CIT, WIT collaboration creates Ireland’s first Space Region

Big Bertha at Blackrock Castle Observatory
Big Bertha at Blackrock Castle Observatory

Society, Economy and Environment Space network bids to forge links with ESA

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30 October 2020 | 0

Two research teams with expertise in areas such as cybersecurity, telecommunications, and quantum communications have joined to establish Ireland’s first Space Region.

Cork Institute of Technology and Waterford Institute of Technology have come together to form the Society, Economy and Environment (SEE) Space network, to build on their reputation as centres of leading-edge research and innovation with the potential to build links to international space organisations such as the European Space Agency.

The SEE Space Network is a landmark pool of decades of talent, knowledge and expertise and the new team is ideally positioned to take advantage of the educational, economic and societal benefits of the global space industry which is projected to be worth €2 trillion by 2030.

 

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Space 4.0 is a major focus for companies and institutions from the very small to the very large and now is the perfect time to take advantage of the two institutions’ expertise in areas such as cybersecurity, telecommunications, quantum communications, materials science, photonics and advanced manufacturing, those behind the SEE-Space Network say.

The new research team, lead by Dr Niall Smith in Cork and Dr Mark White in Waterford, will use space to solve problems that are relevant to the region and the country, building the Irish Space Coast and attracting inward investment from national and international sources.

CIT President, Dr Barry O’Connor, said: “Working together, we will use space to solve problems that are relevant to us in our region and nationally, building the Irish Space Coast and attracting inward investment from national and international sources. On our journey, we will engage with leaders in their respective domains and help them to see space as an opportunity to grow their businesses.

“We will work with communities to see how best to use space to solve their issues, to increase their sustainability and improve their competitiveness. We will work to inspire the next generations of scientists and engineers.

“The SEE Space network is built on CIT’s and WIT’s long track record of achievement in research, innovation and outreach with an annual research expenditure of almost €40 million. CIT operates the Blackrock Castle Observatory which has been a leading advocate of Space 4.0 and represented the Higher Education community in the development of the National Space Strategy for Enterprise, 2019-2024,” he added.

Over the course of the initial three-year agreement, the SEE Space Network will focus on education and research in Quantum Communications and Cybersecurity, Earth Observation and Space 4.0 in general, with Low Earth Orbit Satellites (LEOs) a particular area of interest.

The team will also investigate, more generally, opportunities to collaborate on relevant research activities and to work together to develop the following: a three-year strategic outline; a roadmap of national and regional benefits; a high level work plan and work streams; identification of potential European grant calls that will be targeted and a high level communications and marketing plan.

The impact of the collaboration will include broadening the career opportunities for students; strengthening the capacity of industry sectors with which CIT and WIT collaborate currently and developing roadmaps for exploiting Space 4.0. They will also team up on the development of new technologies, products and processes, enhancing the reputation of CIT and WIT as centres of leading-edge research and innovation and building stronger links to international space organisations such as the European Space Agency.

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