New Higgs Centre for Innovation opens for space-based start-ups

Higgs Centre for Innovation opens for space-based start-ups

The Higgs Centre for Innovation offers specialist expertise and support in space-related technology and big-data analytics. Up to 12 companies will be based in the Centre at any one time and will work next to researchers and engineers from both STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre and the University of Edinburgh.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Scotland has an outstanding reputation for science and innovation, and the Higgs Centre will harness this creativity, helping disruptive start-ups and entrepreneurs create the products of tomorrow.

“Big data and space technology have endless opportunities, and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are supporting our world leading innovators to help to build a Britain fit for the future.”

Professor Gillian Wright, the director of the UKATC, said: “The Higgs Centre for Innovation creates a collaborative hub where business can work with and alongside specialists in the space and big-data sectors. By plugging smaller companies straight into the world-leading research and engineering available on our historic Royal Observatory site in Edinburgh, it will provide a significant stimulus to innovation across the region.”

The Higgs Centre for Innovation is funded through a £10.7m investment from the UK Government through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and STFC is also investing £2m over the next five years to operate the Centre.

The Centre incorporates laboratories and working spaces for researchers, and facilities suitable for businesses, and includes a Business Incubation Centre (BIC) based on the successful European Space Agency model already in operation in the UK.

The Centre, Operated by STFC, will also support new academic activities and enable the University’s astronomy and astrophysics PhD students to work directly with start-up companies to solve real-world problems.

The Centre is named in honour of Professor Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013 for his theoretical prediction of the Higgs boson.
Professor Peter Mathieson, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Professor Higgs’ theoretical work could only be proven by collaboration in different scientific fields, using technology built through joint international ventures. This reflects the aims and values of the Higgs Centre for Innovation, which bring scientists, engineers and students together under one roof to work together for the purpose of bettering our understanding of space-related science and driving technological advancement forward.”

UKRI chief executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “UKRI is supporting the UK’s world-leading knowledge-driven economy by working collaboratively with researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to develop the most exciting ideas and technologies and bring them to fruition. The Higgs Centre for Innovation is a perfect example of this.”

Published: 25 May 2018

Article by Ellen McGann
Share Article