Research councils to play greater role in defining UK space agenda

September 27, 2002

Brussels, 26 Sep 2002

A new funding structure for UK space activities will ensure that the UK remains a sought after partner for international cooperation, according to the UK government.

The funding changes will give the country's research councils a greater role in developing the UK's space strategy. Almost 150 million GBP (239 million euro) will be transferred from the government's Department of trade and industry (DTI) to the Natural environment research council (NERC) and the Particle physics and astronomy research council (PPARC) over a period of three years. The changes were recommended following a review of the British national space centre (BNSC).

'The changes [...] will improve our ability to choose in future between competing priorities,' said UK Minister for science and innovation, Lord Sainsbury. 'The transfer of funds to the research council ensures that those with the appropriate expertise and policy responsibility will have a closer influence over future space programmes in their areas of specific expertise.'

John Lawton, Chief Executive of NERC said that the UK will continue to benefit from the European space agency's (ESA) programmes, particularly in Earth observation.

'Earth observation plays a fundamental role in understanding and predicting the Earth system. I expect it to become even more important as we pursue NERC's science strategy, 'Science for a sustainable future,'' said Professor Lawton.

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CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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