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Speaker Spotlight: Stuart Catchpole

We’re back with another speaker interview! This week, the spotlight is on Stuart Catchpole, Space Cluster Manager at Space East.

Take a deep dive into the newest space cluster’s mission through its fantastic leader and gain exclusive insights from Space East below.

Could you provide some insights into your background and experiences within the space industry?

Space East is the newest of the 15 UK Space Clusters, launching in March 2023. Like the cluster, I am new to the sector myself and it has been a steep and rapid learning experience. 

As we all know, Space Tech touches all sectors and that's where my expertise and experience comes into play. I have worked in several converging sectors from Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, where I built and managed an Innovation Team delivering a £7.5m innovation support programme, to Bio-Science where I built the Business Development, Communications and outreach functions for the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council funded Institutes. In between I have worked in Construction, Education and Inward Investment. 

The Space East strategy is not only focussed on supporting space businesses but helping companies with the relevant expertise, capabilities and assets outside of the sector to recognise and access the vast opportunities that the space sector presents. This is why my experience and contacts from across many sectors really helps.


Which trends or recent advancements in space technology do you find most exciting or promising?

All space technology is exciting! I am constantly blown away by the pioneering work that is taking place in the sector. From an East of England perspective, where we have a significant rural economy, combined with an Energy coastline with Marine science expertise, I think the advances in Earth Observation technology is extremely exciting. I think it's the convergence, application and delivery of the data that presents our communities with exciting and extensive opportunities. Whether that's the agri-sector for land management purposes, the marine sector for the marine environment or the energy sector for operations and maintenance, being able to access relevant and timely data will be game-changing in everything from precision farming to sustainable energy. Of course, it is also vital in our understanding of global issues such as climate change. 


As the space industry continues to evolve, what potential collaborations or partnerships do you think could significantly contribute to its growth and innovation?

As one of the 15 UK Space Agency and Satellite Applications Catapult supported Space Clusters, I would be failing in my duty if I didn't showcase the work that is already being undertaken to develop relationships and deliver a collaborative UK wide approach to grow the UK Space Sector and meet the ambitions set out by the Government in the UK Space Strategy. Whilst each cluster is delivering growth within their own region, through business support, funded programmes, advice and guidance, we are also making sure that we work collectively, highlighting opportunities in each region and making sure we are making relevant introductions to facilitate supplier-client, collaborative and research relationships. 

I can honestly say that I've never worked in a sector where the regional leads are so keen to work together, support each other and make a difference, it has been inspiring. For me, this is exactly the approach that we need to provide a voice and opportunities for our industry and we are already seeing the benefits of this in the East of England as the newest of the cluster family. The UK Space Agency and the Satellite Applications Catapult have set up a UK Space Ecosystem brand, which also helps to recognise that when you join one of the clusters you are benefitting from the added value of the collective family.


What are you looking forward to the most at SPACEtalks?

Meeting the space community and hearing sector updates!


Connect directly with key industry leaders like Stuart from across the space sector next month at SPACEtalks!

SPACEtalks is a unique event designed to foster meaningful change through innovation, investment, and connections within the space-tech sector. From thought leadership presentations to dynamic panel sessions to dedicated networking breaks, this is your place to get ahead in space-tech.

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