero gave an overview on the R&D activities of Thales in Torino while putting a strong emphasis on technologies and research challenges related to space exploration. Laura’s presentation “Technology Transfer from Space Exploration: Thales Alenia Space perspectives” elaborated on space exploration as a driver for terrestrial innovations and gave examples how exploration outcomes can be transferred to applications in every day life.

Additionally, a number of social/networking events were organized including a pre event reception on Tuesday 15th October at the Guildhall and Richard III exhibition, the visit of the National Space Centre on 16th October (open after hours for our delegates to explore it) and a reception at the newly opened Leicester Innovation Workspace - "Dock" at Pioneer Park (adjacent to the National Space Centre). Finally, the HUB:BLE-2 event offered the opportunity to the members of the Technologies from Space Exploration to meet on 15th October 2013.

More information on the event is available here: http://www2.le.ac.uk/projects/space-ideas-hub/events/previous-events/hub-ble-2