UK Space Agency has been awarded £15m of funding for technologies to monitor the Earth.

The UK is a world leader in Earth Observation (EO) tools, technologies, and data use and is on a mission to remain at the forefront of EO technology and know-how for commercial and public services.

The new funding will help to accelerate the development of promising UK EO technologies which could be flown on satellites in the next few years.

Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology George Freeman MP, said: “Earth Observation technology is critical to tackling the fundamental challenges of our age – from monitoring climate change to responding to humanitarian disasters – and so we owe it to the future of our planet to harness the UK’s world-leading skills in this field.

“This pivotal technology doesn’t stop there and from ensuring the safety of bridges to enabling our farmers get the best from their land, this £15m investment will boost our economy and drive forward our ambition to make the UK a science superpower.”

The Earth Observation Technology Programme funding, delivered by the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), is part of a £400m package announced in November 2022 to support the UK’s Earth Observation sector.

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The latest funding will support the research and experimental development of space-based instruments, aimed at supporting a range of environmental services, which could include meteorology, climate monitoring, environmental management, agriculture and urban planning, and improving scientific knowledge.

Harshbir Sangha, Missions and Capabilities Delivery Director at the UK Space Agency, said: “Satellite technology is essential to our daily lives, helping us to monitor climate change and protect our environment, manage our resources, respond to global humanitarian disasters and support sustainable development.

“This funding will help catalyse investment across the sector to support a range of innovative projects, from developing new sensor technologies to using the data for improved understanding of climate change.”

The £15m funding will cover Pathfinder projects of up to £75,000, Fast Track projects of up to £250,000, and Flagship projects of up to £3m.

Pathfinder and Fast Track projects will support new and innovative ideas for technology development, including early-stage research and lab-based experimental hardware.

Flagship projects will develop technologies further, including testing instruments in relevant environments such as vacuum chambers and airborne demonstration flights.

Professor John Remedios, executive director of the National Centre for Earth Observation, said: “The UK has a proud history of developing satellite instruments which have transformed our understanding of the global Earth system from ocean temperature change to polar ice melt.

“Working together, the new investment will enable the UK to design and test our next ‘eyes on our world’. The UK has a vibrant community of Earth Observation scientists in our research laboratories, universities and industry who can bring novel technologies, smart mathematical algorithms and exciting datasets into leading partnerships across the world.

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Dr Jonathan Taylor, principal fellow at the Met Office, said: “Investment in Earth Observations (EO) is vital for the ongoing development in weather and climate research and prediction. We look forward to working with successful applicants to understand how the Met Office and our partners can benefit a wide range of users with innovative services and information from new EO technology.”

Since 2016 the Earth Observation Technology Programme has provided £20m in funding across a total of 57 projects.